Looking for holiday activities, events and celebrations for Christmas and New Year’s 2014? Here’s a listing of what’s happening in Wilmington, NC for the holidays.
November 27th, 7:00 pm, Carolina Beach Lake Park, Atlanta Avenue in Carolina Beach FREE
The month-long Island of Lights Festival in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach kicks off with the “Lighting at the Lake Celebration” at Carolina Beach Lake Park. The event features an opening ceremony with the President of the Island of Lights Committee, Pleasure Island elected officials, and musical entertainment. Santa makes an appearance and free refreshments are available. Local Cub Scouts provide the Honor Guard and display the flag for the singing of the National Anthem.
10:00 am – 4:00 pm Wrightsville Beach Park, 321 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach FREE
The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Festival in the Park at Wrightsville Beach Park features inflatable slides and bounce houses, a coloring contest, the Arab Choo Choo, festival food, and more. The event also includes arts and crafts booths, and an antique car show, and is a prelude to the popular NC Holiday Flotilla.
November 28, 6:00 pm , Wrightsville Beach (Banks Channel), Banks Channel, Wrightsville Beach FREE
The 32nd Annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla in Wrightsville Beach is an annual holiday tradition in the Cape Fear Area. It begins with fireworks, followed by a procession of lighted holiday boats filling Banks Channel. A traditional fireworks display follows at 7:30 pm.
November 28, 8:30 am – 10:30 pm Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Midtown
The Jingle Bell Breakfast at Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC, is part of the bread & lights gingerbread & lantern festival and is presented for kids aged 3 to 8. The event features a buffet breakfast, storytime in the trees, holiday activities, and a visit with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus.
November 27th and November 28th, 6:30 pm, Carolina Beach Boardwalk, Cape Fear Blvd, Carolina Beach FREE
Christmas by the Sea at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk features the whole area decorated and lit up each night during the holiday season starting with the lighting ceremony (Friday). Other activities include Santa and hot chocolate at the Welcome Center, a fire pit with story telling, caroling, holiday themed movies at the Gazebo, puppet shows, and arts & crafts.
November 27th-29th Salt Shaker Bookstore & Cafe, 705 South Kerr Avenue, Midtown
The Cape Fear Model Railroad Society presents its annual Holiday Train Expo, which sets up at the former Salt Shaker Bookstore in Wilmington, NC. The expo features exhibits including a layout 60-feet long with trains hauling up to 100 cars choo-chooing through a variety of villages, parks, and landscapes, plus photo ops with Santa and the conductor of the Polar Express. Kids under age 3 get in free.
HOURS: Friday, 6-9pm; Saturday and Sunday, 1-6pm.
November 23, 2015 to December 6, 2015
November 23rd to December 6th, NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach
The Lower Cape Fear Hospice Foundation presents the 2015 Cape Fear Festival of Trees at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher. All visitors who purchase a general admission ticket to the Aquarium between Nov. 23rd and Dec. 6th will also experience this annual holiday presentation.
November 21st to December 6th at the Cameron Art Museum, 3201 South 17th Street, Midtown
Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC, presents bread & lights gingerbread & lantern festival featuring a display of gingerbread creations by all ages and artist-made lanterns. The event showcases the creativity of artists, designers, bakers, and performers. Kids under 5 admitted free.
HOURS: Monday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm; Wednesday and Thursday, 10am to 9pm. Closed Thanksgiving Day
December 3rd to December 6th 7:00 pm 3:00 pm matinee on Sundays, Hannah Block 2nd Street Stage, 120 South Second Street, Downtown
Thalian Association’s Youth Theatre presents Babes in Toyland at the Hannah Block 2nd Street Stage in downtown Wilmington, NC. Directed by Michelle Reiff, the classic musical follows the adventures of Contrary Mary, Tom-Tom and their friends. These fantasy characters (made up of nearly 70 of the Port City’s most talented youth) traverse the Haunted Forest, brave giant spiders and escape the evil Uncle Barnaby’s bumbling henchmen. Will they save Christmas or will Uncle Barnaby win?
December 4th to December 5th, Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut Street, Downtown
New York’s Ballet for Young Audiences presents The Nutcracker at Thalian Hall in downtown Wilmington, NC. The production is a special one-hour, narrated version of the classic Christmas story about a young girl named Clara. With the help of her godfather, she is transported to a magical world where she meets the Sugar Plum Fairy.
