WILMINGTON — Lovers of coffee, baked treats, and artisan crafts will convene on the streets of downtown Wilmington this Saturday for the second round of the Wilmington Coffee Crawl.
When Krysta Kearney, manager of 24 South Coffee Shop on Front Street, saw the popularity of pub crawls in the city back in 2017, she wondered why there wasn’t anything similar for coffee aficionados.
“Then it dawned on me – I think we can do the same thing with coffee,” Kearney said.
She found that cities like San Francisco and Charlotte were hosting successful coffee crawls and began drawing up something that could work in downtown Wilmington – something that would increase awareness of coffee shops in the area and connect people who love the craft. After organizing the first Wilmington Coffee Crawl in January 2018, she knew it was a hit.
“We didn’t know what to expect, but we had a bigger turnout than we expected so we decided to ramp it up a bit,” Kearney said.
Taking things up a notch
She partnered with Will Chacon at Luna Caffè to help make Saturday’s event bigger, doubling the amount of vendors involved, setting up donations to four local charities, and bringing in more coffee roasters to demonstrate their craft – all with the goal of emphasizing local business, local art, and local coffee.
“We want to continue to put the coffee culture on the map here,” Kearney said.
Kearney said tickets sold out on Sunday and she expects about 1000 people to show up.
“It was hard to make the decision to sell out but this will help us to gauge the capacity for next year,” Kearney said, adding that she didn’t want to sell too many tickets given the small size of some of the participating coffee shops.
But the shops are still open to the public, and she encouraged people to come and check it out, although they won’t be eligible for the “special crawler specials” or coffee and baked good samples.
In the future Kearney said she is looking to offer similar crawls in midtown Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, and Carolina Beach. She also wants to bring in more roasters to showcase their knowledge of the craft.
Saturday’s self-guided crawl consists of seven downtown businesses — five coffee shops, one ice cream shop, and one brewery — with scheduled events, demonstrations, live music, tastings, and local craft artisans. Waterline Brewery will also be hosting a roaster’s market with 30 vendors, many of whom supply local coffee shops.
Ticket-holders need to “check in” with either printed or phone tickets at Gravity Records on Castle Street. There will be free parking nearby and the option of a schedule-free trolley to take you to each location, operating from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There is also a group bicycle ride for ticket-holders, organized by Coastal Craft Cruisers Bike Club. Riders are asked to meet at Waterline Brewing Co. at 10:30 a.m.
Details of events and demonstrations can be found below (you must show bracelets to participate in events):
- Gravity Records (612 Castle St.): Check-in location.
- Luna Caffe (604 Castle St): Chemex Technique (11 a.m.); Cupping Demo (11:45 a.m.); Aeropress Technique (2 p.m.).
- Love Lydia Bakery and Cafe (1502 S 3rd St): Pour-over Technique (12:15 p.m.); Signature Beverages (12:45 p.m.); Live Music: Forest Tabor (11 a.m. – 12 p.m.).
- 24 South Coffee House (24 S Front St): Chemex and Pour-over Demos/Tips (1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.); Odelay Roastery Lecture/Demo on Coffee Roasting Process (11:30 a.m.).
- Boombalatti’s Home Made Ice Cream (1005 N 4th St): Ice Cream Processes (1 p.m.).
- Brooklyn Cafe (706 N 4th St): Aeropress Technique (12 p.m.); Live Music with John Hussman (2 p.m.–3 p.m.); Wine Tasting (3 p.m.–4 p.m.).
- Folks Cafe (1201 Princess St): Coffee Roasting Demos (throughout day).
- Waterline Brewing Co. (721 Surry St): Roasters Market featuring 20 vendors from – roasteries, arts and crafts, and food trucks (12 p.m.–5 p.m.); Live Music with Sweet Sweet (3 p.m.–5 p.m.).