October 18, 2014

Extensive Collection of Videos and Photographs from the 2014 Carolina Beach Boardwalk Fire

Collection of photos and videos from the September 2014 Carolina Beach Boardwalk fire.
Here's a collection of photos and videos from the September 25, 2014 fire at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk.

The 14 minute video was posted by Annha-Mae-tion and has the following description:
So proud of all of the emergency personnel who responded to this historical event: Carolina Beach Fire Department, Kure Beach Fire Department, New Hanover County Fire Rescue, City of Wilmington Fire Department, New Hanover EMS, Carolina Beach Police Department, and Kure Beach Police Department.
Photo is a video screenshot. 

PPD Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon & NHRMC 5K Brings More Than 2,000 Athletes to Wilmington & Wrightsville Beach, N.C.

October 17, 2014, Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach, N.C.: On Saturday, Oct. 25, the seventh annual PPD Beach2Battleship Iron Distance Triathlon will bring nearly 2,300 athletes, along with their friends, family and trainers to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. An additional 300 runners are expected to participate in the inaugural New Hanover Regional Medical Center’s 5K, held in conjunction with the triathlon. An estimated 8,000 spectators will cheer the athletes.

The USAT-sanctioned PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon includes a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run, and offers a half iron distance triathlon. The full triathlon will begin at 7:30 a.m. and the half distance begins at 8:30 a.m. with a swim in the channel at the southern tip of Wrightsville Beach. The full bike course takes competitors from Wrightsville Beach, through sections of New Hanover, Pender, Sampson and Bladen counties. The run begins at the riverfront Wilmington Convention Center, winds through downtown, loops around Greenfield Lake and ends on the riverwalk with a stunning view of the iconic Battleship North Carolina

This year Michellie Jones, a legend in the sport of triathlon, will serve as the honorary host of the race weekend. Jones is a Kona Ironman world champion (2006), ITU world champion (1998, 1999), XTERRA Triathlon world champion (1996) and Olympic silver medalist (2000). The Australian triathlete has more than 175 wins to her credit across all race distances, both on- and off-road. Jones will be on hand for a meet-and-greet and autographs Friday at the Wilmington Convention Center’s race expo and on Saturday at the finish line. She will also attend the athlete kickoff dinner and celebration brunch.

PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon Heroes, everyday people who overcame illness with medical treatments developed through clinical research, compete in the race to raise awareness about the importance of increasing participation in clinical trials. PPD Hero Wendy Chioji, a breast cancer survivor and triathlete, will speak at the kickoff dinner at the convention center Friday.

The PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon is an internationally recognized iron distance and half iron distance triathlon, ranked among the top five iron distance events in the world by Triathlete magazine.. Competitors from around the country and the world have traveled to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach to experience the race and enjoy the coastal setting. Set Up Events, producer of the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon, reports that approximately 95 percent of the participants travel to the event from outside the local area. This year’s athletes are from 45 states and six countries, with an average stay of three nights. During their visit, competitors and their guests will stay in hotels, dine in restaurants, and shop at retailers as they experience Wilmington’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach.

High-profile sporting events like PPD Beach2Battleship provide a welcome economic boost for Wilmington and the island beaches, especially during the shoulder season. Event organizers estimate that the total economic impact of events in previous years was approximately $4 million. This year’s event is expected to bring even more athletes to the area who will participate in the 5K and experience the destination.

A new component to this year’s event is the New Hanover Regional Medical Center 5K.  This USA Track & Field certified 5K event will allow athletes to enjoy the festivities of PPD Beach2Battleship while experiencing a world-class, fast and flat 5K race. This point-to-point 5K will start at Legion Field and run along the streets of Greenfield Lake and downtown Wilmington before finishing at the PPD Beach2Battleship finish line on Water Street.

From the river to the sea, lodging partners involved in this year’s PPD Beach2Battleship race include: Hilton Wilmington Riverside, Bryant Real Estate, Blockade-Runner Resort, Courtyard by Marriott-Downtown/Historic District, Silver Gull, Fairfield Inn & Suites, Best Western Plus University Inn, Baymont Inn, Beau Rivage Golf & Resort, Towne Place Suites by Marriott, Hampton Inn & Suites Landfall Park, Residence Inn by Marriott Landfall, Shell Island Resort, Hampton Inn University Area/Smith Creek Station, Hilton Garden Inn, and Hampton Inn Medical Park. Check-in and a kickoff dinner will take place at the riverfront Wilmington Convention Center. A finish line celebration will take place Saturday afternoon and evening along the riverfront. Sunday, an athlete celebration/awards brunch will take place at the Wilmington Convention Center. According to event organizers, all of the event’s net proceeds are contributed to the Wilmington Family YMCA. Both the half iron and full distance races are sold out. Registration for the 2015 event will open in early November. For details about the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon, please visit www.ppdi.com/beach2battleship or www.beach2battleship.com.

