TIME TO PARTY! Celebrate the Fourth with concerts, fireworks and community

The Fourth of July is the busiest time of year in our beach abode. It’s the high tide of tourist season, as people cool off with beer and ice cream between multiple courses of sloppy but oh-so-good hotdogs and cheeseburgers. Fireworks go off at the beach every night of the week from vacationers, as backyards are abuzz with children playing tag and adults betting on bocce ball and cornhole matchups.

Fireworks in Seattle Washington on beautiful summer night
Fireworks in Seattle Washington on beautiful summer night

According to the History Channel, that’s the way it’s supposed to be—OK, OK, maybe sans the cornhole. Early July 4th celebrations, dating back to 1776, honored their declared independence of the 13 American colonies by throwing  “concerts, bonfires, parades and firing of cannons and muskets usually accompanied by. . . public readings of the Declaration of Independence.”

While some things haven’t changed in how we celebrate Independence Day, it is now a holiday more Americans can celebrate together. Despite our differences in religions, ideologies, genders, sexual orientations, races, socio-economic statuses, etc., we shouldn’t allow disparate opinions to separate us, especially in such a surly political climate where hate speech seems flooded on every news channel. It seems counter-intuitive to go against our own patriots, when at its core, our country was founded on pilgrimage for freedom—a pilgrimage that united people.

So, this Monday, why not get out in the community and truly celebrate our country’s rights … in patronage to our forefathers, to those who fight for our freedoms—military and whistle blowers alike—and in respect to our brothers, sisters and neighbors, with whom we share our country. We can celebrate what we have gotten right, what we eventually get right, and what we still need to rectify (we’re looking at you HB2 and gun control). And we can do it together, in unity, in patriotism for kindness and goodness in humanity—because when it comes down to it, celebrating the freedom to be good to each other and with each other really is a right everyone should get behind. Happy Independence Day!

Freedom Fest Concert & Block Party
Sat., July 2, 1 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Waterline Brewing Company
721 Surry St.
Waterline Brewing’s block party will be bustling with a beer garden and tap room, local bands, vendors, food trucks, and more. The music lineup includes Sean Thomas Gerard at 3 p.m., Max Levy & The Hawaiian Shirts at 4:30 p.m., The Paper Stars at 6:30 p.m., and the Randy McQuay Trio at 9 p.m. Food trucks will be on site, along with a potluck table for anyone who’d like to bring a shareable dish. Local vendors will showcase art, clothing and more, while kids and adults can partake in a scavenger hunt, bean bag race, pie eating contest, and other family friendly games. Visit Waterline’s Facebook event page for more.

NC Symphony’s Stars and Stripes
Sat., July 2, 7:30 p.m.
Wilson Center at CFCC
701 N. 3rd St.
Tickets: $20-$82
Looking for a patriotic concert? Settle in at CFCC’s Wilson Center for symphonic favorites by the North Carolina Symphony. They’ll be conducted by David Glover in a traditional musical salute to the Red, White and Blue. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “Yankee Doodle” and “Amazing Grace” are just a few of more than a dozen selection for the evening. Ticket prices are subject to taxes and fees, and may be purchased at www.cfcc.edu/capefearstage.

Independence Day Weekend Blues Party
Sat., July 2, 8 p.m.
Shelby Jean’s Restaurant
15 Carolina Beach Ave. N., Carolina Beach
Celebrate the red, white and blues with Port City favorites Snake Malone & The Black Cat Bone at Shelby Jean’s in Carolina Beach for their Independence Day Blues Party. This special performance will feature Max “The Sax” Levy on tenor sax, Aaron Lane on trumpet, Sean Meade on alto sax, Jared Highlen on bass, Dwain Gunnels on keys, and Tony Palumbo on drums. Visit the Snake Malone & The Black Cat Bone Facebook event page for details and updates.

Music and Fireworks by the Sea
Sun., July 3, 6:30 p.m.
Carolina Beach Boardwalk
Head out to Carolina Beach for a special Fireworks by the Sea and Boardwalk Gazebo Music Series. In honor of the holiday weekend two bands will take the gazebo stage, starting with blues and rock of the David Dixon Trio and closing with The Beachbilly Brothers’ rockabilly country. Oceanfront fireworks follow at 9 p.m. on the renovated Carolina Beach Boardwalk in Carolina Beach. Visit www.pleasureislandnc.org/events.

