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The Top New Year’s Eve Events on the Outer Banks for 2019

The Top New Year’s Eve Events on the Outer Banks for 2019

alt="Bright fireworks bursting over a banner for New Year's Eve events on the Outer Banks 2019"The holiday season has officially arrived, 2019 is quickly coming to a close, and New Year’s Eve is fast approaching. When it’s time to put the past behind you and to celebrate brand-new beginnings—as well as all of the promise for a bright new future that 2020 brings—you’ll want to make sure you ring in the new year on the beach just right.

To ensure you have the absolute best “end of 2019” celebration possible, we’ve compiled a list of the top New Year’s Eve events on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Check out our list below for details on what’s happening at some of your favorite barrier island hot spots from Duck to Kill Devil Hills and from Manteo to Hatteras Island. From all of us at The Coastal Cottage Company: have a safe, happy and healthy 2019!

MANTEO:

The 3rd Annual “New Year in the New World” Celebration

alt="New Year's Eve events banner highlighting New Year in the New World party in Manteo, North Carolina"

If you’re searching for a family-friendly spot to celebrate New Year’s Eve on the Outer Banks this year, head to the heart of Roanoke Island for Manteo’s “New Year in the New World” celebration. This free New Year’s Eve event will begin at 5 p.m. in downtown Manteo with music by DJ Mixin’ Mike, followed by free concerts courtesy of Formula (8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) as well as Urban Soil, who will perform a can’t-miss “Dancing Through the Decades” set from 10 p.m. until midnight.  

Sample scrumptious snacks from a variety of on-site food vendors and take a stroll around the historic downtown area as you visit the assortment of shops that line the streets of this quaint community on Roanoke Island. Enjoy a wide array of events and activities designed to provide fun for the entire family, including an early ball drop for the kids at 8 p.m. Just before the evening’s events—and the year 2019—are about to come to a close, visitors are encouraged to hit the boat docks along the picturesque Manteo waterfront where they will witness a spectacular fireworks display to celebrate the official start of 2020.

For more information about the Town of Manteo’s annual New Year’s Eve events and “New Year in the New World” celebration, click here.

IF YOU GO:

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019
Time: 5 p.m. to midnight
Location: 207 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Manteo, NC 27954
Cost: Free

KILL DEVIL HILLS:

Great Gatsby New Year’s Eve Party

alt="New Year's Eve events flyer featuring champagne glasses and gold balloons for Great Gatsby theme party"What better way to ring in the brand-new year than decking yourself out in a one-of-a-kind costume, drinking craft brews and sipping on handcrafted cocktails at your favorite local brewery? To celebrate the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the Outer Banks Brewing Station is hosting a Great Gatsby-themed New Year’s Eve event starting at 10 p.m. on Jan. 31, 2019. Known for its wide selection of tasty beers brewed directly on-site, top-notch local DJs and its enormous dance floor, the Outer Banks Brewing Station is the only place to be when the clock strikes 12 and this little slice of paradise welcomes the arrival of 2020.

The festivities will feature music by DJ OHKAY and DJ Gustavo—plus an epic drop and champagne toast at midnight. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to soak up some late-night shenanigans this New Year’s Eve, look no further than the Outer Banks Brewing Station! Gather your favorite friends, grab your Great Gatsby-themed attire, and ring in the new year with an unforgettable throwback to the Roaring ’20s!

For more information about the Outer Banks Brewing Station’s New Year’s Eve events, click here.

IF YOU GO:

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019
Time: 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Location: Outer Banks Brewing Station, 600 S. Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Phone: 252-449-2739
Cost: $10 Cover

DUCK:

Annual Crab Pot Drop & Oyster Roast

alt="Roadside Bar & Grill's Backside Bar area features brightly colored umbrellas, glass bottles and Adirondack chairs"Nothing says “New Year’s Eve on the Outer Banks” quite like an all-you-can-eat oyster roast and a countdown to a crab pot drop. The Roadside Bar & Grill in Duck will celebrate the last few hours of 2019 with its annual crab pot drop party—a fun and festive event that has become a favorite tradition among locals and visitors alike over the past few years. 

The party begins at 6 p.m. with an assortment of food and drinks being served at Roadside’s famous Backside Bar. Fill up on a plate stacked high with fresh, local oysters you shucked yourself, and then kick back in an Adirondack chair to enjoy some quality time with friends and family while you wait for the brightly lit crab pot to make its highly anticipated descent across the decked-out backyard bar area at 10 p.m. Live music will be performed by The Ramble, a local “soul-rock” band whose original tunes that feature hints of blues, rock, jazz and funk offer something for everyone in your party to enjoy.

