A new month means new events, here’s what’s happening this November

WILMINGTON, N.C. (CAPE FEAR WEEKEND) - October was a month overloaded with events celebrating the spooky season, now in November it’s time to light the Christmas trees and celebrate the beginning of the holidays. Around the Cape Fear region, cities are holding tree lighting ceremonies, holiday festivals and a local favorite the NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach.

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Now, here’s your guide to making the most out of your November weekends...

Wednesday, November 1st

To Kill a Mockingbird

Wilson Center | 703 N Third St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Wilmington welcomes the Broadway production of the adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Led by a fantastic performance from EMMY winning actor Richard Thomas as Attorney Atticus Finch, tells this tale of the coming of age with the recognition of social inequality. It’s told through the eyes of his daughter as he defends a man wrongfully accused of murder and brings this story a fresh and relevant meaning.

Thursday, November 2nd

NC Combo State Tennis Championships

Althea Gibson Tennis Complex at Empie Park | 3405 Park Avenue, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 8:00 a.m.

All weekend long, cheer on the athletes who made it to the state tennis championships! The Althea Gibson Tennis Center has 24 lighted hard courts and a clubhouse. The City of Wilmington offers recreational programs throughout the year and the Greater Wilmington Tennis Association uses the courts for tournaments and league play. Adaptive Tennis, Junior Tennis and Try Tennis Adult clinics are offered year-round.

The Brubeck Brothers Quartet

Thalian Hall | 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Chris and Dan Brubeck have been making music together practically all their lives. Drummer Dan and bassist, trombonist, and composer Chris cut their first record together in 1966, nearly half a century ago. Now, they’re taking the stage in Wilmington.

The Fab Four

UNCW Kenan Auditorium | 601 S College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 7:30 p.m.

Be instantly transported to the mid-60s when the EMMY Winning Fab Four takes the stage. Enjoy their live performances of Beatles’ classics such as “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Yesterday,” “A Day in The Life,” “Twist And Shout,” “Here Comes The Sun,” and “Hey Jude”. A night that’ll make you think you are watching the real thing. Their incredible stage performances include three costume changes representing the major eras of the Beatles music. This tribute to the Beatles has amazed audiences in countries around the world.

Friday, November 3rd

A Holiday in Wilmington: Giving Back Celebration

TRIC Tours | 1121 South Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

If you aren’t sure which famous movies and tv shows were filmed in Wilmington, all you need to know is that One Tree Hill is one of them. It’s now the 20th anniversary of the show and the cast is coming back to town to celebrate, all weekend long. Join the fun when the Holiday in Wilmington Giving Back Celebration (formerly known as Friendsgiving) offers a chance to tour the actual filming location of TRIC nightclub as well as special events like concerts or a book signing as well as mingle with cast members at catered banquets and afterparties. Grab a ticket and meet your favorite One Tree Hill cast member.

Cape Fear Kite Festival

Fort Fisher State Recreation Area | 1000 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, NC 28449 | 11:00 a.m.

Come see serious kite flyers share their sky art at the Fort Fisher State Recreation Area for the Cape Fear Kite Festival. This is the final kite event of the professional kite flying season with more than just your average kites filling the sky on the seashore. See incredible shapes, sizes, styles and of course colors and they float, soar and ride the air. Friday festivities begin with a sneak peek of kite flying fun at the Kure Beach Pier from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and later at the Courtyard by Marriott Carolina Beach on Friday after dark for a special “Night with Kites.” Keep the weekend going and continue both Saturday and Sunday in Kure Beach with live bands, food trucks and other vendors at the festival.

Night Tour at the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens

Burgwin-Wright House | 224 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 8:00 p.m.

Come experience a rare glimpse into colonial nightlife at the Historic Burgwin-Wright House. Guided by interpreters who will reveal the rituals and superstitions of bygone times, experience a glimpse into a life without electricity and modern conveniences. Space is limited, so advance registration is required, each ticket is $15.

Paranormal Investigation: Haunted Rooms of America

Bellamy Mansion | 503 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Come experience the Bellamy Mansion Museum at its spookiest during the dead of night. With reported unexplained noises, sightings, happenings and temperature shifts, this is the perfect opportunity to join Haunted Rooms of America for a rare overnight investigation of this Antebellum mansion. Included in your entry are snacks and drinks as well as the use of their traditional and state-of-the-art paranormal equipment, tickets are $109 each.

