Area Events Listings for December 28th, 2016

By / Local Events / Wednesday, 28 December 2016 05:00

Pleasure Island Calendar of Events for 2017

• December 31 - New Year’s Eve
Countdown/Fireworks Kure Beach  
• February 10 -  Missed Pleasure Island Pageant (910-599-2879)
• February 11 - Special Olympics Polar Plunge, 5K Run and 1 Mile Fun Walk Kure Beach (910-341-7253)
• March 4 - 6th Annual Step Up For Soldiers Backyard BBQ (910-232-5554)
• March 18 - 13th Annual Steve Haydu St. Patrick’s Day Lo-Tide Run (910-547-3820)
• March 25 - Public Safety Day (910-458-2540)
• April 1 - Island of Lights Fashion Show (910-617-5945)
• April 8 - 21st Annual Pleasure Island Chowder Cook-Off (910-458-8434)
• April 23  - RESCHEDULED 23rd Annual Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival (910-458-8434)
• April 28 & 29 - Kure Beach 70th Anniversary Celebration (910-458-8216)
• May 7 – Oct 15 - Boogie in the Park Concert Series at Kure Beach Ocean Front Park 1st and 3rd Sundays (910-458-8216)
• May 12 - 19th Annual Cape Fear Disabled Sportsman Fishing Tournament (910-612-3407)
• May 20 - Carolina Beach Street Arts Festival (610-909-7643)
• May 20 - Beach Wrestling Nationals (910-395-4362)
• May 20 - 21 - 24th Annual Seaside Soccer Classic (910-392-0306)
• May 27 – Oct 7 - Carolina Beach Farmer’s Market every Saturday (910-458-2977)
• June 13 – Aug 22 - Tuesday Family Night at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk (910-458-8434)
• May 24 – Aug 30 - Wednesday Night Bingo at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk (910-458-8434)
• May 26 – Sept 1 - Weekly Fireworks on the Beach Every Thursday Night (910-458-8434)
• May 26 - Sept 1 - Weekly Boardwalk Music Every Thursday Night (910-458-8434) May 28 - Sept 3 Free Movies at the Carolina Beach Lake every Sunday (910-458-8434)
• June 3 - 32nd Annual Carolina Beach Music Festival (910-458-8434)
• June 9 – Aug 25 - FREE Summer Concerts At Fort Fisher 2nd and 4th Fridays (910-458-8434)
• June 12 – Aug 28 - Turtle Talk at Kure Beach Ocean Front Park every Monday (910-458-8216)
• June 13 – Aug 29 - Kure Beach Market every Tuesday (910-458-8216)
• June 14 – Aug 30 - Story Time by the Sea at Kure Beach Ocean Front Park every Wednesday (910-458-8216)
• June 24 - Carolina Beach Double Sprint Triathlon (910-620-6405)
• June 29 – Aug 17 - Up and Active! at Kure Beach Ocean Front Park every Thursday (910-458-8216)
• July 3 - Independence Day Fireworks (910-458-8434)
• July 7, 8, 9 - East Coast Got-Em-On King Mackerel Fishing Tournament (910-470-1374)
• Aug 19 - Kure Beach Annual Community Center BBQ Fundraiser (910-458-8216)
• Sept 9 - 5th Annual Heart of Hope Run (910-228-5282)
• Sept 9 - 10th CBPD Bike Rodeo (910-338-7811)
• Sept 15 & 16 - 5th Annual Carolina Beach Dragon Boat Regatta and Festival (910-599-2879)
• Sept 30 - 5th Annual Pleasure Island Day of Hope “Toes in the Sand” Beach Walk (910-386-2093)
• Oct 14 & 15 - 24th Annual Pleasure Island Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival (910-458-8434)
• Oct 21 - 9th Annual Salty Paws Festival (910-458-7233)
• Oct 15 - Carolina Beach Marathon and Half Marathon (919-889-3438) Oct 20, 21, 22 11th Annual Pleasure Island Fall Surf Fishing Challenge (910-452-6378)
• Oct 28 - Annual Carolina Beach Firefighters Association BBQ (910-458-8434)
• Nov 18 & 25 - Kure Beach Holiday Market (910-458-8216)
• Nov 24 - Island of Lights Light Up Celebration at the Lake (910-458-5507)
• Nov 24, 25/Dec 2, 9, 16 - 9th Annual Christmas by the Sea (Carolina Beach Boardwalk) (910-458-8434)
• Dec 1 - Island of Lights Parade (910-458-2977)
• Dec 2 - Island of Lights Flotilla (910-386-8081)
• Dec 8, 9, 10 - Kure Beach Fantasy Christmas Show (910-458-8216)
• Dec 9 - Island of Lights Tour of Homes (910-458-5507)
• Dec 31  - Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Countdown & Fireworks Held In Carolina Beach
For more information or updates visit the
PI COC website at www.PleasureIslandNC.org

