HARKERS ISLAND — “Celebrating our community Heroes” was this year’s theme for the annual All-American Shrimp Fry held July 10 at the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum and Heritage Center in Harkers Island.
Over 600 active and retired military veterans, along with front-line workers, including teachers, healthcare workers and first responders, were the honorees as residents and businesses funded free fried shrimp meals for all those who qualified. In the past, the event has been held on the Fourth of July weekend, but this year the schedule was changed to accommodate a larger and more diverse crowd than has normally attended.
In addition to recognizing 600 honorees who registered for the afternoon affair, the event was also dedicated to those who died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic with a special service for them and their families.
A special ensemble of the Second Marine Aircraft Wing Band, MCAS Cherry Point, provided music in the late afternoon activities and during dinner.
Remarking on the event, Karen Amspacher, the Heritage Center’s executive director, was pleased when the afternoon’s event under sunny skies with a cooling breeze filtering in from Back Sound.
“We had active military, even from out of state, who were visiting family here. Teachers from Wake County, nurses from Greenville, healthcare workers from Onslow County, along with firefighters from inland were here,” she said.
The event included displays by a variety of vendors. The free meals for both military veterans and front-line workers were financed by over 127 individuals and businesses supporting the daylong event.
Mrs. Amspacher expressed her appreciation for the supporters, volunteers and staff who worked for the better part of a week cleaning over 450 pounds of shrimp and helping set up the facilities.
For Mrs. Amspacher, the event was also a grand opening of sorts for the Core Sound Museum & Heritage Center, located “at the end of road” Harkers Island. For her and the staff, the weekend event was the first public event held on the grounds since the governor’s release of COVID-19 restrictions.