It’s a great new year to Enjoy Wilmington. Let’s take a little longer perspective with this issue of Compass News and look at some of the many great things to do in Wilmington this year. It’s never too early to start planning all your great times around Wilmywood. Remember, you can always find all the events by going directly to Events.EnjoyWilmington.com. You can also find more about our restaurants at restaurants, and your places to stay at lodging. Or just start from the top at EnjoyWilmington.com. And don’t forget your sunscreen. The beaches are always great.
The Beaches and the River
No question about this. Wilmington’s #1 attraction for most folks is the river and beaches. From the family fun of Carolina Beach to the quiet of Kure Beach to the sophistication of Wrightsville Beach, each beach front is distinct and provides a special sort of pleasure. It’s best to try them all yourself and find your nirvana. You can also access the Cape Fear River at Dram Tree Park in downtown Wilmington and that opens up some great kayaking and boating. You can find more about the river and beach access at Beach.EnjoyWilmington.com.
We have music
What’s better after a day in the water, and a good meal, than a little evening entertainment. Wilmington is full of that. And the future promises even more. There’s great rock and roll at any number of downtown and beach locations. There’s also a great variety of jazz for fans of that American original. Look for special events by the Cape Fear Jazz Society throughout the year and for the Cape Fear Jazz Festival in February. The Festival is an intense weekend based in and around the riverfront Hilton. Look also for other jazz events including the series at Rucker Johns. The blues have a strong toehold here. The Rusty Nail boasts a blues jam the first Saturday of each month and every Tuesday. Fans of a more classical sound can look to the Wilmington Symphony, the Wilmington Chorale, the music department at UNCW and others for that classic sound. Find Wilmington’s many sounds and your sound at Music.EnjoyWilmington.com. Look for even more music in the future. The City has purchased land for a park in the downtown area. It should be an awesome venue. And CFCC is well on its way to completing its new performing arts center. That will host larger shows.
All sorts of Sports
5K runs, marathons, roller girls, semi-pro baseball, soccer, college basketball and soccer, are all available here in the Port City. Both CFCC Seadevil basketball and UNCW Seahawks basketball is in full swing. There’s a Ping Pong throwdown in later January. Seahawks baseball opens up in the Spring and Sharks baseball opens at Legion Stadium in late May. Hammerheads professional soccer as well as Seahawk soccer joins us in the fall. The 5K runs, marathons and triathalons are here most weekends in the spring and fall. See you at a game.
Details for these and more sports events can be found at Our Sports. (Hint: Be sure to look under the little magnifying glasses for more details about each event.)
All The World’s a Stage…or at least much of Wilmington is
From Thalian Hall to City Stage, from Castle Street Playhouse to a variety of churches and civic clubs, the City is full of stages. It’s not surprising that the City the boasts of the oldest continuing community theater group, Thalian Association, supports its theater. Thalian Hall is the city’s grande dame of stages and features its own productions as well as productions of the Thalian Association, Opera House, City Stage and others. Caberet is showing now with Big River: Adventures of Huckelberry Finn arriving later this month. Cape Fear Playhouse on Castle has already posted their schedule for the year with A Night of One-Act Farces up now and Pole Vaulting Over Skyscrapers coming later this month. City Stage plans to bring The Diviners in early February and possibly Reefer Madness in March. This is just a sample. It’s rare to have a weekend without at least two options.
Find all our theater and the shows for you at Theater.EnjoyWilmington.com.
Kids can be busy every day around here with fun educational activities or just fun activities. Between the Children’s Museum, the Aquarium, Railroad Museum and Cape Fear Museum there’s a structured program most days. And on top of that we have our sporting events, nature events and more that will appeal to the kids and the kid in all of us.
As expected from the name, the Children’s Museum has multiple events every day ranging from stories for the pre-school set to engineering, artistry, cooking and more for the younger school age set. Nature is always fascinating for kids and many of the Aquarium’s programs are designed just for kids. Take a behind the scenes tour, be an apprentice and do more when you head to the Aquarium at Fort Fisher. The Cape Fear Museum has a special program “V-mail to Vlogs” which explores the means that military families use to keep up with their troops. It tells the story of how important communication from home is for service people and highlights the changes in that communication over the years. It’s also a great way to show that telephones used to have cords. The Railroad Museum also has a story time with a focus on the iron horse. And parents, there’s a program just for you, Carolina Gymnastics holds a Parents Night Out most Friday and Saturday nights.
