Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Li’l Friday: Bluegrass Bash, Ultimate Brewing Championship Easter events

Feast Down East Downtown Restaurant Tour will take attendees through a unique tasting experience, while learning about local farmers’ products served at downtown restaurants, such as Seabird and PinPoint. (Port City Daily/File)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Li’l Friday is a weekly roundup of events in art, music, theater, comedy, pop-up markets and more.

All events featured were scheduled as of Thursday; however, it’s wise to check in ahead of attending any one. Inclement weather, changes in schedules and unforeseen circumstances may shift for organizers at the last minute.

Thursday, March 28

Feast Down East Downtown Restaurant Tour
Five downtown restaurants • Tickets: $140

Feast Down East, a southeastern North Carolina nonprofit that connects farmers with local grocers and restaurants, is partnering with Taste Carolina Gourmet Tours on a five-restaurant guided walking tour on March 28 and March 30.

Attendees will enjoy a unique tasting experience while learning about local farmers’ products served at downtown restaurants, such as Seabird and PinPoint. Tourists will meet Wilmington chefs and learn about the historic downtown. Included are savory and sweet tastings at the restaurants, most paired with small alcoholic drink tastings. 

Tickets are $140 with a portion of proceeds benefiting Feast Down East. Guests are encouraged to list any dietary restrictions and food allergies, and wear comfortable shoes for the two-mile tour, which runs rain or shine. 

To buy tickets, click to the blue dates below:

Live at CAM! — Bill Aston will perform at Cameron Art Museum from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Armed with his guitar, Aston has been performing venues across town for more than a decade. He crosses various genres, including jazz classics and popular music. He will perform in CAM Cafe at the museum Thursday night during dinner service.

Friday, March 29

Bluegrass Bash
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $42.80

Thalian Hall’s annual Bluegrass Bash celebrates barbecue, live music and local beers. At 6 p.m. there is a parking lot pre-party, featuring local food trucks MeMa’s Chik’n’ & Ribs, and Pepe’s Tacos. Plus there will be samplings from Waterline Brewing and End of Days Distillery. 

Around 7:30 p.m. the curtain will lift and three bands will take the stage. Bluegrass music will be performed by Sail Away Ladies, The Marshall Brown Bluegrass Band and Massive Grass.

Tickets are $42.80. 

Steve Rogers — Comedian Steve Rogers has opened for Brian Regan, Joe List, Nate Bargatze and Taylor Tomlinson. Rogers has appeared on “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” “The Late Late Show with James Corden” and Dry Bar Comedy. He debuted “Before He Was Super” which charted number one on iTunes and was named one of Paste’s Top 12 Best Comedy Albums of 2022. When not touring all over North America, Rogers is a regular at clubs throughout New York City. He will perform at Dead Crow Comedy on Friday and Saturday, two shows each night. Tickets are $18 to $28.

Joyful Flowers — The New Hanover County Arboretum (6206 Oleander Drive) is hosting an Ikebana flower show. “Joyful Flowers” celebrates 42 years of celebrating the Japanese art of flower arrangement in the area. The events takes place on Friday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., featuring more than 50 arrangements created by a local Wilmington chapter. There also will be design demonstrations at noon and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday. The Cape Fear Bonsai Society is a guest exhibitor, and the event is free and open to the public.

DeadHeads in the Sand — A literary and musical celebration of the grandfather of jambands, Grateful Dead, will take place at a Cargo District bottle shop. Fermental (600 S. 17th St.) has paired up with Pomegranate Books to will welcome author John Brackett for a moderated discussion about his book, “Live Dead: The Grateful Dead, Live Recordings and the Ideology of Liveliness.”Todd LaMaskin will moderate. After discussion of the book, Steal Willin’ will perform; the Wilmington band fuses bluegrass and newgrass, with country and the Grateful Dead. It’s free to attend and takes place from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., with the band taking the stage at 7 p.m.