PPD, a leading global contract research organization, serves as the event’s title sponsor to support the YMCA and the local community and to educate the public on the vital role of clinical research and participation in clinical trials to deliver new medicines to improve health and save lives. For more info, please visit www.ppdi.com/beach2battleship/our-mission.asp.

New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC), the leading provider of quality and accessible health care in Southeastern North Carolina, serves as the title sponsor of the 5K race.

The New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization of New Hanover County charged with enhancing economic growth and development through the promotion of travel and tourism. For a free official visitors guide for Wilmington, N.C.’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, call 1-866-266-9690 or visit: www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com

 Review of the 2013 PPD Beach2Battleship Iron and Half Iron distance triathlon:

October 15, 2014

Island Local ™ to Kick-off Arts & Entertainment Week Events, Workshops and Special Deals at Area Businesses October 19-October 25

Carolina Beach, NC (October 13, 2014) – As part of its focus on building awareness around the importance of seeking, supporting and sustaining local business, the Island Local ™ organization is promoting participating island businesses for a week long series of events and special deals starting on October 19. Throughout the week, business patrons are asked to show their pride and support of local business by wearing an Island Local t-shirt and by participating in unique events showcasing the talent and trade of these businesses. Sunday, October 19th, Island Local ™ and the Art Culture Alliance will kick off the week with a unique opportunity for families to help create a community pelican sculpture for public display on Pleasure Island, as well as some other fun activities. The event, held at the Artful Living Group, is free and funded through donations made by Island Local and the Island Arts and Culture Alliance. The week culminates with a Mini-Fall Festival and Jack O’ lantern Art at The Veggie Wagon on Saturday, October 25th.

“Pleasure Island businesses make a tremendous contribution to our local economy and our community,” said Steve Wright, co-founder of Island Local. “In our mission to educate consumers about the importance of supporting local, we aim to ensure that the economy here on the island has sustainability not only during the vacation season, but during the shoulder seasons as well.” He said. “One of the ways Island Local is doing that is by promoting participating businesses, and partnering with them on these community campaign weeks. A key element is creating special events to demonstrate the skill, talents, and products these businesses bring to our local area,” he added.

During the week of October 19 – October 25, Pleasure Island businesses including, Artful Living Group, Beachy Keen Photography, Print-A-Snap, the Art and Culture Alliance, Surfhouse Oyster Bar & Surf, Cut’n Up Hair Salon, Good Hops Brewing, Stella & Dot, and Tip Top Frame will be hosting workshops and events offering special opportunities and deals for consumers who participate. Many events are free and most are for families and pets, too! A schedule of events can be found at Islandlocal.biz. Short videos promoting the events are available on You Tube and on the Island Local Facebook page as well.

Other Island Local ™ activities to help promote a vibrant local economy include:

Island Local ™  Fridays: To bridge community focus and awareness to Island Local ™, visitors and locals of Pleasure Island can purchase an Island Local ™ t-shirts at The Veggie Wagon, Salty Dog Yoga & Surf, Island Wellness Market, or Good Hops Brewing for $20.00 and a long sleeve version for $25.00. Consumers wearing the shirt on Island Local ™ Fridays and during community campaign weeks are able to get additional discounts at participating businesses.

Community Campaign Weeks: Island Local brings focus to businesses and customer deals during upcoming community campaigns including Arts and Entertainment week in October, Merchants Week in November, Wellness Week in January; Hospitality Week in early spring; and Focus On the Home Week in April. In addition, the Island Local organization participates in many island community events to educate the public about seeking, supporting, and sustaining local businesses and to promote participating business supporters. They include events such as Island Day, the Carolina Beach Dragon Boat Regatta and Festival, and the Salty Paws Festival.

