Independence Day Celebrations from the River to the Sea
What's your favorite way to celebrate July 4? This year consider a visit to Wilmington and North Carolina's Cape Fear Coast (Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach), a destination with a variety of patriotic events and activities to honor our nation's 235th birthday. Independence Day celebrations begin Saturday, July 2nd with the N.C. Symphony's "Stars & Stripes" performance. On Sunday, catch the fireworks display at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. On Monday, the City of Wilmington and the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA stage the July 4th Riverfront Celebration & Battleship Blast. Live music from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. along the Wilmington Riverwalk, followed by a choreographed fireworks display over the Battleship. Other weekend events include July 4 dinner cruises, rugby and blue marlin tournaments, outdoor movies and concerts, farmer's markets, and more.
Here's a sampling of patriotic happenings from the river to the sea:
JULY 2: N.C.SYMPHONY PRESENTS "STARS & STRIPES". 7:30p.m. Guest conductor Sarah Ioannides leads the orchestra in classical and patriotic favorites, from Tchaikovsky and Verdi to John Williams, Leroy Anderson and John Philip Sousa. Admission charge. Kenan Auditorium, UNC-Wilmington; 919-733-2750; http://www.ncsymphony.org.
JULY 3: PLEASURE ISLAND FIREWORKS DISPLAY. At dusk, fireworks light the sky over the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Make a weekend of your visit to Pleasure Island (Carolina Beach, Kure Beach). Arrive by Thursday for live music and fireworks at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. See the rare Venus Flytrap at Carolina Beach State Park; rent a kayak; see the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher's new Megalodon Shark exhibit; explore Civil War history at Fort Fisher State Historic Site; enjoy carnival-style rides and games at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk. Watch a free family movie on Sunday evening at Carolina Beach Lake. Details: 910-458-8434; http://www.pleasureislandnc.org; http://www.carolinabeachgetaway.com.
JULY 4: JULY 4th RIVERFRONT CELEBRATION & 50th ANNIVERSARY BATTLESHIP BLAST. The riverfront celebration features food and music by the Daniel Parish Band (5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.). At 9:05 p.m., the 15th Annual BATTLESHIP BLAST, among the largest fireworks display in the Carolinas, will illuminate the night sky over the Battleship NC and the Cape Fear River. To commemorate the Battleship's 50th Anniversary as an attraction, this year's fireworks will be better than ever with new features! Tour the Battleship early and view the fireworks from Downtown. For details about fireworks: http://www.battleshipnc.com. For street fair details: http://www.wilmingtonrecreation.com
JULY 4th: THE HENRIETTA III RIVERBOAT offers a 4th of July cruise on Monday July 4th from 6:30 p.m.-9:30 p.m. Enjoy a buffet dinner and a great view of the Battleship Blast fireworks over the Cape Fear River. Admission charge. Pre-paid reservations required. Boarding begins at 6:00 p.m.; departs at 6:30 p.m. from the riverfront dock located at Water and Dock streets, Downtown Wilmington. 800-676-0162 or 910-343-1611; http://www.cfrboats.com.
JULY 4th: WINNER PARTY BOAT CRUISE Boards 6:30 p.m./departs 7:00 p.m./returns 10:45 p.m. The Royal Winner Princess II departs from Carolina Beach Marina to cruise across the Cape Fear River for a view of Southport's July 4 fireworks show. The menu features a N.C. barbecue buffet. Admission charge. Pre-paid reservations required. Carolina Beach Marina, Carolina Beach. 910-458-5356; http://www.winnerboats.com.
Festivals and events provide a fun and affordable way to experience a region's history and culture. For a FREE Visitors Guide for Wilmington & North Carolina's Cape Fear Coast (Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach), please call 1-866-266-9690 or download a copy from the website http://www.gocapefearcoast.com. For a complete Event Calendar, visit www.gocapefearcoast.com events. For seasonal experiences and travel information, visit http://www.gocapefearcoast.com, http://www.carolinabeachgetaway.com, http://www.visitkure.com and http://www.visitwrightsville.com.
Fireworks photo from http://southerndigitalart.com