Get the schedule for these and other kids events at Kids.EnjoyWilmington.com. Be sure to look at the events under Holiday, Music and Sports for more great ideas for the younger set.
On The Silver Screen
Wilmington, also known as Wilmywood, is the home to Iron Man III, Under the Dome, Sleepy Hollow and many other productions you’ve enjoyed. It’s also a place that likes to watch and celebrate movies. Most weeks feature a Cinematique showing at Thalian. Cinematique is a joint venture of the local public radio station and Thalian Hall. May brings the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival. November brings Cucalorous Film Festival. Fall also brings a variety of film celebrations at UNCW. Gravity, the Sandra Bullock sci-fi flick, will be shown at Lumina Hall later this month. Use Film.EnjoyWilmington.com to find all the movie events. You’ll find more details under the little magnifying glass next to each event.
Even More Arts
It’s a very arty town. Cameron Art Museum is the major center of art but there are many more galleries and studios around town. The CAM is currently featuring an exhibit by Diane Landry. The fourth Friday of each month brings the Fourth Friday Art Walk in downtown Wilmington. 20+ galleries open their doors for the evening and hundreds of art fans visit and comment on the art. It makes for a very festive evening. Many galleries use the event as an excuse to open their new shows. Additional art shows arrive with the Azalea Festival and other festivals. Find our arts events at Arts.EnjoyWilmington.com.
Books and Talks
Would you like to hear from the author? WHQR, the public radio station, several local book stores, and some of the historic groups regularly bring authors to town to talk about their latest. Tim O’Brien will be at Kenan Auditorium next Wednesday, Beverly Tetterton is talking about the many lost treasures of Wilmington at the Latimer House later this month. Carole Fink talks about the Cold War, Jose Antonio Vargas is at the university and Chris Fonvielle talks about Fort Fisher, all in February. Their is more food for your intellect all year long. You can see the schedule at Books.EnjoyWilmington.com.
Or Maybe History is more your thing
Wilmington has been part of most important phases of American History and we celebrate that fact. From the nation’s founding, through the Civil War, to WWII, the Civil Rights movement and to today the important history is writ large across our community. The Cape Fear Museum has a major exhibit, Mail Call, looking at communications between our troops and the homefront. The Battleship NC will be open for its Hidden Battleship tour this Saturday followed by more special events throughout the year. The Battle of Fort Fisher is commemorated the next Saturday as we recall the battle that led to the final demise of the Confederacy (it fell 45 days later.) Find events celebrating or memorializing this history at History.EnjoyWilmington.com .
There’s amazing nature around here
This area is a biological wonderland and that’s just what makes it so special. Carolina Beach State Park offers nature tours most weekends to celebrate this fact. Follow a park ranger on a guided tour and appreciate all that our area has to offer. Many of the programs at the NC Aquarium play on this theme as well. Their programs, mostly targeted to kids, often look at the landscape around us. Get the details about these and other nature events at Our Nature.
And that’s not all
You can find the whole schedule on the website. It’s at Our Events. You can find Dance events HERE. You can find comedy events HERE. We have restaurants for every palette and wallet. You can find a complete searchable listing at Dine Here (look under the binoculars for the search tool that lets you focus by cuisine or area). And you can find lodging at Our Hotels and more. Use the search function (look for the binoculars) to refine your search on all of these searches.
Find your nonprofit
We have a robust nonprofit community around southeastern North Carolina. You can find a great directory of nonprofits at www.WilmingtonGivesBack.org or find a calendar of nonprofit events at SENC Nonprofit Events.
Our Nonprofit Event of the Week
Would you like to know more about what’s under all that water out there? Cape Fear River Watch has a host of activities at Striperfest. It’s next Saturday at the Convention Center. You can find more here at Striperfest.
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A Great Planning Tool-all year ’round
Enjoy Wilmington is clearly a great planning tool for your time in New Hanover but did you know it can help you all year around? Visit Plan.EnjoyWilmington.com to find a calendar of holidays, famous birthdays, and special events such as the Superbowl or future Olympics that you want to know about when planning your year.
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