Thursday, July 25, 2024

Li’l Friday: Juneteenth, Blueberry Festival, Metallica tribute

Multiple events will be hosted to celebrate Juneteenth through the end of the month including a festival at Maides Park on Saturday, starting at noon. (Courtesy photo)

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, June 13

Juneteenth Festival and Events
Various locations • Mostly free

Juneteenth National Independence Day became a federal holiday signed into law by President Joe Biden in 2021 and is honored June 19. 

The holiday started more than 150 years ago when Major Gen. Gordon Granger and federal soldiers arrived in Galveston Island, Texas, to inform slaves they were truly free — two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. The first celebrations began in 1860 as Freedom Day for Black Americans who celebrated it as their own Independence Day.

Festivities abound across Wilmington starting June 13 and concluding June 30, as organized by the Juneteenth Committee, a nonprofit dedicated to education through involvement. Most events are free unless otherwise noted. 

It kicks off Thursday is the Urban Hike and Luncheon at the MLK Center, 9 a.m. to noon, and concludes on June 30 with a Juneteenth Pageant, also at MLK Center, at 2 p.m. 

Here is the full breakdown of events:

  • June 13, 6 p.m. — Urban Hike and Luncheon (MLK Center)
  • June 14, 6 p.m. — Juneteenth Step Show (MLK Center)
  • June 15, noon —  Juneteenth Festival (Maides Park)
  • June 16, 1 p.m. — Speak Ya Peace Juneteenth, featuring music, poetry and speakers, including Sonya Bennetone Patrick, Mama Makeda and Soltree Reign. Food trucks on site and children’s activities available; free with museum admission or $5 donation (Cameron Art Museum)
  • June 17, 6 p.m. — “Faith and Freedom: The Spiritual Roots of Liberation and Juneteenth” film and panel discussion (UNCW Upperman Center)
  • June 17, 11 a.m. — Memorial tribute to United States Colored Troops (Wilmington National Cemetery)
  • June 18, 5 p.m. —  “Shirley” film screening  (MLK Center)
  • June 18, 11 a.m. — Cape Fear Community College Juneteenth celebration, with educational opportunities on the history, Black-owned business fair, On Thyme Catering food, T-shirt giveaway, food and more (Windell Daniels Hall, top floor of CFCC’s Union Station, 502 N. Front St.)
  • June 19, 9 a.m. —  Juneteenth Breakfast (Thalian Hall, $35 for adults and children 12 and over, $15 for ages under 12)
  • June 19, 6:30 p.m. —  “Glory” film screening, starring Denzel Washington, followed by reception (Jengo’s Playhouse)
  • June 23, 3 p.m. — Juneteenth Gospel Fest (Willison Middle School)
  • June 26, noon — Juneteenth Teach-in (UNCW Upperman Center)
  • June 29, 11 a.m. — Juneteenth Poetry Workshop with Jaki Shelton Green, first African-American and third woman to be appointed as the North Carolina Poet Laureate (Cameron Art Museum)
  • June 30, 2 p.m. — Juneteenth Pageant (MLK Center)

Zach Williams: A Hundred Highways Tour — A Christian-rock musician will be coming through Wilson Center on Thursday evening.  Zach Williams is known for songs like “Chain Breaker” to “Rescue Story,” and performs music that speaks to the heart of humanity. The show takes place at the Wilson Center, 703 N. Third St. Tickets are $20 and up here

‘Romeo and Juliet’ Annually throughout the month of June, Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green presents free shows at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, celebrating the words of the Bard. This year it’s presenting two works by William Shakespeare: “Much Ado About Nothing,” as part of its adult program, and “Romeo and Juliet,” from the youth program. The youth production of “Romeo and Juliet” will take place Thursday, June 11 through 13, June 17 and 19 through 20, June 24 and 25. The famed tale of starcrossed young lovers, from dueling families, is Shakespeae’s most famous work, dealing with romance wrapped in tragedy. The audience is welcome to attend early and enjoy a picnic at the lake; concessions are also for sale.

