Rib fest, tall ship tours: How to get there, where to park

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A free trolley ride is just one way to beat the traffic to the Port City Rib Fest and tall ship tours this weekend. Courtesy photo.
A free trolley ride is just one way to beat the traffic to the Port City Rib Fest and tall ship tours this weekend. Courtesy photo.

Brisket and boats and bands, oh my.

Between the much anticipated arrival of a tall ship and the return of the long-awaited Port City Rib Fest, northern downtown Wilmington is the place to be this weekend.

But first, you’re going to have to find a place to park.

While it might seem like a daunting task, organizers of both events have arranged to make getting there—and staying out of the traffic—a little easier.

The rib fest has teamed up with Metro PCS to offer a free shuttle service – in an open air, trolley-style bus – to the event at North Waterfront Park, 1000 N. Front St. The shuttle will pick up at various spots between South Front Street and the park from noon to 12 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Each shuttle shop will have three pick-ups and drop-offs per hour. Click here to see a trolley map.

The rib fest runs 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today and Saturday and from noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.

You can park out of the way and hop on the shuttle straight to the festivities, and there is also a stop at nearby Port City Marina, where the 16th century replica tall ship, El Galeon, will be docked and open for self-guided tours starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.

If you’d rather go by sea than by land, Wilmington Harbor Enhancement Trust (WHET)—the non-profit organization that is bringing El Galeon to the area—has partnered with Wilmington Water Tours to offer a taxi service along the Cape Fear River.

The company’s water taxi, Bizzy Bee, will run from Battleship Park to the foot of Market Street and then to Port City Marina. From Port City Marina, you can either take a tour of El Galeon or catch a trolley ride to the Port City Ribfest.

The round-trip cost to ride the water taxi is $6 for adults, $3 for children 3-12 and $1 for 2 and under.

Port City Marina, 10 Harnett St., also plans to open up one of its lots to festival-goers and tour takers.

And Dick Heiser with WHET offers up yet another option to get there.

“I would just stress to folks that we have a beautiful riverwalk,” he said. “Just park out of the way and come down the riverwalk.”

Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at (910) 772-6341 or hilary.s@portcitydaily.com.