23rd Annual Pleasure Island Seafood, Blue & Jazz Festival on April 23rd

We are very excited to announce the revised line-up for the 23rd Annual Pleasure Island Seafood Blues & Jazz Festival originally scheduled for October 8th and 9th that had to be rescheduled for Sunday, April 23rd, 2017 at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area in Kure Beach, NC  due to Hurricane Matthew.  We are beyond thrilled to offer 12 of the original 14 bands including the phenominal Jonny Lang and the dynamic Samantha Fish. Headlining on the rescheduled Festival will be the phenominal Jonny Lang who released his first album Lie To Me at the age of 16, some 19 years ago.  Jonny Lang is an American blues, gospel, and rock singer, songwriter, guitarist and recording artist.  He has five albums that charted in the top 50 of the Billboard 200 chart and is a Grammy Award winner for Turn Around in 2007.  Jonny is currently touring in support of his new album Fight For My Soul. Opening for Mr. Lang, we will be having a potential EPIC occasion – we are bringing Pleasure Island the dynamic Samantha Fish out of Kansas City with her staggering vocal emotions and aching guitar riffs.  Influenced by her musical heroes, such as Tom Petty, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Sheryl Crow, Samantha brings her amazing blend of Americana Root Music “which has little trouble vocalizing her sadness, anger and pain – and doing so in a bewitchingly seraphic timbre” (Guitar Girl Magazine).
In addition, Kara Grainger (from Sydney, Australia) will be returning for an encore performance,  offering tasteful blues and slide guitar combined with soulful vocals who will leave you wanting more.  Also returning from 2015, is David Gerald, born in rural Mississippi and raised in R & B-rich Detroit, bringing his sweet blends of Delta Blues with Motor City Blues.  We are very excited to bring the Luxuriant Sedans, the brand new band from the fertile musical stomping grounds of the North Carolina Piedment, once you’ve gone Luxuriant, there is no turning back. Check out the official, revised and confirmed schedule for our rescheduled 23rd Annual Seafood Blues and Jazz Festival:
Blues Stage – Sunday, April 23, 2017: 11:30 – 12:50 Snake Malone & The Black Cat Bone; 1:10 – 2:30 Luxuriant Sedans; 2:50 – 4:10 David Gerald; 4:30 – 5:50 Kara Grainger    ; 6:30 – 8:00 Samatha Fish; 9:00 Jonny Lang
Jazz Stage – Sunday, April 23rd, 2017: 12:00 – 1:10 Lynne & The Wave; 1:30 – 2:40 Nelson & the Rock-a-fellas; 3:00 – 4:10 Nita B & Her Soiree; 4:30 – 5:40 Max Levy and the Hawaiin Shirts; 6:00 – 7:10 Nina Repeta; 7:30 – 8:40 Benny Hill Trio            
In addition to all of the blues and jazz groups on two stages during the Festival, we have for families, the amazing FREE Kidzone with magicians, face-painting, educational exhibits, inflatables, laser tag and much more.  Shop at the many and varied vendors and (adults) can have a little wine or a beer as well.  No coolers or pets, but bring your chairs, towels and blankets for a day of music and seafood on the coast.  To purchase tickets or for more information call (910) 458-8434, visit pleasureislandnc.org, download the Pleasure Island APP or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If you have already purchased tickets, just hold onto them and we will see you in April 2017!  On a serious note, we are disappointed (along with everyone involved) that we were unable to have our Festival on the original date, but Mother Nature by way of Hurricane Matthew gave us no choice.  We had to go to an elongated day due to the availability of the venue and Jonny Lang’s schedule.  Due to prior commitments and time constraints, we sincerely apologize to Urban Hill and Gate City Divas for having to remove them from the schedule.  I hope that you will have the opportunity to see them in the future either on Pleasure Island or at another venue.  Let’s all take a minute and say a prayer for all the people who have been so adversely affected by this recent disaster. For more information call (910) 458-8434, visit pleasureislandnc.org, download the Pleasure Island APP or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pleasure Island Scholarship Pageant to be held January 28th

