This has been a great year in Emerald Isle. Tourism this year was the best it has been in Emerald Isle since 2007, which was the best year ever. Hurricane Irene put a dent in the August numbers, but September more than made up for it. Pre-bookings for September were good before Irene arrived and after Irene bookings were even better, because some of the northern Outer Banks beaches were closed due to hurricane damage. Hopefully our first time visitors this year will return next year and the year after.
The holiday season in Emerald Isle and all along the Crystal Coast has been very busy. It started Thanksgiving weekend with the Flotilla in Swansboro on Friday night, and the Emerald Isle Christmas Parade on Saturday. The Emerald Isle Parade had over 100 entries, the weather was great, and it was the biggest crowd ever. All of our entries are important and everybody has their own favorite. It is always great to see the Wells Fargo Coach at the beginning of the parade with “Jack” the boxer dog on top of the stagecoach. The weather was very good this year so the horses were able to go in the ocean again and they loved it. Took a little grooming to get the sand off of them for the parade. Thank you Wells Fargo for bringing the stage coach to Emerald Isle and the other surrounding parades.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Christmas Parade without Santa and Mrs. Claus. They were riding in a carriage driven by Ricky Peeden from The Unbroken Ground – Equine Training Center (www.theunbrokegrounds.com). Ricky and the horses and carriage were great, as were Santa and Mrs. Claus as they waved to onlookers along the parade route and they chatted with the children after the parade. As always, it takes many people to put this event together and I especially want to thank my wife Diane and her many helpers for making it happen. Parade lineups are always a little bit of a fiasco, but I get lots of comments from parade entrants that our line-up procedure is very good; and entrants love meeting each other.
In previous articles, I have told you about the Honor Flights for our WWII Veterans. There have been 3 flights for the Carteret-Craven area for a total of 224 veterans. We are having a dinner on December 11 for all three groups to gather and talk about the experience. I was able to help with organizing two of the flights and I am looking forward to seeing all of the WWII Veterans again.
Diane and I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas, Holiday Season, and a Happy New Year. As always, we look forward to seeing you in Emerald Isle.