November 23, 2013


9th Annual Event Features 300,000 Lights, Music, Santa & Colorful LEGOs  

November 2013, Wilmington, N.C.: Tis the season to be enchanted! And what could be more enchanting than a glittering landscape of lighted oaks and twinkling displays in a coastal garden setting?  Visitors who travel to Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and island beaches during the holiday season will have the opportunity to experience “Enchanted Airlie” each Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening from November 29 through December 21, with additional dates on Wednesday, December 18 and Sunday, December 22. 

Now in its ninth season, Enchanted Airlie (Nov. 29-Dec. 22) presents a holiday light extravaganza with tastefully decorated gardens, magical evenings and fond memories for visitors and local residents. On select dates beginning the Friday after Thanksgiving and continuing into late December, Airlie Gardens is transformed into a visually stunning wonderland of theatrically illuminated large oaks, small native trees, holiday flowers, and elegant displays. Prepare to be enchanted by a world of holiday fantasy that features 300,000 lights and whimsical LEGO exhibits to delight visitors of all ages.  

Always a crowd favorite, the colorful LEGO exhibit returns with more than 250,000 LEGO bricks that set a world record as the largest crowd to see a single LEGO display. Inside the garden services center, guests will marvel at an actual running LEGO train set constructed by NCLUG (North Carolina Lego Group Users). Other highlights include: a Poinsettia Paradise with more than 400 holiday plants; live musical entertainment and visits with Santa. Families can also have their pictures taken in Airlie’s 2,400-square-foot floral conservatory. Refreshments will be available for purchase and the Airlie gift shop will be open.  

Want to go? Enchanted Airlie runs November 29-30; December 5-7, 12-14, and 18-22 in two time slots: 5:00-7:00 p.m. and 7:00–9:00 p.m. Enchanted Airlie tickets must be purchased in advance, no later than 4:00 p.m. the night of the event. Due to the popularity of this event, it is recommended that visitors purchase tickets for their preferred dates prior to arrival. Tickets are available for purchase online at or in-person at Airlie Gardens service center (300 Airlie Rd., Wilmington) between 9am and 4pm. Single admission tickets cost $10 for individuals over the age of 4. Children under age 3 are free. Couples arriving in the same vehicle can purchase a couples ticket for $15. An economical green option is the carload ticket for $22, which will cover as many people as will safely fit into an automobile; no individual tickets or parking passes are required for this option (excludes buses and large, multi-passenger vans).

Airlie Gardens, located at 300 Airlie Road, is a 67-acre historic public garden bordering Bradley Creek in Wilmington, North Carolina. Visitors are encouraged to dress warmly and comfortably for the half-mile outdoor walking tour on gravel, sand, and mulch paths. For details about Enchanted Airlie, please call 910-798-7700 or visit the Airlie Gardens website for event information, rules, restrictions and rain policy.  

Go “coastal” this holiday season! From the river to the sea, more than 50 holiday-themed events celebrate the season in Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, and Wrightsville Beach. To download a free holiday brochure, visit For seasonal specials and visitor information for Wilmington, N.C.’s historic river district and island beaches, visit For a free official visitors guide, call 1-866-266-9690, email, or stop by the Visitors Information Center at 505 Nutt Street, Unit A, in historic Downtown Wilmington.     

November 22, 2013

Island Women Embarks on Recyclable Beach Bag Initiative

Some of the members from the Island Women Bag Committee who meet weekly at Port City Java.  L to R are:  bottom row:  Becky Murphy; Carol Konicki and second row:  Sara Smith, Kim Faust, Noel Stevens, Juliet Wright, Cindy Linville, and Committee Chair Debi DiNatale

(November 22, 2013) – Pleasure Island, NC – A local non-profit organization, The Island Women, recently launched a new fundraising initiative, designing and delivering 5,000 unique and recyclable beach tote bags to the Pleasure Island community before the 2014 Memorial Day holiday. Island Women, dedicated to improving the quality of life on Pleasure Island for residents and guests, designed a campaign to achieve three main goals: First, an illustrative representation of all that Pleasure Island has to offer, noting landmarks such as the Boardwalk, Freeman Park, Carolina Beach Lake, Kure Beach Park and North and Kure Pier, as well as the columns entering Fort Fisher and the Fisher State Recreation Area. Second, the bag will serve as a general navigation tool to attractively illustrate businesses and third, it will serve as a great souvenir for vacationers to take home and share Pleasure Island information with friends and family. The bag also represents the Island Women’s mission in the support of environmental efforts and specifically endorses the use of reusable, recyclable products in our coastal area. The beach bag provides opportunities for businesses on the Island to cameo their locations while supporting the Island Women organization and its mission.

“We are proud to offer this new and unique opportunity for our area with the Island Women’s new beach/tote bag initiative,” said Debi DiNatale, owner of the Carolina Beach Inn and the Chair of the Committee who is volunteering to see the project through. “We have a great response from businesses so far, and it is our plan for the bag to become an annual fundraiser for Island Women,” she added. “The best outcome is that our businesses gain valuable visibility, through an aesthetically-pleasing bag that will, in essence, be walking around the island this summer season. The bonus is that it provides an opportunity to return to visitors’ hometowns as a souvenir depicting a great vacation destination and showcasing all that Pleasure Island has to offer. We are proud, too, that the funds raised will be invested in future efforts of supporting Pleasure Island.”

