April 1, 2015

19th Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off Brings Food, Music & Fun to Carolina Beach Lake Park

March 31, 2015, Carolina Beach, N.C.:  Who makes the region’s best seafood chowder? Visitors to Carolina Beach can have their say by participating and voting in the 19th Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off on Saturday, April 11th. The event promises an afternoon of fun at Carolina Beach Lake Park with tasty chowder, music by the Mark Roberts Band and fun in a classic coastal setting. 

Photo from the event Facebook page
The 2015 Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off is a family-friendly event that features local chefs who prepare and share their best seafood chowder recipes between the hours of 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. While the adults are sampling chowder and enjoying live music, kids can enjoy the park’s playground and Kidz Zone with face-painting, a giant 3-in-1 inflatable house, laser tag and more. For an additional fee, paddleboat and surrey rides are available. Traditional festival foods (hot dogs, funnel cakes, crab cakes) and adult beverages will also be for sale. At 4:30 p.m., the People’s and Judges’ Choice Awards will be announced, along with awards for the Most Enthusiastic and Best-Decorated tents.

During the cook-off, chowder is available on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early to taste and vote between 11:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. The 2015 Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off’s seven contestants include three returning restaurants and four newcomers. This year all participants hail from Carolina Beach and include: Gibby’s Dock & Dine, Havana’s Fresh Island Restaurant, Saint’s Cove, Sea Witch CafĂ© & Tiki Bar, Shelby Jean’s on The Boardwalk, The Shack at Dockside, and Two Kousins Restaurant & Sports Bar. The day-long chowder showcase also features live entertainment by the ever-popular variety dance band The Mark Roberts Band, who will perform favorite hits all day at the Carolina Beach Lake Park Stingray Amphitheater.
                                                                               
Want to go? Gates open Saturday, April 11 at 11:30am. A modest admission charge of $6 for adults will gain access to this family event. Admission is free for children ages 12 and under. Coolers are not permitted, as beer/wine/soft drinks and food will be available for sale. Chairs, blankets and children are welcome, but please leave pets at home.

Plan to spend the weekend exploring Carolina and Kure beaches. Check out the renovations of the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, along with new businesses. And look for Frank’s Pizza reopening soon! Of course, you’ll also find the legendary Britt’s Donuts and Fudge Boat. Families will also love Carolina Beach State Park, the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, Kure Beach Oceanfront Park’s playground, and Civil War artifacts at Fort Fisher State Historic Site.

Festivals and events provide a fun and affordable way to experience the history, culture, and traditions of a region. This annual event is one of many presented throughout the year by the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce. For additional information on the 2015 Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-off and other island events, please call 910-458-8434 or visit www.pleasureislandnc.org.     

Go with the flow…and see where the water takes you. Surrounded by water with the ocean to the east and the Cape Fear River to the west, Wilmington, N.C. and its island beaches are easily accessible from US-74 and I-40. For a free 2015 Official Visitors Guide for Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach, call 1-866-266-9690 or visit website www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com for visitor information, seasonal specials, and a complete calendar of events.                                                                            

NORTH CAROLINA AZALEA FESTIVAL WELCOMES SPRING IN GRAND STYLE

 Wilmington, N.C., March 27, 2015: When it comes to flower festivals in the South, it’s hard to top the North Carolina Azalea Festival, a Wilmington tradition since 1948. The five-day festival welcomes spring in grand style with pageantry, merriment and Southern flair. Each year, Queen Azalea opens the North Carolina Azalea Festival, arriving by riverboat for her official coronation. This year the festival’s very first queen in 1948, actress Jacqueline White Anderson, will participate in the Queen’s Coronation to crown Mallory Hagan (Miss America 2013) as Queen Azalea 2015. The fanfare continues with Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Belles dressed in colorful hoop skirts and parasols. In the days that follow, festival highlights include juried arts and craft shows, a traveling circus, fireworks (Saturday night), and a street fair (Fri./Sat./Sun.) with exhibits, vendors, live music, entertainment and kids’ activities. There’s also an elaborate 2-hour parade on Saturday morning (beginning at 9:30 a.m.) in historic Wilmington, complete with azalea-laden floats, marching bands, clowns, show animals, local pageant winners and celebrity guests. This year’s parade viewing area will be along Third Street, from Market to Bladen streets.

