SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Independence Day weekend is upon this Li’l Friday edition, which means the City of Wilmington is preparing to debut downtown’s newest addition: Riverfront Park.
A July 4th opening is slated for locals to check out the venue ahead of its first major touring act, Widespread Panic, coming through for a three-night residency, July 16-18. But before they hit the stage, local musicians, from Benny Hill to L Shape Lot, will be playing for the masses.
More music is on deck for the weekend, too, from Empire Strikes Brass to Coastal Collective. There is also a July 4th punk-rock cookout at Reggie’s and a family-friendly affair going down at Waterline on Saturday.
Art shows, museum tours, and more are on deck.
Whatever you choose to do, be safe, and cheers to Li’l Friday!
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Thursday, July 1
Charity Pint Night and Pop-Up Market
Hi-Wire Brewing, 1020 Princess St. • Free
Feast Down East will have its Local Motive Mobile Farmers Market parked at Hi-Wire on Thursday night, 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. There will be local produce, beef, honey, eggs, and goat cheese for sale. As well, custom t-shirts and Freakers from Feast Down East will be available for purchase. The mobile unit accepts cash, credit/debit, and SNAP/EBT with Fresh Bucks dollar-for-dollar match.
Also, from 3 p.m. – 10 p.m., Hi-Wire will donate to Feast Down East $1 from every flagship beer sold.
MORE THURSDAY HAPPENINGS
• Golf Cart Palooza — The Island Men Patriotic Golf Cart Palooza takes off at 5:30 p.m. from the Publix parking lot on Carolina Beach’s Lake Park Boulevard, down to Harper Avenue, wherein it will snake through various streets and neighborhoods. The last leg of the event will be on Cape Fear Boulevard, ending at the Boardwalk Gazebo. Golf cars will be dressed in their July 4th best.
• Jon Hill Trio — From 6 p.m. – 8 p.m., the trio will bring their jazzy sounds to Palate on 4th Street. The band features Jon Hill on drums, Benny Hill on saxophone, and Taylor Lee on bass. Special guests may pop by to join. Music is free; food truck and bar will open.
Friday, July 2
Wilma W. Daniels Gallery, 200 Hanover St. • Free
Sculptures that challenge thought and modern-day art are on display at the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery at CFCC. The exhibit features artists from both the Philadelphia Sculptors and Tri State Sculptors associations.
More than two dozen sculptors will have work on display from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and beyond, and showcase works like “Promiseland” by Austin Shepherd, featuring an old water tank with plants growing from it, or Emilio Maldanado’s old TV with plastic food coming out of it in “Food Network.”
An opening reception will be held on Friday, July 2, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and a second reception will take place during downtown’s Fourth Friday Gallery Nights on Friday, July 23, 2021, from 6 to 9 p.m. The exhibit closes Aug. 6.
MORE FRIDAY HAPPENINGS
• Coastal Collective Family Reunion — The local hip-hop/jazz/funk group hasn’t played together in a year. They’ll be popping up at Waterline (721 Surry St.) on Friday night from 7 p.m. -10 p.m. Show is free!
• Life Stories of People and Places — The latest art exhibit from Livy Hitchcock hangs at the Bellamy Mansion Museum through July 10. It features original paintings of scenes from North Carolina to Greece, and faces from 1969 to present day. All visitors inside the museum must wear a face covering. Admission to tour the Bellamy (503 Market St.) is $14.
• Night Tours at Burgwin-Wright House — No electricity, no modern conveniences, but life in the colonial times was full of rituals and superstitions. The Burgwin-Wright House opens the first and third Fridays each month for night tours. Led by interpreters, the tours speak to traditions in colonial times after the sun goes down. The house will be lit by candle. It kicks off at 9 p.m. and is $14 a person. Advance registration is required: (910) 762-0570. Masks are recommended when inside the museum. Tickets: $14
Saturday, July 3
6th Annual Freedom Fest
Waterline Brewing Co., 721 Surry St. • Free
The brewery underneath the Cape Fear Bridge is ready to kick off July 4th one day early. The family-friendly event will include games, fairy hair, prizes, face-painting, food, and ice cream. There will be interactive drumming and music for the kids from Music Bird Studios. All of the fun will come to a head with a water-balloon fight at the end of the night.
The schedule looks like this:
2pm: Kick off event with interactive music for kids!
3pm: Ring toss
3:30: Hula hoop contest
3:45: Most ‘Merican best dressed contest
4:00: Pie eating contest
4:30: Water balloon toss
5:00: Epic water balloon fight
Adults will be able to partake in life-sized Jenga and a gigantic water pong. Food trucks include Something Cool Ice Cream and A&M.
MORE SATURDAY HAPPENINGS
• Outer Dunes Night Market — The newest brewery in Ogden is hosting a night market on Saturday from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. Vendors include Carolina Beach Fossils, Moonlit Metals, Hawthorn and Oak, and The Wrapped Piedra. There also will be food on site from Cape Fear Oyster Company and King of Pops. Outer Dunes Brewing Co. is located at 7976 Market St.
• Summer Concerts at Riverlights — Located on River Road, Riverlights (109 Pier Master Point) will host a free concert in its Live Oak Commons on Saturday from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. The Imitations will perform and Lobster Dogs food truck will be churning out eats. Lawn chairs/blankets welcome; no pets allowed.
Sunday, July 4
Riverfront Park Opening
10 Cowan St. • Free
It has arrived. On July 4, the community will see the opening of the city’s 6.6-acre Riverfront Park, featuring open greenspace and gardens, interactive play areas and water features. The park also converts into a 7,200-seat amphitheater managed by Live Nation throughout the year.
Locals will get a sneak peek Sunday, as bands take the stage around 2 p.m., starting with the Omni Percussion Ensemble, followed by Benny Hill Quartet, The Coastal Collective (3:20 p.m.), Signal Fire (4:30 p.m.), and L Shape Lot (5:40 p.m.). Standup comedians Matt White (2:50 p.m.) and Timmy Sherrill (4 p.m.) also will do sets.
There will be locally crafted beer for adults and a children’s area with activities and games. Gates open at 1 p.m. and lawn chairs and blankets are allowed on the great lawn of the venue space.
Riverfront Park will close at 8 p.m. The fireworks will take place downtown, visible along Water Street beginning at 9:05 p.m.
MORE SUNDAY HAPPENINGS
• Punk Rock 4th of July Cookout — Reggie’s 42nd St. Tavern will host an Independence Day cookout and host five bands, including The Hooliganz, Creekwood Adjacent, Symptoms, Soda City Riot, and Commonwealth. Admission is $7, and the event takes place 3 p.m. – 9 p.m.
• Empire Strikes Brass — At Wrightsville Beach’s Palm Room, Asheville’s brass-funk-rock outfit, Empire Strikes Brass, will take over the stage. The nine-piece plays NOLA-inspired, second-line funk, and has joined onstage the likes of The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Galactic, The Big Something, and others. Tickets are $12.
** BONUS EVENT **
• Drive-In Film Fest — Taking place Wednesday, July 7, Theatre for All will host a drive-in screening at Wilson Center, featuring all the films their students made during Covid-19. Seven short films will be shown, A&M’s Red Food Truck will be parked, and there will be a raffle and flash mob. Doors at 6:30 p.m., program launches at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 per carload; lawn chairs welcome.
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