Thursday, January 27, 2022

Li’l Friday Roundup: Over a dozen New Year’s celebrations, plus hikes, PJ party and Wrightsville Plunge on first day of 2022

The Wrightsville Plunge continues the New Year’s Day tradition, fundraising for Communities in Schools. (Port City Daily/Alexandria Sands Williams)

Thursday, Dec. 30

Drum Circle
Lifeguard Tower 17, Carolina Beach • Free

Weekly, a drum circle gathers near Lifeguard Tower 17 in Carolina Beach at 5:30 p.m., weather permitting.

All players of all levels are welcome to bring a drum or other handheld percussive device, plus a mat or chair to sit on. Some players bring extra instruments to share for those who don’t own one. 

Social distancing is respected. All updates on meetings are posted here.

Bridgewater Wines + Dines — The Leland store at 1132-5 New Pointe Blvd. hosts wine tastings weekly, 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. It’s free to attend and wines sampled will also be for sale.

Jared Michael Cline — Cline will perform from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. at Carolina Beach’s Seawitch Cafe and Tiki Bar, 227 Carolina Beach Ave. The show is free.

Open Mic at Dead Crow — Every Thursday, 8 p.m. – midnight, Dead Crow Comedy Room (511 N. Third St.) hosts an open mic for aspiring comics, seasoned or otherwise, to take over the stage for 3 minutes. Sign up begins at 7 p.m.; showtime is at 8 p.m. No cover. 

New Year’s celebrations abound across the Port City, from Burgaw’s Blueberry Drop to the Island of Lights to dance parties galore. (Courtesy Pexels)

Friday, Dec. 31

New Year’s Events
Various locations • Costs vary per event

New Year’s Noon welcomes families to Children’s Museum of Wilmington (116 Orange St.) to enjoy singing and dancing, crafting glittery slime, snacks, plus a confetti toss and apple juice toast at noon in the courtyard. Admission is $5-$9.75.

Island of Lights New Year’s Celebration gets underway on Pleasure Island. Festivities kick off at Ocean Front Park (105 Atlantic Ave.) in Kure Beach. It’s free and there will be a DJ and dancing, refreshments, party favors for purchase, a giant beach ball dropped at midnight and fireworks. Festivities are subject to change due to Covid.

Burgaw’s Blueberry Drop is a way to celebrate the new year before bed time. The annual event, sponsored by The Town of Burgaw, Pender County Tourism, Pender County Parks and Recreation, and the North Carolina Blueberry Festival, takes place from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Free and open to the public, the event includes live music from Massive Grass, 5:15 p.m. – 6 p.m., and two tribute bands, including Trial By Fire (Journey) and British Invaders (Beatles, Monkees, The Who, Rolling Stones).

Waterline Brewing Company (721 Surry St.) is hosting a free disco party with live music from local rock band Striking Copper. The Chrome Gnome will have a special menu offered on its food truck, serving from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. A complimentary toast will be served at midnight.

Retro Disco New Year’s Eve will be hosted by the Beehive Blondes — two female DJs that bring the party with old-school sounds. The disco throwdown takes place on the new expanded dance floor at Satellite (120 Greenfield St.) from 9 a.m. to midnight. There will be a Crescent Moon Photo Booth and midnight champagne toast.

Seven Mile Post (7219 Market St.) also will host a free event, with a surprise DJ spinning tunes at 9:30 p.m. on the outdoor stage. A complimentary champagne toast takes place at midnight.

Rusty Nail (1310 S. 5th Ave.) will welcome the Burnin’ Bridges Band to the stage from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Party attire is encouraged, and there will be hors d’oeuvres, champagne, and no cover.

Mad Katz (5216 Carolina Beach Rd.) will have live music with Medicated Sunfish and The Settlement on New Year’s Eve. Admission is $20 — champagne toast included — and tickets can be purchased here

Bluewater Marina Grill (4 Marina St.) will have a New Year’s Bash, 9 p.m. – 1 a.m., for ages 21 and up, with live music from Overtyme, dancing and complimentary late night bar bites, plus a midnight toast and party favors. A cash bar will be open; tickets to the party are $40 per person on the second floor. Reserve a table by calling 910-256-8500. Anyone who dines at Bluewater that night will have access to the party.

The Harp (1423 S. 3rd St.) will host a New Year Soiree, 6:30 p.m. – 1 a.m., with Prisoners of Time performing. Heavy hor d’oeuvres, champagne and noisemakers will be available. A buffet will also be served for $22; reservations required by calling (910) 763-1807.

Dead Crow Comedy Room (511 N. Third St.) will host two shows with its hometown comedian Cliff Cash, featuring Brad Allred. Cash kicked off his comedic career at Dead Crow and now tours the comedy club circuit nationwide. His 2021 LP “Half Way There” climbed to No. 1 on the iTunes charts at the beginning of 2021. Shows take place at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $18-$28.

New Year’s Eve Disco Ball takes place at The Lookout at Iron Front (23 N. Front St.). There will be live music from 8-Track Minds, a premier ‘70s dance party band, plus chef’s selection of heavy hors d’oeuvres and the Carolina Raw Bar. Come in your best disco glam. Tickets are $115-$200, which includes food, entertainment, two drink tickets and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. Cash bar available.

Flytrap Brewing’s New Year’s Eve celebration takes place 3 p.m. – 1 a.m. There will be a limited beer release, plus a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, dancing with DJ RizzyBeats and lobster served from Lobster Dogs food truck.

1988 New Year’s Celebration — Coglin’s in downtown Wilmington (206 Market St.) is ringing in 2021 with a flashback to the ‘80s. Wear your neon color palettes and jean jackets and dance all night long to the era’s music. Champagne toast at midnight.

The boardwalk on Fly Trap Trail at Carolina Beach State Park, south of Wilmington: The park hosts a first day hike of the new year, 10 a.m. on Jan. 1. (Port City Daily/file)


Wrightsville Plunge
Wrightsville Beach Access 37 and 38  • $45

Every New Year’s Day, individuals gather in Wrightsville Beach to take a plunge for a purpose. The fundraiser benefits Communities In Schools of Cape Fear — a nonprofit to help kids stay in school and graduate. 

Festivities begin at 11 a.m. behind The Oceanic, between public access 36 and 37. The plunge takes place at noon and 12:30 p.m. 

It’s $35 to participate, and the event is being held in person and virtually. Registration can be accessed here.

First Day Hike  Carolina Beach State Park (1010 State Park Rd.) welcomes participants to the return of its free first day hike, last held in 2020. A ranger at Carolina Beach State Park will share with participants information about the area’s natural resources and history.  Hikers will trek 2 miles to Sugarloaf Dune from the marina parking lot to see the Cape Fear River. All welcome, and no registration is needed for the two-hour event. Hiking shoes and water are encouraged; everyone will meet in the marina parking lot at 10 a.m.

New Year’s Day PJ Party — Hops Supply Company is throwing a PJ party on Jan. 1. Diners are encouraged to show up in jammies to enjoy new brunch dishes created by Chef Brett Chamberlain, as well as boozy iced coffees, champagne cocktails and a special Bloody Mary. Tables can be reserved by calling (910) 833-8867.

Run and Dip — Taking place at Wrightsville Beach’s Johnny Mercer’s Pier, the annual Run and Dip takes place from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Hosted by the Wilmington Runners Club, participants meet at 11 a.m. at the pier for a picture, choose their own route and run, then meet back at noon to take a dip in the ocean.  

Oval and Ale New Year’s Day Kickoff — In Hampstead, the pizza and beer shop (47 S. Hampstead Village Rd.) will welcome live music from the Exacta Duo, 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., with Mad Mole set up in the picnic area. Event is free.

New Year’s Day Oyster Roast — Soundside Seafood Raw Bar is hosting an inaugural New Year’s Day Oyster Roast on its outdoor patio at 2 p.m. It’s $29.95 per person, which includes two dozen fresh roasted oysters, served with traditional new year Southern fixins like collards, black eyed peas, and cornbread. Live music will be performed by Jerry Powell. 

Wilmington Goth Night — Barzarre (1610 Castle St.) will be hosting a Goth Night with three bands, including Wilmington acts Mark Sinnis (8 p.m.), Dead Cool (10 p.m.), as well as Cold Choir (11 p.m.) from Asheville. It will be an indoor-outdoor show, with DJ Straftanz spinning synth pop, cold wave, dark medieval folk tunes, contemporary dark metal, post-punk, and goth. The event, which takes place from 7 p.m. – 2 a.m., is free and open to all ages.

The Carolina Beach State Park Half Marathon and 5K will take place Jan. 2. Registration is still open for the half marathon. (Courtesy Pexels)


The Carolina Beach State Park Half Marathon & 5K
American Legion Post #129, 1500 Bridge Barrier Rd. • $75 

Runners of all levels and abilities will meet at the American Legion to take on a 13.1 and 3.1 mile course throughout the Carolina Beach State Park. After the race, participants (21+) can enjoy a beer on the patio at the American Legion. 

Packet pickup takes place Jan. 1 at Fleet Feet Sports (1125 Military Cutoff Rd., D), noon to 2 p.m., or 10 minutes before the race, which starts at 8 a.m. for half marathon and 8:30 a.m. for 5K, on Jan. 2.

Balancing Your Intentions — An afternoon retreat at Terra Sol Sanctuary will kick off the new year with fresh clarity, as Terra Sol hosts a two-and-a-half hour workshop that includes journaling, breath work, various styles of yoga, and ending with a crystal bowl sound bath. Tickets are $45.

Have an event to consider for Li’l Friday? Email

Shea Carver
Shea Carver is the editor in chief at Port City Daily. A UNCW alumna, Shea worked in the print media business in Wilmington for 22 years before joining the PCD team in October 2020. She specializes in arts coverage — music, film, literature, theatre — the dining scene, and can often be tapped on where to go, what to do and who to see in Wilmington. When she isn’t hanging with her pup, Shadow Wolf, tending the garden or spinning vinyl, she’s attending concerts and live theater.

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