Debbie Leonard

Homes and businesses weren’t the only island losses resulting from Hurricane Dorian.

Deepwater Theater and the great, high shed
Deepwater Theater and the great, high shed

Non-profit groups such as Ocracoke Alive and the Ocracoke Preservation Society also suffered. 

Deepwater Theater, the performance home of Ocracoke Alive, Ocracoke’s arts organization, had extensive damage. The floor, two layers of plywood on top of the floor joists with no insulation, remains, but the rest of the interior is demolished down to the studs. Although not much merchandise was lost, the wiring, insulation, walls, display shelving, and some sound equipment will need to be replaced. Julie Howard’s piano was also ruined.

The brand new elevated storage shed next to the theater served its purpose by keeping supplies, tee shirts, and other sales merchandise safe and dry. David Tweedie, Executive Director of Ocracoke Alive, says that the supply order for rebuilding should be arriving soon and reconstruction will begin. The theater will remain largely the same as before but they plan to rebuild in such a way as to make future flood cleanup easier.  

Although Ocracoke Alive did lose revenue from the cancelled September shows and other cancelled events (Ocrafolk School and Latino Festival), they were fortunate to receive approximately $10,000 in donations along with a $5,000 grant from the Outer Banks Community Foundation. The grant will be used to replace contents while the donations will pay for repairing the building. 

David remarked on the wonderful support that Ocracoke Alive is still receiving. A fundraising concert at the Turnage Theater in Washington, NC  is planned for this coming weekend, November 16. Sponsored by Arts of the Pamlico (formerly the Beaufort County Arts Council), the concert, Music Across the Sound, is a benefit for Ocracoke Island Artists. In addition to Molasses Creek (David Tweedie, Gary Mitchell, and Gerald Hampton will appear) and Coyote (Marcy Brenner and Lou Castro), there is a stellar lineup of Eastern NC artists who have donated their time. For more information contact the Turnage Theater box office, 252-946-2504 or on line at

This beauty could be yours! The winning ticket will be drawn at the Wassail Party.
This beauty could be yours! The winning ticket will be drawn at the Wassail Party.

David states that although plans for the summer shows next season are not final, the Ocrafolk Festival on June 5-7, 2020 and the Ocrafolk School in October are definitely on the calendar. Tickets for each will be available online after the first of the year. For more information, check out the Ocracoke Alive website,

Though the Ocracoke Preservation Society did not incur as much damage as Deepwater Theater with only minor loss and flood damage in both buildings, they have lost a tremendous amount of revenue from being closed during the peak fall tourist season. Once the evacuation order is lifted for the island, the Museum plans to open the gift shop and they would like to encourage people to come in and shop, donate money, purchase memberships, and/or buy gift certificates. Online shopping is available now. Quilt raffle tickets are still available.

The museum has also received new items such as jewelry and other gift items. Director Andrea Powers and Administrative Assistant Tory Kane are putting together several specials to entice holiday shoppers, pairing such items as a cookbook and fig preserves, the Lifesaving Station mug and book, and many more. 

The Historic Home Tour scheduled for December 7 was cancelled, but the annual Wassail Party on December 10 is still a go from 4:00pm until 6:00pm. Everyone is invited to bring cookies to share to accompany Kenny Ballance’s traditional (non-alcoholic) Christmas wassail. The Community Christmas Tree Lighting will take place at 5:30 followed by the drawing for the quilt made by the Ocracoke Needle and Thread Club at 5:45. Everyone is welcome to attend this festive and fun event! 

All decked out for the Wassail Party on December 10
All decked out for the Wassail Party on December 10

Another important fundraiser that will take place is the annual art auction, Ocracoke Through Your Eyes on January 25, 2020 (location to be determined). This has become one of the museum’s most successful fundraisers since its inception in January 2014. Small canvases are distributed to residents and visitors who decorate them with something that signifies Ocracoke in their eyes. The canvases are returned to the Museum to be displayed and bid on during the silent auction. While the crowd peruses the canvases and other creations, they enjoy snacks and beverages supplied by the Museum. In addition to raising several thousand dollars for the Preservation Society, the auction is great fun.

There are still canvases available. Explore your inner artist! Contact the museum at 252-928-7375 or stop by during the day between 10:00am and 4:00pm. The Museum is located next to the National Park Service parking lot, 49 Water Plant Rd.

The Fall Membership meeting along with the Cultural Heritage and Historic Home Awards will be postponed until spring and the museum will open for the season in mid-March. To purchase items online, make a donation, buy quilt raffle tickets, or for general information, go to