Businesses can participate in the bag project through sponsorship at varying affordable levels. Each level provides advertising opportunities, Island Women promotions, and a quantity of bags for distribution to business clients, VIPs, or to sell. The bag, designed by Sandpiper Marketing & Communications, a Carolina Beach business, will provide opportunities for island businesses to have their physical business site designed and illustrated on the bag itself, along with their logos and websites on sides of the bag, depending upon the level of sponsorship. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, the Island Women organization, or how you can be more involved, contact Debi DiNatale at 910.622.8393 or or visit

Island Women is a diverse group of local women who use their talents and resources to improve the quality of life on Pleasure Island for residents and guests. Island Women is a non-profit group that is not affiliated with any companies, governments or special interests groups. The Pleasure Island recyclable bag is just one of the many projects that Island Women organization supports. Other projects include the Beach Bound project that funded the purchase of beach accessible wheel chairs, island beautification projects and other environmental initiatives.

Press release provided by Sandpiper Marketing & communications.


Sparkle and shine. Dazzle and delight. Lighting up the holidays is a hallmark of Wilmington, North Carolina and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. During this festive time of year two colorful nighttime flotillas illuminate our waterways: the 30th Annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach on Saturday, November 30 and the Island of Lights Holiday Flotilla at Carolina Beach on Saturday, December 7. The boat parades feature brightly lit sailing vessels, ranging from tiny rowboats to luxury yachts.

While flotillas can occur any time of the year, the holidays are perfect for nautical festivities. Each year thousands of visitors travel to Wrightsville Beach and Carolina Beach to line the waterways and cheer for the twinkling boats as they drift by in competition for the coveted “Best in Show” prize. Captains and their crews go all-out to please the crowds, decorating their boats from stem to stern in themes that range from traditional to contemporary. This originality reflects the independent spirit and creative energy that defines Wilmington, N.C.’s historic river district and island beaches.

A Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event for November 2013, the time-honored flotilla kicks off the holiday season the weekend after Thanksgiving (Nov. 29-30). To celebrate its 30th year, the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla promises an impressive show with a record number of glimmering boats. Visitors can celebrate all weekend, beginning Friday night when the island’s official Christmas tree is lit at 5:45 p.m., followed by visits with Mr. and Mrs. Claus at Town Hall. At 7:00 p.m., there’s an Atlantic Marine Launch Party at the Blockade-Runner Beach Resort with live music and heavy hors d’oeuvres (admission charge for gala). On Saturday, a full day of entertainment begins with a free Festival in the Park from 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Wrightsville Beach Park featuring arts and crafts vendors, antique / classic car show, kids’ activities, food, entertainment, and amusements. Then, at 6:00 p.m. the main attraction—the holiday flotilla—gets underway along Banks Channel, beginning with a fireworks volley, followed by the boat parade and a stunning fireworks show. This year’s event includes a Crowd Favorite winner determined by audience text-votes. Visitors who wish to make the most of their beach weekend can also enjoy the Wrightsville Beach Museum of History, narrated cruises, fresh seafood at island restaurants, and shopping at surf and specialty shops. For details about the N.C. Holiday Flotilla, visit, email or call 910-256-2120.

On the first Saturday in December (December 7th), the Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla in Carolina Beach features electrically decorated fishing boats and pleasure crafts in a spectacular display of light and sound along the Intracoastal Waterway. Beginning at 6:00 p.m. the merry boat parade cruises from Snows Cut to Carolina Beach Boat Basin and back. The best viewing station is at Carolina Beach Boat Basin. Visitors who arrive on Friday can usher in the holidays during the annual Island of Lights Nighttime Christmas Parade on Friday evening (December 6th). Santa’s official arrival in Pleasure Island is preceded by an elaborate procession of electrical floats, marching bands, queens, and more. The Friday night parade begins at 7:30 p.m. along Lake Park Blvd. from Atlantic Avenue to Federal Point Shopping Center in Carolina Beach. Plan a weekend getaway that includes the parade and the flotilla, as well as a visit to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk for this year’s Christmas by the Sea festivities. While on the island, you can enjoy Kure Beach’s new Ocean Front Park and visit the Fort Fisher State Historic Site & Civil War Museum, Carolina Beach State Park, and the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher. You’ll also find unique gifts in museum shops and beach boutiques at Carolina and Kure beaches. For details about the Island of Lights Christmas Flotilla and Nighttime Parade:

Events such as the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla and the Island of Lights Festival provide a fun and affordable way to experience the holidays coastal-style. More than 50 holiday events celebrate the season in Wilmington, North Carolina’s historic river district and the island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. To download a free Holiday Events guide:

For a free Official Visitors Guide, visit, call 1-866-266-9690, or email, or stop by the year-round Visitors Information Center located at 505 Nutt Street, Unit A, in Wilmington’s historic river district.
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