Saturday, November 4th

Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Wrightsville Beach Park | 321 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 | 10:00 a.m.

Walk one or two miles to support the Alzheimer’s Association. All funds raised through Walk to End Alzheimer’s further the care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. Registration for the day of the walk is at 9 a.m., and the opening ceremony and walk start at 10 a.m. Strollers are allowed, but skateboards, bicycles, inline skates and wheelies are discouraged. You can also register for the walk online, which includes 1-mile and 2-mile walk route options.


Waterline Brewing Co. | 721 Surry St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 5:00 – 11:00 p.m.

Join Waterline Brewing Co. for their first ever Spacegiving music festival and fundraiser. It’s an evening of jamtronic-fun with music and artists getting together to spread love. Light and a sense of community. There will also be live painters, Seoul Sushi food truck and a silent auction. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 the day of the show.

10th Annual Taste of Wrightsville Beach

Bluewater Waterfront Grill | 4 Marina Street, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 | 5:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Enjoy the flavors of Wrightsville Beach restaurants on the waterfront. The 10th Annual Taste of Wrightsville Beach festival celebrates the island’s diverse and delicious foods on and around the beach with over 35 food, wine and beer tasting booths under a heated tent. Celebrity judges will rate the dishes with a “Best in Show” while the public will select the “People’s Choice” award. This evening of sampling and sipping is not to be missed! Tickets are $100 for 21+, $25 for ages 5-21 and free for children 5 and under.

Battleship North Carolina Ghost Hunt & Tour

Battleship North Carolina | 1 Battleship Road, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 8:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m.

Investigate paranormal activities on the majestic Battleship North Carolina. If you already are a paranormal investigator or someone who has never experienced the thrill before, you don’t want to miss this event. Be sure to bring your equipment and get ready to hunt. Tickets include daytime tour tickets of the Battleship North Carolina, exclusive access to the most haunted areas, VIP access to the torpedo area, psychic medium access, use of paranormal equipment, snacks and refreshments. Tickets begin at $129.

Festival Latino

Ogden Park | 7069 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28411 | 11:00 a.m.

On both Saturday and Sunday, enjoy a multi-cultural weekend of celebration when Festival Latino returns. A weekend filled with family fun, music and terrific food. The Kids Fiesta Area will keep the little ones entertained for hours, while others enjoy the food courtyard with delicious dishes from all over Latin America. We can’t forget about the live Latin music and dance lessons. Dance your heart away, eat delicious food and celebrate the Latin culture.

John Brown Big Band w/ Nnenna Freelon

Wilson Center | 703 N Third St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy a swinging musical with this lively large jazz ensemble specializing in traditional compositions from the golden age of American songs as well as legendary popular musicians, all performed with cutting-edge arrangements. Formed with top musicians by renowned bassist, composer, educator and actor John Brown who also actively performs both as leader and band member. They are accompanied by the sultry vocal stylings of the internationally lauded, GRAMMY nominated Nnenna Freelon, creating a magical performance that is not to be missed!

Latimer House Night Tour

Latimer House | 126 S Third Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 8:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Experience authentic Victorian living during a night tour of the Latimer House. Guided by interpreters, witness 19th century gaslight ambiance (without electricity), learn the history of their version of technology, how gaslight functioned, and what it meant to people of all levels of society who lived and worked under its “lurid glow.” This tour is especially poignant since there are so many original pieces of furniture and artifacts owned by the Latimer family still in the residence. Supernatural interactions are not guaranteed but have been reported. Tickets are $20 per person.

Outlander in the Cape Fear Walking Tour

Burgwin-Wright House | 224 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.

Turn back time with a special walking tour of historic downtown as seen through the events depicted in the beloved book and tv series Outlander. Walk in the footsteps of the main characters Claire and Jamie Fraser, led by local historian and Assistant Manager of the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens Hunter Ingram on a tour based on his hit podcast Burgwin-Wright Presents... Outlander in the Cape Fear. The ninety-minute tour will depart from the Burgwin-Wright House and Gardens, cover historic streets and return to the starting place. Tickets are $20 each.