For more information about The Roadside Bar & Grill’s New Year’s Eve events, click here.

IF YOU GO:

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019
Time: 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Location: The Roadside Bar & Grill, 1193 Duck Road, Duck, NC 27949
Cost: Crab pot drop, free. Oyster roast, cost TBA.

HATTERAS ISLAND:

Old Farts New Year’s Eve Event

alt="New Year's Eve events banner for Pangea Tavern's Old Farts New Year Eve party on Hatteras Island features fireworks"Let’s face it. We can’t all handle hanging out until the early morning hours to take in everything the late-night New Year’s Eve events on the Outer Banks have to offer. Fortunately, Pangea Tavern on Hatteras Island has the perfect solution for those looking to celebrate the wrapping up of 2019 without having to stay out until the wee hours of New Year’s Day.

Head down to the village of Avon—also known as “Kinnakeet”—on Hatteras Island for an early evening affair filled with delicious food, tasty libations, live music performed by Jeremy & the Generations, and unforgettable fun with friends and family. This event will begin at 5 p.m. for party-goers who wish to dine before the complimentary champagne toast and anchor drop takes places at 10 p.m.  

Reservations for dinner are required, so make sure you secure your spot for this super-fun New Year’s Eve event early! For more information about Pangea Tavern’s Old Farts New Year’s Eve event, or to make a reservation for dinner, click here. 

IF YOU GO:

Date: Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019
Time: 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Location: Pangea Tavern, 41001 N.C. Highway 12, Avon, NC 27915
Cost: TBA (reservations required for dinner)
Phone: 252-995-3800

Celebrate Safely:

There’s no worse way to ring in the new year than wrecking your car—or putting yourself and those around you—in any kind of danger. When you’ve finished celebrating at your New Year’s Eve events, make sure you and your loved ones all get home safely. Choose a designated driver, order an Uber via the app, or call one of the many cab companies that are here to help you get home safely after your New Year’s Eve 2019 celebrations!

  • A1 Taxi: 252-599-7777
  • Beach Cab: 252-441-2500
  • Corolla Cab: 252-489-9408
  • Duck Taxi: 252-489-5228
  • Island Limousine: 252-441-5466 (open 24 hours)

The Top 5 Holiday Activities on the Outer Banks in 2019

‘Tis the season for spending quality time with family and friends and for seeking out one-of-a-kind holiday festivities—and there’s no better place to experience the most wonderful time of year than the Outer Banks of North Carolina. From wildlife festivals and holiday light displays to Christmas parades and historical celebrations, you’ll find something for everyone to enjoy on the barrier islands this year.

So if you’re looking for some of the best spots to soak up the holiday spirit as 2019 comes to a close, you’re in luck. Here are the top 5 Outer Banks holiday activities you simply can’t miss this holiday season!

1. Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens

alt="Bright Christmas lights and nutcrackers decorate the entry gate during the Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens"
Photo: Resort Realty

Few holiday activities on the Outer Banks are as festive and famous as the Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens. Held from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on select evenings from late November to mid-January each year, this must-attend event features spectacular displays of holiday lights upon the trees, bushes, plants and pathways that can be found within the 10-acre gardens situated on Roanoke Island.

In addition to the tens of thousands of lights that you’ll find strung along the hedges, wrapped around tree trunks and decking out the tips of virtually every branch, when you visit the Winter Lights at the Elizabethan Gardens this season you’ll also encounter an open-air fire on the Great Lawn, as well as a wide array of holiday displays ranging from candy canes and gingerbread houses to reindeer and nutcrackers all along the walkways.

Photo: OuterBanks.com

When you’re finished wandering through the enchanting winter wonderland and soaking up the holiday spirit, step inside the gatehouse and reception hall, where you’ll discover an assortment of festive trees that are fully decorated for the season, as well as a gift shop filled with a variety of unique items that will help you get a head start on your holiday shopping this year!

IF YOU GO:

Dates: Nov. 30, 2019 to Jan. 19, 2020 (open Tuesdays through Saturdays in December; open Fridays and Saturdays in January).
Time: 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Phone: 252-473-3234
Price: Adults $11, youth (ages 6-17) $9, child (ages 5 and under) $6. Winter Lights season passes are $17 for adults, $14 for youth and $11 for a child.

*NOTE: The Winter Lights will be closed on Dec. 24, Dec. 25, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. 

2. Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival

Photo: WingsOverWater.org

One of the most unique holiday activities on the Outer Banks is the Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival. Originally founded in 1997 by former refuge manager Mike Bryant, Wings Over Water is an annual fundraising event that takes place throughout six different wildlife refuges across eastern North Carolina. Since its inception 22 years ago, the popular event—which is billed as being one of the premier wildlife festivals on the East Coast of the United States—has grown from offering only a handful of activities to providing more than 90 activities that range from birdwatching and paddling to photography and art and history programs.  

Although the main portion of the event is held in October due to the potential for milder fall weather, a second session of festivities that focuses primarily on birdwatching—known as the Wings Over Water Encore—is held in December each year, when colder, late-season weather offers participants the opportunity to spot larger flocks of migratory birds traveling south along the Atlantic Flyway.

Photo: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival is sponsored by the Coastal Wildlife Refuge Society, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to support regional and national wildlife refuges. Funds raised during the 2019 Wings Over Water Wildlife Festival will be used for an important project taking place on Hatteras Island: raising the visitor center at the Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge by approximately 5 feet. Scheduled to be completed in the spring of 2020, the project is an effort to protect this spot where thousands of nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts gather each year until a brand-new facility can be constructed in a less-threatened location.  

For a full schedule of events and activities for the Wings Over Water Encore session, visit www.wingsoverwater.org.

IF YOU GO:

Dates: Dec. 6, 2019 to Dec. 8, 2019
Phone: 252-216-9464
Price: Varies per program/trip

3. The 116th Annual Celebration of the Wright Brothers’ First Flight

Photo courtesy of OuterBanks.org

To commemorate the 116th anniversary of the day in 1903 on which brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright achieved the world’s first powered flight, the First Flight Society will hold a celebratory event on Dec. 17, 2019. Each year, the First Flight Society honors an individual or group that—like the Wright brothers—has achieved a significant “first” in the field of aviation and then inducts the honoree into the Dr. Paul E. Garber First Flight Shrine.

This year, the organization will honor retired United States Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen, a 99-year-old World War II veteran who became known as the “Candy Bomber” thanks to his humanitarian efforts during the Berlin Airlift. Col. Halvorsen will be honored as a representative of the crews that flew their planes throughout the duration of the mission, which took place from June 27, 1948, to May 12, 1949.

alt="United States Air Force Colonel Gail Halvorsen is wearing his USAF uniform"
Retired United States Air Force Col. Gail Halvorsen. Photo courtesy of the First Flight Society.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the completion of the famous humanitarian event that profoundly impacted the lives of thousands of people in West Berlin as more than 2.3 million tons of cargo were flown over and dropped into this Soviet-occupied zone in Germany whose roads and waterways had been blockaded by the Russians to prevent any food or supplies from reaching residents of the region, which the Soviet Union sought to take complete control of.   

In addition to an induction of Col. Halvorsen, the 116th Annual Celebration of the Wright Brothers’ First Flight will also feature a flyover and the display of a C-54 and a C-47 aircraft, courtesy of the Berlin Airlift Foundation. For a closer look at the First Flight Society’s upcoming celebration and the inspiring story of the man being honored, click here to check out our blog about Col. Halvorsen and the heartwarming efforts that earned him the nickname of the “Candy Bomber” during the Berlin Airlift 70 years ago.

IF YOU GO:

Dates: Dec. 17, 2019
Time: 8:30 a.m.
Location: Wright Brothers National Memorial, 1000 N. Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948
Phone: 252-441-1903
Price: Park admission fee will be waived for this event.

4. The Manteo Christmas Tree Lighting & Parade

Photo: OuterBanksThisWeek.com

When it comes to holiday activities on the Outer Banks, one tradition you can’t miss this season is the annual Manteo Christmas Tree Lighting. Part of the Town of Manteo’s monthly First Friday events, this year’s Christmas tree lighting will be held at 6 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 6, 2019. The tree lighting will kick off an evening full of family-friendly activities that will all take place in the heart of this historic town on Roanoke Island.

Join Outer Banks residents and visitors as the town’s spectacular Christmas tree is lit for the first time this holiday season. Then enjoy a cup of hot cocoa as you stroll along the quaint streets of the downtown area visiting local shops and listening to the sounds of holiday music being sung by children of all ages.

Photo: OuterBanksThisWeek.com

Head back to the Manteo waterfront on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019, to take part in another popular tradition: the town’s annual Christmas parade, which will begin at 10:30 a.m. In addition to the parade, a wide array of other fun and festive events will be offered throughout the day, including a variety of themed contests and Outer Banks holiday activities designed to provide fun for the entire family!   

