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What festivals take place around here in 2011?

Cece Nunn

High points in our area include the Azalea Festival in April, the N.C. Blueberry Festival in June and the N.C. Fourth of July celebration in Southport. Here is a by-no-means-comprehensive selection of annual events through October. Check back at MyReporter.com later when more details of later events will be available:


  • 18TH ANNUAL UNCW INTERCULTURAL WEEK & FESTIVAL: Six days of events to celebrate the diversity of cultures within the University of North Carolina Wilmington and the Wilmington community. Lectures, films, dance, exhibits, theater, music, performances and food. Events are free unless otherwise noted. The week concludes Feb. 12 with the Intercultural Festival. Music, dance, traditional clothing, and cultural displays representing countries from around the world will be on display from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Burney Center on the UNCW campus, 601 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this]. Call 962-3685. Feb. 7-12.
  • WILMINGTON CHOCOLATE & WINE FESTIVAL: This fundraiser for the New Hanover County Department of Aging is a showcase of businesses that are in some way involved with chocolate and other sweet treats. This year, wine will be added to the festival for the first time. The public can sample treats and learn more about the businesses at the Coastline Convention Center in downtown Wilmington. 798-6402. Feb. 11-13.
  • N.C. JAZZ FESTIVAL, 31ST ANNUAL: One of the largest traditional jazz festivals in the Southeast. Opens the night of Thursday, Feb. 17, at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside, 301 N. Water St., Wilmington [Map this], with a special event concert, Styles of Jazz. Friday and Saturday nights will feature seven sets of traditional jazz with a different leader for each set. Includes 15 all-star musicians. Call 793-1111, e-mail ncjazzfest@yahoo.com or visit www.ncjazzfestival.com. Feb. 17-19.
  • MARCH 2011

  • NORTH CAROLINA BLACK FILM FESTIVAL, 10TH ANNUAL: A four-day jury and invitational festival of independent motion pictures by African-American filmmakers, including features, shorts, documentaries, animation and music videos. Held at Cameron Art Museum, 3201 S. 17th St., Wilmington [Map this], and other locations. Sponsored by Black Arts Alliance Inc. E-mail info@blackartsalliance.org or visit www.blackartsalliance.org. March 24-27.
  • APRIL 2011

  • N.C. AZALEA FESTIVAL: Queen’s coronation, concerts, parade, street fair, garden and home tours, celebrity appearances and more. Various venues. Call 794-4650 or visit www.NCazaleaFestival.org. April 6-10.
  • PLEASURE ISLAND CHOWDER COOK-OFF, 15TH ANNUAL: Enjoy and vote on chowder from various restaurants and groups at Carolina Beach Lake Park, U.S. 421 and Atlanta Avenue, Carolina Beach [Map this]. Event includes live music and the Kidz Zone which will have face painting, balloon art, a giant inflatable slide and more. There will also be fudge, hot dogs, funnel cakes, Luna pops, pizza, bloom’n onions, soft drinks, and beer and wine for sale. (No coolers, no pets please!). Call 458-8434 or e-mail greg@pleasureislandnc.org. April 16.
  • BATTLESHIP EASTER EGG HUNT & SPRING CARNIVAL: Come join Buddy the Battleship Bunny for games, an inflatable bounce house, a petting zoo, pony rides, con continuous egg hunts for a day full of Easter fun. Everyone is guaranteed to find eggs. Tickets are $5 per person. Call 251-5797. 10 a.m. April 22.
  • SOUTHPORT SPRING FESTIVAL: Celebrates the arrival of spring with more than 100 crafters and a variety of food. Starts at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Saturday features the annual Chili Cook-off Contest prepared by locals. April 22-23.
  • KURE BEACH ANNUAL STREET FAIR: Enjoy the sights and sounds of Kure Beach during the Fifth Annual Street Festival at Joe Eakes Park. Call 458-8216 or visit www.townofkurebeach.org/special/StreetFestival2.htm. April 30.
  • EARTH DAY 2011 CELEBRATION: Free event with food, beverage, live entertainment, a learning center, children’s zone, and shopping – all to celebrate the planet – at Hugh MacRae Park, College Road and Oleander Drive, Wilmington. Call 798-4452 or e-mail wilmingtonearthday@gmail.com. Noon to 6 p.m. April 30.
  • MAY 2011