There’s also much ado about azaleas, the colorful flowering shrubs that enhance Wilmington’s landscape each spring. Azaleas make appearances at every event, but nowhere are they more prominent than at the festival’s official featured tours: the Cape Fear Garden Club’s Azalea Garden Tour and the Historic Wilmington Foundation’s Azalea Home Tour.

The Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour, April 10-12, is one of the South’s longest-running and most popular garden tours. The 62nd annual Cape Fear Garden Club Azalea Garden Tour theme is “Cherish the Past; Embrace the Future” to commemorate the club’s 90th anniversary in 2015. This year’s tour showcases 10 private and public gardens that include a mix of established and new lovingly tended landscapes. Garden tour price includes free admission to Airlie Gardens on Saturday and Sunday. For details and tickets: www.capefeargardenclub.org/azalea-garden-tour. Another time-honored sanctioned event is the Azalea Home Tour, April 12 and 13, showcasing nine private homes and a church of historical and architectural interest. Homes are chosen to represent the wide variety of architectural styles found in Wilmington. For home tour tickets: www.historicwilmington.org
  
Live music is a big part of every N.C. Azalea Festival. This year’s headline acts include country superstar Alan Jackson and rap powerhouse Nelly.  With more than 150 music awards to his credit, Alan Jackson brings his 25th Anniversary Keepin’ It Country Tour to the N.C. Azalea Festival on April 9. Over his 25-year music career, Jackson has sold nearly 60 million albums worldwide and ranks as one of the 10 best-selling country artists of all time.  Joining Jackson are Capitol Records Nashville’s rising new artist Jon Pardi and Grammy/CMA/ACM nominated singer/songwriter Brandy Clark.

Grammy-winning superstar rapper Nelly will delight audiences on April 10 with his #1 hits like “Hot in Here” and “Dilemma.” Since his rap music debut in 2000, Nelly has made his mark as a rapper, singer, song-writer, clothing designer, actor and philanthropist. Catch Nelly in concert before he heads out on a summer tour with the New Kids on the Block and TLC.

All headline concerts are outdoors on the Miller Lite Main Stage at the Cape Fear Community College Campus in Downtown Wilmington (411 N. Front Street). Concerts begin at 7:00 p.m.; gates open at 6:00 p.m. Concerts are rain or shine; standing room only. Tickets for all concerts are available online at www.ncazaleafestival.org and at the N.C. Azalea Festival Office (5724 Oleander Drive, Ste. B7; Mon.-Fri., 9am-5pm). Chairs, backpacks, umbrellas, coolers are not permitted inside the venue. Chairs, food and beverage will be available for cash purchase. 

Other notable celebrities scheduled to make guest appearances at the 2015 N.C. Azalea Festival include: Disney star Skai Jackson (plays Zuri Ross on Disney’s “Jessie”); HGTV star/interior designer Meg Caswell; Southern novelist/Azalea Festival artist Clyde Edgerton; Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings; Pro beach volleyball star Casey Jennings; NYT best-selling author/former fighter pilot Dan Hampton; Actress/first Azalea Festival queen Jacqueline White Anderson; former Miss North Carolina USA Julia Dalton; Miss North Carolina Beth Stovall; and Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan (Queen Azalea).

Introduced last year, the N.C. Azalea Festival App makes it easy for attendees to keep up with event information by providing breaking entertainment news, behind-the-scenes buzz, and insider tips. For App details, a festival schedule and concert tickets, visit www.ncazaleafestival.org or call 910-794-4650, or stop by the Festival ticket office (5725 Oleander Dr., Wilmington).


Go with the flow…and see where the water takes you. Surrounded by water, Wilmington, N.C. and its island beaches are a convenient drive from Raleigh via I-40 and Charlotte via US 74. If you’re flying in to experience the N.C. Azalea Festival, the Wilmington International Airport (ILM) offers daily flights to major airline hubs. For a free 2015 Official Visitors Guide to Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, call 1-866-266-9690, email visit@wilmingtonandbeaches.com, or visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com.  

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.
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