IF YOU GO:

Date: Dec. 6, 2019 and Dec. 7, 2019
Time: 6 p.m. on Dec. 6 for the Christmas tree lighting. 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 for the Christmas parade
Phone: 252-473-2133
Location: 207 Queen Elizabeth Avenue, Manteo, NC 27954
Price: Free

 5. The Poulos Family’s Outer Banks Christmas House

The Outer Banks Christmas House. Photo: Pinterest.

Nowhere on the entire Outer Banks will you find a more spectacular display of holiday lights at a private residence than the one that the Poulos family has been showcasing all around their property in Kill Devil Hills for the past 38 years. Ann and Jim Poulos purchased their house on Ocean Acres Drive in 1981, and beginning that year the family started a tradition that would soon make visiting their home during the holiday season a can’t-miss experience for everyone on the Outer Banks.

Thanks to the tens of thousands of brightly colored lights that cover virtually every corner of the property—plus the dozens of decorative displays that are set up all around the expansive lawn and even line the rooftop—the Outer Banks Christmas House quickly became famous among vacationers and locals alike. As you approach the property you will be greeted by the sounds of popular Christmas tunes playing on a stereo system, setting the stage for a unique place to get into the spirit of the season.

Photo: Clip.CookDiary.net

The Poulos family begins setting up the first round of decorations each year as early as August, and it typically takes as long as 12 weeks to put the finishing touches on this one-of-a-kind winter wonderland. The family’s intense efforts to transform their property into an experience that ranks as one of the top holiday activities on the Outer Banks has definitely paid off in the past. In fact, their home has been featured on HGTV, and it also earned the title of “Best Decorated House in America” by the Today show back in 2005.

When you’re in the mood to start taking in all of the festive scenes that the barrier islands of North Carolina have to offer this holiday season, make sure the Outer Banks Christmas House is at the top of your list! For more information about the Poulos Family’s Outer Banks Christmas House, click here to check out our featured blog from December 2018.

IF YOU GO:

Dates: Nov. 28, 2019 to Dec. 31, 2019 (nightly) 
Location: 622 Ocean Acres Drive, Kill Devil Hills, NC 27948

The Outer Banks Christmas House – Experience the Poulos Family’s Spectacular Holiday Lights Display

alt="The Outer Banks Christmas House in Kill Devil Hills is decorated with thousands of brightly colored holiday lights by the Poulos family"
The Outer Banks Christmas House, 622 Ocean Acres Drive, Kill Devil Hills, NC Photo: Stephanie Banfield

When it comes to Christmas on the Outer Banks, few seasonal attractions are more festive—or more famous—than the Outer Banks Christmas House, a spectacular holiday lights display created each year by the Poulos family of Kill Devil Hills.

THE HISTORY OF THE OUTER BANKS CHRISTMAS HOUSE:

Featuring tens of thousands of lights and dozens of holiday-themed decorations that are sprinkled across the lawn, stationed along the roof and even strung throughout the tall trees dotting the property, the Outer Banks Christmas House has become a must-visit destination during the nearly 40 years since its inception. 

alt="Festive displays cover the yard of the Outer Banks Christmas House owned by the Poulos family in North Carolina"
Photo: Stephanie Banfield

Nestled along the northern edge of Ocean Acres Drive, less than a mile from the bypass, the house is owned by Ann and Jim Poulos, who purchased the property in 1981—and they’ve been lighting it up in a one-of-a-kind way ever since.

Setting up such a huge and intricate display is no easy task, and the couple often begins bringing out the first round of decorations as early as August. After about 12 weeks of stringing lights and setting up the 80-plus Christmas scenes that can be found in various locations throughout property, the Outer Banks’ most popular holiday lights display is typically ready to be lit for the first time each season around Thanksgiving.

alt="The front yard of the Outer Banks Christmas House in Kill Devil Hills is filled with holiday displays and lights the Poulos family decorates with"
Photo: Stephanie Banfield

EXPLORING THE OUTER BANKS CHRISTMAS HOUSE:

Unlike the vast majority of holiday light displays held at private residences, the Outer Banks Christmas House offers visitors a chance to hop out of their vehicles and explore the festivities on foot rather than simply driving by for a few short seconds.

A handful of parking spots are available directly across from the house, and visitors are invited to take a stroll and spend a considerable amount of time walking around the winter wonderland the Poulos family has created. A stereo system that sends the sounds of popular Christmas tunes across the property is sure to put you in the holiday spirit as you tour the amazing display of lights that been featured on HGTV and even earned the title of the Today show’s “Best Decorated House in America” back in 2005.

