Virtual Hands Across the Sand event set for Saturday

Local environmentalists gather on the beach at Fort Macon State Park in 2019 for the annual Hands Across the Sand event. This year, the event will be held online due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Mike Shutak photo)

BOGUE BANKS — Environmentalists aren’t letting the novel coronavirus pandemic stop them from holding their annual Hands Across the Sand event Saturday.

The annual event is scheduled for noon Saturday. Participants traditionally come together each year to join hands on beaches around the world as a symbolic gesture opposing offshore oil and gas drilling. Local participants in past years have gathered at Fort Macon State Park in Atlantic Beach and in Emerald Isle.

While social distancing and Gov. Roy Cooper’s executive order prevents groups of more than 10 people from gathering, event organizers are planning a virtual Facebook event Saturday.

The event Facebook page can be found at Event organizers invite participants to submit videos expressing their support, as well as photos and videos from past Hands Across the Sand events.

“If circumstances disallow you from participating or donating, help us spread the word by following us on social media,” organizers said on the event’s website.

Hands Across the Sand can be followed on Twitter at and on Facebook.

The N.C. Coastal Federation, a Carteret County-based environmental organization dedicated to protecting the coastal environment, is one of several environmental groups that participates in the event. NCCF Coastal Advocate Michael Flynn said organizers will screen a compilation of photos and videos that have been submitted from events over the last 11 years.

“As of now, 131 people have responded as ‘going’ and 242 are interested,” Mr. Flynn said. “The event is open to the public and no registration is required. Participation will simply involve commenting during the event, and people are encouraged to share the event to increase participation.”

Mr. Flynn said participants and others interested in demonstrating opposition to offshore drilling and seismic testing, a form of testing used to search for deposits for drilling, are also encouraged to contact their local and state representatives to express their concerns.

“Individuals can visit and for more information,” he said, “as well as include #protectourcoast (and) #dontdrillnc when crafting social media posts.”

Hands Across the Sand began in 2010 in Seaside, Fla. Since then, it has grown into an international movement. More information on the event is available at its website


Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

(3) comments


Got to make sure other people know that "they care!" Keep racking up those virtue signaling points!


Most of them will drive there in their SUV's, then go home to their air conditioned homes and have a cookout using their gas grill on their well manicured lawns. All while standing against searching for new sources of fossil fuels !!!!


Ignore this tree huggers; we need to be self sufficient, and drilling is one of those items toward this independence. I see the good mayor of Beaufort to the right, holding hands. How nice. Misguided, but nice.

Welcome to the discussion.

As a privately owned web site, we reserve the right to edit or remove comments that contain spam, advertising, vulgarity, threats of violence, racism, anti-Semitism, or personal/abusive/condescending attacks on other users or goading them. The same applies to trolling, the use of multiple aliases, or just generally being a jerk. Enforcement of this policy is at the sole discretion of the site administrators and repeat offenders may be blocked or permanently banned without warning.