Beach Bites

BY Michelle Billman Hannah Bunn Richard Leder Marimar McNaughton Laura Royal

Floats and fireworks

North Carolina Holiday Flotilla

It started as a lighthearted lighted boat parade 24 years ago — some boats some lights a few spins around the waterway an outdoor barbeque and a children’s art show with a silent auction to raise prize money.

Christened the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla in 1991 it has earned its own nonprofit status as the flagship event for the entire state and officially launches the holiday season in its home port Wrightsville Beach. Attended by an estimated 50 000 visitors the three-day Thanksgiving weekend festival begins Friday November 23 and continues through Sunday November 25.

Attracting dozens of power boats sailboats and commercial vessels the boat parade anchors the main event which takes place at sundown on Saturday November 24 on the waterway. Trolling from the drawbridge along the Intracoastal Waterway Motts Channel and the judges’ stand in front of the Blockade Runner on Banks Channel boat captains and their crews are rewarded handsomely for their efforts with swag bags and cashola. This year’s top prize is a one-week getaway to the Bahamian resort Atlantis valued at $6 500. Prizes are awarded in all categories including best costumes and crew spirit.

Landlubbers need to find their parking spot early as thousands gather on the shore line crowding front porches boat docks marinas and balconies along

the parade route where homes are also decked out for the holidays as part of the Harbor Island Garden Club’s Light Up the Night decorating contest. The grand finale is a phantasmagoric fireworks display.

On the eve of the flotilla at 5:45 p.m. on Friday November 23 Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at town hall to light the town tree and holiday street lights. Toys are given to small children and toy donations are received by uniformed Marines on behalf of Toys for Tots. Miss North Carolina Jessica Jacobs will be this year’s special guest.

Also on Friday night the mandatory boat captains meeting takes place at the Blockade Runner followed by a lively dance party at 7 p.m. with music by GrooveTown. Tickets are $35 per person.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. the Festival in the Park at Wrightsville Beach Park will be astir with family-appropriate events children’s activities food vendors live musical performances a magician and arts and crafts booths. New this year is the addition of an antique and classic car show.

The culminating event is an awards brunch at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday November 25 at Bluewater — An American Grill where the loving cup will be awarded to one lucky captain. For details visit — Marimar McNaughton

With their eyes all aglow

Enchanted Airlie comes alive November 23

The first time I saw it at night it was so magical because I knew that there was nothing else like it in Wilmington ” says Katie Elzer-Peters the assistant director of Airlie Gardens describing the Enchanted Airlie holiday show. And she’s right. With a floral conservatory filled with trees and lights period-dressed carolers and strolling musicians Enchanted Airlie is a unique event that the whole family will enjoy. In addition to the handmade displays and live music participants can talk to jolly ol’ Saint Nick about their holiday wishes and admire several trains both indoor and throughout the gardens provided by the Cape Fear Model Railroad Club.

Shows begin on Friday November 23 and run Fridays and Saturdays from either 5-7 p.m. or 7-9 p.m. until December 22. There are also shows on Thursday December 13 and 20. Tickets must be pre-purchased and are $5 for adults and $4 for children. Last year’s events drew 18 000 participants so make sure to reserve your tickets before shows sell out. Call (910) 798-7700 or visit to purchase your tickets. And since the event is always in need of volunteers contact Debby Creasy at (910) 798-7566 if you’re interested in helping with the only outdoor holiday floral display of its kind in the area. — Michelle Billman

Up for a challenge?

Making a difference for Cape Fear Area United Way

UNCW Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo is the newly appointed 2007 campaign chairperson for the Cape Fear Area United Way (CFAUW). At the Airlie Gardens CFAUW 2007 campaign kickoff 2006 campaign chairman Andy White president and CEO of GE Nuclear handed DePaolo ceremonial checks pledged by nine local companies totaling $1 069 500.

Under White’s leadership the 2006 campaign raised a whopping $2.1 million. DePaolo said nothing would make her happier than to beat White’s numbers set a 2007 campaign goal of $2.3 million — a 10 percent increase over last year’s donations — and issued a challenge.

“I challenge each of you to become involved ” DePaolo said. “We can all do more. I challenge you to increase your involvement. I urge you to urge your employees to do more. Let us all do our part to invest in United Way; we can do what matters and we can make a difference.”

The CFAUW will be actively campaigning to raise money until spring 2008. The money that is donated to CFAUW benefits Pender Brunswick and New Hanover counties. The CFAUW helps fund 36 local area nonprofits including the Cape Fear Chapter of the American Red Cross Cape Fear Habitat for Humanity Good Shepherd Center Salvation Army and New Hope Clinic Inc.

