MOREHEAD CITY, CARTERET COUNTY - The 27th annual North Carolina Seafood Festival is underway at the downtown waterfront in Morehead City. There are arts and crafts, jewelry for sale, and lots of seafood.
However, where does all this seafood come from?
Marketing Director for the festival, Cheryl Pigott, said a lot of the seafood sold at the festival comes from Eastern North Carolina. She said they encourage all vendors to buy locally for the festival.
G.W. Stanley with Got To Be NC Agriculture said buying locally is a main reason for the festival.
"What this festival is all about is to promote North Carolina fishermen. Commercial fishermen are out there every day working hard to bring fresh seafood to the state," Stanley said.
Blue Ocean Market in Morehead City is one of the local shops that sells to vendors at the festival.
Manager for the market, Eric Forsberg, said he loves that the festival is growing and that more people are buying from local fishermen.
"It's been getting bigger, which is great. More people are coming and we love to show people that we have this fresh local product," Forsberg said.
Vendors like Juanita Russell agree having local seafood is very important.
"We have a lot of people that come repeatedly year after year, because they are looking for that fresh local seafood and we bank on that reputation," Russell said.
For visitor Barb Lenz, fresh seafood is crucial to her experience at the festival.
"I love local seafood when it comes off the boat and you get to eat it. That's the best way to have it," Lenz said.
The North Carolina Seafood Festival is going on now until Sunday evening. Admission is free.