Alabama — An ’80s iconic country group and ’90s country singer will be performing at Live Oak Bank Pavilion. Alabama is touring as part of Roll On II North America, with special guest Deana Carter. The band — known for hits like  “Mountain Music,” “Dixieland Delight,” and “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” — performs an amalgamation of Southern rock, country, folk, bluegrass and pop and has been inducted into the Musicians Hall of Fame and Country Music Hall of Fame. Tickets are available here.

The Blueberry Festival takes place this weekend on Friday and Saturday in downtown Burgaw’s historic square. (Port City Daily/File)

Friday, June 14

North Carolina Blueberry Festival
100 S. Wright St., Burgaw • Free

A Pender County town’s annual summer festival will celebrate 21 years this June.

The North Carolina Blueberry Festival will take place June 14 and 15 in Burgaw’s historic courthouse square at 100 S. Wright St. The event kicks off with a 7 p.m. concert Friday and continues throughout Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Pender is one of four counties — Bladen, Sampson and Duplin included — statewide that contribute to 90% of highbush blueberry production. The festival honors historic, economic, and cultural significance of blueberries grown in the southeastern region of North Carolina.

Free to the public, the festival attracts upward of 40,000 people annually. There will be 175 arts and crafts vendors, children’s activities, beer and wine, food, and live music, including beloved beach music from Band of Oz. Plus, there will be tons of blueberries and blueberry-featured items for sale.

Highlights of the event include a blueberry recipe contest, BBQ cookoff, car and truck show, and 5K race. Live music will be performed, including Chairman of the Board at 7 p.m. on Friday and Massive Grass (10 a.m.), Main Event (1 p.m.), Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot (4 p.m.), and Band of Oz (7 p.m.)

A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, the festival is launched with the help of 100 volunteers. Proceeds from the festival support academic and sports-related school programs, medical clinics in schools, and other local charitable efforts including Meals on Wheels.

Own Your Own, the restaurant competition that is bringing a new eatery to 106/108 West Courthouse Ave., also will have restaurateur Khristen Hunter on hand. Hunter will host an open house at her soon-to-be restaurant space during the Blueberry Festival on June 15; it will be giving out free breakfast sandwiches from 10 a.m. to noon. The public also will be able to vote on a name for the restaurant, slated to open in 2025.

Learn more about the Blueberry Festival here

Lindy Hop Workshop Weekend — Sea Jam welcomes dancers to enjoy swinging through the weekend. Cape Fear Swing Dance Society will host two days of dancing and classes. Beginner and intermediate workshops will be taught, plus there will be live music with DJ’s playing into the late hours of the night. A weekend pass is $100 and there are also individually priced events: $15 Friday-night dance, $25 workshops, $20 Saturday night dance and live music with local jazz outfit Gin Fizz, $10 late-night dances and Sunday farewell dance. The event takes place at the Hannah Block USO/Community Arts Center (Second and Orange streets); registration is open here

Much Ado About Nothing — After catching Cape Fear Shakespeare on the Green’s youth production of “Romeo and Juliet” on Wednesday, the adults will entertain Friday in “Much Ado About Nothing,” directed by Kendra Goehring. It focuses on two interconnected love stories in a humorous romp centered on town gossip. One features Benedick and Beatrice and the other love affair is between their cousins, Claudio and Hero. The free show will be performed June 14 through 16, June 21 through 23 and and June 26 through 28 at 8 p.m. The audience is welcome to attend early and enjoy a picnic at the lake; concessions are also for sale.

Saturday, June 15

Tom Thakkar
Dead Crow Comedy Room, 511 N. Third St. • Tickets: $18-$28

Brooklyn-based comedian Tom Thakkar — known for “Stand-Up w/Tom Thakkar “ and “Sofa So Good” — is performing four shows at Dead Crow this weekend.

He’s been on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon” and “CONAN.” 

His humor focuses on everyday life, but often is self-deprecating. “I get yelled at a lot over how I look,” he said during his bit featured in 2023’s “Thakkar Noir.” “I’m ethnically ambiguous … a half Indian boy. Oh, some say: feather or dot? What a fun, flirty way to marginalize two cultures with two words — racist efficiency.”  