For more information on donating to the CFAUW contact Amy Broadfoot vice president of resource and development at (910) 798-3911. — Laura Royal

Christmas trees with all the trimmings

25th Annual Festival of Trees

The 25th Annual Festival of Trees will be held at a new location The Coast Line Convention Center and will run from November 24 through December 2. To mark the silver anniversary of this cherished tradition festivities will be based on this year’s theme “What a Wonderful Life.” As always this benefit for Lower Cape Fear Hospice and LifeCareCenter will feature trees sponsored by local companies and decorated by local artists and groups. Weekday hours for the festival will be from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and weekend hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Annual Gala will be held on Saturday December 1 from 7-11 p.m. Other special evenings will include “An Evening of Jazz” on Thursday November 29 from 6-9 p.m. and a “No Sleeves Magic Show” on Friday November 30 from 7-9 p.m. The jazz and magic shows are included with festival admission. Attendees to this year’s event will enjoy a larger shopping area a visit with Santa Claus the Dessert Café featuring local restaurants entertainment throughout the day a reindeer silent auction Dipping for Diamonds and much more. For more information call (910) 796-8099 ext. 443 or visit Michelle Billman

The gift of art

Annual Holiday Show at the WB Museum

Like local art? Looking for great gifts? Need a cool reason to step off the Loop? Art & Etc. and The Wrightsville Beach Museum of History (303 W. Salisbury St.) play host to the 11th Annual Holiday Show with a preview party on Friday November 9 from 6-8 p.m. and the Holiday Show itself on Saturday November 10 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Many well-known local artists will present their work and a percentage of the sales will go to the museum. Admission and parking are free. Call the museum at (910) 256-2569 for more information. — Richard Leder

Filmmaking at its finest

Cucalorus Film Festival

With four days of 150 film screenings numerous workshops in subjects like screenwriting and acting a kickoff concert on the riverfront and a filmmaker’s bash at Bellamy Mansion Cucalorus will indeed inundate downtown Wilmington with film just as festival director Dan Brawley promises.

“The big multiplex system shuts out so many filmmakers and their films are amazing ” Brawley says. “Because of the way that system works there’s no place for these films that are visionary compelling entertaining — all those things that you want when you go to the theater. And here you get four days of it all day long.”

The Cucalorus Film Festival is in its 13th year and despite its prestige all that’s changed is the amount of interest. Last year 78 filmmakers from around the world attended and this year more than 900 film submissions were received. But even with the hype the ideals on which the festival was originally built remain intact. Even with more than 600 film festivals in North America to compete with the Cucalorus Film Foundation refuses to give out awards.

Why not compete with the competition? Brawley explains “Because Cucalorus is not a big competitive event and there is no red carpet. It’s a great chance for spectators to meet filmmakers and talk to them.” With such a laid-back atmosphere the festival can live up to its mission to support filmmakers and nurture film culture in the southeast. Brawley says “There’s that huge value of being in the audience and the filmmaker is two rows in front of you and the lights go down and that’s what it’s all about. It’s about that communal experience of sharing a story with people.”

This year’s festival runs from November 7-10 and is screening films every day in Thalian Hall and Jengo’s Playhouse from 9 a.m. until 2 a.m. the next morning. Special programming includes: Spotlight Africa featuring five films about the current human rights issues in Africa; Racial Rewind where several events in America’s racial history are being re-examined; Midnight Madness which includes wacky films for the late-night crowd; World Film with 15 international feature-length films; and Experimental Visions showcasing the work of several UNCW professors specializing in experimental film.

Ticket information and the festival schedule are available at Michelle Billman

Cucalorus 13 Film Festival Screenings and Event Schedule:

Wednesday Nov. 7

Screenings – 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Riverfront kickoff concert at 9 p.m. downtown Wilmington
Cucalorus Café open in Thalian Hall Ballroom 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Jengo’s Backyard Bar open 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.

Thursday Nov. 8 – Saturday Nov. 10
Screenings – 9:30 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Filmmakers workshops – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m

Moving Arts Expo at Thalian Hall Ballroom
6 to 9 p.m. – Thursday;
5 to 7 p.m. – Friday;
6 to 8 p.m. – Saturday

Cucalorus Café open in Thalian Hall Ballroom 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Jengo’s Backyard Bar open 8 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Midnight Madness Screenings (various venues check schedule) midnight to 2 a.m.

Venues are Thalian Hall Main stage Black Box theaters; Jengo’s Playhouse and Lumina Theater at UNCW

Purchase festival passes online or at Cucalorus offices at Jengo’s Playhouse 815 Princess Street downtown Wilmington.

Visit for more information.

Look who’s cookin’

The Cook’s Canvas 2

Butternut squash bisque Carolina baby back ribs swordfish steaks with Caribbean salsa … is your mouth watering yet? Recipes for all of these delicious dishes and hundreds more can be found in The Cook’s Canvas 2 Coastal Carolina Artfully Entertains. The publication of the Cameron Art Museum’s second cookbook is just in time for the holidays and is filled with more than 300 recipes that you can make at home. The recipes come from Wilmington cooks as well as experienced cooks caterers and chefs from around the nation with Wilmington connections. More than 200 volunteers contributed to its development and publication. All the printing costs are covered so the full sale of each book supports the museum’s children’s programs such as [email protected] a monthly educational program that encourages creative growth art appreciation and a sense of community in children. To the folks at the Cameron Art Museum The Cook’s Canvas 2 is a reminder of “the importance of sitting at a dinner table laughing with friends and family and enjoying the moment.” You can pick up your copy at the Cameron Art Museum Shop and other stores or order one online at The cookbooks are $27.95 each or $23.95 each for 10 or more copies. For more information call (910) 395-5999 ext. 1005. — Hannah Bunn

Parranda Latina!

