Warm breezes, sandy shores, cool water and lots of sun! Tons of fun can be had during the summer months at Pleasure Island, and something for the whole family to enjoy nonetheless. Including fireworks, music, games, movies and shopping at the local farmers’ market, most events are free, too. Pack the car with the kids and get moving to the island where f-u-n abounds!
FREE MOVIES AT THE LAKE
Sunday’s a night for movies this summer. Grab a lawn chair or blanket, and head down to Carolina Beach Lake Park to catch a flick by the water. The Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce (PICOC) will be showing some of the most popular G- and PG-rated films, many recently released, on the big screen with the lake as its backdrop.
According to Greg Reynolds, assistant director of PICOC, Free Movies at the Lake started about seven years ago and has seen a steady increase in movie-goers over the past few summers. “This year, through three movies, we have been at capacity, which is about 1,200 seats,” Reynolds says.
Folks are welcome to bring their own snacks and beverages, but popcorn, candy, soft drinks and cotton candy will be sold at each showing. Movies start at 8:45 p.m. Upcoming flicks include: 6/24, “Dolphin Tale” (PG); 7/1, “We Bought a Zoo” (PG); 7/8, “Hugo” (PG); 7/15, “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” (PG) 7/22, “The Muppets” (PG); 7/29, “Big Miracle” (PG); 8/5, “The Adventures of Tin Tin” (PG); 8/12, – “Mars Needs Moms” (PG); 8/19, “Happy Feet Two” (PG); 8/26, Elvis’ “Blue Hawaii” (PG); 9/2, “Journey 2: Mysterious Island” (PG).
FREE BOARDWALK BLAST FAMILY NIGHT
Every Tuesday evening, PICOC hosts a Boardwalk Blast Family Night featuring karaoke, bouncy houses, dancing and face painting! The excitement takes place at the boardwalk off of Cape Fear Boulevard and Canal Drive at 6:30 p.m.
Note: In light of Independence Day celebrations on July 3rd, Family Night will be replaced with Fireworks by the Sea.
BOARDWALK BLAST CASH BINGO
B-I-N-G-O… everyone knows his name-o! Only we’re not talking pooches here. Everyone hopes to scream that two-syllable word at the gazebo on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in hopes of winning cold, hard cash. The whole family can compete in a friendly game of Bingo, but children under the age of 12 should be accompanied by an adult. Prizes are $10-$23, with dabbers and tape going for a buck each and big-cash bonanza games starting from a buck to $5.
FIREWORKS BY THE SEA
They get bigger and better each year! Every Thursday at Carolina Beach’s Boardwalk, folks can enjoy a free display of Fireworks by the Sea! And, yes, they’re shot right off the shoreline! The sparks take off at 9 p.m. According to Reynolds, the fireworks play a key role in bringing tourists to Pleasure Island.
“Duke Hagestrom (Wheel Fun Rentals), Brett Darlington (Courtyard Marriott), and Gail McCloskey (PlCOC) were instrumental about bringing fireworks to Thursday nights at the Boardwalk,” Reynolds credits. “Fireworks typically had been limited to the 4th of July and New Year’s Eve, but they felt that with the addition of them on Thursdays, families might choose to lengthen their vacation by a day and arrive in time for the show.”
Of course, inclement weather often plays a role, but a torrential downpour on a Thursday evening isn’t always a bad thing. “We have already purchased the product, so we double up the later dates when we have already paid for the Pyrotechnician to be here,” Reynolds explains. The more fireworks there are, the better the show.
In addition, they offer weekly live entertainment in the gazebo starting at 6:30 p.m. with various local bands playing to the masses among the many rides and games speckling the Boardwalk. “The fireworks can draw up to 2,000 people on any given evening,” Reynolds says of the bustling activity.
Slated for the stage in coming weeks: 6/21, MAKO (beach music); 7/28, 40 East (country/R&B); 7/3, Dutch Treet (80s/disco); 7/5, Bald Fury (classic rock); 7/12- Mark Roberts Band (variety); 7/19, L Shape Lot (folk/rock); 7/26, Daniel Parish Band (Pop/Country); 8/2, The M-80s (80s tribute); 8/9, Emily Minor Band (American Idol contestant; country); 8/16, Bibis Ellison Band (rock); 8/23, Radio Flyer (classic rock); 8/31, Eastbound (country/blues).
Note: Fireworks By the Sea will take place on Tuesday, July 3rd, in addition to Thursday, July 5th. Also, the final show will take place on Friday, August 31st, instead of Thursday, August 30th.
FREE CONCERT SERIES
Dance your way into the weekend every 2nd and 4th Friday of the month this summer at the Fort Fisher Military Recreation Area in Kure Beach. PICOC is hosting some of North Carolina’s hottest and most entertaining bands. “We offer a nice, laid-back atmosphere overlooking the sunset on the Cape Fear River with a cold beverage, a snack, and a little song and dance to heal what ails you,” Reynolds says. “We have the laid-back, vacation attitude as compared to the high-energy, urban setting of downtown Wilmington.” So, come forget your troubles at Kure Beach every Friday. Music is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. 6/22, Spare Change (variety); 7/13, BLP (blues); 7/27, Beach Billy Brothers (classic rock); 8/10, South of K (bluegrass); 8/24, MAKO (beach music)
CB FARMERS’ MARKET
Rise and shine every Saturday morning and check out what’s growing locally. The Carolina Beach Farmers’ Market is one of the largest in New Hanover County, open every Saturday morning from now until October 13th. Market hours are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Carolina Beach Lake Park.
This year, the Carolina Beach Farmers’ Market and the Pleasure Island Fresh Market have joined forces to provide visitors with the freshest goods around—locally grown fruits, vegetables and plants, as well as baked goods, dairy products, meats, wines and craft items. Each market also features live entertainment from local musicians and opportunities to volunteer for non-profit organizations.
According to Janet Knott, director of the Carolina Beach Artful Living group and organizer of the farmers’ market, about 35 to 40 vendors participate. “We limit the number of artists and crafters so it does not become an ongoing art show,” Knott says. Folks interested in buying local craftsmanship can attend three Saturdays during the summer focused on local artists: July 7th and September 1st are left. “There are about 80 to 90 vendors or more, and they are a lot of fun,” Knott says.