  • 19TH ANNUAL GREEK FESTIVAL: The Greek community shares its culture, faith and heritage including food, music, dancing, a marketplace and cooking demonstrations at the St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 608 S. College Road, Wilmington [Map this]. Call 392-4444 or visit www.stnicholasgreekfest.com. May 20-22.
  • JUNE 2011

  • 25TH ANNUAL PLEASURE ISLAND BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL: Dancing and music accessed via the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Music starts at 11 a.m. and ends around 6:30 p.m. Sorry, no carry-in alcohol or pets are permitted. Beverages, including beer, are available. Call 458-8434 or e-mail greg@pleasureislandnc.org. June 4.
  • BATTLESHIP 50TH ANNIVERSARY BEACH MUSIC FESTIVAL: Food, prizes and a whole lot of music and dancing starting at 10 a.m. Feel free to bring blankets and beach chairs. Ticket information and artist line-up will be announced later. Battleship admission not included. Call 251-5797. June 11.
  • N.C. BLUEBERRY FESTIVAL, EIGHTH ANNUAL: Entertainment, artisans, antique cars, food and, of course, lots of blueberries, in downtown Burgaw. June 18. Visit www.ncblueberryfestival.com.
  • JULY 2011

  • PLEASURE ISLAND INDEPENDENCE DAY FIREWORKS EXTRAVAGANZA: Come down to the beach strand directly in front of the Boardwalk in Carolina Beach and enjoy a fireworks display. Be sure to bring your blanket, beach chairs and food. Fireworks begin at 9 p.m. and are free and open to the public. Call 458-8434. Sunday, July 3.
  • 15TH ANNUAL BATTLESHIP BLAST: A large choreographed fireworks display starting at 9:05 p.m., this year’s blast will also celebrate the ship’s 50th anniversary. View from historic downtown Wilmington. Call 251-5797 or visit www.battleshipnc.com. Monday, July 4.
  • N.C. FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVAL: A popular state festival that starts with the N.C. Freedom Run/Walk. Includes arts and crafts show, parade, military exhibits, a car show, waterfront entertainment, military band concert, fireworks, firefighter’s competition, children’s games, children’s entertainment and Beach Day. Also includes formal events like the veterans recognition, flag retirement, flag raising, and naturalization ceremony. Visit www.nc4thofjuly.com. June 24-July 4.
  • SEPTEMBER 2011

  • N.C. SPOT FESTIVAL: Live entertainment, arts and crafts, kids’ activities and spot dinners (a “spot” is a kind of fish locals fry to a golden brown). U.S. 17 in Hampstead. 270-9642 or www.NCspotFestival.com. Usually held in September.
  • OCTOBER 2011

  • RIVERFEST 2011: A family fun festival that winds its way along the Cape Fear River on Water Street in downtown Wilmington. Continuous live entertainment is featured on two outdoor stages. Music, arts and crafts, exhibits, dance performances, contests, children’s activities, food, river events, friendly competitions, fireworks and more. Call 452-6862 or visit www.wilmingtonriverfest.com. Oct. 7-9.
  • PLEASURE ISLAND SEAFOOD, BLUES & JAZZ FESTIVAL, 18TH ANNUAL: Always held the second weekend in October, includes two days of non-stop jazz and blues on two stages, performed by nationally and regionally recognized musicians, at Fort Fisher Military Recreation Area, 118 Riverfront Road, Kure Beach [Map this]. Seafood from some of the area’s best restaurants. Shopping at booths hosted by crafters and local shop owners, a fine arts plaza and a wine tasting. A Kidz Zone with inflatable amusements, face painters and much more. Please, no coolers and no pets. Call 458-8434. Oct. 8-9.
  • POPLAR GROVE HALLOWEEN FESTIVAL, 30TH ANNUAL: Includes haunted hayride, haunted barn, rides, games, food, daylight hayride, non-scary Kiddie Funhouse, pony rides, cake walk, fortune tellers and more. All ages enter the costume contest. Free admission; activities priced separately. Held at Poplar Grove Plantation, 10200 U.S. 17 North, Wilmington [Map this]. Call 686-9518 or visit www.poplargove.com. Oct. 21-23 and 28-30.
  • BATTY BATTLESHIP’S HALLOWEEN BASH: Trick-or-treating, games, activities, food and storytelling at the Battleship North Carolina. Tickets are $5 per person; children 2 and under free. Call 251-5797 or visit www.battleshipnc.com. 5:30 to 8 p.m. Oct. 25.
  • N.C. OYSTER FESTIVAL: North Carolina Oyster Festival. Entertainment, arts and crafts, oyster shucking and N.C. Oyster Festival Road Race. Ocean Isle Beach. www.BrunswickCountyChamber.org or (800) 426-6644. Oct. 15-16.
  • AUTMUMN WITH TOPSAIL: A juried artists’ court with regional artists displaying and selling their work, musical entertainment, food and more. Anderson Boulevard and Flake Avenue, Topsail Beach, in front of the Assembly Building. 329-4446 or www.AutumnWithTopsail.com. Usually held in October.
  • For a more comprehensive list of events in the Wilmington area and throughout North Carolina, visit www.VisitNC.com/calendar.

