Originally known as Decoration Day, Memorial Day was declared a federal holiday in 1971. These days it is synonymous with travel, and warmer temperatures and the lure of water make Wilmington, N.C. and its three unique island beaches an ideal destination.
Friday, May 23, 2014
• Fort Fisher State Historic Site, Kure Beach: Memorial Day was originally created to honor soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Fort Fisher was the site of the Civil War’s largest land-sea battle. Today, explore the fort and museum. Free, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. 1610 Fort Fisher Blvd. South
• Fireworks by the Sea and Boardwalk Blast, Carolina Beach: Kick off this popular series with the season’s first free night of entertainment. Bands begin to play at 6:30 p.m., fireworks begin at 9 p.m. and both activities take place at the beloved Carolina Beach Boardwalk.
• Live Music and Ocean Views, Wrightsville Beach: Reserve a table at Oceans Restaurant and listen to live music while drinking, dining and oohing and ahhing at the water views. 7 - 10 p.m. 1706 N Lumina Ave.
• Fourth Friday Gallery Walk, Wilmington: Head to the heart of downtown to take a self-guided tour during an after-hours celebration of culture and the arts. Galleries, studios, shops and art spaces open their doors to the public every fourth Friday of the month. 6 - 9 p.m.
Saturday, May 24, 2014
• Behind the Scenes Tour Kure Beach: Go behind the scenes and get backstage access to exhibits at the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Or try your hand as an “aquarist apprentice” and help prepare food and care for the critters. 11:15 a.m. and 2 p.m. 900 Loggerhead Road
• Carolina Beach Farmers Market Carolina Beach: Shop for produce, plants, baked goods, dairy products, meats, crafts, wines and more! The market also features live entertainment provided by local musicians. 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. Carolina Beach Lake Park at Atlanta Ave. & Lake Park Blvd.
• Summer Music Series Wrightsville Beach: Sit outside and dine on the Oceanic’s famous fresh seafood while listening to live music on the recently renovated Crystal Pier. 7 - 10 p.m. 703 S. Lumina Ave.
• Orange Street ArtsFest, Wilmington: Wilmington’s largest downtown arts festival includes the work of more than 55 artists selling paintings, pottery, jewelry, carpentry and more! The festival also features live music, a beer tent and lots of comfort food. 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. 120 S. Second St.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
• Boogie in the Park, Kure Beach: Get your groove on with reggae music by the critically acclaimed band, Jah Creation! Bring a lawn chair or blanket to this family-friendly event and don’t forget your dancing shoes. 5 - 8 p.m. Kure Beach Ocean Front Park, 105 Atlantic Ave.
• Free Movies at the Lake, Carolina Beach: The 2014 Free Movies at the Lake series begins with Disney’s smash hit, Frozen. Pack snacks and a blanket for an outdoor screening on the lawn at Carolina Beach Lake Park. Movie begins around 8:45 p.m. Lake Drive and Lake Park Blvd.
• Wrightsville Beach Scenic Tours, Wrightsville Beach: Explore Wrightsville Beach from the water by cruising with Captain Joe on a nature tour, pirate adventure or party boat. Times vary, all cruises depart from 275 Waynick Blvd.
• Historic Downtown Marketplace, Wilmington: Stroll around Riverfront Park and admire some of the finest arts and craft vendors in the Cape Fear area. This weekly event also features live music and entertainment. 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. 5 North Water St.
Monday, May 26, 2014 – Memorial Day
• Kure Beach Fishing Pier, Kure Beach: Rent a pole or bring your own and fish from the oldest pier on the entire Atlantic coast. The 700 foot-long wooden pier has an arcade, concessions, and a tackle shop. K Ave.
• Carolina Beach State Park, Carolina Beach: Hike through several unique habitats on six miles of trails including the always popular Venus Flytrap Trail. Pack a picnic, watch the water birds and explore the tidal marsh at your leisure. Park opens at 8 a.m. 1010 State Park Road
• Wrightsville Beach Farmers Market, Wrightsville Beach: The Wrightsville Beach Farmers Market includes a nice selection of local food and craft vendors. 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Municipal Lane
• 49th Annual Battleship North Carolina Memorial Day Observance, Wilmington: All generations are invited to gather on the deck of the USS North Carolina for a ceremony featuring military music, a 21-gun salute and words from Governor Pat McCrory. 5:45 p.m. #1 Battleship Road
For more information, email Katie Jackson