Looking to fill your social calendar? We've got the rundown on what to do this Holiday Season.
31st Annual NC Holiday Flotilla
Nov. 29 –30
The celebration will kick off Friday night at 7pm with the Atlantic Marine Holiday Launch Party at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, a cash bar, and live music by The Craig Woolard Band. The fun continues Saturday at Wrightsville Beach Park from 10am-4pm with the Festival in the Park, including a large play area for children with several inflatable slides and bounce houses, a coloring contest, the always-popular Arab Choo Choo, festival food, an antique car show, over 100 arts and craft vendors, and more. The lighted boat parade begins at 6pm and is followed by one of the best fireworks shows in the southeast at 7:30pm. 910-256-2120. ncholidayflotilla.org
Riverfront Farmers’ Market
Nov. 1 –22
A weekly market held on Saturdays along the riverfront in the historic downtown river district. Market features local farmers, producers, artists and crafters. Products include fresh fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, cheeses, meats, seafood, baked goods, jams and jellies, wine, art, crafts and more. 8am-1pm. 910-538-6223. facebook.com/riverfrontfarmersmarket
NC Surf to Sound Challenge
Join the Blockade Runner Beach Resort for the Fourth Annual NC Surf to Sound Challenge. Attracting more than 100 paddlers from across the globe including pros like Elite race winner Larry Cain, this paddleboard event is quickly becoming one of the premier events on the East Coast. Come brave the Atlantic, battle through Masonboro Inlet and navigate the channel behind Masonboro Island. Intermediate paddlers can compete in a flat-water course around Harbor Island. There will also be a waterman's expo at the race site from noon-6pm. Surf SUP Competition on Sunday. Blockade Runner, 9am. Registration $60. 910-256-2251. paddleguru.com/races/SurftoSound2014
Cape Fear Kite Festival
Come watch as we paint the Cape Fear Sky! Flyers from all over will be joining together at Wrightsville Beach for the Annual Cape Fear Kite Festival. There will be more than just your average kites flying and filling the sky so enjoy all shapes, sizes, styles and colors. 10am-4pm. 910 520-1818. facebook.com/pages/Cape-Fear-Kite-Festival/229407647131183
Tidewater Camellia Club Fall Display Show & Sale
Enjoy this beautiful local flower as camellia exhibitors will display hundreds of award-winning blooms. There will be education displays and camellia care demonstrations to help answer any camellia growing questions you may have. Plant sale begins at 10am. Show held from noon-4 pm. New Hanover County Arboretum. 12-4pm. 910-232-0710. tidewatercamelliaclub.org.
The 10th annual Turkey Trot includes a 5K timed run or a 1 mile walk around the beautiful Wrightsville Beach Loop. There will be prizes, food and fun for everyone this Thanksgiving Day. Children 10 and under are free, but in order to be timed they must be registered and pay as an adult. Wrightsville Beach Park. 7:30am. its-go-time.com/wrightsville-beach-turkey-trot-2014
Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting
This event features music and caroling, a visit with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus, and the lighting of the Holiday Tree. Enjoy music, a holiday marketplace, and warm refreshments. Get into the spirit and stroll among the shops and restaurants to kick off the holiday season, coastal-style! 910-254-0907. dbawilmington.org
Nov. 28-29, Dec 5-6, 11-14, 18-22
Bring the whole family together to share in the joy of the season. A Wilmington tradition since 2005, you’re invited to experience a ½-mile stroll through the Gardens on a self-guided tour while feasting your eyes on a spectacular array of lights and holiday displays. Also in attendance: Santa Claus himself, and a few local food and beverage vendors with coffee, hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies and more. Tickets must be pre-purchased, no tickets are available at the gate. Airlie Gardens. 5-7pm and 7-9pm. 910-798-7700, airliegardens.org.
Every Christmas Story Ever Told & Then Some!
Dec. 4-7, 11-14, 18-21
For a change of pace, instead of performing Charles Dickens’ beloved holiday classic, three actors have decided to grace you with every Christmas story ever told! This performance will be full of Christmas traditions from around the world and seasonal icons form ancient times to topical pop-culture and will also include every carol ever sung. Don’t miss out on this madcap romp through the holiday season! Cape Fear Playhouse. General admission: $15. 910-367-5237. bigdawgproductions.org
Thalian Association Children’s Theater Presents: Macy’s Yes, Virginia The Musical
Get into the holiday spirit with 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who has always loved Christmas until the day her classmates bring up the age-old question “Is there a Santa Claus?” Not sure what to believe, Virginia ventures into the city to find out for herself. Unable to find the answers she’s looking for, Virginia writes to the newspaper. Her letter makes its way to the desk of a curmudgeonly editor and through Virginia’s determination (and a little help from a scraggly Santa), the editor is persuaded to write his answer... an answer that becomes the most famous newspaper editorial of all time! Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center. Admission: $12. 910-251-1788.
The Holiday Flea at the BAC
Renowned as the “ultimate vintage flea” and named as a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event for 2014, this event is attended by more than 1,000 shoppers and dozens of vintage vendors from around the region. You’ll find a wide array of vintage, retro, and up-cycled treasures. Wilmington’s finest food trucks feed the crowds, the great Grinder’s Caffe coffee shop in the courtyard. Brooklyn Arts Center. Times vary. $5 at the door (good for all three days). 910-616-9882. brooklynartsnc.com.