Business Supporter Promotion: Island Local business supporters join for $120.00 a year and non-profits join for $30.00 a year. These organizations must be physically located on Pleasure Island. Marketing promotion will extend beyond the borders of Pleasure Island so that visitors and locals throughout the Wilmington region are able to learn about what options are available to them on Pleasure Island. The Island Local ™ website at www.islandlocal.biz provides information on joining, includes a directory of participating businesses, the mission of Island Local™, and discounts provided by business supporters. For more information, please contact Steve Wright at 910.390.0244. Island Local ™ launched in April 2014 and has more than 80 participating business supporters. Efforts of the organization are designed to promote broader awareness and education of supporting and sustaining local. Island Local ™ promotes participating local Pleasure Island businesses, and works to educate the community about the benefits of keeping it local.

October 9, 2014

GET YOUR HALLOWEEN ON WITH GHOSTS, PIRATES, ZOMBIES, NATURE & HAUNTED HAPPENINGS IN WILMINGTON & BEACHES

Halloween is a really big deal in Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. And this year is no exception. Single Mom Lifestyle Expert/Author Kerri Zane ranks Wilmington #1 in her roundup of “15 Great Halloween Haunts for You & Your Kids.” More than two dozen Halloween-theme events will take place from the storied banks of the Cape Fear River to the alluring shores of our seaside towns. Visitors can get into the ‘spirit’ with ghoulish festivals, ghostly tours, murder-mystery dinner cruises, pirate adventures, haunted attractions, creepy nature programs, horror flicks and theatrical productions, zombie walks and trick-or-treat events. There’s something for all ages and there’s a special treat this year for fans of Fox Television’s Wilmington-filmed series “Sleepy Hollow”. The Wilmington and Beaches CVB recently released a SLEEPY HOLLOW FAQ Sheet that includes a self-guided tour to several locations that appear in the show.

Here’s a sampling of mysterious, historical and educational happenings:

SLEEPY HOLLOW FAQ—The Sleepy Heads are coming! Riding on the coattails of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman and just in time for Halloween, the Wilmington and Beaches CVB announces a “Sleepy Hollow” FAQ sheet. To download a copy, visit www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/SleepyHollowFAQ

Ongoing (year-round)—Ghost Walk of Old Wilmington. 6:30pm & 8:30pm nightly thru Nov. 1; then at 6:30pm nightly thru March. Costumed guides lead visitors through alleyways with tales of haunted Wilmington. Admission charge. Meets at Water & Market streets. Reservations required: 910-794-1866; www.hauntedwilmington.com    

Ongoing (year-round)—Haunted Pub Crawl. Wed.-Sat. 7:30pm, thru Nov. 1. Ages 21+. Admission charge. Meet at Fat Tony’s, 131 N. Front St., Wilmington. Reservations required: 910-794-1866; www.hauntedwilmington.com

Ongoing (year-round)—Haunted Cotton Exchange Tours. Daily tours; call for hours. Admission charge. Cotton Exchange parking lot street entrance, Wilmington. 910-409-4300; www.hauntedcottonexchange.blogspot.com.  

Each Tuesday in October (7, 14, 21, 28)Murder Mystery Dinner Cruises. Solve an exciting who-dunnit on a 2-hr. dinner cruise along the Cape Fear River. Audience participation; prizes. Boards at 6pm; departs 6:30pm at dock (Water & Dock sts). Admission charge. Reservations required: 910-343-1611; 800-676-0162; www.cfrboats.com  

Each Tuesday & Thursday—Pirate Treasure Hunt Adventure. Arrrrgh! Join a costumed pirate storyteller on an exploration of Masonboro Island’s natural treasures.  Learn about the history of famous North Carolina pirates such as Captain Kidd, Stede Bonnet and Blackbeard. Boards at 4:15pm; sails at 4:30pm. Admission charge. Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours, 275 Waynick Blvd. (across from Blockade Runner Resort), Wrightsville Beach. Advance reservations required: 910-200-4002; www.wrightsvillebeachscenictours.com.  

Each Friday & Saturday (Oct. 3-Nov. 1)—A Wilmington Horror Story, a horror-themed dinner show. Doors open 6:00pm; show at 7:00pm. Audiences will enjoy original theatre that features three tales of terror written by local scribes, served up with a devilishly delicious three-course menu. TheatreNOW, 19 S. 10th Street, Wilmington. Advance reservations: 910-399-3669; www.theatrewilmington.com

Oct. 9-12; 16-19; 23-26; 29-31Halloween Horror Theatre Festival by Big Dawg Productions. Shows at 8pm. Original shows written by local playwrights. Oct. 9-12: A Frightfully Funny Night of Comedy. Oct. 16-19: The Witch, The Troll, The Hairy Man. Oct. 23-31: Death Bed, The Play That Bites.  Admission charged. Cape Fear Playhouse, 613 Castle St., Wilmington. 910-367-5237; www.bigdawgproductions.org    

Oct. 11—Victorian Mourning. Tours 7pm & 8pm. Learn about customs/rituals of death in Victorian America. Five rooms will be decorated in full mourning with authentic Victorian funerary objects, costumed guides, food samples and ghost stories. Latimer House, Wilmington. Admission charge; tickets required. 910-762-0492; www.hslcf.org.

