Beach Bites

BY Michelle Billman Hannah Bunn Emily Russell Laura Rectenwald

Stop and smell the oil painting

12th Annual Art in the Arboretum

As the dog days of summer gradually ease into the milder days of fall the gardens in the New Hanover County Arboretum are filled with color and grandeur and enchanting music drifts through the leaves and over the tranquil pond in the center of the gardens. This serene site is the location for the 12th annual Art in the Arboretum; a fitting location to showcase some of our area’s most gifted artists and talented musicians. If you haven’t yet had the chance to tour the Arboretum let this weekend-long event be your grand introduction as the Art in the Arboretum event blends all of the splendors of the Azalea Coast — beautiful landscapes original art and lively music.

Since 1989 artists and local residents alike have been enjoying what is now being called “Wilmington’s best-kept secret” — the New Hanover County Arboretum. Not only is the Arboretum a place of serenity and inspiration for artists it has become a prime resource for anyone wanting to learn more about the various plants trees flowers and alas weeds that thrive in Wrightsville Beach and how to handle them.

“If you have a house on Wrightsville Beach and you’re wondering what can be grown in your yard this is a resource for you ” says John Grudzien an Arboretum Foundation Board member and head of the marketing committee. “Everything in the gardens can be grown in your very own yard and we’re here to help you accomplish that.”

In each garden you will find a small decorated box containing information on everything from growing herbs to growing roses. And with the many varieties of gardens the Arboretum offers there is sure to be one that brings your inner gardener to life and sparks inspiration for your own personal Eden.

There is an herb garden a vegetable garden a Japanese garden with a gorgeous teahouse a perennial garden a children’s garden (perfect for an afternoon tea party) and even a turf demonstration area — letting you see touch and feel different types of grass that grow in our salty climate.

Over the years Art in the Arboretum has evolved greatly to accommodate even more artists and guests. Several local artists have launched or enhanced their careers after showcasing their works in the garden.

Dumay Gorham now well known for his dramatic and lifelike metalwork had his first show at Art in the Arboretum and several pieces of his work are permanently displayed on the grounds. A favorite of his is the stunning Sea Serpent located in the middle of the pond. Other popular artists from past shows include Julie Libby a wood artist known for her essential and nonessential wood sculpture; Betty Brown a watercolor artist who has supported Art in the Arboretum from the beginning; Karen Crouch a metalwork artist recognized for her interesting and expressive work and Christa Sylvester a clay sculptor.

These artists have helped bring the gardens to life with their mystical and stunning work and the Art in the Arboretum event provides a chance for the community to witness the magic.

“The goal of the show is to create a complex experience showcasing expression and growth of the artists ” says Noreen Stokes an arboretum volunteer. “The event is a nonprofit fundraiser and the money raised is returned to the arboretum for enhancement of the gardens.”

Glana Nichols Art in the Arboretum’s art committee coordinator has been a part of the event since its inception more than a decade ago and she knows just how to make it bloom. “We decide where to place each piece so that it shows its best face ” Nichols says. “It’s so nice to see people appreciating art and the garden at the same time. The love of art and the love of gardens overlap each other to create an event loved by all.”

The event will be held Friday October 12 and Saturday October 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the grounds of the arboretum at 6206 Oleander Drive and costs $8 (free to 14 and under). Members also called Friends of the Arboretum will be admitted for $4. There will be several different kinds of music to enjoy from harmony groups to strolling musicians who will perform throughout the duration of the show.

From 5-7:30 p.m. Friday evening a Membership Party will be held for the Friends of the Arboretum where guests will have a chance to meet the artists while indulging in heavy hors d’oeuvres and wine. There will also be a silent auction raffle door prizes and music by the Cosmic Groove Lizards. — Laura Rectenwald

Art in the Arboretum is Oct. 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The gardens at the New Hanover County Arboretum are located at 6206 Oleander Drive and are open to the public free of charge seven days a week from 8 a.m. to sunset.

The Plant Information Clinic answers your plant and gardening questions over the phone or in person Monday through Friday from
9 a.m.-3 p.m.

For more information: visit  or call (910) 798-7679.


