Port City RibFest was called off last year due to Hurricane Florence and now it has been canceled due to impending development on property near the boardwalk.
CAROLINA BEACH — The Town of Carolina Beach is known for its amusement park rides at the entrance to the Carolina Beach Boardwalk, but according to property owners, development could soon be coming to the place where the park currently reside.
Not only is the fate of the rides in question, but due to impending construction, the Port City RibFest has been called off for a second year in Carolina Beach.
RibFest had originally taken place in Wilmington but in 2017 with the announcement of the development of North Waterfront Park, it moved to Carolina Beach.
“After pulling off a successful debut at Carolina Beach in November of 2017, plans were made to move the RibFest’s dates to September in 2018 at the same location, on several parcels of land at Carolina Beach, including private lots, two of them owned by Carolina Beach Holdings. The same property also serves as the location where the Beach’s amusement rides are in the summer. Unfortunately, Hurricane Florence’s devastation forced a 2018 cancellation,” according to RibFest’s founder Allen McDavid.
Things were all set to take place in September of this year and McDavid knew that there was the possibility of construction on the lots.
The property in question
“In January of this year I filed paperwork with the Town of Carolina Beach to obtain an Event Permit for the 2019 Port City RibFest which included the intent to host it on the same parcels of land as had been done in the past, that included 2 private lots (Lot A and C) and a public lot (Lot B). The Town of Carolina Beach agreed to once again rent Lot B, as did the owner of Lot A and C. However, as part of that permitting process, the owner of Lot A and C had to provide an Acknowledgment Letter stating that he was willing to lease the parcels for the festival,” McDavid said.
The letter was signed by the property owners but it did state that it was possible that the lots could be under construction in September — as it turns out, that is what will be happening.
“The 2019 Port City RibFest was to again take place in September. However, on June 18 in an e-mail, Carolina Beach Holdings’ Matt Murphy informed McDavid that construction will start on both parcels of land in September. The new project(s) will be developed by Murphy and his business partner Ken Cofer. The pair recently completed the Islander @ TownePlace, at 102 Cape Fear Blvd. The 4-story structure includes 12 condominiums and the Fork n Cork, local chef James Smith’s second restaurant location,” McDavid said.
McDavid said he has reached out to the town in an effort to find a suitable alternative location, but was told there was just no space capable of hosting such an event for several days.
“Nikki Kelly of nearby Kure Beach’s Recreation Department said basically the same [thing], ‘No area in Kure Beach could accommodate an event of that size and duration.’ Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area on the south end of the Island was a promising possibility but a wedding scheduled there on September 14 ended that hope,” he said.
Carolina Beach government offices were not yet open at press time; this article will be updated with any additional information or response from the town.
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