Ocracoke Lighthouse on Parade

Updated 7 years ago Sundae Horn

Our iconic lighthouse made it to Raleigh – and back!

Ocracoke Lighthouse on Parade

Special thanks go to D.J. Lukefahr and Jenny Kline, who delivered and brought home the replica lighthouse – and on short notice, too. (Robin Payne had a last-minute scheduling conflict and couldn't make it to the parade.)

Thanks also to Eleanor Talley at the NC Department of Commerce Division of Tourism, who provided these photos and said that "people were very impressed with the replica."

Original story, posted January 9th:

Ocracoke School shop classes built a 7' replica of the lighthouse for the governor's inaugural parade.

On Saturday, the Ocracoke lighthouse will represent our island at the Inauguration of Pat McCrory, North Carolina's 74th governor. The official parade begins at 12:30 pm on Saturday and weaves its way through downtown Raleigh.

Jeff, Hunter, Logan and Jordy in Ocracoke School's shop
Jeff, Hunter, Logan and Jordy in Ocracoke School's shop

The lighthouse will join other symbols of North Carolina's heritage on the NC Division of Tourism's float.

Robin Payne, of Ocracoke Foundation, will carry the lighthouse to Raleigh on Friday and get it on the float Saturday morning. 

"This was all my hare-brained idea, so I get to take it," Robin said. She's roped her daughter, Maddie, into helping, so the two of them will parade it across the state in the back of Robin's pick-up truck. She also added that they won't be riding on the float, but will stand among the crowds and take pictures. 

Robin's happy that Ocracoke will have a presence in Raleigh over the weekend, and hopes the new governor will take notice.

"Travel and Tourism only had a few slots available on their float," she said. "So it's great that we're on it." 

Robin commissioned the replica lighthouse from Ocracoke School's shop classes, and Ocracoke Civic and Business Association paid for the cost of materials. 

High school students Hunter Belch, Jordy Jenkins, and Logan Jenkins worked with shop teacher Jeff Schleicher to build the little lighthouse. 

"We worked out a plan for the lighthouse, to try to build it to scale," Jeff said. As it turns out, they needed to make it a little shorter than exact scale, so it could have a wide and sturdy base. The lighthouse has a wood frame, covered by textured PVC plastic that mimics the rough exterior of the Ocracoke light. Jeff also pointed out their clever use of flexible rubber tubing to make the railing around the top of the lighthouse.  

This project was so much fun that the vocational education students are also working on another lighthouse replica – this one out of chicken wire. It will be stuffed with tissue paper and used as a back drop at prom and other school events. (The Inaugural lighthouse will also come home to Ocracoke School after its moment of glory in the state capital.)

"We like doing stuff like this for the community," Jeff said. "It's not in the curriculum, but they learn as much from this as from anything else." 

The shop classes raise some money for materials by making decorative items for sale. Before Christmas, they made small sleds that were for sale at the Variety Store. Look for Valentine items for your sweetheart coming soon. 


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