Become a Friend of the Arboretum and receive:

• Ten percent discount at the Arboretum Potting Gift Shop

• Discounts from select local merchants

• Subscription to the quarterly newsletter

• Invitation to the annual Membership Party

• Reciprocal admission/discounts to more than 150 gardens across the country

• Free admission to Airlie Gardens

• Invitations to lectures workshops and special events

• Tax-deductible contribution

Shrouded in mystery

Adventure Sprint

The 2007 Bike Cycles Adventure Sprint will be held on Saturday October 13 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Greenfield Lake. Andrea Talley recreation supervisor for the Parks Recreation and Downtown Services Division for the city of Wilmington says the Bike Cycles Adventure Sprint is a unique event. “The team members have to support each other and work together ” Talley explains. “They have to finish every portion of the race within one minute of each other.” And what exactly does the race entail? Along with a 3-mile canoe or tandem kayak course a 12-mile bike ride and 4 miles of trail running participants must also conquer mystery events that force them to slow down and think. In the past teams consisting of married couples brothers and friends have assembled puzzles with their hands tied together all to the cheering and amusement of event spectators. Talley adds “For most teams just finishing the race and challenging each other is what it’s all about.” A limited number of canoes is available but most equipment must be provided by participants. Visit to learn more and register. — Michelle Billman

Fin-to-fin competition

Battle of the Beaches rages on

Wrightsville Beach fishermen have a chance to reclaim their local bragging rights by beating two-year champion Carolina Beach in the fourth annual Battle of the Beaches tournament hosted by the Cape Fear Blue Water Fishing Club. The tournament starts on Friday October 5 with a Captains’ meeting at Hooters continues with two full days of fishing and ends with a Captains’ party once again at Hooters on Sunday night October 7. Last year more than 80 boats competed for cash prizes in the tournament’s four fishing categories which include Blue Water (tuna wahoo and dolphin) Inshore (Spanish king mackerel and pompano) Bottom Fish (snapper grunts triggers sea bass and grouper) and Near-shore (flounder drum and trout). In addition to these categories Dockside Calcutta awards (for the largest fish in a category) and Lady Angler awards are given.

The Cape Fear Blue Water Fishing Club began 17 years ago as a way to promote the sport of fishing and encourage camaraderie out on the water. The club also donates portions of its tournament revenues to nonprofit agencies. Check out the club and register for the Battle of the Beaches tournament at — Michelle Billman

Down by the river

Riverfest — October 5th 6th and 7th

Get ready for fun and friendly competition when this year’s Riverfest once again takes over downtown Wilmington October 5-7. The ever-popular festival stretches up and down Water Street and offers a wide variety of arts and crafts food vendors galore four separate stages featuring the best local live entertainment and plenty of children’s activities. And when the sun goes down don’t miss the Riverfest fireworks. This traditional downtown festival is no newcomer to the community; Riverfest turns 29 this year.

Monica Caison a Riverfest volunteer since the early ’90s and current publicity and food concessions chair says “There’s a lot of competitive sports events which makes us different from the typical festival.” Riverfest features wakeboard and skateboard contests and competitions for karate and gymnastics as well. “We have a large age range that we approach with our different events – small children families teens college students – and it’s all good clean fun!” Caison says.

To check out times and locations for your favorite Riverfest events visit — Michelle Billman

A surfing contest with a conscience

Cape Fear Clean Water Classic Surf Festival

The third annual Cape Fear Clean Water Classic Surf Festival will most likely begin like the first two — a cool October morning sunrise on scaffolding silhouettes along the beach preparing for the big event — but will have grown in size popularity and purpose by the end of the two-day event.

This year’s festival will be held at the Stone Street access on Wrightsville Beach on October 6 and 7. Hosted by the Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation and O’Neill along with the UNCW Surfrider chapter and many other sponsors the event also serves as a forum for addressing issues that affect our coastal environment. “This is more than a great surf contest ” says Sean Ahlum contest director and chair of the Cape Fear Surfrider Chapter. “It’s an annual gathering of surfers and other water enthusiasts from up and down the East Coast to address water quality equal access preserving special places and other coastal environmental issues.”