Polish Festival

St. Stanislaus Church | 4849 Castle Hayne Road, Castle Hayne, NC 28429 | 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

This family fun filled afternoon features authentic Polish food, lots of kid’s activities and entertainment including a full size authentic Blas kapelle band, a craft sale, raffles and more. You are invited to try delicious Polish Foods: Kielbasa, Pierogi, Golabki, Placki Ziemiaczane, Kruschiki, Kolachki, Nut Rolls, Poppyseed Rolls and Strudel. Domestic and Polish beer will be served, including Wilmington’s own St. Stan’s Baltic Porter, brewed especially for this day by Front Street Brewery. Admission is free for this event.

Sunday, November 5th

Celtic Thunder Odyssey

Wilson Center | 703 N Third St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy a powerful theatrical experience taking you on a sweeping voyage through the heartlands of traditional Irish music. Lead Celtic Thunder vocalists Ryan Kelly, Damian McGinty, Neil Byrne, and Emmet Cahill, perform the Odyssey songbook steeped in Irish heritage. Listen to Irish favorites from the Celtic Thunder Band spanning generations from nostalgic classic tunes, fun retro classics, 1980s dance tunes, to contemporary Celtic tunes, which is sure to delight all ages. Of course, there will be kilts!

Pilobolus Dance Company: Creation Tour

Thalian Hall | 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 2:00 p.m.

Enjoy an exciting evening as the internationally acclaimed dance company Pilobolus uses mixed media to explore the tragicomedy of human existence. Presenting three New York premieres featuring collaborations with Darlene Kascak of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation, Jad Abumrad (composer and founder of Radiolab and Dolly Parton’s America), and choreographer Madison Olandt. This self-described “rebellious dance company” continues to amaze audiences. They have performed on Broadway, at the Oscars and the Olympic games. Incorporating animation, video and live shadow theater, all their performances are madcap adventures dipping into the multiple genres of science fiction, film noir and romantic comedy.

Battleship Yoga

Battleship North Carolina | 1 Battleship Road, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 6:00 – 7:15 p.m.

Join Yoga Village for an all-levels practice featuring a stunning backdrop of the Wilmington skyline and the beautiful setting sun on the deck of the historic Battleship North Carolina! This ticketed drop in Yoga Series offers a unique place to practice with a never to be forgotten view. Experience zen like never before. Bring your own mat or towel and online registration is required, drop-in tickets begin at $20.

Thursday, November 9th

Beijing Dance Theater

Wilson Center | 703 N Third St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Prepare to be amazed by the beauty and grace of the Beijing Dance Theater! Founded in 2008 by choreographer Wang Yuanyuan, producer Han Jiang, and visual artist Tan Shaoyuan, the Beijing Dance Theater (BDT) is the only privately run Chinese dance company that combines contemporary ballet and modern dance. Noted around the world for their unique styles and stunning aesthetics, the BDT has become a benchmark of contemporary dance. The BDT has an unmatched international reputation, and has been called one of the world’s most valuable dance companies. Come experience some of the world’s finest contemporary ballet and modern dance.

Comedian Cliff Cash

Thalian Hall | 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:00 p.m.

Laugh along when nationally touring comedian Cliff Cash returns to his NC roots, bringing his satiric and politically pointed comedy to the majestic Thalian Hall. Cliff’s humor has been called “the voice of the New South” as he challenges the traditional paradigms and stereotypes of his youth. You will have seen him on late night television and on comedy channels with his debut project ‘Half Way There’ charting number one on iTunes.

Friday, November 10th

3rd Annual Veterans Fitness Expo

UNCW Veterans Hall, Walton Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Honor our heroes and veterans as they run through campus led by the UNCW Office of Military Affairs and National Guard team. Students, staff and faculty are invited to cheer on the participants. If you’d like to participate in the run, pre-registration is required.

Graham Nash: Sixty Years of Songs & Stories

UNCW Kenan Auditorium | 601 S College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 8:00 p.m.

Spend an unforgettable evening with legendary Graham Nash, a two-time songwriter as well as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee. He held a front row seat as rock history unfolded from the launch of the British Invasion to the birth of the Laurel Canyon Movement. Enjoy sixty years of songs and stories from “Stop Stop Stop” and “On A Carousel,” to “Marrakesh Express,” “Teach Your Children,” and “Our House” as well as his recently released “Now.” These are songs and stories unlike any other!

Saturday, November 11th

20in30 Concert: Tyler Hilton and Bethany Joy Lenz

TRIC Tours | 1121 South Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:00 p.m.