The 2017 Pleasure Island Scholarship Pageant is scheduled for Saturday January 28 at New Hanover County Senior Resource Center, 2222 S. College Road, Wilmington, NC.  Deadline to enter is January 5.  Age division is determined by your age the day of the pageant.
Wee Miss 1-2 years
Junior Miss 10-12 years
Tiny Miss 3-4 years
Teen Miss 13–15 years
Mini Miss 5-6 years
Miss 16- 22 years
Little Miss 7-9 years
Applications accepted on or before November 30, entry fee is $75.00.  Applications accepted on or before December 15, entry fee is $100.00.  After December 15, entry fee is $120.00.  Entry fee is non-refundable.  A package of eight (8) 4x6 photos are included and will be given to you along with your scores approximately 3 weeks after the pageant.  Crowning photos are available for an additional price.  Along with photos, each Queen will receive a crown, trophy and sash.  All contestants will receive a trophy.    A scholarship for school will be offered to Miss Pleasure Island with amount being based on number of contestants and money received, but will not be less than $500.00.  You must make the necessary appearances to receive the scholarship.                                         COMPETITION SPORTSWEAR – All divisions will compete in tropical sportswear.  Any kind of clothing will be fine.  It’s mainly how you present yourself while wearing the outfit.  It can be nautical, something you would wear to a nice tropical resort or on a cruise.  
PARTY DRESS/EVENING WEAR – Wee Miss, Tiny Miss, Mini Miss and Little Miss will compete in party dress (Sunday dress/Easter dress which means NO “glitz” pageant dresses or long gowns).  Junior Miss, Teen Miss and Miss will compete in long evening gown.  Little Miss through Miss will say their name, contestant #, favorite thing about Pleasure Island and their sponsor during formal wear competition.  Emcee will announce other contestants’ names, etc.
ON STAGE QUESTION – Little Miss and Up will have an On-stage Question during Party Dress/Evening Wear Competition. The question will come from your application.
OPTIONAL AWARDS
PHOTOGENIC – You may enter photogenic (1 photo) for $10.00.  There will be one Overall Photogenic Winner receiving a trophy, tiara and gift.  
TICKET SALES – The contestant who sells the most tickets will receive a trophy and gift.  Advance tickets are $6.00 and at the door is $10.00. The Overall Ticket Sales Winner will receive a trophy and gift. Money and unused tickets are due at rehearsal.
AD SALES – can be sold for the program. The Overall Ad Sales Winner will receive a trophy and gift. Ads can be from friends or businesses.  Please include $7 extra if there is a photo attached.  Ads and money are due by Friday, January 13 by 5:00pm.  
Business Card $25, 1/4 Page
Half Page $35, Full Page $60
SIGNATURE VOTES – The contestant who collects the most signature votes will receive a trophy and gift. All money from Signature Votes will go to the Federal Point Help Center. Signature sheets and money are due at rehearsal.
Make checks payable to: DBK Productions Association, 200 Carolina Sands Drive Carolina Beach, NC 28428
If you have any questions, please call Diane at 910-458-5962 or email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. As soon as I get your application, you will be receiving more information about the pageant.
The judges’ decision is final.  Please do not approach the judges at any time before, during or after the pageant.
This pageant is a fundraiser that benefits the Pleasure Island Chamber of Commerce/Special Events, the Federal Point Help Center and the New Hanover County Senior Resource Center Special Needs account.
The Pleasure Island title is a closed pageant title.  If you participate in another pageant while holding this title, you will forfeit the title and it will go to the first runner up.  This is at the discretion of the committee.  Also, if you don’t make any appearances during the first 3 months of you winning the title, the crown will go to the first runner up.  