‘After Sherman’ — Jengo’s Playhouse’s Friday Night Film Series will feature the film “After Sherman” from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 815 Princess St. The film covers the aftermath of the mass shooting of Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in June 2015. The filmmaker follows his father, a minister, to learn more about depending on faith for survival, as Black communities — particularly those who are descendants of African slaves —  have done for centuries. A discussion will follow, facilitated by Working Films, with the filmmaker Jon-Sesrie Goff and community leaders. Tickets are $10.

Wilmington Art Association Spring Art Show and Sale — Celebrating 42 years of of bringing together local artists for a show and sale, WIlmington Art Association will open its event at the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Center, 120 S. Second St. on March 30; it runs through April 7. More than 200 artists and 300 pieces of work will be featured in an array of both 2D and 3D media. It’s free and open to the public, with artwork in bins available for sale. The event is juried, with cash prizes given in multiple categories, from Best In Show to Best 2D and Best 3D. The judge is North Carolina artist JJ Jiang, a member of the Oil Painters of America, the National Watercolor Society, and the Watercolor Society of NC (WSNCM). An exhibit opening takes place on March 29, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., with artist meet-and-greets.

Multiple breweries go to head to head during Cape Fear Craft Beer Week to win the Ultimate Brewing Championship wrestling belt, after a blind tasting of the best sippers made from unique ingredients. (Courtesy photo)

Saturday, March 30

Ultimate Brewing Championship
Brooklyn Arts Center, 516 N. Fourth St. • Tickets: $25

The wrap to Cape Fear Craft Beer Week will happen Saturday, 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. with the Ultimate Brewing Championship. Brewers selected two ingredients, drawn from a hat and used them to create any style of beer. 

Past ingredients have included coconut and peanut butter, blackberry and chocolate, blood orange and ginger, mango and spruce, grapefruit and lemongrass, and yuzu and cardamom.  

The local breweries go head-to-head Saturday to reveal their sippers, with the public voting on favorites. The results will be kept secret until the blind tasting and eventual crowning of The Ultimate Brewing Champion.

The winner receives bragging rights and a wrestling belt to hang in their respective brewery. The event is 21 and over.

Animal Lounge — A three-piece improv fusion act, Animal Lounge, will perform at Palate (1007 N. Fourth St.) at 7 p.m. The Wilmington band’s instrumental jams provide gentle escapes into sonic otherworlds, punctuated by trailing electric guitar riffs, staccato drums and rumbling thread-through basslines. They’ll be joined by Hyperloops, Wilmington’s three-piece psychedelic garage rock band.

Barely Dead — Bowstring Brewyard will be the place for Deadheads to gather Saturday. It welcomes a Grateful Dead tribute act for a high-energy show, featuring deep cuts from the grandfather of all jambands. It’s free admission; Bowstring is located in the Soda Pop District at 1002 Princess Drive.

White Elephant Yard Sale — Burgwin-Wright Museum is hosting a yard sale on its campus, featuring items such as houseware, books, vintage linens, antique furniture and more. Sales take place in the visitor center and under the porches; shoppers should bring their own bags. All proceeds from the sale benefit the museum, located at 224 Market St. The sale takes place 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., with members allowed early entry at 7:30 p.m.

Easter Egg Hunts — Multiple ways to celebrate Easter weekend are taking place across the region, with egg hunts aplenty. Bull City Ciderworks in the Cargo District (615 S. 17th St.) will have a taproom egg hunt with a golden egg including a BCC gift card; BYOBasket and it takes place at noon. Epoch Church will host a free egg hunt in Portia Hines Park (411 N. 10th St.) and across town at Long Leaf Park, shelter #4. It’s open to kids ages 12 years and under for free. The first 50 get their own Easter bucket, there will be prizes and the Dynasty Easter Bunny will be on site. A Rabbit Run and Egg Hunt will take place at 981 Town Center Drive in Mayfaire; the 5K (8 a.m.) and 1-mile run (8:15 a.m.) supports Thalian Association’s Youth Theatre. Egg hunt and Easter bunny photos take place after the race; registration is here. Scooter’s Skating Rink on Shipyard Boulevard will have an egg hunt and skate party from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $8, with $4 skate rental. Egg hunt will take place at the end of the skating session

Congregation gathers on the Pender County coastline for Easter sunrise service. (Courtesy photo)

Sunday, March 31

Easter Sunrise Services
Various locations • Free

It’s the holiest day of the year for Christians; Easter takes place Sunday, March 31.