Join One Tree Hill (OTH) star singing sensations Tyler Hilton and Bethany Joy Lenz as they re-create their musical magic first seen during the Wilmington filmed hit series OTH. Appearing in concert again in celebration of the 20th Anniversary of OTH at Tric Nightclub’s original filming location, they will be joined by special guests the Carolina based band Echostone.

Ira Glass

UNCW Kenan Auditorium | 601 S College Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 7:30 p.m.

Spend a fascinating evening with PULITZER winning journalist Ira Glass, one of the nation’s most compelling storytellers, as he uses audio, music and video to share life lessons from his storied career. Host and creator of ‘This American Life’, a weekly broadcast that is heard by over five million listeners, he has also been given seven Peabody Awards.

Project 1898: Wilmington Symphony Orchestra

Wilson Center | 703 N Third St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Join the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra for a powerful evening with Project 1898, a concert observing the sacrifice made during the historic events of November 1898. Featuring the tremendous talents of sphinx violin competition winner Adé Williams, who will be performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto and more. In addition, a new piece commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the 1898 Wilmington Coup d’Etat will be played. The only Coup in America’s history that forever changed Wilmington’s landscape.

Veterans Day Parade & Celebration

Downtown Wilmington | Hanover and N Third Streets, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 11:00 a.m.

Honoring all who served, Wilmington’s Annual Southeast North Carolina Veteran’s Parade is one of the finest! View exciting marching bands and groups from across Southeastern North Carolina. Please visit the parades website for the latest updates and parade route information. After the parade the public is invited to a gathering at Third Street and Red Cross Street for a celebration and informational fair featuring food trucks and entertainment.

Sunday, November 12th

20th Anniversary: One Tree Hill

TRIC Tours & Laney High School | 1121 South Front Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Join the fun and excitement with One Tree Hill’s 20th Anniversary Weekend. The meet and greets continue on both Saturday and Sunday at Laney High School Gym (site of some OTH basketball scenes) in Wilmington, NC aka Tree Hill! The celebration offers a chance to tour the actual filming location as well as cast photographs and autographs at Laney High School Gym. This new date has been postponed to September because of the strike.

Battleship Half Marathon 10K & 5K

Battleship North Carolina | 1 Battleship Road, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:00 a.m.

Get ready for the trek through downtown Historic Wilmington with a Half Marathon, 10K or 5K. Started in 1998, the Battleship Half Marathon is one of the oldest USTA certified Half Marathons in the South. Runners traverse charming historic downtown, go around the Battleship North Carolina, over two bridges and through picturesque Greenfield Park and ending on Wilmington’s Riverwalk. Join the run or cheer on the racers as they travel through some spectacular scenery.

Buddy Guy

Wilson Center | 703 N Third St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Spend a soulful evening when legendary blues artist Buddy Guy as he makes his farewell tour. The eight-time GRAMMY winning musician has been making music for almost eight decades starting in Louisiana when he made his own instruments at age seven. Now, come listen to the blues as it was meant to be played, with a lifetime of soul poured into every song. Come see why Rolling Stone named him 23rd in its “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list.

Friday, November 17th

Cucalorus Film Festival

Jengo’s Playhouse | 815 Princess Street, Wilmington, NC 28401

Happening all weekend long, it’s one of the largest American film festivals in the South, Cucalorus. It’s recognized by Moviemaker as one of the “Coolest Film Festivals in the World” and one of “50 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” and more. This non-competitive festival showcases more than 120 worldwide films, a diverse selection of Stage performances, and over 50 Connect Conference events. Cucalorus attracts an audience of over 22,000 cultural travelers who come to celebrate art and connect with peers. Stay tuned for more details about Cucalorus Film, Stage and Connect events by checking their website.

Cape Fear Festival of Trees

NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher | 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach, NC 28449 | 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Through January 1st, wander through a winter wonderland of holiday elegance surrounded by the beauty of the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher. Glistening trees, decorated by local businesses, various organizations and individual artists, they transform the aquarium space into an enchanted forest for all to enjoy. All visitors who purchase a general admission ticket to the Aquarium during these times will experience the Cape Fear Festival of Trees. This is the perfect way to kick off your holiday celebrations. Note: Aquarium is closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.