Shell Island Resort Bridal Show
Let Shell Island make your wedding dreams come true! This bridal show will bring everything a bride could hope for all under one roof. Attendees can spend one-on-one time with the area’s best wedding professionals, tour the resort’s ballrooms, enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres and be entered to win a chance at door prizes, giveaways and much more. 1-5pm. 910-256-8696. shellisland.com/2014-bridal-show
Polar Express Holiday Show
Dec. 6, 13-14, 20-21
In its 11th year of spreading holiday cheer, enjoy the telling of this wonderful holiday classic, followed by a visit from Santa. Afterwards, enjoy cookies, a special “first gift” and sip some cocoa. This popular family show is a great touch to the season and features on-air personalities from WWAY-TV3. Wilmington Railroad Museum. Shows at 4:30pm and 5:30pm. $5 (free for children 2 and under). Seating is limited. Prepaid reservations required. 910-763-2634. wilmingtonrailroadmuseum.org.
Poplar Grove Christmas Open House & Crafts Fair
Dressed in its holiday finest, the plantation's Christmas Open House is a charming gateway to old-fashioned holiday spirit! Take a self-guided tour or shop the craft fair abundant with baked goods, specialty gifts and local foods. Children can visit with Santa and Mrs. Claus and the family can enjoy a hayride through Abbey Nature Preserve as well! This Christmas Open House is a wonderful way to enjoy the season! As Poplar Grove's way of saying thank you and Merry Christmas to the community, admission is free today. Poplar Grove Plantation. 11am-4pm. 910-686-9518 ext. 106. poplargrove.org/christmas.
Holiday Lights Trolley Tour
Take a festive 45-minute tour through some of Wilmington’s most impressively decorated neighborhoods on an authentically reproduced trolley. This holiday tour includes music, narration as well as a heated cabin for those cooler nights! Departs from 101 Water Street. $12 for adults, $5 for children. 910-763-4483. wilmingtontrolley.com
Santa By the Sea
Dec. 13 & 20
Join the jolly ol’ elf for a unique holiday experience. Enjoy holiday crafts, decorating cookies, playing games, share in story time and much more. Meet Santa and a few of his wild friends. Don't miss him diving alongside sharks, eels, and his favorite sea turtle friend, Shelldon! NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. 5:30-8:30pm. 910-458-8257. ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher
5K Jingle Bell Run
The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History invites you to participate in the museum's Sixth Annual 5K Jingle Bell Run. Race participants are encouraged to dress in holiday apparel (Santa costumes, antlers, snow men, etc.). Historic cottages and beautiful winter marshes are part of the scenery as you meet the challenge of this special 5K on beautiful Wrightsville Beach! Entry fee varies by sign-up date. Check in: 7:30am, race starts at 9am. 910-256-2569. wbmuseum.com/JBRun2011.htm
A Christmas Stroll Through the Past
The Burgwin-Wright House and Bellamy Mansion Museum host a festive holiday evening filled with music, dancing, costumes, refreshments and more. Go back in time for an old-fashioned Christmas fun for the whole family. Both historic houses, decorated beautifully for the holidays offer much and enjoy a trolley ride or a candlelit stroll through downtown Wilmington as you go from one to the other. Bellamy Mansion. 5-8pm. Adults $25, Children (5-12) $5, Childer under 5 Free. This is a rain or shine event. 910-251-3700. bellamymansion.org.
Sunday Jazz Brunch with the Nina Repeta Jazz Trio
Enjoy a three-course meal while you listen to the easy sounds of jazz with the Nina Repeta Jazz Trio—a perfect way to appreciate your Sunday morning! TheatreNow will be serving an assortment of items to suit every taste. Doors open at 11:30a.m., show 12-2pm. Adults $20, Children (under 12) $15. 910-399-3669. theatrewilmington.com.
New Year’s Eve Celebration
Dec. 31-Jan. 1
Spend your New Year's Eve aboard North Carolina’s largest riverboat. This enchanting evening will include a sumptuous buffet of heavy hors d’oeuvres, entertainment, party favors, and of course, a Champagne toast at midnight. Let the Henrietta III help you ring in the New Year until 1:30 am on the beautiful Cape Fear River this year! 8:30pm-1:30am. $87 per person, purchase tickets in advance. 910-343-1611. cfrboats.com.
New Year’s Eve: Une Soiree Cabaret
Celebrate this New Year's Eve with Wilmington’s first and only dinner theater. For one night only enjoy this wonderfully exciting cabaret show complete with can-can dancers, acrobats, live music, and comedy alongside a delicious multi-course French dinner tasting fit to bring you into the New Year. This eventful night will be topped off with a champagne toast at midnight. Two seatings: 6pm & 9:30pm. 910-399-3669. theatrewilmington.com/dinnershows.html
Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Countdown
The New Year’s celebration will be held near the gazebo at the Boardwalk in Carolina Beach. Don't miss the giant lighted beach ball being dropped at midnight followed by a spectacular fireworks demonstration. This family-friendly event will feature a DJ and dancing with refreshments and party favors. There will be a raffle, with the winner taking home the original artwork for the Island of Lights 2014 official Christmas card and ornament. Carolina Beach Boardwalk. 9pm. islandoflights.org.