Beach Bites

BY Staff

Night Lights
The glow of the 6th annual Enchanted Airlie warms our holiday spirits

Its the most wonderful time of the year at New Hanover Countys pristine jewel: Airlie Gardens. The sixth annual Enchanted Airlie a Wilmington family tradition since 2005 begins the Friday after Thanksgiving and runs until the Tuesday before Christmas November 26 through December 21. Weekends are pure “wow” during Enchanted Airlie as entire families from little ones to grandparents leisurely stroll the 67 acres marveling at the extraordinary lights enjoying the chill winter air cherishing their holiday time together.

Enchanted Airlie features beautiful holiday flowers thousands and thousands of festive lights fabulous model train displays live seasonal musical entertainment refreshments and more! New to Enchanted Airlie this year is “LEGOs.” As popular today with kids of all ages (and grownups too) as they have ever been its well worth the trip just to see what wild things you can build with the cool colorful plastic bricks including an actual running LEGO train set you have to see to believe. The LEGO layout will be set up by the NC Lego Train Club and N.C.L.U.G. (North Carolina Lego Users Group).

Enchanted Airlie is perenially popular so its a good idea not to wait too long to buy your tickets. “We had about 20 000 people come through last year ” says Jim McDaniel Parks and Garden Senior Resource Director for New Hanover County.

There are two display times per evening 5-7 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. Tickets must be pre-purchased no tickets will be sold at the gate and are priced right: $5 for an individual ticket $4 for children ages 4-12 and free for children 3 years old and under. A $3 parking pass is required for each car purchasing individual tickets but an ecologically sensitive green option the $20 Carload Ticket guarantees admission for you your vehicle and as many people as you can carry. Tickets can be purchased online at or picked up on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Airlie Gardens Services Center. Adrian Gerth

The Battleship Comes Alive

On Saturday December 4 the Battleship North Carolina will tout a terrific tour called Battleship Alive that includes the incredible U.S.S. North Carolina Living History Crew. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the ship as she was in her historic prime with her “crew” in place.

Two local history buffs father and son petty officers John and Andrew Whitley have been a part of the Living History Crew since 2001 and will participate again this year.

Azalea Coast residents for 34 and 29 years respectively the Whitleys have been visiting the Battleship for as long as Andrew can remember. “As a part of the Living History Crew we try to make the ship just as it would have been at port in the 1940s ” says Andrew Whitley. The Living History Crew is a dedicated group of Battleship enthusiasts who strive to make the Battleship Alive experience as real as possible every crewman must salute the rear colors when boarding the ship as well as know a formidable amount of the Battleships history especially details specific to their rank and function on the ship.

The all-volunteer Living History Crew also works to restore parts of the ship as needed doing everything from re-painting to replacing old machinery when it can be found or replicating it when it cant. The rewards for their hard work are many and priceless. “Its really an awesome experience especially being able to talk to the public during the event ” says John Whitley.

Tickets are available at the U.S.S. North Carolina (1 Battleship Road). For more information about the Battleship Battleship Alive and the Living History Crew visit Adrian Gerth

Free To Be You and Me

The Performance Club started in Wrightsville Beach in 2006. It began as an after-school program with a debut performance of a Motown song at Wrightsville Beach Elementary Schools first PTA meeting of the year. On September 13 2010 LJ Woodward professional actress and owner of The Performance Club opened Wilmingtons Only Studio Theater for Kids. The facility is complete with a stage lights a curtain and seating for an audience of 50. “I wanted a dedicated place where kids can actually take acting classes and perform ” says Woodard.

On December 11 2010 Wilmingtons Only Studio Theater for Kids is showcasing their first “semi-professional” play Free to Be You and Me by Marlo Thomas. After holding open auditions four out of 150 kids were chosen for lead roles. Free to Be You and Me is a character education piece that deals with issues of stereotyping diversity and discrimination through music skits and a media surprise that will include local celebrities. “Its really about acceptance and its a lot like Shrek. Parents will like it and so will kids ” says Woodard.

With an early evening performance on both Saturday and Sunday Free to Be You and Me is a free event open for only one weekend. However Woodard plans to travel to local schools to perform and promote character education. “Its a really good play about character development and I think students will enjoy watching kids their age perform it ” she says. “Wilmingtons Only Studio for Kids is a quaint intimate studio theater and were so excited about our first production.”

Free to Be You and Me will play at 2 p.m. on Saturday December 11 and 6 p.m. on Sunday December 12. The performances will be held at Wilmingtons Only Studio Theater for Kids located at Gordon Road Station (6624 Gordon Road Studio B) beside the Music School of Wilmington. The event is free and open to the public however due to the limited seating reservations are required. Call (910) 338-3378 for reservations or visit Ashley Peel