Pretty Woman: The Musical

Wilson Center | 703 N Third St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Get ready for a feel good romantic musical comedy based on one of Hollywood’s most beloved romantic stories. Based on the fan favorite movie and book, the story of a penniless girl who captures the attention and the heart of a millionaire is now performed to music. Are you ready to fall in love all over again?

Saturday, November 18th

Porters Neck Artisan Holiday Market

Porters Neck Country Club | 8403 Vintage Club Dr. Wilmington, NC 28411 | 2:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Get your holiday shopping done early and shop local at the Porters Neck holiday market. Join 30 local vendors as they sell their handmade or unique products at this highly anticipated art show. There will also be a Food Bank and Toys for Tots donation area where canned foods, art supplies and toys that any kid would love are encouraged. This event is free and open to the public.

Kure Beach Holiday Market

Kure Beach Ocean Front Park & Pavilion | 105 Atlantic Avenue, Kure Beach, NC 28449 | 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Come enjoy the closest holiday market to the Atlantic Ocean. Get a jump-start on your holiday shopping while supporting local businesses at the Kure Beach Holiday Market. You can enjoy the beautiful ocean view as you browse through items handcrafted by talented artists, artisans and crafters as well as a DJ and plenty of food trucks to choose from. Who wouldn’t want to shop on the oceanfront?

Loop Through History

The John Nesbitt Loop | 303 West Salisbury Street, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 | 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Explore local Wrightsville Beach and Harbor Island history through 25 unique signs with fascinating stories that are posted sunrise to sunset along the 2.45 miles of The Loop, Wrightsville Beach’s sidewalk fitness trail. Each sign includes vintage photographs, informative history tidbits and trivia describing the importance of the area. This is a great way to get exercise and learn something new.

Tidewater Camellia Club Fall Show & Sale

New Hanover County Arboretum | 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 11:00 a.m.

View exquisite, award-winning camellia blooms and learn about the care and protection of these beautiful plants at the Tidewater Camellia Club Fall Show & Sale. The event features a display of camellia blooms, the popular camellia sale, fun family activities and many educational exhibits. Talk with experts and attend educational seminars about the planting and care of camellias or join a guided tour of the Arboretum Camellia Garden.

Southern Lights First Annual Premiere Party

The Gardens of Southeastern North Carolina | 985 Johnson Nursery Road, Pender County, NC 28478 | 5:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Experience the mesmerizing illumination of The Southern Lights at their first annual premiere party. Indulge in wine tasting, enjoy live classical melodies and savor delectable hors d’oeuvres, ensuring an unforgettable evening. Please note that they have limited tickets available, click here to purchase tickets. The official dates of the light show are November 24th through December 23rd and you can expect walk-through lights that are picture perfect, a cash bar, wood-fired pizza, smores and fire pits, a children’s Christmas maze, food trucks and more.

Sunday, November 19th

Christmas in Pender - Festival of Trees

Hampstead United Methodist Church | 96 Old White Marsh Rd, Hampstead, NC 28443 | 1:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Are you looking for a festive experience to kick off the holiday season? Pender County’s signature Festival of Trees includes decorated themed trees, wreaths, a gingerbread house competition, children’s holiday craft station, s’mores over an outside fire pit, and a visit with Santa with holiday music led by local choirs, quartets, artists, and musicians. Guests will be able to purchase wreaths, bid on beautifully decorated trees, make a fun-filled holiday craft. Put your decorating skills to work and carry home the 2023 Pender County Gingerbread House Trophy.

Tuesday, November 21st

Million Dollar Quartet Christmas

Wilson Center | 703 N Third St, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Don’t miss the Tony award winning, Christmas inspired and the only impromptu jam session of rock and roll icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins! This heartwarming Holiday musical rings with the sounds of the season, with the chart toppers that made them famous. Enjoy a joyful journey through Christmas stories past, present, and future featuring nostalgic holiday hits including “Run Rudolph Run,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” and more.

Thursday, November 23rd

Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot

Wrightsville Beach Park | 321 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 | 8:00 a.m.

Burn off those pre-Thanksgiving calories at the Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot. Come dressed in your finest Turkey costume while enjoying a timed 5K or one mile run/walk on the beautiful Wrightsville Beach Loop. There will be prizes and fun for everyone this Thanksgiving Day! Please see their website for registration and pictures from previous Turkey Trots.

