WILMINGTON – The Super Bowl is the biggest professional sports event on the American calendar. For fans, this year’s game – Super Bowl LI – will be hard to miss, playing on nearly every TV at dozens of bars and restaurants around town.
But the Super Bowl isn’t for everyone. Whether you are boycotting the game for political reasons, or your team did not make the cut, or you are just not into football, fear not. Wilmington does have other things to do on Sunday.
(1) Painting with a Twist: If there is a polar opposite to watching the Super Bowl, it may be this. The Wilmington studio offers a range of painting classes and encourages guests to BYOB (wine and beer, no hard liquor; the studio provides chilling buckets, glasses and bottle openers).
Sunday night’s class – “Into the Horizon” – is for adults (children 15 and older allowed with guardian). The two-hour class starts at 4 p.m., though guests are encouraged to arrive early and relax before the lesson begins. Registration is $35 and is available along with class details at the Painting with a Twist website. The studio is located at 5732 Oleander Drive.
(2) Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival: The 12th annual event features over 50 wineries, chocolatiers and specialty goods vendors. Sunday is the final day of the three-day event, open from noon to 4 p.m., and will feature live music and culinary demonstrations.
Musical acts will include Rebekah Todd, a staple of Wilmington’s local music scene, as well as RJ on Bass, and El Jaye Johnson. Farmin’ on Front will also be giving a surprise cooking lesson, along with chef/owner Daniel Anderson of Taste the Olive.
Tickets are $15 dollars ($20 at the door) and are available at the event website (children five and under are free). The festival is held at the Coastline Convention Center, 501 Nutt St. The event is organized by the Volunteer Older Citizens Action League (VOCAL), and has been the group’s major annual fundraising event for over a decade. VOCAL uses proceeds to help address the issues of New Hanover County’s senior citizens.
(3) Residents Day at Airlie Gardens and the Cape Fear Museum: Residents of New Hanover County will have free admission to the gardens and museum on Sunday (be sure to bring a driver’s license, student ID or a piece of mail with your New Hanover County address on it).
The historical grounds of Airlie Gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. – weather forecasters are calling for temperature in the low 60s, brisk but suitable for an afternoon stroll. The gardens are located at 300 Airlie Road.
The Cape Fear Museum features several rotating exhibits, including “Staring Cape Fear!” The exhibit covers the 100-year history of film in the area, and includes props and artifacts from the “Iron Man 3” film, as well as the “One Tree Hill” television series. The museum is located at 814 Market St. and is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
(4) Discover the Dinosaurs – Unleashed: If anything rivals the beloved status of football, it’s dinosaurs. The traveling Discover the Dinosaurs event features animatronic versions of the prehistoric creatures. Children can learn about the techniques of paleontology, sift for fossils and ride a Tyrannosaurs Rex.
The event is open from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. at the Wilmington convention center, located at 515 Nutt St. Tickets run $12-15 dollars and are available online.
(5) “Sunday School” – Pop-Up Electrolounge: Far from the raucous sports bars on College Road, the Juggling Gypsy is at the far end of Castle St.’s developing arts district. On Sunday, the bar and hookah lounge will host local underground DJs. There is no cover for the showcase. More information – and a full craft beer list – is available the Gypsy’s website.
The Juggling Gypsy is located at 1612 Castle Street.