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Can we get the city to bring back the Nautical Festival?

Julian March
StarNews
The Coast Guard's tall ship barque Eagle glides under the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to kick off the Nautical Festival. StarNews file photo.

The Coast Guard’s tall ship barque Eagle glides under the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge to kick off the Nautical Festival. StarNews file photo.

Q. How can we get the city to bring back the Nautical Festival? It seems like a perfect celebration to showcase the recent developments on the North Riverwalk, and a great event to celebrate our city’s nautical and maritime heritage.

A. The Nautical Festival was held in Wilmington in 2003 and 2004.

In 2004, then-Mayor Spencer Broadhurst said the festival was an important attraction because it celebrated the city’s nautical heritage, according to StarNews archives. The 2003 event, spearheaded by then-Mayor Harper Peterson, brought an estimated 25,000 people downtown, according to a 2004 StarNews article.

But behind the scenes, the city’s recreation staff was conducting the festival and it was a significant effort, said Amy Beatty, the city’s recreation superintendent.

After the economic downturn, the city didn’t have the staff or the resources to put on such a large-scale event, Beatty said.

“We would love to see it revived, but from a resource standpoint the city couldn’t be the lead agency,” she said.

Although the city may assist other festivals, such as Riverfest and the N.C. Azalea Festival, she noted those events are run by outside organizations.

Although the last Nautical Festival was in 2004, the city has had 14 port visits from nine different tall ships since 2005, Beatty said.

RELATED LINKS:

What happened to the annual Chili Cookoff at Hugh McRae Park for Labor Day weekend?

How did the Azalea Festival and the Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off end up on the same weekend this year?

 

User-contributed question by:
Chaz

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One Response to “ Can we get the city to bring back the Nautical Festival?”

  1. On July 15, 2016 at 8:59 am Chaz wrote:

    I still think this is relevant and should be considered. Any movement from the city on this?



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