CBPD & KBPD Public Safety Day March 25th

Carolina Beach & Kure Beach Police Departments are partnering together to host a FREE community event for the whole family to enjoy.  
Public Safety Day will be Saturday, March 25th from 10:00am until 2:00pm at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area in Kure Beach.  Local police, fire and ems agencies will be on hand with displays. There will also be federal law enforcement agencies from New Hanover County, Military branches, demonstrations and hands on fun for kids of all ages. There will also be a free shred truck available to purge old documents from Local Government Federal Credit Union!

Art of the Bloom January 5-8, 2017

Art of the Bloom- January 5-8, 2017  - Wilmington/ Wrightsville Beach — Art of the Bloom weekend will pair the area's finest floral designers in a design challenge to create artistic floral arrangements inspired by Art.Cameron Art Museum is opening its Vault and traveling thirty works from the permanent collection to Blockade Runner Beach Resort on Wrightsville Beach Island.
21 Designers will interpret the art through floral design in an installation of CAM's art and floral arrangements. Visitors will enjoy experiencing designers' interpretations of art. The Design Divas from Florida will be on hand and select the First, Second & Third place winners, as well as Best of Show. You be the judge… by voting for your favorite - all for a good cause – Cameron Art Museum and New Hanover Garden Club – Hands On Community projects.
Preview Party: Thursday January 5, 2017 – 7– 9 pm.  $35 – CAM & NHGC Members (includes 3 day admission) $45 – Non - Members (includes 3 day admission)
See it First! A ticketed fundraiser to Meet and mingle with the talented designers & artists. Award winning desserts by EAST. Music by Grenoldo Frazier, Julie Rehder and Carol Green. The three day event kicks off with a dessert and champagne preview party to open Art Of The Bloom. Art Of The Bloom - Exhibition will open to the public: Friday January 6, 2017 – 9 am – 9 pm; Saturday January 7, 2017 – 9 am – 5 pm; Sunday January 8, 2017 – 9 am – 4 pm; $10 – CAM & NHGC Members (3-day admission) or $15 – Non - Members (3-day admission)
Tickets for all events will be available at the Cameron Art Museum: http://cameronartmuseum.org/artofthebloom/ and Blockade Runner Beach Resort at 910-256-2251. East has special menus throughout the weekend.
Throughout this inspiring weekend noted speakers and hands on demonstrations in floral design, the arts and party planning. (some events may have an additional ticket.) Be a part of a new Wilmington / Wrightsville Beach tradition. Come be inspired and beat the winter blues at the beach!
The Event Host – known for their gracious and chic hospitality: Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Wilmington Art Association, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, New Hanover Regional Medical Center, Art In Bloom Gallery, Baker Roofing, Fogelman Homes, Othera Family Cosmetic & Implant Dentistry, Tinga Nursery, and Trader Joe's
Benefits: Cameron Art Museum - your art museum and more. CAM is dedicated to inspiring critical thinking, fueling creativity and fostering open and accessible conversation for everyone. CAM is a catalyst for transformation whose various elements create a synergy that define CAM, Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach Island as a dynamic cultural destination.
New Hanover Garden Club's Hands On Community Projects. Founded in 2014 and federated by the National Garden Clubs. The proceeds from this event will support the community work of both NHGC and Cameron Art Museum. Together Let's Dig Deep! http://cameronartmuseum.org/artofthebloom/ 
More info: Jayme Bednarczyk @CAM 910-395-5999, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Federal Point Historic Preservation Society’s Events Calendar Winter/Spring 2017

• Monday, January 16, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. Program:  Jan Davidson of the Cape Fear Museum will talk about WWI in Wilmington as well as how it has been memorialized in our area. We will be doing a WWI exhibit in the Spring of 2017 and this will be our kickoff.
• Monday, February 20, 2017:  7:30-9:00 pm. Program: Kemp Burdett, Cape Fear River Keeper will talk to us about his work to protect the water quality and ecosystem of the Cape Fear River.
Saturday March 18, 2017: Historian Chris Fonvielle will lead his annual walk along the rements of the Sugar Loaf Line of Defense.  Pre-registration is required. Call 910-458-0502. A donation of $10.00 is requested.
Monday, March 20, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm.  John Moseley of the Fort Fisher State Historic Site returns to talk on US Medal of Honor Winners from the Lower Cape Fear area.
Monday, April 17, 2017: 7:30-9:00 pm. Program: Elaine Henson, local historian will present a program on the history of Kure Beach in commemoration of the town’s 70th anniversary.
Monday,  May 15, 2017:  7:30-9:00. Program: John Batchelor, author of the cookbook Chefs of the Coast will talk to us about his research in compiling the book and how North Carolina’s coastal cuisine is unique.
Monday, June 19, 2017: 6:30–8:30 pm. Potluck Picnic: The perfect time to bring  friends and prospective members.
All Programs are free & open to the General Public. They are held at the Federal Point History Center,  1121-A North Lake Park Blvd. (Just south of the Carolina Beach Town Hall.) Or visit the History Center, open Tuesdays, Fridays & Saturdays 10-4. For more info call: 910-458-0502.