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    8 Responses to “ What festivals take place around here in 2011?”

    1. On March 4, 2010 at 10:08 am ANONYMOUS wrote:

      You missed the Annual Earth Day Festival in Hugh MacRae Park! Every April.

    2. On March 4, 2010 at 12:49 pm John Sherrill wrote:

      Under Brunswick County, you omitted>
      Southport Spring Festival – April 2 and 3 in Franklin Square Park, Southport
      100 plus crafters
      local food
      live entertainment
      childrens games
      flower and azaleas sales
      Chili Cookoff – Saturday
      5K Run Walk – Saturday
      This free event is sponsored by Downtown Southport, Inc and the Southport Oak Island Kiwanis Club
      Information – call 910 279-4616

    3. On March 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm Sarah Gilliam wrote:

      You forgot to mention WE Fest — Thursday May 27th – Monday May 31st

      The Wilmington Exchange Festival is a five day, volunteer run arts festival that takes place in the historic Soapbox Laundro-lounge in downtown Wilmington. After fourteen successful years, the festival has evolved to encompass a variety of artistic showcases depicting music, visual arts, theatre, poetry, comedy, dance, film and fashion. Performers and guests travel from all over the country to be apart of WE Fest.

      This year WE Fest XIV is scheduled for Thursday, May 27th – Monday, May 31st and like previous years it consumes all four levels of the one-of-a-kind Soapbox Laundro-lounge. (If you were wondering, yes there are public laundry facilities on-site. You can drink some suds while washing your duds!)

      We are still looking for artists and sponsors to make this event GREAT! Contact wefestival@yahoo.com for more information.

    4. On March 12, 2010 at 6:58 pm Peter Billing wrote:

      What about the famous Burgaw Blueberry Festival?

      Or the opening of the Carolina Mens Baseball League on 10 April in Wilmington?

    5. On March 13, 2010 at 11:48 am Alan Pacek wrote:

      You missed the oldest Beach Music Festival in the United States held on the 1st Saturday in June. This year will be the 25th Anniversary of the Pleasure Island Beach Music Festival. Party goers will dance in the sand, swim in the surf, sun and drink beer, while listening to 4 bands play all day long at the beach stage in front of the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. This year’s award winning lineup are: The Holiday Band, Mark Roberts & Breeze, The Magnificents Band, and the Fantastic Shakers. For more information visit http://www.pleasureislandnc.org or call 910-458-8434 – up and down the East coast, this is the only Beach Music Festival ON THE SAND with tickets still only $10 in advance!!!!!

    6. On August 28, 2010 at 11:56 am Jim wrote:

      Oktoberfest is one of the biggest around. Now 3 days, Oct.15-17. October 17th is 200th anniversary of Oktoberfest. http://www.wilmingtonoktoberfest.com

    7. On January 24, 2011 at 6:40 pm Jim Ware wrote:

      The list was updated Jan. 24, 2011, by Cece Nunn.

    8. On December 1, 2011 at 7:53 pm j mathews wrote:

      someone asked about festivals. There is a Watermelon Festival. I realize Winterville NC is quite a distance up from Wilmington, but seems still a destination worth taking if you have never been.

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