It’s that time of year when Onslow County’s fishing village celebrates its coastal heritage and offers up a favorite delicacy from the sea: shrimp.

And if you are anxious to head out to the 2018 Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival, you're in luck: You can come on out a little earlier this year.

Festival organizers have added a lineup of Friday night activities to the festival weekend for the first time. The Community Night lineup includes live music, rides, and the Dakota & Friends Dinosaur Show, which is also new to the festival.

“We decided we wanted to give everyone in the community and something to do on Friday night and are calling it our Community Night,” said Lisa Hamner, chairwoman of the festival committee.

Friday night kicks off at 5 p.m. and continues through 11 p.m. The festival gears up Saturday with the parade at 9:30 a.m. and gates to festival grounds open at 10 a.m., with the day closing with fireworks at 10:10 p.m. Festival activities continue from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

If you are planning to attend, here are seven things you need to know:

1. Daily admission is $6 for adults, $3 children 6-12, free for children 5 and younger. Ride all day tickets $12 Friday and Sunday or $15 on Saturday.

2. The main attraction is the shrimp dinner held Saturday and Sunday, with plates of fresh fried or boiled shrimp, slaw, fries and hush puppies served up beginning at 11 a.m. each day. Plates are $12. About 2,000 pounds of fresh, wild-caught shrimp are prepared for an average of 1,500 plates sold each year.

3. For seafood lovers, there will be cooking demonstrations for dishes including shrimp and grits, mahi taco bites, hibachi shrimp and Sneads Ferry crab cakes. Fresh seafood will be available from Davis Seafood to take home for your favorite home-cooked meal.

4. For those looking for a different option, there will be more than 20 food vendors on site with a variety of options, including seafood, chicken and barbecue, pitas, gyros, funnel cakes, mini donuts, ice cream, and Italian ice.

5. While you are enjoying the day don’t be surprised by the prehistoric visitors. All new this year is the appearance of Dakota & Friends Dinosaur Show, which will feature the appearance of a 13-foot animatronic dinosaur as well as other dino friends. And watch the schedule for a chance to see a baby dinosaur hatching out of its egg.

6. Planning to catch the parade? The parade route travels from Sneads Ferry Road to Fulchers Landing Road to Wheeler Creek Road.

7. No pets allowed with the exception of service dogs. Personal golf carts not allowed on festival grounds. No coolers for personal use allowed.

For a full schedule, see the festival Facebook page or website at


Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or