Festival Latino: A Cultural Celebration

Amigos Internacional a group dedicated to serving the Spanish-speaking residents in the Cape Fear area is hosting its ninth annual Festival Latino: A Cultural Celebration on Saturday November 3 at Hugh MacRae Park. The festivities begin at 10 a.m. and will continue until 6 or 7 p.m. (or later if the party is too much fun to end). Activities include Latin dance lessons and contests a Latin food court the Kid’s Fiesta with games and music; and the Great Mexican Hat Race. Local vendors will be there to showcase their services and more than 10 000 participants are expected.

Jeff Sanchez is the program director for Centro Latino which is the resource and activity center here in Wilmington that houses Amigos Internacional. He explains “We’re trying to get non-Latinos to come and share in this celebration. We’re also trying to invite businesses to get exposure in the Hispanic community by setting up a booth.” Through Amigos Internacional Centro Latino has been helping Spanish-speaking residents with legal housing medical and educational assistance since 2001.

Festival admission is free to the public. Call (910) 341-0007 for more information. Michelle Billman

Take to the sea

Wrightsville Beach Sea Kayak Race

Lydia Fonvielle’s favorite memory from the annual Wrightsville Beach Sea Kayak Race took place last year when a woman winning her division’s race had to hand paddle across the finish line when a mechanism broke on her pedal boat. Fonvielle the event coordinator of the race and the general manager of Salt Marsh Kayaks in Wrightsville Beach described the atmosphere as positive and said that everyone was cheering the woman on as she won the race.

The event is November 3 beginning at 10 a.m. on the sound side across from the Blockade Runner and includes a 6-mile main race a 3-mile fun race and if enough interest is shown a kids’ race. After the racing participants can stick around for the awards ceremony and a raffle. Last year’s raffle prizes included more than $8 000 worth of outdoor gear. All proceeds go to the North Carolina Coastal Land Trust a nonprofit organization that protects local natural areas and waters.

And if you’re nervous about the competition Fonvielle suggests “Just come do the fun race. People do that race with their dogs and children and just have a blast.”

To learn more or register visit — Michelle Billman

Coming out of the shell

Cape Fear Seashells exhibit

As public relations specialist for the Cape Fear Museum Jacob Rudolph explains the Cape Fear coast provides “the best of both worlds” when it comes to seashells. That’s because our coast is in a position where temperate Virginia currents meet tropical Gulf Stream currents providing a diverse area of ocean that allows several species of shells — which cannot be found much farther north or south of here — to flourish. The exhibit Cape Fear Seashells is currently running at the Cape Fear Museum and highlights 30 of these unique species including the North Carolina state shell the Scotch bonnet. Cockles quahogs cameo helmets and conchs are also on display. Cape Fear Seashells will continue through next summer and is the forerunner of another exhibit about the Cape Fear coast called OCEAN: Explore Discover that will incorporate research in marine science as well as hands-on activities. To find out more visit or call (910) 798-4350. — Michelle Billman

Seeing stars

Willie Stargell Celebrity Golf Tournament

This year on Saturday November 10 through Monday November 12 the Willie Stargell Foundation a private nonprofit volunteer organization dedicated to helping people manage their struggles with kidney disease celebrates a major milestone — the fifth anniversary of the Willie Stargell Celebrity Golf Tournament.

Stargell the beloved Hall of Fame Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman passed away in April 2001 after a lengthy battle with kidney disease. Nearly 380 000 Americans have chronic kidney disease and more than 100 000 new patients will be diagnosed in the coming year. Willie’s quiet strength in his final years made a lasting impression on his loved ones and his family and friends decided they did not want his determined efforts to go in vain.

In his honor Stargell’s wife Margaret Weller-Stargell established the foundation in 2003. Every year since its inception the foundation has hosted a golf tournament and auction dinner to benefit those affected by kidney disease who could not otherwise afford their medications.

Last year the tournament hosted 160 players and 300 auction dinner guests. “Willie would be pleased to know that much is being done to help combat this disease in honor and memory of him ” says Margaret Weller-Stargell.

For this year’s tournament and auction dinner Stargell’s teammates notable sports figures celebrities and friends will return to once more remember the all-star first baseman and to raise money for the battle against kidney disease. Participants will have the opportunity for autographs to view noted sports memorabilia and to bid on auction items donated by the players themselves.

For the weekend’s schedule of events or to reserve tickets visit the foundation’s Web site at or contact event director Louise McColl at (910) 350-1211.  — Richard Leder