Oct. 17-19; 24-26—Halloween Festival. “Haunted” Wagon Rides, Haunted Manor House, costume contests, non-scary Goblins & Games Fun House with fortune tellers, stories, rides, petting zoo, food & more. Fun for all ages. Activity fees vary. Poplar Grove Plantation, 10200 US Hwy. 17 N Wilmington. 910-686-9518; www.poplargrove.org 

Oct. 17-19; 18-20; 24-26; 30-31— “TWISTED” Haunted House. Fri. & Sat. (7pm-midnight); Sun. (7pm-10pm). Visitors will experience a “twist” on Alice In Wonderland: Alice is no longer in Wonderland. Come see the TWISTED world she now inhabits! Admission charge; NHHS Lyceum Academy fundraiser. Rated PG-13.  Location: 1290 S. 15th Street, Wilmington. 910-251-6100, ext 222; www.facebook.com/NHHSLyceumHauntedHouse

Oct. 17-AquaCamp: Spooky Critters. Halloween day camp (age 5-12) features slippery, slimy animal programs. Admission; pre-register. NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach; 910-458-8257; www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher

Oct. 18-Science Spooktacular. 6pm-9pm. It’s not spooky, it’s science. Meet UNCW mad scientists and create a mini lava lamp, slime and pumpkin Oobleck. Create frozen shadows, examine artifacts from creepy collections or build your own skeleton. Experiment with pumpkin oscillators, melting blocks and much more in the Little Shop of Physics. Make a square bubble and a ghost dance. Examine “ghost eggs” ad see how light works in a two-way mirror. Admission charge. Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington. 910-798-4350; www.capefearmuseum.com

Oct. 18—5K ZOMBIE Fun Run/Walk. 6pm. Poplar Grove Plantation, 10200 US Hwy. 17 N Wilmington. 910-686-9518; www.poplargrove.org/halloween-festival/5k-zombie-fun-runwalk

Oct. 23-24 & 29-30—Trick-or-Treat Under the Sea. 5pm-8:30pm. Families enjoy thrills & gills in the same day. Indoor trick-or-treating, face painting, story-telling, magic shows, spooky divers and haunted gardens are highlights at this family Halloween party. Note: only umbrella strollers permitted. Admission charged (children 2 and under free).  NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Loggerhead Rd., Kure Beach; 910-458-8257; www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher

Oct. 23-26; Oct. 30-Nov. 2—The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Cape Fear Shakespeare presents the classic tale by Washington Irving. Times vary. Please check website for dates/times. Historic Hannah Block USO/Community Arts Theatre. Wilmington. http://wilmingtoncommunityarts.com/Frontpage-Events/legend-of-sleepy-hollow.html

Oct. 24-25 & 29-31—Halloween Ghost Trolley & Barn. 6pm-9pm. Kid-friendly 30-minute horse-drawn trolley ride and a fun spoof in the “haunted barn.” Horses and tour guides are dressed in costume. Halloween-theme stories, songs & treats. Admission charged. Departs at Market & Water sts.; 910-251-8889; www.horsedrawntours.com.

Oct. 24—Kooky Spooky Jam-Boo-Read! 4pm-7:30pm. Kids’ literacy event disguised as a street festival with scary stories and non-scary fall-theme activities. Kids dress in costume or as book character. Other Halloween/fall activities throughout October. Admission charge. Children’s Museum, Wilmington. 910-254-3534; www.playwilmington.org

Oct. 25—Fort Fisher Fall Festival & Haunted Trail. Fall festival 11am-5pm; Haunted Trail 7pm-9pm (ages 10+). Food, games, crafts, prizes, inflatable obstacle course, and a sand castle contest (11am-3pm). Free. Fort Fisher State Recreation Area, Loggerhead Rd., Kure Beach. 910-458-5798; www.ncparks.gov/Visit/parks/fofi/main.php

Oct. 25: ZOMBIE Run. 4pm. Course features zombies lying in wait for runners (costumes encouraged). It's a friendly event that raises funds for Paws4People. Hugh MacRae Park, Wilmington. www.wilmingtonzombierun.com.