Thakkar has written for SyFy’s “The Movie Show,” and before that was the co-host of “You Up with Nikki Glaser” on SiriusXM. 

He is performing two shows on Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., with tickets costing $18 to $28.

Feast Down East Fundraiser — Palate Bottle Shop (1007 N. Fourth St.) is hosting a fundraiser from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. for Feast Down East, an organization that works with area farmers to get fresh produce to restaurants, grocers and the community-at-large. FDE’s local motive market will be parked to purchase produce. There also will be live music performed by Animal Lounge, with raffle prizes from local businesses, and food from the No Labels Food Truck. Palate’s neighbor Boombalatti’s will create a special ice cream with a portion of the proceeds going to FDE. It’s a suggested $10 at the door.

Tribute to Metallica — The band Hardwired, from Tampa, Florida, has become one of the premiere rock tributes in the industry, bringing forth the precision of Metallica’s hard-rock riffs. Named after the band’s 10th studio release, “Hardwired… to Self Destruct,” the four-piece has even been invited by Metallica to perform for them in 2022 ahead of the Zazula Tribute show. Opening for Hardwired will be Bad Genetics, who plays alternative ‘90s rock. The show takes place at Bowstring Boyward (1002 Princess St.); tickets are $15.

Fancy Gap — Former Wilmingtonian Stuart McLamb — best known for his pop rock sounds in Love Language — is coming back to town to showcase his latest project, Fancy Gap. The singer-songwriter has paired up with songwriter and producer Charles Crossingham on a new album that hints toward country, early ‘90s pop and classic rock, all radio-ready. McLamb was working on Love Language’s fifth album in 2020 when the Covid pandemic hit, so he traveled to Crossingham’s mountain cabin in Fancy Gap, Virginia. The two — listening to a lot of ‘90s country at the time — began writing music, musing about how the world would emerge and start over again from its forced hibernation. Tickets to the show are $20 here, hosted at Bourgie Nights, 127 Princess St. 

Courtesy poster

Sunday, June 16

The Lisbon Traviata 
Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St. • Tickets: $28

C’est La Guerre started a decade ago to bring groundbreaking theater to Wilmington. After a hiatus, the company is back with Terrence McNally’s “The Lisbon Traviata.” 

The play, written in 1989, tells the stories of Mendy and Stephen, trapped in the world of opera, using it to cope with and frame their reality as they navigate themes of rejection, love, and fear, in the context of being gay men at the height of the AIDS epidemic. 

Co-founder George Domby and director James Bowling take on the lead roles. 

Domby told PCD earlier this week: “McNally’s humor is so wicked and biting that I think it will appeal to everyone.”

The show is comedy and tragedy all in one from the playwright often coined “the bard of American theater.” McNally is a Tony winner for “Ragtime,” “Love! Valour! Compassion!” and “Kiss of a Spider Woman” but also is heralded for his portrayal of the human experience, particularly of gay men.

“We have been trying to promote it as much as possible as a Pride event because, I mean, we couldn’t be more proud of doing a piece like this,” Domby said (read PCD’s full writeup about the production here).

Showing at the Ruth and Bucky Stein Theater at Thalian Hall, the production will run for one weekend only, this Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and on Sunday, 2 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here.

Boogie in the Park — Kure Beach features live music weekly and this week will have Blackwater Band. The group performs Top 40, funk, blues, country and more. Beach blankets and chairs are welcome, along with picnics. It’s free to attend and the shows are from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Debra Bucci and Brian Patterson Art Reception — Art in Bloom is hosting a new art show, “Capturing Nature” and “Dance Around the Light,” featuring the works of Debra Bucci and Brian Patterson from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. “Capture Naturing” showcases Bucci’s latest bright and vivid landscapes, seascapes, florals and abstracts. “Dance Around the Light” showcases Peterson’s latest photographs, as well as his recent publication, “The Blossoming of the World” (AR Press, 2023), a spiritual autobiography and story of healing and salvation. There will be refreshments and live music from Haley Heath and Justin Lacey. Art in Bloom is located at 6866 Main St.

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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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