One of the city’s longest-running street festivals returns to downtown Wilmington this Memorial Weekend.
WILMINGTON — The first day of summer in the Wilmington area means packed beaches and an Intracoastal Waterway jammed with boats. If that’s not your thing, you can head to downtown Wilmington for a taste of the local art scene.
The 24th annual Orange Street ArtsFest (OSAF) will run Saturday, May 26, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m to 5 p.m.
More than 80 artists will be selling paintings, pottery, jewelry, metal arts, and paper creations from tented exhibits on Orange Street between Front and Second Streets, next to the Hannah Block Community Arts Center. Some exhibitors will set up inside the center itself and on 2nd Street.
The Thalian Association Community Theatre launched the festival in 1995 to promote the art scene in Wilmington, according to the organization’s executive director Susan Habas.
This year’s festival will be juried by classically trained artist Amy N. Grant, owner of the Art in Bloom Gallery on Princess Street and a member of the Arts Council of Wilmington. Awards will be given for first, second, and third place with four “Judges Awards” and cash prizes totaling $550.
Food trucks at the festival will include Poor Piggy’s BBQ, NC Sweet Tea (serving funnel cakes and fried pickles, banana peppers, and jalapenos in addition to tea and lemonade), and Snowie of the Carolinas (serving snow cones).
Musicians and dancers will perform on the Orange Street Stage every hour, right next to the arts center. The lineup includes the Cape Fear Swing Dance Society, vocalist Jarrett Mlodzinkski, acoustic singer and instrumentalist Susan Savia, and members of the Wilmington Symphony Youth Orchestra.
The High School Student Art Contest Exhibition, presented by the Wilmington Art Association, will be displayed in the lobby of the Hannah Block Community Arts Center alongside a wartime exhibit featuring memorials to the city’s two Medal of Honor recipients. The public is invited to tour all of the World War II exhibits while visiting the inside artists.
An interactive playroom for kids at the festival will be provided by the Children’s Museum of Wilmington (CMOW) inside the building, featuring “fun stations” with science experiments, foam building blocks, and arts and crafts.