The Roanoke Island Garden Club prepares for Christmas in Manteo

Jennifer Wood—
TheRoanoke Island Garden Clubdecorate the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse in Manteo

In a town where weather is a dominant factor and fishing is a way of life, Christmas is ushered in on the wings of the Roanoke Island Garden Club. The Saturday afternoon following Thanksgiving this group of dedicated volunteers gather at the Roanoke Island Maritime Museum to work their magic on coastal themed wreaths and swags in order to decorate their town for the holidays before the bevy of downtown celebrations begin the next week. “The idea is to provide the community with a slate of fun, free events,” said garden club member and this year’s Master of Ceremonies, Della Basnight. “We are at our core a small town fishing village, and the community wants to provide events that fishermen can enjoy with their family at no cost.”The wreath making skills of the Roanoke Island Garden Club can be seen throughout downtown Manteo, outside the Maritime Museum, on the 1904 Dare County Courthouse (current home of the Dare County Arts Council), as well as along the boardwalk and adorning the exterior of the Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse.Dual events kick off this weekend with the lighting of the town tree and the annual boat parade on Friday, December 2. On Saturday, December 3, the celebrations continue on Queen Elizabeth Street with what is billed as the Big Little Town Christmas Parade.”It is the sweetest parade, think of ‘The Best Christmas Pageant Ever’ and you have our parade — something always goes wrong, yet it always turns out just right,” said Basnight. see the Town of Manteo’s site for event information: