14 Holiday happenings to celebrate the season

All the festive events in Wilmington this weekend

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Friday, December 17th

Elf The Musical

Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | Friday 7:30 p.m. Saturday 7:30 p.m. | Details

Thalian Association Community Theater presents Elf: The Musical at Thalian Hall in downtown Wilmington, NC. Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa’s bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa’s permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his identity. Faced with the harsh realities that his father is on the naughty list and his half-brother doesn’t even believe in Santa, Buddy is determined to win over his new family and help New York remember the true meaning of Christmas.

This modern-day holiday classic is sure to make everyone embrace their inner elf. After all, the best way to spread Christmas Cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Enchanted Airlie

300 Airlie Rd, Wilmington, NC 28403 | Friday 5:30 p.m. – Saturday 9:30 p.m. | Details

Since 2005, guests from around the world have visited Airlie Gardens to take in the sparkling sights and festive sounds of the holiday season. Enjoy a self-guided walk through of Airlie Gardens and wander through 37 acres of holiday lights & music. Unfortunately, Santa will not be present this year at Enchanted Airlie.

Tickets must be purchased ahead of time, and may be sold out.

Cape Fear Festival of Trees

900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, NC 28449 | Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. | Details

The annual Cape Fear Festival of Trees is back at the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher.

The Festival of Trees is a fundraiser put on by Lower Cape Fear Hospice. They have been doing this fundraiser since the early 1980′s. Take joy in strolling around the aquarium with over 50 different decorated trees displayed. Each tree is sponsored by a local business or individual, and all have different themes. This event is a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

Admission to see the festival of trees is just your admission to the aquarium. However, advanced tickets must be purchased.

Holiday Train Expo

3500 Oleander Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. | Details

The annual Holiday Train Expo at Independence Mall in Wilmington, NC, features more than 12 unique layouts and over 30 trains. Watch as trains travel through a wonderland of landscapes, and holiday scenes. Delight in the magic of the Polar Express with a family photo-op.

Tickets for adults are just $6, ages 3-12 are $4 , and children under 3 are free.

Kure Beach Holiday Whoobie Whatty

Ocean Front Park, 105 Atlantic Ave, Kure Beach, NC 28449 | Friday 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.| Details

The inaugural Kure Beach Holiday Whoobie Whatty at Ocean Front Park features a Grinch-themed celebration. The evening begins with the announcement of the 2021 Kure Beach Cheermeister followed by a viewing of the 2000 version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. While the film is playing, attendees can enjoy face painting, crafts, cookie decorating, and photos with the Grinch. Please note: The town will be collecting donations for the Help Center of Federal Point.

Nature Discovery Hour

Halyburton Park, 4099 S 17th St, Wilmington, NC 28412 | Friday 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.| Details

Halyburton Park in Wilmington, NC, presents Nature Discovery Hour, where park educators present temporary displays featuring touchable animals, plants and artifacts from the park’s collection.

Hark the Herald Angels Swing

Blockade Runner Beach Resort, 275 Waynick Boulevard, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 | Friday Dec 17th 6:30p.m. - Saturday 18th 6:30p.m. | Details

Opera House Theatre Company presents its 15th annual fundraiser, Hark the Herald Angels Swing, a Christmas Cabaret and Dinner Show at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort in Wrightsville Beach. Admission is $85

Saturday, December 18th

Movie, Santa & More

Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park, 10 Cowan St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | Saturday 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. | Details

Movie, Santa & More at Live Oak Bank Pavilion in downtown Wilmington, NC, features a film screening of Elf (6pm) and a visit from Santa (5pm). Please bring a blanket or beach chair, and a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots. The first 150 people to bring toys will receive a T-shirt courtesy of Port City Apparel. Light refreshments for purchase. This is a free event, but they ask that attendants bring a new unwrapped toy.

The Great Wilmington Nutcracker

Wilson Center, 703 N 3rd St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | SHOWTIMES: Saturday, 6:30p.m; Sunday, 3p.m. | Details

The Wilmington Ballet Company and US International Ballet present The Great Wilmington Nutcracker at The Wilson Center. The production features a holiday show with Clara as she battles the Mouse Queen, travels through the Land of Snow, and reigns over The Land of Sweets. Tickets can be purchased for $25

Santa by the Sea

Carolina Beach Boardwalk, Pavilion Ave S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428| Saturday, 5:00-7:00 p.m. | Details

Santa by the Sea at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk Gazebo features marshmallow roasting, pony rides, a visit by Santa, and other holiday surprises. Please note: This event is weather permitting. This is a FREE event.

John Brown Big Band Featuring Nnenna Freelon

Kenan Auditorium, 515 Wagoner Dr, Wilmington, NC 28403| Saturday 7:30 p.m. | Details

UNCW presents the John Brown Big Band featuring Nnenna Freelon at Kenan Auditorium in Wilmington, NC. Tickets range from $35-$100

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)

Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | Saturday, 7:30 p.m. | Details

Big Dawg Productions presents Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) in the Stein Studio Theatre at Thalian Hall in downtown Wilmington, NC. Three actors perform a madcap romp in a fast, furious, and slightly irreverent look at holiday classics and traditions. Admission is $32.10

4th Annual Artisan Holiday Market

150 Hays Ln, Wilmington, NC 28411, USA | Saturday 11:00am – 6:00pm | Details

Going local presents the 4th annual artisan holiday market at Bayshore Commons in Wilmington. This Porter’s Neck event features over 60 local artisans in one convenient space. From handmade bath and body products, candles, gourmet food products and home décor to fine art and jewelry, you are sure to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday list this year. This is a free event.

Sunday, December 19th

The Cape Fear Chordsmen: Christmas with the Chordsmen

Temple Baptist Church, 1801 Market St, Wilmington, NC 28403 | Sunday, 2:30 p.m. | Details

The Cape Fear Chordsmen, a group of men who sing in the barbershop style, present Christmas with the Chordsmen at Temple Baptist Church in Wilmington. Expect an afternoon of holiday faves including Jingle Bells, Joy to the World, and Silent Night.

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Know of any events this weekend that we missed? Feel free to contact us by clicking here with those event details and we’ll add it to the list!

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