Friday, November 24th

A Very Merry Downtown Christmas: Brian Whitted

Brooklyn Arts Center + The Annex | 6835 Conservation Way, Wilmington, NC 28405 | 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

Celebrate the magical sounds of the holiday season with a Very Merry Downtown Christmas starring Broadway veteran Brian Whitted and others at the Brooklyn Arts Center. Enjoy a mellow evening of your favorite holiday tunes. Hosted by the Opera House Theatre Company, the evening will also feature a seven-piece orchestra highlighting special performers for each show.

All is Bright at Poplar Grove

Poplar Grove Plantation | 10200 US Highway 17 North, Wilmington, NC 28411 | 5:00 p.m.

Through Christmas Eve, join the holiday festivities as historic Poplar Grove Plantation’s beautiful grounds shimmer with a magical light display. Surrounded by thousands of twinkling lights, get in the Christmas spirit in their barn bustling with arts, crafts and gift vendors and more. Children can spend time on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with Santa as well as staying cozy around firepits with marshmallows roasting. Bring the whole family to savor the sparkling spirit of the season!

Downtown Wilmington Holiday Tree Lighting

Market and Water Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.

Join the family friendly fun during Downtown Wilmington’s Christmas tree lighting. The holiday joy begins with entertainment at 5:30 p.m. followed by the festive countdown usually around 6:25 p.m. for the actual tree lighting, then everyone is treated to a special visit from Santa. Get into the spirit and stroll among the shops and restaurants to kick off the holiday season coastal style.

Enchanted Airlie

Airlie Gardens | 300 Airlie Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 5:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Stroll through Airlie Gardens and enjoy millions of festive lights, holiday flowers and musical entertainment with the whole family. This favorite Wilmington event continues to enchant visitors year after year. Online tickets must be purchased in advance.

Fourth Friday Gallery Nights

ACES Gallery | 221 N Front Street, Suite 101, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Enjoy a Fourth Friday evening when select galleries and studios open their doors for an after-hours celebration of art and culture. On the Fourth Friday of each month, take a self-guided tour to view exhibitions of various artistic genres including oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, metals, ceramics, music, mixed media and more. Many galleries have featured artists available for discussion of their craft. Maps are available at all participating locations including the Arts Council of Wilmington.

Holiday Train Expo

Independence Mall | 3500 Oleander Drive, Dillard’s Wing of Independence Mall, Wilmington, NC 28403 | 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Be enchanted by a favorite Christmas tradition with the Holiday Train Expo’s spectacular displays of twelve unique model train layouts as over 30 trains travel across miles of track through a winter wonderland of villages, parks and landscapes. Take advantage of a photo-op with the famed Polar Express. Start your family holiday season with a visit to the Holiday Train Expo presented by the Cape Fear Model Railroad Society. This is a popular family-friendly Christmas tradition that will get the whole family in the holiday spirit. Note: closed Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Island of Lights: Lighting at the Lake

Carolina Beach Lake Park | 400 Lake Park Blvd S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428 | 7:00 p.m.

Get in the holiday spirit at the Island of Lights opening celebration. Festivities begin with a brief opening ceremony featuring elected officials, musical entertainment, an Honor Guard display and the national anthem followed by the Lighting of the Lake. Walk the one-mile trail and view beautiful lighted displays. Santa will be there to hear Christmas wishes. This will be an enchanting night to start your festive holiday season. The Lake will remain lit through the holiday season.

Spirit of the Holidays Cruise

Wilmington Water Tours | 212 S Water Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Cruise the Cape Fear River and experience the sights, sounds and tastes of the holidays. Listen to local musicians perform holiday music while sampling yuletide cocktails and small appetizers. Enjoy the views of the magical lights while cruising along the historic Wilmington Riverwalk aboard the 46′ catamaran. Holiday Cruises are offered on Thursday and Friday nights in addition to select additional days. Pre-registration is required.

Saturday, November 25th

40th Annual NC Holiday Flotilla at Wrightsville Beach

Wrightsville Beach Parks & Recreation | 1 Bob Sawyer Drive, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480 | 6:00 p.m.

Celebrate the holidays coastal-style at the 40th Annual NC Holiday Flotilla. A local tradition since 1983, the celebration kicks off Friday night with the Tree Lighting ceremony that is open to the public. The fun continues Saturday with the Festival in the Park featuring over 100 arts and craft vendors, an antique car show, a large play area for children with several inflatables, festival food and more. The Flotilla (lighted boat parade) begins Saturday at 6:00 pm and is followed by a spectacular firework show. Don’t forget to vote via text for both the “People’s Choice” and “Crowd Favorite” awards once the parade starts.