Whether you’re visiting the Outer Banks for the holidays or you’re a local resident in search of a little bit of holiday cheer, there’s no better spot to feel the Christmas spirit right here on the barrier islands than the Outer Banks Christmas House on Ocean Acres Drive. 

alt="The Poulos family of the Outer Banks have a home and yard covered in thousands of Christmas decorations and Christmas lights"
Photo: Stephanie Banfield

HOW TO GET THERE:

The Outer Banks Christmas House is situated in the heart of Kill Devil Hills at 622 Ocean Acres Drive, making it easily accessible for anyone wishing to stop by and experience the spectacular display.

You can access this must-visit holiday attraction by heading west on Ocean Acres Drive (turning at the stoplight at McDonald’s on the bypass). Follow the road through the neighborhood for about 3/4 of a mile. As you round a small bend, the road will turn to gravel, and you won’t be able to miss the thousands of bright lights and the assortment of festive decorations that lie right in front of you. So hop out of your vehicle and explore the Poulos family’s incredible Christmas display on the Outer Banks of North Carolina!

 

 

Holiday Happenings on the Outer Banks

The holiday season is officially upon us, and when it comes to feeling festive, there’s no better place to find a variety of events than the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Regardless of whether you’re a native of the region or a vacationer in search of some holiday spirit, the following activities and attractions should not be missed if you’re planning to spend some time on the Outer Banks this December.

  • Colington Harbour Boat Parade

Nothing says “Christmas on the coast” like sailboats decked out in strands of bright-colored lights and holiday décor as they weave through the waterways on the west side of Kill Devil Hills. Colington Harbour—a scenic waterfront community situated along the edge of the Roanoke Sound on Colington Island—will hold its annual Christmas boat parade this Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017, at 5 p.m.

During the Colington Harbour Yacht Club’s Christmas Boat Parade, visitors and residents of this community—which comprises a series of meandering canals—will gather at the Colington Harbour marina parking lot (1000 Colington Drive in Kill Devil Hills) for front-row seats to watch the brightly lit boats make their way out of the nearby canals and then circle around the harbor playing Christmas music and waving at the crowd.

Keep an eye out for Santa Claus, who is frequently spotted on one of the boats, and be sure to grab a complimentary cup of hot cocoa to keep warm while you listen to popular Christmas tunes and watch the beautifully decorated boats go by.

  • The Outer Banks Christmas House

The holiday season is not complete with a tour of some of the town’s best Christmas light displays. Because the barrier islands are primarily a vacation destination and the vast majority of homes here are weekly rentals rather than permanent residences, you probably won’t find as many neighborhood light displays when you’re visiting the Outer Banks as you would in your own year-round community. There are, however, several places that put on quite a show each season—and one in particular has truly earned its spot at the top of the “must-see” Outer Banks Christmas lights list.

Featured in years past on both HGTV and NBC’s “Today” show, the Outer Banks Christmas House has become an Outer Banks tradition that locals and visitors alike look forward to all year long. The Poulos family begins setting up their epic holiday attraction a whopping 12 weeks before the first day the array of lights are plugged in for the season and light up their residence on West Ocean Acres Drive in Kill Devil Hills. In addition to taking three months to assemble, the display costs the Poulos family as much as $3,500 in energy bills each month just to transform their property into a winter wonderland. The incredible lights display at the Outer Banks Christmas House can be viewed nightly from Nov. 24, 2017, through Dec. 31, 2017.

  • New Year in the New World

Photo: Matt Lusk Photography

The shifting sandbars of the Outer Banks are as famous for their rich history as they are for the sun, surf and sand that have made them into an incredibly popular vacation destination over the past half century—and few parts of the barrier islands have such as storied past as the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island. Birthplace of Virginia Dare, the first English child, and the site of the infamous Lost Colony that vanished from the island without a trace in the 16th century, Roanoke Island attracts thousands of history buffs to its soundside shorelines and charming downtown area every season.

In honor of the island’s prominent place in history, a brand-new holiday event—“New Year in the New World”—will be held in Manteo this year. Scheduled for 3 p.m. until midnight on Dec. 31, 2017, this inaugural event is designed to be a festive family-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. The roadways throughout downtown Manteo will be closed, and Outer Banks residents and visitors are invited to a street fair featuring live music, shopping, an early ball drop at 8:30 p.m. and events for the kids, and local vendors selling food and drinks—as well as the largest fireworks display in the state of North Carolina, which will also be choregraphed to music. If you’re visiting the Outer Banks for the holidays, you won’t find a better place on the beach to ring in 2018 than New Year in the New World!

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