January 2017 Programs at N.C. Aquarium at Ft. Fisher

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO REGISTER FOR A PROGRAM, please call (910) 772-0542 or visit ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher . For all programs, ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult, except for camps. ALL programs require preregistration and fees.
BEHIND THE SCENES
• AQUARIST APPRENTICE - Saturday, January 14 at 2 p.m. - Check out a dirty job you’re sure to love. Join staff on a behind-the-scenes tour and learn about Aquarium animals, what they eat, how they live and how to care for them. Then assist aquarists with food preparation and help feed the animals. Participants also observe aquarists during daily care and maintenance tasks. This limited opportunity is only open to 10 participants. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and be prepared to smell fishy. For ages 10 and older.  Ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult.  Fee: $28 for ages 13 and older, $26 for ages 10-12. PREREGISTRATION REQUIRED.  
• BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR - Saturdays, December 31 at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m.; Tuesday, December 27 at 11:15 a.m.; Thursday, December 29 at 11:15 a.m.; Sundays, January 1, 15, 22, 29 at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., Sunday, January 8 at 11:15 a.m., Saturday, January 14 at 11:15 a.m., Saturday, January 21 at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m., Saturday, January 28 at 1:15 p.m. - Special Rate of $7.00 per participant; Friday, November 25 at 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. - Check out a dirty job you’re sure to love. Join staff on a behind-the-scenes tour and learn about Aquarium animals, what they eat, how they live, and how to care for them. Then assist aquarists with food preparation and help feed the animals. Participants also observe aquarists during daily care and maintenance tasks. This limited opportunity is only open to 10 participants. Participants should wear closed-toe shoes and be prepared to smell fishy. For ages 10 and older. Ages 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Fee: $25 for ages 13 and older, $23 for ages 10-12. Aquarium admission included. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.
• Extended BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR - Tuesdays, January 10, 24 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, January 19 at 2 p.m. - Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at an Aquarium? Space for animal holding, husbandry, life support systems, and access to exhibits is hidden behind the aquarium walls. If you have ever cared for a home aquarium, you may have some idea of what it takes to operate a collection of salt and freshwater exhibits, with hundreds of animals. Accompany aquarium staff on a guided tour of animal quarantine, life support, food preparation, and access areas. This unique opportunity is limited to 10 participants. Children under 8 are not permitted. Children between 8 and 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Fee: $15.00 for adults and $13.00 for children 17 and under. Aquarium admission included. NC Aquarium Society Members pay $9.00 per participant.
DAY CAMPS FOR KIDS
• AQUACAMP – REPTILES AND AMPHIBIANS - Monday, January 16 at 8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.   - Get an up close look at reptiles and animals including, turtles, salamanders, and alligators. In this session campers will learn about the similarities and differences between these two types of animals. Live animal presentations and more are all part of this exciting program. Come and join the fun! Snacks are provided. Kids will need to bring a bag lunch. Ages 5-12. Fee: $40 per participant. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.
• HOLIDAY ELF CAMP - Thursday, December 22 at 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. – Saltwater Animals - Looking for something fun this holiday season?  The North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher is offering three Holiday Elf Camps this year for ages 5-12 years old.  Our elves will be making gifts, wrapping them, meeting other elves, and making some extra special memories here at the aquarium.  This fun and educational program gives adult elves guilt-free time for holiday shopping or relaxation. The program fee of $50 includes a pizza lunch, snacks, crafts, holiday gift-wrap, instruction, and countless wonderful memories.  Register early to get the date you want. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.
• AQUACAMP – TOP PREDATORS - Friday, January 27 at 8:30 a.m.– 3 p.m. - Children are invited to participate in a special day at the aquarium. Come learn why sharks, dolphins and alligators are kings of their watery world! Campers will learn how these hunters are specially adapted for "ruling" their environments. Games, crafts, live animal presentations and more are all part of this exciting program. Come and join the fun! Snacks are provided. Kids will need to bring a bag lunch. Ages 5-12.  Fee: $40 per participant. PRE-REGISTRATION REQUIRED.
Holiday Elf Camp Transportation! We are offering limited transportation from the Monkey Junction area to and from our camps! We can accommodate only 13 children per day.  A fee and pre-registration is required!
AquaCamp Transportation! This year we are offering limited transportation from the Monkey Junction area to and from Aquacamps! We can accommodate only 13 children per day.  A fee and pre-registration is required!
The NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher will be closed
Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25, 2016 and
will reopen at 9 am on Monday, December 26, 2016.
About the Aquarium - The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is located south of Kure Beach, a short drive south from Wilmington, on U.S. 421. The site is less than a mile from the Fort Fisher ferry terminal. Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. The Aquarium is one of three state aquariums in North Carolina administered by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR).
General information: www.ncaquariums.com/fort-fisher
The N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher is one of only 230 accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, a non-profit organization dedicated to the highest standards in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science and recreation. In addition, the Aquarium is an AZA partner in SAFE: Saving Animals from Extinction. More on AZA: AZA.org
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources - The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov

