Ocracoke Music, Island Path Summer Workshops

Welcome to yet another Ocracoke Newsletter from Village Craftsmen.  The weather is warming up and we are looking forward to the beginning of a new season here on the island.

As folks return to Ocracoke or start planning their Spring and Summer vacations, we thought you might be interested in news of several upcoming events.

The Fourth Annual Ocrafolk Music and Storytelling Festival is scheduled for June 7 & 8, 2003.  The Festival has been a huge success every year, and 2003 is shaping up to be no exception.  As usual, this year the Festival will feature an outstanding selection of artisans, musicians, and storytellers from the coastal region of North Carolina.  We thought some of you might want to consider planning your next trip to the island to coincide with this event.

As many of you know, music has been an important part of Ocracoke’s history for generations.  In the 1920’s two Ocracoke brothers, Walter and Edgar Howard, were popular performers in cities along the East Coast.

Edgar played banjo in vaudeville, sometimes on the same stage with the likes of Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and even Al Jolson.  Edgar returned home after retirement and continued to entertain islanders with his music and stories.

Edgar died in 1990 and is buried across the street from Village Craftsmen.  His grave marker has a banjo carved on it and the words “You Ain’t Heard Nothing Yet.”

Edgar Howard’s Grave on Howard Street
graves on howard st Edgar's gravestone

Even if you do not remember Edgar or Walter you may have the good fortune of hearing Molasses Creek play a tune written by Walter and made popular on the island by Edgar, “Paddy’s Holler.”  Paddy’s Holler is a small area of Ocracoke that lies behind the Ocracoke Health Center, near the schoolhouse and Methodist Church,  and extends to Fig Tree Lane, near the “Island Girl” gift shop.  Named in the 1800’s after a tavern up north, Paddy’s Holler, as a distinct community, was altered permanently when the Navy paved the “Back Road” during World War II.
Paddy’s Holler
Written by Walter Howard

Many years ago I can truly tell you so
There was a spot that wasn’t worth a dollar
Where the folks were gay, so the people say
Everybody called it Paddy’s Holler.

‘Twould put us all to shame how the holler got its name
Legends have been told by the millions
But the one that I like best was no doubt told in jest
Told by ol’ fiddlin’ Wid Williams

Wid was on a spree; he had fiddled all night free
And they had to hold him up by the collar
But like a knight of old he grew mighty bold,
And hollered out “Hooray for Paddy’s Holler!”

Now in the olden days nobody offered praise
For anybody livin’ up the holler
As the years rolled by , moved in on the sly
Now it’s “Mrs. Jones” of Paddy’s Holler.

Paddy’s Holler, Paddy’s Holler
Why, they come from near and far to Paddy’s Holler
And the town was in a lurch, ’cause when they’d go to church
They’d all have to pass through Paddy’s Holler

The Howards, the O’Neals, the Burruses, the Peales
Why they’ve all found their way to Paddy’s Holler
Choicest spot in town, nobody seems to frown
When someone hollers, “Let’s go up the holler!”

They built a naval base just to give the subs a chase
So everybody there could earn a dollar
When Uncle Sammy came he put ’em all to shame
Paved the only road through Paddy’s Holler.

Paddy’s Holler! Paddy’s Holler
They come from near and far to Paddy’s Holler
It’s the choicest spot in town, nobody seems to frown
When someone hollers, “Let’s go up the holler!”

Now folks down there were kind to the sick and blind
So everybody ponied up a dollar
To build a little home for Maggie all alone
Livin’ on a hill in Paddy’s Holler.

But one was mighty bold, his heart set on gold
His mind was on the almighty dollar
Some said “listen here, don’t put that line post there!
‘Cause that’s the choicest spot in Paddy’s Holler!”
Edgar’s brother, Walter, was also an accomplished musician.  Walter’s jug band had quite a few chart topping hits in the 1920’s, including “Sadie Green” and “What Makes My Baby Cry.”

Walter’s son, Walter Howard, Jr., alerted me to a web site where you can listen to selections from 1926.  These sound files require the “Real Audio” plug-in available free of charge at www.realaudio.com.  Once you have the plug-in just click on the links below to listen to one of Ocracoke’s old-time musicians.

“Sadie Green”

“What Makes My Baby Cry”

In other news, Island Path, an Ocracoke venture offering creative workshops has scheduled a number of events for 2003 that we thought might appeal to our readers.  Workshops will be offered in watercolor painting, writing, and pottery, as well as retreats and creativity camps.

Ken DeBarth & Ruth Fordon of Island Path:
Ken DeBarth & Ruth Fordon of Island Path

Some of their offerings are listed below:

Join Kathleen Brehony and Ruth Fordon for a weekend residential camp.  It’s time to craft the dreams you have not yet lived.

LEARN TO WATERCOLOR   May 11-17 and Sept 21-27
Mel Stanforth will guide you gently into this wonderful medium.  All your supplies are provided, as well as food and lodging in this weeklong residential camp

THE COMPLETE WRITER  April 27-May 3 ; June 1-8 ; Oct 19 – 25
Change your life as a writer!  Karen Jones and Kathleen Brehony are back for their third year in this weeklong residential camp.  3  weeklong camps this year

Here’s a weekend opportunity to focus on being a published writer.  Karen Jones and Kathleen Brehony know how and will teach you the strategies for success.

Ocracoke Beach Birds:

Work with clay and primitive firing techniques at the beach with our instructor Delores Coan.

Just for graduates of the “Complete Writer”.  This weekend residential camp was extremely popular in 2002.  Don’t miss it.

Some of Island Path’s other programs are listed below:

ISLAND PATH is a journey!
Learning how to live your dreams starts right here on Ocracoke Island.  Retreat to our beautiful beaches, explore new ideas and discover the magic your life has to offer!

When what we do in the world is not connected with our inner self, we risk feeling empty and one dimensional.  A Personal Path Retreat will give you time to reflect on your life, to address life changes and transitions, to create, or to recuperate.

We hire personal trainers to get our bodies in shape.  Do the same for your personal life or your business.  Whether you need a hand to hold or someone to “kick your ‘but’…” Coaching offers a chance to take inventory and create workable action steps to craft the life and future you desire.

Ocracoke Sunset:
orange sunset

Week long residential camps combine fun, creativity, learning, and lots of TLC.  Includes lodging, meals, lectures, T’ai Chi, massage, and plenty of time to explore the island.

Island Path is not affiliated with Village Craftsmen.  We are providing this information because we thought some of you might be interested in their programs.  For futher details, brochures, and costs please contact Island Path directly:

Island Path
Box 878
Ocracoke, NC 27960
1-877-708-7284 (toll free)


We are looking forward to another wonderful season on Ocracoke.  Please stop by Village Craftsmen and say hello on your next visit to the island.

All the best to you from,

Philip, Dallie, Jude, Amy, Mary, and Leon