City of Wilmington Fourth of July Celebration
Mon., July 4, 5 p.m. – 9 p.m.
North Waterfront Park • 5 N. Water St.
Downtown’s waterfront will be rockin’ with live music by one of ILM’s favor cover bands Machine Gun. Celebrations for 2016 will be held at the new North Waterfront Park at the foot of Harnett Street. Food and entertainment will continue from 5 p.m. – 9 p.m. At 9:05 p.m., a choreographed fireworks display will launch from a barge on the Cape Fear River, with live coverage on WECT. For details about music, fireworks, parking and traffic details visit, http://www.wilmingtonnc.gov.

Firecracker Cruise
Mon., July 4, 7:30 p.m.
Wilmington Water Tours
212 S. Water St.
Reservations: $65
Really want a good view of downtown Wilmington’s fireworks this year? Get front row seats on the Cape Fear River on Wilmington Water Tour’s Firecracker Cruise. Set sail for the sunset cruise with appetizers and patriotic-themed drink specials at 7:30 p.m., followed by fireworks over the river at 9:05 p.m. Advance reservations are required.
Call 910-338-3134 or visit www.wilmingtonwatertours.net.
Fourth of July U.S.O. Open House
Mon., July 4, 1 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Hannah Block Historic USO/
Community Arts Center
120 S. 2nd St.
To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center, one of only a handful of remaining WWII USO buildings, Thalian Association Community Theatre will host an Open House on July 4. Docents dressed in military and period clothing will take visitors back in time to 1941, where free coffee, donuts, 5-cent sodas and patriotic popcorn abound. Hannah Block serves as a community theatre headquarters, as well as home to a WWII home-front heritage museum. For more info, call 910-251-1788 or visit www.thalian.org.

Fireworks Dinner & Dance Cruise
Mon., July 4, 6 p.m.
Royal Winner Princess II
Carolina Beach Marina • 923 Basin Rd.
Reservations: $40-$60
Celebrate Independence Day the Carolina way with BBQ. Folks can enjoy a BBQ dinner and dance cruise to Southport’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show aboard Royal Winner Princess II. While the menu will feature authentic NC barbeque, sides include honey baked beans, Southern potato salad, cole slaw, garlic bread, and dessert. Dinner cruise fare is $60 for adults and $40 for children 12 and under. Set sail at 6 p.m. sharp from Carolina Beach Marina. Seats are limited and pre-paid reservations required.

Call the Carolina Beach Marina at 910-458-5356 or visit www.winnerboats.com.

Southport Fourth of July Festival
June 24-July 4
Various locations in Southport
The Brunswick Concert Band in Concert will kick of the annual Southport Fourth of July celebration on June 24 at 7 p.m. at Franklin Square Park and continue to host a variety of family friendly activities each day until the Festival Fireworks Finale on July 4 at 9 p.m. on the Southport Waterfront. Opening Ceremonies at 7:45 a.m. on Sat., June 25, at Waterfront Park will be followed by the NC Freedom Run/Walk 5k at 8 a.m. Dozens of events, concerts, tours, arts and crafts shows, and more will lead up to Independence Day.

Folks may also celebrate with new patriots at the USCIS Naturalization Ceremony on July 3 at 4 p.m. The ceremony will take place on the lawn at Fort Johnston and Southport Museum and Visitor Center at 223 E. Bay St. Most activities are free, but some require vendor or participation fee. For a complete schedule of events, prices and more, visit www.nc4thofjuly.com.

Patriotic Festival Choir
Sat. July 2, 8 p.m.; Sun.,
July 3, 7 p.m.
Multiple locations
Join the Patriotic Festival Choir for their seventh annual concert celebration of patriotism, freedom and the founding of the U.S. of A. Featuring more than 75 voices joined together in songs both old and new, these two performances are free. The first will be at Oceanfront Park & Pavilion (105 Atlantic Ave.) in Kure Beach on Sat., July 2. Sunday’s concert will be at Pine Valley Baptist Church, located at 3940 Shipyard Blvd.

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