State parks will ring in New Year with First Day Hikes

A North Carolina New Year’s tradition of family adventure, exercise and reconnection with nature continues in 2017 with First Day Hikes in North Carolina State Parks on Jan. 1. For New Year’s Day, More than 40 guided hikes are scheduled in the state parks system, ranging from short “leg-stretchers” to seven-mile treks, most of them featuring interpretive programs by rangers along the way. All seasonal state park facilities will remain open on the holiday.
A record 3,469 hikers traveled 8,228 miles on state park trails on Jan. 1 last year, exploring every one of the state parks and state recreation areas in brisk winter weather. In North Carolina, this popular tradition began at Eno River State Park more than 40 years ago, an annual event that now regularly draws more than 800 visitors to that piedmont park.
“As the holiday season draws to a close, the First Day Hikes event offers a rededication to fitness, family time and enjoyment of the outdoors and the rich natural resources that distinguish North Carolina,” said Mike Murphy, state parks director. “It’s also a reminder that the state parks are a year-round resource for recreation, wellness and learning for more than 17 million visitors.”
Each state park and state recreation area puts its own stamp on First Day Hikes. Chimney Rock State Park earns the distinction of offering the “first” First Day Hike with a trek up the famous mountain to begin at 12:01 a.m., with hikers gaining 1,200 feet in elevation. If there’s snow, Grandfather Mountain State Park’s event will morph into a “snowshoe hike” and at Weymouth Woods, visitors will seek the rare winter plant pyxie moss. Falls Lake State Recreation Area will offer four short hikes with scavenger hunts, and at Fort Macon, the new 3.2-mile Elliott Caues Trail will be explored.
An added bonus is that visitors involved with the North Carolina State Parks 100-Mile Challenge – to walk, hike, paddle, cycle or otherwise explore 100 miles in the state parks – can add First Day Hikes mileage to their totals. Details about the 100-Mile Challenge can be found at www.nc100miles.org
Nationally, First Day Hikes is promoted by America’s State Parks and the National Association of State Park Directors, with more than 400 hikes scheduled in state parks across the country. Last year, nearly 55,000 people rang in the New Year by collectively hiking over 133,000 miles.
A complete list of First Day Hikes in North Carolina can be found at www.ncparks.gov/north-carolina-first-day-hikes.
About North Carolina State Parks
North Carolina State Parks manages more than 230,000 acres of iconic landscape within North Carolina’s state parks, state recreation areas and state natural areas. It administers the N.C Parks and Recreation Trust Fund, including its local grants program, as well as a state trails program, North Carolina Natural and Scenic Rivers and more, all with a mission dedicated to conservation, recreation and education. The state parks system welcomes more than 17 million visitors annually and celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016.
About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
 
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov

Island of Lights New Year’s Eve Celebration Returns to Kure Beach

KURE BEACH, NC - Wrapping up the events for the Island of Lights will be their New Year’s Eve Celebration. Don't miss the giant beach ball being dropped at midnight followed by a spectacular fireworks demonstration, festivities begin at 9:00pm in Kure Beach’s Oceanfront Park.
This free family-friendly event will feature a DJ and dancing with refreshments and party favors available for purchase. In an Island of Lights tradition there will be a raffle, with the winner taking home the original artwork for the Island of Lights 2016 official Christmas card and ornament. The Island of Lights provides our area with family friendly events.
Starting with the lighting of the lake celebration the day after Thanksgiving and finishing with a New Year's celebration, the towns of Carolina Beach and Kure Beach come alive during the Holiday Season!
The Island of Lights volunteers organize all of the events. For more information, or to learn how you can help, visit www.pleasureislandoflights.com

13th Annual Polar Plunge to Benefit Special Olympics Saturday, February 11th at Kure Beach Boardwalk

The Polar Plunge is taking place on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at the Pleasure Island’s Kure Beach Boardwalk, near the Kure Beach pier.  
Join us as we take a chilly plunge in the Atlantic Ocean to benefit Special Olympics.  It is an opportunity for the adventurous and the not so adventurous to have a great time and to support the New Hanover County Special Olympics program.    You can plunge as an individual or a member of a team.  REMEMBER - NO WETSUITS!
If you cannot bare the cold to plunge then join us for the annual 5K run or 1 mile fun walk.  The race will be held in Kure Beach on a certified course and it is open to all ages and skill abilities.  5K runners are not required to plunge but are encouraged to heat up with the 5K and cool down with the Polar Plunge.    
 100% of the proceeds will benefit Special Olympics, New Hanover County, athletes providing them with year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
SCHEDULE:  
11-3 pm - Live Music,
silent auction
12:30pm - Costume Contest
1:30pm - 5K Run/1 Mile All Abilities Fun Walk
3:05pm - Plunge!
For information about participating in the plunge visit www.plungenhc.com or call 341-7253.

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