SHOWS: Friday,4:00 pm and 7:00 pm; Saturday: 10:00 am
December 3rd to December 6th 8:00 pm, 3:00 pm Sunday matinee, Cape Fear Playhouse, 613 Castle Street, near Downtown
Christmas Belles at the Cape Fear Playhouse in Wilmington, NC. Written by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten, the comic drama follows the Futrelle sisters of Frayo, TX — Frankie is expecting a second set of twins, Twink is incarcerated for torching half the town, and Honey Raye is trying to keep a Christmas show from complete anarchy. When Frankie reveals a family secret that’s been carefully hidden for decades, all hope for the program seems lost, even with an Elvis impersonator.
December 5th and 6th, CFCC Humanities & Fine Arts Center, 200 Hanover Street, Downtown
City Ballet of Wilmington presents A Carolina Nutcracker at the Cape Fear Community College Humanities & Fine Arts Center. Set in the Port City at the Bellamy Mansion exactly 150 years ago, the production features historical characters from the period along with beloved traditions of the original ballet, plus performances by the City Ballet Orchestra and the Wilmington Boys Choir.
Shows: Saturday, 7pm; Sunday, 3pm.
Dates TBD 7:00 PM Front Street, Downtown
Caroling in Downtown Wilmington, an annual event where locals and visitors gather to sing festive carols in downtown Wilmington restaurants and businesses. All are welcome. Carolers meet at 6:30 pm on steps of Main Post Office on Front Street.
December 4th to December 6th 7:00 pm TheatreNOW 19 South 10th Street
TheatreNOW in Wilmington, NC, presents A Trailer Park Christmas, a holiday send-up featuring Meemaw Hussey and her family, some spiked Sunny D, and a coupla young’uns (Dale Jr. and Jolene) who can’t be kept in line. Add a few rowdy neighbors straight out of Central Casting, and we’ve got a festive farce fraught with fun. Doors open at 6:00 pm Cost: $22.00 to $40.00
Fridays & Saturdays 6:30 to 8 pm Only $5, under age 2 free
The Light & Train Spectacular at the Railroad Museum in downtown Wilmington features 20,000 twinkling lights, model train exhibits, musical animations, plus cookies and cider and a visit from Santa Claus. Kids under 3 get in free.
December 12th to December 23rd Wilmington Trolley Company, 15 South Water Street
The Wilmington Trolley Company offers Holiday Lights Trolley Tours in historic downtown Wilmington, NC, at 6 and 7:30pm featuring music and narration in an enclosed and heated environment, and a great view of illuminated neighborhoods. Boarding at 101 Water Street.
December 18th o January 1st Battleship North Carolina across from downtown
The Holiday Lighting of the Ship features the Battleship North Carolina aglow with lights strung from the bow to stern, and visible from Battleship Park, the Leland/Belville areas, and downtown Wilmington from dusk to 11:00 pm.
Daily from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am to 5:00 pm until December 24th Santa Village at Mayfaire Town Center
The event offers kids a chance to create crafts in Santa’s Workshop with the help of Mr. Claus’s elves, a photo op with the man in red, and Yuletide Storytime.
Hours: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm Cameron Art Museum The Cape Fear Festival of Trees at Cameron Art Museum offers visitors a chance to experience a winter wonderland of holiday trees sponsored and decorated by local businesses and organizations, plus enjoy musical and theatrical performances. Kids under 5 admitted free. Website: www.cameronartmusum.org
Saturdays in December the Lake Park area will host many activities including Santa at the Welcome Center, fire pit with storytelling, hot chocolate at the welcome center, live nativity scene, caroling, holiday themed movies at the gazebo, puppet shows and an arts and crafts area with ornament making activities for kids. – See more at: www.visitcarolinabeachnc.com HOURS: 6:30-8:30pm. FREE December 20
Airlie Gardens in Wilmington presents Enchanted Airlie, an opportunity for families to share in the joy of the season with a self-guided stroll through the gardens featuring festive lights, holiday displays, Santa Claus, and Winter Princesses, plus local food and beverage vendors with coffee, hot chocolate, popcorn, cookies and more. Tickets must be pre-purchased and include Carload (3+ persons and 1 vehicle, $27), Couples’ Pass (2 people, 1 vehicle, $17), and Single Admission ($12). Children under 4 admitted free.
Friday, December 5th and Saturday, December 6th, 5-7pm and 7-9pm Airlie Gardens
Note: We make every attempt to provide current and accurate event information. However, dates, hours and event content is provided by the venue and may be subject to change. Please contact venue to confirm information posted here.