SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Need some fun for the weekend? We have you covered. About 20 events can keep you entertained, including two area spring festivals, Widespread Panic’s return to Riverfront Park — and free live music options too — plus, live performance in theater and dance, the River to Sea Ride and more.
Thursday, May 5
Cinco de Mayo! Tacos, Tequila & Dancing
Brunches at Randall, 3326 Randall Parkway • Tickets: $15
The Wilmington Latin Dance team is hosting salsa lessons this Thursday at Brunches on Randall Parkway in celebration of Cinco de Mayo. All-you-can-eat tacos will be served from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. There will be margarita specials, a full bar, and more.
Dancing starts at 7:30 p.m. with an introduction lesson. Wilmington Latin Dance will take over the floor until 10:30 p.m. There is a $15 ticket to cover the tacos and lessons. Payment can be made via the Wilmington Latin Dance website, Venmo (@wilmingtonlatindance), CashApp ($wilmingtonlatindance), or with cash at the door.
The Wilmington Latin Dance team offers private and group lessons from beginner to advanced levels. It also hosts the Port City Salsa Splash annually during the summer. More information on the event and the dance team can be found here.
OTHER THURSDAY HAPPENINGS
Paleo Bluegrass — End of Days Distillery will host Paleo Wilmington bluegrass musicians. Music will begin at 6:30 p.m. and last until 8:30 p.m. The Mr. Mac Salads OG BBQ food truck will be available for food purchases; it’s 21 and up only and free to attend. End of Days Distillery is located at 1815 Castle St.
Deep Creek Soul: Up Your Arts Open Mic — The American Fish Company in Southport (150 Yacht Basin Dr.) will host an open mic from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., sponsored by the nonprofit organization, Up Your Arts. The group’s mission is to support performing arts in the greater Southport area.
Joe Seme and Robert Dance — The Bellamy Mansion Museum will open itssix-week-long art exhibit for local artists Joe Seme and Robert Dance on May 4. These two “Masters of Realism” will display their artwork during regular business hours (Mon. – Sat. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Sundays 1 p.m. – 4 p.m.). Attendees must check in at the Carriage House Visitor Center to gain admission. A meet-and-greet with the artists will open May 27 on the main level of the mansion from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Fearless de Mayo — The City Bicycle Company will unveiling its new location during an event from 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at 1930 Eastwood Rd. Suite 120. This free event is open to the public and will have food by Spoonfed, beer, The Fearless Trading Company coffee and apparel, and an auction. Also a variety of bicycles will be for sale. An auction item will include an electronic bike, with proceeds donated to The Fearless Life Center. Donations for The Fearless Academy are encouraged online or at the door.
Friday, May 6
Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park, 10-A Cowan St. • Tickets start at $65
The jam/roots rock band, Widespread Panic, will be performing in Wilmington all weekend long. Three-day tickets start at $195, and all other one-day passes will be $65 each for any given day, Friday through Sunday.
Widespread Panic has performed together for more than three decades, hassold over three million albums, and has sold out venues such as Red Rock Amphitheatre, New Orleans Jazzfest, Bonnaroo, and more. Performing nationwide for more than 30 years, the band is known for never repeating the same setlist.
The Friday show will begin at 7 p.m. and is open to all ages of the public. An after-party for the event will take place with band Bloodkin at The Palm Room, 11 E. Salisbury St. from 11 p.m. – 2 a.m. for all 21+ guests. Entry is $15.
Read Port City Daily’s interview with WSP from last year, ahead of itsRiverfront Park show, here.
OTHER FRIDAY HAPPENINGS
First Friday Bluegrass Series — Tideline String Band will kick off the first Friday events for the Bluegrass Series at Waterman’s Brewing Company, 1610 Pavilion Pl. from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Donations are welcome, and will be given to nonprofit Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard. Venmo donations are accepted and should be sent to @bigalhall. The event is free to join and welcome to all ages.
USS Battleship North Carolina Ghost Hunt — Known as one of the most haunted ships, downtown Wilmington’s iconic attraction welcomes people aboard for a ghost hunt from 7:30 p.m. until Saturday at 3 a.m. on the USS Battleship (1 Battleship Rd. NE). The ticket price of $129 includes a history day tour, exclusive overnight access to areas that are normally off-limits, access to the most haunted areas of the ship, psychic medium vigil, group vigils with experienced investigators, lone vigils, overnight ghost hunt, use of ship equipment, free time to explore the ship and undertake private vigils, unlimited beverages such as coffee, bottled water and soda, and a selection of snacks. Tickets can be purchased here; event is open to all ages.
The Bow Wow Luau and Cat’s Meow — Shell Island Resort will host the annual fundraising event at 2700 N Lumina Ave. from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. for homeless and abused pets. The nonprofit raised and donated more than $68,000 for cats and dogs in need since the organization’s founding in 2009. Working with partner Best Friends Animal Society’s National Movement, the event will entail a luau and “Aloha Show.” Tickets are $40 and open to the public.
