Beach Bites

BY Emily Brown and Emily Russell

diving for blessings

Ninth Annual Epiphany Celebration

Every January St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church holds its annual Epiphany Celebration at the beach. The celebration includes a blessing of the waters and a traditional dive for the cross.

The event begins with a procession to the dive site consisting of members of the clergy priests and altar boys. The primary purpose of Epiphany is to celebrate the baptism of Jesus Christ. Though during typical church services a cross is dipped into holy water on Epiphany the act occurs on a much larger scale. The church takes advantage of the living body of water in its close proximity and once that water is blessed a cross — designed especially for the event — is cast into the ocean.

Young boys and girls from the church volunteer to dive into the water and retrieve the cross. The emphasis here is not on competition though. The dive itself is peaceful a spiritual event. The fortunate boy or girl who finds the cross and brings it to the surface receives a special blessing. Finding the cross is said to be a great honor for the diver’s family.

Epiphany dives have been occurring for hundreds of years all over the world. Father Matthew Carter says that the Epiphany Celebration sponsored by his church is “very anticipated and well attended.” This year hundreds of worshipers from areas such as Fayetteville Raleigh/Durham Myrtle Beach etc. are expected to attend.

For more information about the Epiphany Celebration please contact St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church at (910) 392-4444.  —Emily Brown

jewels from the waves

old bottles turn into sea glass

Though beachcombers most often fill their pails with beautiful shells there are many other treasures hidden where the waves break. Sea glass also referred to as beach glass or mermaid tears is broken glass that has been worn smooth by the sea. Sea glass is formed when the jagged edges of a piece of glass are tumbled around in the waves colliding with coral rock and sand. The edges become smooth; the glass begins to feel like silk and it attains a frosted finish. Sea glass originates from anything made of glass that is discarded into the ocean — windshields headlights and beverage bottles just to name a few. Rare finds can wash up like centuries-old glass bottles that were discarded into the sea. At times pieces of glass from a wrecked ship can also be found. It can be found in almost any color.

In recent years sea glass has become prominent in jewelry design for its unique look and stunning smoothness. Beach lovers all over the world have taken to sea glass scoping looking for bits that are rare ancient and pleasing to the eye. Next time you pass a pile of rocks or stones along the beach look for colors taking time to pick through the shells. You may find a dazzling piece for jewelry … and get hooked on a new hobby. —Emily Brown

an impressive display

Junior Sorosis Antique Show and Sale

The 39th annual North Carolina Junior Sorosis Antique Show and Sale will be held Friday January 30 to Sunday February 1. The event will take place at the Coast Line Convention Center where more than 35 dealers from across three different states will set up an impressive display of antiques for show and sale. The collection of items will include pieces of jewelry furniture silver and glassware. For those interested in art an antique print dealer will be on-site. Glass crystal and metal restoration specialists will be present to assist buyers with their new purchases. Not everything at the show is available for purchase however. Many items will be on display simply for spectacle. Guests are invited to come out and enjoy the event whether they are interested in purchasing items or just marveling at these unique pieces of history.

Dealer chair Nicole Rollins says that the Antique Show is an exciting event for both the dealers and the customers: “We have dealers that have been participating for more than 20 years. And we have customers that keep coming back to them.”

Tickets to the event are $6 and all proceeds go to local charities. The Antique Show and Sale is the exclusive fundraiser of North Carolina Junior Sorosis an organization dedicated to promoting volunteerism improving our community providing financial support to needy causes and fostering new friendships. The Antique Show and Sale will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday. For more information about the NCJS Antique Show and Sale contact Nicole Rollins at (910) 686-3029. —Emily Brown

free to a good home

12th Annual TreeFest

It’s time to get your hands dirty. On Friday January 23 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday January 24 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Azalea Coast locals are invited to take part in the area’s 12th annual TreeFest. At the event residents can pick out as many as five tree seedlings to take home and plant on their own property.

TreeFest began in 1997 — one year after Hurricanes Bertha and Fran hit our coast. As a result of the storms many areas were left without trees. Because trees impact our lives more often than we realize — they help lower energy costs improve air and water quality and remove carbon dioxide from the air — it became necessary to replant as many of these valuable resources as possible. Since 1997 it is estimated that 180 000 trees have been given away and planted thanks to TreeFest.

This year’s event will take place in the JC Penney wing of Independence Mall and promises to be just as beneficial as those in the past with 12 000 seedlings ready for new homes. Visitors will have 17 different species to choose from including eastern red cedar river birch flowering dogwood crape myrtle and live oak. Event organizers have taken every initiative to make the process of giving away the seedlings stress-free. Plenty of information about each of the species will be accessible at the event and pictures will also be available so visitors can visualize what their trees will look like years from now.

Worried that you might not know how to care for your new tree? No problem. Gardeners and foresters will be available on-site to provide advice regarding where to plant what to expect during the first year and much more.

There will always be a need for more trees in our community; we lose thousands of them each year to construction development disease and storms. It’s up to the residents of New Hanover County to replenish our vital vegetation. TreeFest committee member Jennifer O’Keefe is thrilled about the role TreeFest plays in maintaining the beauty of our area. She is hopeful about this year’s event: “Last year we had a really good turnout and we’ve got a great variety of species this year. I think it will be a success.”

For more information about TreeFest visit Keep America Beautiful of New Hanover County at  —Emily Brown

A Piece of Wrightsville Beach

Historical reminders found at the Wrightsville Beach Museum

Sewing Machine circa 1920s

You might remember a similar machine from your grandmother’s or great-aunt’s house. This cast-iron sewing machine was built into the table it stands on — the folding panel on the left is connected to the machine which sinks as the panel is folded upwards. Luckily the amount of fabric worn per person shrank in the flapper era — turning out a full Victorian costume on this treadle-operated machine would have left someone with a very sore foot. —Emily Russell