We’re in the throes of the summer vacation season. As thousands of tourists flock to area beaches, the desire to get out and enjoy what southeastern NC offers is inevitable. Thankfully, at encore, we’ve minimized the planning a bit and found many options to keep folks enjoying our coast. Here’s a look at what area beaches and sleepy historic towns have on the agenda.
Summer Regional Art Show
Franklin Square Gallery
130 E. West Street, Southport
6/27-7/23, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Paintings, pottery and sculpture from artists in the region will be on display and cash prizes totaling $2,000 will be awarded by judges. First the submissions must be “juried” or selected by the judges to be accepted into the show. Then the prizes will be awarded on June 28th at an artist reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Submission deadline for artwork is June 24. In addition there will be a raffle of artwork by members of Associated Artists of Southport. Tickets are $1 each and available at the gallery. Drawing is 5 p.m. on July 4th.
NC 4th of July Festival, downtown Southport
7/1-4, all day daily
It all kicks off July 1st, as the NC 4th of July Festival hosts Beach Day, featuring youth activities and contests from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be a skate competition in the afternoon, a shag contest organized by the Society of Brunswick Shaggers and a beach music band from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Middleton Park Extension, SE 46th Street and Beachfront Cabana Area. Best of all, it’s free!
The 2nd through the 4th welcomes Southport’s annual town soiree. Arts, crafts, a parade, a 5K run, food, entertainment, children’s games, a naturalization ceremony and more takes place—and most events are free. For the full lineup, check out www.nc4thofjuly.com.
Long Bay Ladies Anglers
King Mackerel Tourney, Oak Island; 8/5-6
That’s right, fellas: Stay home and watch the kids. This is a ladies-only weekend, where fishing crews run off estrogen. Only two men are allowed: one to captain the boat and one mate. However, they cannot, in any way, touch the bait, hooks or change the rigs. Full details can be found at www.oakislandfishingclub.net. Admission is $175 before July 23rd or $200 after. Event is held by the Oak Island Fishing Club. Prizes awarded for top three places.
Annual Oak Island Surf-Off,
Labor Day Arts and Crafts Fest
8/3, 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The annual surf-off welcomes surfers and body boarders of all ages and skill levels, 8 years and up. Divisions are for men and women, boys and girls, with awards given and an annual raffle. Admission fee is expected; call 910-454-8252 for more info.
From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Middleton Park Ext. Soccer Field on SW 46th Street, the 19th annual Labor Day weekend festival gets underway. Welcoming local and regional art-and-crafters, handmade goods are sold within view of the ocean. Proceeds from the festival go to scholarships for local high school students. Food sold on site. Sponsored by the Oak Island Art Guild. Call 910-201-4090 for more information.
June – August
Concerts in the Park
Soundside Park, next to the swing bridge
Throughout summer, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
With free admission, the concerts in the park offer exciting evenings of live music with family and friends. Picnics welcome; but no alcohol! Schedule: Stump Sound Ramblers 6/24; Longo & Co., 7/2; Mark Roberts & Breeze, 7/3; Highway 17 Band, 7/8; Sea Pans, 7/22; Camouflage, 8/5; Pamlico Joe & Clean Water Flow, 8/19.
Holly Ridge July 4th Celebration
Holly Ridge Municipal Park; 7/4, 6 p.m.
The Holly Ridge Municipal Park July 4th Town Fireworks begins their celebration at 6 p.m. with live entertainment. It’s located at the Holly Ridge Municipal Park on Sound Road, just outside of Topsail. Fireworks start around 9:15 p.m. Children can enjoy the playground equipment, and families can bring a picnic. Concessions also sold as part a of fund-raiser for Holly Ridge Fire Department. Free!
Snead’s Ferry Shrimp Festival
Snead’s Ferry Community Center Grounds,
126 Park Lane; 8/13-14, all day
Snead’s Ferry summer extravaganza has all the makings of a hit: celebrating the sea with a shrimp festival. On the agenda, the Shrimp Ball at the community center on 8/6, with a four-course dinner, father-daughter dance, queen’s arrival and induction and more. Tickets can be purchased by calling Jenny at 910-327-2801.
The main event gets underway the 13th and 14th, with live music by more than half a dozen bands, including Billy Scott & The Party Prophets and the Coastline Band. A parade (10 a.m.), rides, arts and crafts, shrimp heading-and-peeling contests, food, shrimp-a-roo, beer and wine garden and more. Admission is only $3, and free for folks under 12. Fireworks are at 9 p.m.-ish.