Christmas by the Sea

Carolina Beach Boardwalk | Carolina Beach Ave S, Carolina Beach, NC 28428 | 5:00 p.m.

Enjoy Christmas by the Sea as the Town of Carolina Beach becomes an island of lights with homes and businesses at their festive finest to get you in the holiday spirit. Stroll the famous Carolina Beach Boardwalk and Gazebo decked in twinkling lights from late November until the New Year. Enjoy the holiday glow and special holiday happenings scheduled to begin at 5:00 p.m. along the Boardwalk.

Christmas Train & Light Spectacular

Wilmington Railroad Museum | 505 Nutt Street, Wilmington NC 28401 | 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Now until December 23rd, holiday magic returns to the railroad museum with more twinkling lights and more Christmas action. The museum transforms into a winter wonderland with spectacular decorations. Over 35,000 lights glisten and sparkle as well as additional musical animations and twilight model train displays. You can also enjoy a visit with Santa, and goodies like cider to sip on.

Holiday Flotilla Dinner Cruise

Island Cruises | 301 Carl Winner Drive, Carolina Beach, NC 28428 | 3:30 – 10:30 p.m.

Ring in the holidays with a special dinner cruise during the NC Holiday Flotilla and fireworks! This seven-hour cruise features a full Southern dinner of pulled pork, sliced brisket, and smoked turkey served with all the trimmings. Upon arrival in the Banks Channel, your front row seat gives exciting views of the fireworks and Flotilla. Festive dance music accompanies your return to Carolina Beach for an evening you will always remember. Tickets are $100.

Oyster Farm Tour & Tasting

Epic Excursions | 206 Causeway Drive, Wrightsville Beach, NC 28480

Join Epic Excursions and Middle Sound Mariculture for a visit to a local oyster farm. Sample freshly shucked oysters that were just harvested surrounded by the natural beauty of Masonboro Island. Your tour starts with a guided boat ride to the Middle Sound Mariculture Farm where you will learn how these delicious oysters are raised from seed to harvest. Then cruise over to Masonboro Island to toss back the oysters and enjoy the natural beauty around you. If you want, they will even teach you how to shuck your own oysters. The tour includes a sampling of raw and steamed oysters with a complimentary wine selection, but feel free to bring along any other beverage of choice.

Wednesday, November 29th

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas

The Wilson Center | 703 N Third Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Experience the holiday spirit of the season as magic comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller, America’s favorite Christmas tradition for over 35 Years. GRAMMY winner Chip Davis has created a show featuring a blend of beloved Christmas music along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate indoor setting. Their holiday releases are for all ages and have become synonymous with Christmas. They also continue to occupy top spots on Billboard’s Seasonal Charts every year!

Mayfaire Holiday Events

Mayfaire Town Center | 980 Inspiration Drive, Wilmington, NC 28405

Get into the holiday spirit at Santa’s Workshop now until Christmas Eve. Meet the jolly man and get ready to take professional photos with you and your loved ones, even the four-legged ones. Santa will be scheduling in-person visits with walkup visits available as space permits. Special days for your furry friends to take their picture with Santa are Mondays (December 4th through December 18th). Enjoy strolling the streets lined with festively dressed stores and don’t forget there’s extra holiday shopping available, including Christmas Trees.

Thursday, November 30th

Nashville Country Christmas

Thalian Hall | 310 Chestnut Street, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 7:30 p.m.

Experience the joy of Christmas during this delightful production of toe-tapping and heartfelt music for the holidays. From the fun of “Old Saint Nick” to the profoundly moving “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” the music selections cover songs of fun, faith, and hope presented by accomplished musicians and singers steeped in America’s Country music traditions. This is the great way to begin to celebrate the holidays and have a Merry Country Christmas!

Lauren Schuster

Lauren Schuster

Lauren joined WECT in September of 2022 as a multimedia journalist/reporter. Lauren grew up in a suburb of Chicago and graduated from Western Michigan in 2022 with a degree in broadcast journalism. While attending school, she interned at WOOD-TV 8 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She also worked as a lifestyle reporter for Rose Tv in Rosemont, Illinois.