Lights twinkle and sparkle all across the city this time of year, as a host of events welcome folks into the merriment of the holiday season. Now that Thanksgiving has passed, it’s official: Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, and the New Year are near. From tree lightings to handbell concerts, to arts-and-craft fairs (to help secure that perfect gift) and holiday parades, there are numerous ways to captivate the spirit of the season and make treasured memories with friends and family.
ROTARY WHEEL TREE LIGHTING
Greenfield Lake Amphitheater
1941 Amphitheater Dr.
The Rotarians of Wilmington are lighting their Christmas tree at Greenfield Lake this Thursday, December 4, beginning at 5:45 p.m. Entertainment will be on hand and the tree will illuminate at 6pm. Then Santa will arrive! He will be bringing coloring books and crayons as he escorts Toys for Tots, which will be accepting donations of one unwrapped, unused toy. After the tree is lit, “The Polar Express” will play at 6:45 p.m. on the big screen! Better yet, all the fun is free and takes place at 1941 Amphitheater Drive.
THE HOLIDAY FLEA
Brooklyn Arts Center • 516 N. 4th St.
The annual Holiday Flea at BAC is a weekend excursion of all-things vintage, retro or upcycled, perfect for folks looking to purchase one-of-a-kind gifts (for others or themselves!). Dozens of regional vendors will take over the Brooklyn Arts Center off 4th Street (corner of Campbell) from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday evening, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. More than 1,500 shoppers bombard the three-day event to find antique treasures, as well as nosh on goods from the food trucks lined up in the courtyard. A cash bar is inside the Brooklyn Arts Center.
It’s only $5 at the door—good for all three days and includes a raffle ticket (kids 12 and under are free). Parking is free.
JINGLE ON THE BEACH
Wrightsville Beach Park • 321 Causeway Dr.
Wrightsville Beach, NC
Kids already have made their lists, and are more than likely ready to hand them over to the jolly ol’ man in the big red suit. On December 6 they’ll have the opportunity to do just that from 10 a.m. to noon, as Santa and Mrs. Claus descend upon Wrightsville Beach Park. Kids will be able to meet and greet with the North Pole natives, as well as have their picture made with them, coastal style of course.
Plus, there will be singing and jingly craft exercises to coincide with the concert. Hot chocolate and holiday treats are in store as well. Perhaps the best part of it all is that all proceeds from $10 tickets (for children; parents enter free) go to Cape Fear Volunteer Center. The center matches agencies and individuals with service opportunities locally (910-392-8180 or www.capefearvolunteercenter.org). Tickets can be purchased an www.eventbrite.com.
St. Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian
416 Market St.
(910) 762-9693 • www.rr.org
The quintessential ringing sounds of the holiday season will be magnified gloriously thanks to the internationally acclaimed handbell ensemble Raleigh Ringers. The choir, based out of Raleigh, NC, will perform at Saint Andrews-Covenant Presbyterian Church on December 6 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets to the concert are free, but must be reserved
Known for their exquisite talents of transforming any song into a jingling masterpiece (including rock songs like Joan Jett’s “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll” or Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird”), they’ll play holiday classics and arrangements across 29-and-a-half octaves on 361 individual pieces of equipment.
Children’s Museum of Wilmington
116 Orange St. • (910) 254-3534
Disney’s “Frozen” may have been released last holiday season, but it’s still going strong in 2014. The Children’s Museum of Wilmington will welcome kids far and wide to their Candyland Christmas on the 7 at 1 p.m., and they’ll have Elsa from “Frozen” on hand to greet the kids. Holiday crafts and goodies will be enjoyed, including learning how to make reindeer food, constructing gingerbread cottages, making ornaments, and more.
Admission is only $12 for members, $15 for non-members, and adults join for free!
WILMINGTON HOLIDAY PARADE
North Front, Water, Orange, Water streets
Floats, marching bands, Santa, free candy … it’s all part of the 2014 Wilmington Holiday Parade. Set to take place on December 7 in historic downtown Wilmington, the annual event highlights area schools, bands, businesses, and community groups. It gets underway on Sunday at 5:40 p.m., beginning at the corner of N. Front and Walnut streets, heading south toward Orange and then north on Water. Folks who wish to buy tickets to the review stand can head to the 00 block of Water Street.
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
310 Chestnut St. (800) 523-2820
The Dickens’ classic returns to the historical stage of Thalian Hall come December 11. Scrooge, Tiny Tim, Jacob Marley, and all the ghosts of Christmas will haunt through a tale of a hardened miser whose heart opens to the warmth of Christmas after a glimpse into his past, present and future.
Playing two weekends, Thursday through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and on Sundays at 3 p.m., “A Christmas Carol” is an uplifting holiday story of redemption, magic and hope, put on by Thalian Association. Tickets are $15 to $30, and can be purchased online or by calling the Thalian Hall box office.
CHRISTMAS STROLL THROUGH THE PAST
Bellamy Mansion • 503 Market St.
Burgwin-Wright House • 224 Market St.
The Victorian era of Wilmington brought with it architectural mainstays, which are open for tours today in our historical abode. Among them: The Bellamy Mansion Museum and Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens. On December 13 at 4 p.m. the museums will host “A Christmas Stroll Through the Past” in celebration of the holiday season, showcasing period decorations, costumed interpreters, and lighting the path between the homes with a luminary walk. Refreshments will be on hand, and the St. James Church nave will be open for visitors during the stroll, too. Architectural historian Edward F. Turberg will be available for questions. Tickets are $25 for adults, $5 for children (ages 5-12), and free for children under 5. Tickets available online at www.burgwinwrighthouse.com or www.bellamymansion.org.