The fun friendly competition has divisions for everyone ranging from the Guppies (12 and under) to the Pros which in years past have included North Carolina natives Matt Gilligan and Jesse Hines. The contest also features a unique college tag-team event as well as a surf shop team challenge.

With its inception in 2005 the Clean Water Classic was an immediate success. Ahlum who originally conceived the idea has high hopes for its future. “As we build the reputation of the event and gain industry support we will slowly attract other chapters and contestants. My goal is to have the Cape Fear Clean Water Classic be the largest East Coast Surfrider event.”

To get stoked on saving our seas or for more information on this weekend of activism and athletics visit — Hannah Bunn

Dinner and a golf tournament

Sixth annual Landfall Tradition

The Country Club of Landfall is teeing it up with UNCW for the sixth annual Landfall Tradition a collegiate golf tournament with 12 men’s and 12 women’s teams from schools around the country. The competition starts October 26 with a college/amateur tournament open to local foursomes that will be paired with one of the visiting golfers. Along with your tee time registration includes the Landfall Tradition’s Dinner of Champions and special goodies including a commemorative photo. The tournament continues until October 29 when the 2007 champion will be named at the awards ceremony.

Bill Paris marketing chair for the Landfall Tradition points out that one of his favorite aspects of the tournament occurs on Saturday night the last night the visiting teams are in town. “[The visiting golfers] have dinner at someone’s home in Landfall usually an alumnus ” says Paris. “They usually only eat at restaurants during tournament travel. It’s just something so different and one of the things most of the kids mention as their favorite part.”

In its first five years the tournament has raised $130 000 and all profits go to UNCW’s golf programs.

To register go to — Michelle Billman

Caught in the moment

Canine Disc Championship Who says dogs can’t fly? If you watch the talented pups at the October 13 Hyperflite Skyhoundz Canine Disc Championships you might change your mind about the aeronautical abilities of canines. These dogs whirl soar and leap with precision and skill to catch Frisbees thrown by their human counterparts. The event takes place at Wrightsville Beach Park from 11 a.m. until about 1 p.m. The championship is free to enter — your human-dog team can be preregistered at the Wrightsville Beach Recreation Office — and spectators are encouraged to attend the competition.

At 11 a.m. competitors (usually 20 to 30 teams) get ready to rumble. Human team members throw their Frisbees as quickly accurately and as many times as possible for 60 seconds as their canine team members retrieve them. Points are given based on the distance the Frisbee travels to its catch point as well as whether or not the dog had all four feet in the air at the moment of the catch. Points are totaled after two 60-second rounds of Frisbee fetch and plaques are given to the first- and second-place teams. Big dogs don’t have an advantage over small ones at this sport — winning dogs have been all shapes and sizes in the past.

For more information on the championship at Wrightsville Beach call (910) 256-7925. For more information on Hyperflite Skyhoundz Championships worldwide or to learn valuable training tips visit — Emily Russell

Think pink!

Pink Ribbon Breakfast Lunch and Dinner

The 10th annual Pink Ribbon Breakfast Lunch and Dinner events will be hosted by the New Hanover Regional Medical Center (NHRMC) Foundation on October 11 at the Holiday Inn SunSpree. These popular events help fund the Coastal Care Van which has provided 400 free mammograms to uninsured women in the area and the Pink Ribbon Project which provides comfort bags to women in New Hanover County who have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are preparing for or undergoing chemotherapy. Comfort bags are assembled by volunteers and include thoughtful items such as soft bristle toothbrushes and satin pillowcases to combat the gum sensitivity and scalp irritation that can bother chemotherapy patients. Janine Powell special events officer for the NHRMC Foundation explains that the comfort bags are meant to help women along in their healing journey. “This event has helped thousands of women over the years ” Powell says. Several guest speakers are scheduled for the events including Amy Sedaris. It all begins with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. continues with lunch at 11:30 a.m. and concludes with dinner at 6:30 p.m.

To attend the Pink Ribbon Breakfast Lunch and Dinner or to get involved by volunteering or donating call (910) 815-5002. — Michelle Billman