Plenty of local sanctuaries and worship houses will commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ with sunrise services, most taking place waterside across the Cape Fear region.

Here are a few to consider in the tri-county region, from the Battleship North Carolina to Crystal Pier. 


  • Church of the Servant — Public access #4 in Wrightsville Beach, 6:15 a.m.; chairs and blankets welcome
  • First Baptist Church — Airlie Gardens, 7 a.m., under the 400-plus-year-old Live Oak, with chairs and blankets welcome; also featuring a live performance by Brass Quartet
  • First Presbyterian Church — Wrightsville Beach public access #34, 6:30 a.m.; chairs and blankets welcome
  • Grace Baptist Church — Wrightsville Beach public access #8, 6:30 a.m.; chairs and blankets welcome
  • Kure Beach First Baptist and Kure Beach Memorial Lutheran churches Service takes place in Kure Beach at 105 Atlantic Ave. in Ocean Front Park, 6:45 a.m.; chairs and blankets welcome. Offering received to support the Help Center Food Pantry in Carolina Beach
  • Little Chapel On The Boardwalk Presbyterian Church  — Wrightsville Beach access #19, 6:30 a.m.; beach chair or blanket welcome
  • North Pointe Community Church — Sunrise service will begin at 7 a.m. at Crystal Pier near the Oceanic
  • Pine Valley Baptist Church — Takes place on the Battleship North Carolina, 7 a.m.; hot coffee and donuts served after
  • Pine Valley Methodist — Sunrise service on Wilmington’s campus (3788 Shipyard Blvd.) at 6:30 a.m. under a tent; breakfast follows at 7 a.m. 
  • St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Sunrise Eucharist, 6:30 a.m., in the courtyard at 612 S. College Road


  • The Bridge Presbyterian Church — Service will take place at 7 a.m. on the Riverwalk in Belville; chairs welcome.
  • First Baptist Church Oak Island — Ocean Crest Pier, 1409 E. Beach Drive, 6:30 a.m.
  • Fort Caswell — Gates to the campus open at 5:30 a.m. ahead of the 6:30 a.m. service. Blankets and chairs welcome; in the event of rain, it will move to the Hatch Auditorium. Music will be performed by Christian artists Russell and Kristi Johnson and Pastor Blake McFarland and the family ministry pastor from Beach Road Baptist Church, will provide a message; no pets allowed
  • Village Chapel Bald Head Island —  Rev. Greg Jordan will lead a 6:45 a.m. Sunrise Service at the chapel, 105 Lighthouse Wynd


  • Emma Anderson Memorial Chapel — Beach Access #0-12 (Scott’s Avenue), located across from the chapel, 6:30 a.m.; chairs and blankets welcome; “Connections” social follows in the Youth Cottage
  • Faith Harbor United Methodist Service will be held at Soundside Park Amphitheater, 7 a.m., followed by a beach service at the Roland Avenue access at 8 a.m.; chairs and blankets welcome
  • The Gathering Surf City — Surf City each access #13, 6:30 a.m.; chairs and blankets welcome
  • New River Community Church of God — Sunrise service, 6:30 a.m., beach access #2, 2950 Island Drive, N. Topsail Beach

Mosaic New Faith Community Potluck and Egg Hunt — Games, crafts, and lunch is on the docket at the Rainbow House, 115 Marsteller St. An egg hunt and potluck takes place from noon to 2 p.m. Guests are encouraged to bring a sweet or savory dish to share, blankets or lawn chairs. It’s free!

Lazy Pirate Egg Hunt and Live Music — In Carolina Beach, there will be an egg hunt at Lazy Pirate, a bar and restaurant located at 701 N. Lake Park Blvd. The hunt takes place for ages 6 and under at 2 p.m., followed by ages 7 to 12 at 2:30 p.m. Music by the local band Dos Eddies — an acoustic duo who play everything from Tom Petty to Zac Brown Band to Pink Floyd —  will also be on the stage from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The family is welcome!

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Shea Carver
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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