Oct. 26—Halloween Musical Matinee. 4pm. Introduce kids to the WSO youth orchestra and junior strings. Admission charge. Wilmington; www.edu.wilmingtonsympohony.org/youthconcert   

Oct. 27 & 28—National Theatre Live’s “Frankenstein”. Monday at 2pm & Tuesday at 7pm. National Theatre Live broadcast of Frankenstein. Monday showing features Johnny Lee Miller as the creature. Tuesday showing features Benedict Cumberbatch as creature. Admission charge. Thalian Hall, Wilmington. 910-632-2285; www.thalianhall.org

Oct. 28—Batty Battleship’s Halloween Bash. 5:30pm-8pm. Batty Battleship is a fun, family-oriented event for little ghouls and goblins. Lots of fun and no scares. There’s a carnival, face-painting, henna tattoos, bounce house and trick-or treaters, a petting zoo, and Batty’s special guests: Anna and Elsa from “Frozen.” Admission charged; tickets required. Battleship North Carolina, Wilmington. 910-251-5797; www.battleshipnc.com

Oct. 30 & 31—Phantom of the Opera. 7pm. Gaston Leroux’s romantic mystery thriller by City Ballet. Friday evening gala includes a masquerade ball with optional masks and elegant attire. Thalian Hall, Wilmington. 910-632-2285; www.thalianhall.org

Oct. 31—Halloween Movie Night. Bring a chairs, blankets, coolers and candy for a scary screening of Hocus Pocus (7pm) and Psycho (9pm). Popcorn and beer/wine for sale. Admission charge. Bellamy Mansion, Wilmington. 910-251-3700; www.bellamymansion.org

Oct. 31—Halloween Concert. The Right On Band: Motown, disco, 70s. funk. Free. Riverfront Park, Wilmington: 910-763-7349.

Oct. 31—Trick-or-Treat at the Mall. 4-6pm. Kids arrive in costume and retailers provide candy. Independence Mall, 3500 Oleander Dr., Wilmington. 910-392-1776; www.shopindependencemall.com


See where the water takes you! For more information about seasonal specials and great October rates, featured Halloween/Fall events and experiences, visit www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/seasonal-page. For a FREE official visitors guide to Wilmington, N.C.'s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, please call 910-341-4030 or 1-866-266-9690. Before traveling any distance, contact event venue to confirm details. 

October 5, 2014

The Poisonous "Furry Puss Caterpillar" Showing Up in Carolina & Kure Beach, NC

Furry puss caterpillar found in Carolina Beach, NC
Have you heard of the furry puss caterpillar which is considered to be the most venomous caterpillar in the U.S?

They are on the rise in our area and I just found this one in my mulch bed here in Carolina Beach. Keep an eye out for these cute little 'toxic' furry devils.

According to Nat GeoYoung children from Florida to North Carolina are reporting excruciating pain after coming into contact with the most venomous caterpillar in the U.S., the furry puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis), according to news reports. Some have petted the insect; others have been injured when the caterpillars fell onto them from trees.

The puss caterpillar got its name because it resembles a cuddly house cat, said University of Florida entomologist Don Hall. While these insects may look soft, their outer comb-over hides small, extremely toxic spines that stick in your skin.

“A puss caterpillar sting feels like a bee sting, only worse. The pain immediately and rapidly gets worse after being stung, and can even make your bones hurt,” Hall said.
Kristie Fessler shared this photo of a  furry puss caterpillar
on her home in Carolina Beach, NC

“How bad the sting hurts depends on where you get stung and how many spines are embedded in your skin. People who have been stung on the hand say the pain can radiate up to their shoulder and last for up to 12 hours,” Hall said.

Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein, the director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Miami told the Sun Sentinel  back in 2012 that he has even seen patients pass out from the pain.

"We don't see any deaths from it, but it is very painful, judging by the number of people that just are out-of-control hysterical when they call," he said.

According to Nature Wold News, they described the sting on a finger to feel similar to that of someone driving a nail through it.

Closer to home, we are hearing from some people who have had contact with the little buggers. Kristie Fessler shared a photo with us (right) of one of the caterpillars on her home in Carolina Beach.

In another account from Karen Campbell, she tells us that a friend of hers, who lives on the on the Intracoastal Waterway north of Figure Eight Island, was stung on the arm yesterday and ended up in urgent care due to spasms in her arm.  The caterpillar was hidden in the cushion of an outdoor chair. Karen notes that her friend is better today but that her arm is very stiff and sore. 
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