Check out www.sneadsferryshrimpfestival.com for more information.
WECT Sounds of Summer
Wrightsville Beach Parks and Rec
6/23, 7/7, 7/21 and 8/4, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
Summer means a host of things: fresh squeezed lemonade, cook outs with friends and live music outdoors. Many beaches capitalize on the breezy summer nights of sound and joy, including Wrightsville, as WECT hosts Sounds of Summer at Wrightsville Beach Parks and Recreation. The shows are free and take place Thursday evenings from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The schedule consists of: 6/23, Key Lime Pie; 7/7, M-80’s; 7/21, Selah Dubb; 8/4, The Imitations. In case of inclement weather, concerts will be rescheduled for the following Thursday. Call 910-256-7925 for more information.
7th Annual Reef/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest
Oceanic Street, Wrightsville Beach
7/15-17, all day, daily
Surf’s up, Moon-doggies! What’s summer at the beach without a chance to ride the waves? The 7th annual Reef/Sweetwater Pro-Am Surf Fest continues its celebration off Oceanic Street at Wrightsville Beach from July 15 through 17th. Many professional and amateur surfers take over the waves as part of the action-packed weekend. New this year is an added art and music festival scheduled for July 16 at Wrightsville Beach Park. For registration info, call 910-256-3821 or see the website, www.wblivesurf.com
Stand-Up Paddle Boarding and Kayaking
Wrightsville Beach Parks and Rec Center
8/19, 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
All the rage these days in water sports is paddle boarding. Folks stand on a rather large-like surfboard, oar in hand, and paddle along the water. Not an easy task by any means, which is why a free workshop will be offered at Wrightsville Beach on the sport. Also covered will be kayaking and kayak fishing. Topics will include water safety, wind, weather and tide information to help make for safe travels on the water. Conducted by the professionals at Hook, Line and Paddle, pre-registration isn’t required, but questions can be directed to 910-256-7925 or www.townofwrightsvillebeach.com
June – August
Free Summer Concert Series
Fort Fisher Military Recreation Area
Fridays through August
More music abounds across the town of Kure Beach, as they host live sounds overlooking the waterway at the Fort Fisher Military Recreation Area. Blankets, chairs and picnics with food are allowed; however, drinks and pets are not. They will sell beverages on site. The Pleasure Island Chamber hosts the event every Friday from 6:30-8:30 p.m. and has lined up quite a plethora of sounds: 6/24, Blind Lemon Pledge (classic rock and dance); 7/8, South of K (bluegrass); 7/22, Cowboy Chrome (country rock/blues); 8/12, Spare Change (beach/R&B/country).
June – September
Boardwalk Blast and Farmers’ Market
Carolina Beach Boardwalk and
Carolina Beach Lake Park
Tuesdays through Saturdays
Pleasure Island has fun in the bag. Their “Boardwalk Blast” summer events take place every week through September 3rd, every Tuesday through Saturday, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Planned are family night on the boardwalk on Tuesdays; bingo on the boardwalk and jazz under the stars at the lake on Wednesdays; live music and fireworks on the boardwalk on Thursdays; boardwalk entertainment, including music and other activities on Fridays; and the farmers’ market from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the lake on Saturdays.
All events are free, so be sure to check out specifics at www.boardwalkmakeover.org.
June – September
Movies at the Lake
Carolina Beach Lake Park; Sundays, dusk
What’s better than enjoying movies a hop, skip and jump away from the ocean—and for free? Nothing, really. Every Sunday at Carolina Beach Lake Park, families are welcomed to bring chairs and a picnic to enjoy G- and PG-rated films. Concessions are sold on-site, too, including popcorn, candy, soft drinks, cotton candy and more.
Along with the films, the Pleasure Island Chamber hosts a food drive benefiting a local charity, so movie-goers are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item for donation. The schedule is: 6/26, Despicable Me (pictured); 7/3, How To Train Your Dragon; 7/10, Justin Bieber—Never Say Never; 7/17, Shrek Forever After; 7/24, Green Hornet; 7/31, Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader; 8/7, Gnomeo & Juliet; 8/14, Toy Story 3; 8/21, Tangled; 8/28, Secretariat; 9/4, Rango. Contact 910-458-8434.