Saturday, May 7
Pender County Spring Fest
Courthouse Square, 111 West Fremont St., Burgaw • Free
The 43rd annual festival finally returns after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19. The Pender County Spring Fest will include a barbecue cookoff and street dance, taking place in courthouse square starting Friday at 7 p.m. and continuing through Saturday at 5 p.m.
On Friday, barbecue will be served by Avery Watts and Jennifer Matthews along with other famous Pender County chefs James Malloy, Harold and Sadie Pollock, Roy Hand and Kenny Marshburn.
Saturday’s event gets underway at 8 a.m. with an untimed Family Fun Run/Walk around the Osgood Canal Greenway and Urban Trail.
Also, there will be nearly 100 local artisansand makers vending art, jewelry, handmade goods, plants, and more. Children’s activities include sack races, a bubble gum blow contest and the Cow Pie Toss (yes, real cow pies collected countywide) with the winner taking home the Golden Cow Trophy.
The library will do a book giveaway, local students will have art on display, and fire trucks will be on site with other first responders. Local churches also schedule homecomings around the festival weekend.
Live entertainment will take place from area dance performers (Cripple Creek Dancers) and musicians (Pender High Patriot Band, Noah Blanton and Crew, Southern Gospel Sing). See the full schedule here.
OTHER SATURDAY HAPPENINGS
Carolina Beach Street Festival — Also happening at Carolina Beach, another street festival, “Art in the Air,” encourages community fellowship and creative spirit. There will be multiple arts and crafts vendors set up around the lake at Carolina Beach Lake Park, Atlantic Avenue at S Lake Park Blvd. An interactive area for kids will be set up and there will be demonstrations and lessons (learn to shag dance at 12:30 p.m.), plus performances (Beaches and Boots line dancers at 2 p.m., Percussion Ensemble at 2:30 p.m.). The event is free and takes place 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Derby De Mayo — Celebrating the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo all in one is Derby De Mayo, kicking off at 1915 East Lake Shore Dr. at 4 p.m. Open to the public, the derby will be screened (bring dollars for horse betting at 5:30 p.m.). Adults may bring drinks of choice, plus there will be piñatas for the kids. The event is free.
Free Comic Book Day — Memory Lane Comics (201 Princess St.) will celebrate free Comic Book Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., which will include giving out over 50 different comics for fans to choose from. All selections can be perused here. Also, goodie bags will be handed out to the first 50 customers.here will be artists set up with their own offerings, raffles and more. Also Fanboy Comics (419 S. College Rd.) will give away gift bags to the first 50 customers and have over 30 comics to give away. Local artist Bryan Jacobs will be on hand selling his original works as well.
David Dixon — The Saturday Sunset Series at Port City Marina and Marina Grill (18 Harnett St.) will feature local musician David Dixon, who released the album “The Game” last year. Dixon blends pop, rock, blues and soul in originals and covers. He will perform free from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Learn more about the Saturday Sunset Series here.
River to Sea Bike Ride — For year 32, the area’s annual River to Sea Bike Ride will take place at 7 a.m. wherein cyclists trek from downtown Wilmington to Wrightsville Beach and back again in a 20-mile trip. Free registration will be open until 1 p.m. on May 6 and there will be a $5 charge for day-of registration. All age groups and levels welcome; check-in is at 6:30 a.m. at the intersection of Princess and Second streets in downtown Wilmington.
Sunday, May 8
The Last 5 Years
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets $32.
It’s the last weekend to see Opera House Theatre Company’s production of “The Last Five Years.” Playwright Jason Robert Brown’s musical traverses the murky territory of relationships: how two people meet, fall in love and break up.
Starring Paul Teal and Jordan Davis as husband and wife Jamie Wellerstein and Cathy Hiatt, the love affair is sung through 14 songs and told from opposite perspectives. Cathy relives the relationship from its ending and Jamie works through the memories from the beginning until their stories meet in the middle.
Tickets are $32 and the show is staged by Opera House Theater Company at Thalian Hall. Read PCD’s coverage here.
OTHER SUNDAY HAPPENINGS
Arts Markets — In the South Front District, ArtWorks is hosting arts vendors from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and will have a food truck on site serving lobster rolls. Along Front Street between Dock and Market, artists will sell fused glass, jewelry, fiber arts, and more at the Historic Downtown Wilmington Marketplace
Wilmington Dance Festival — Co-presented by the nonprofit Dance Cooperative, the Wilmington Dance Festival takes place all weekend at UNCW’s Kenan Auditorium. It celebrates local dancers and choreographers, featuring over two dozen performances. Tickets are $9 to $24 and can be purchased here. The event takes place at Kenan Auditorium on UNCW campus.
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