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Through the late 1950s, until the local pony herd was permanently penned, Ocracoke held an annual pony penning each year on July 4th. In 1953 Capt. Marvin Howard made a proposal at the Ocracoke Civic Club’s Spring Meeting. “Let’s have some fun,” he announced, and suggested adding a parade to the annual July 4th pony penning and patriotic noontime service. Thus a tradition was born.
The Ocracoke Island July 4th Parade was held annually for several years. Although it was discontinued in the late 1950s or early 1960s, the parade was reintroduced in the 1980s. It has always been a quirky, home-grown affair. Residents and visitors cobble together whatever materials are available to make creative, often idiosyncratic, floats.
In addition to a parade, many other events have been held throughout the years. These include a sand sculpture contest, classic car show, skydiving, and storytelling.