Celebration for the Nation

Fire trucks display Old Glory high in the sky during the 2010 NC 4th of July Festival. Photo by John Muuss.

Fire trucks display Old Glory high in the sky during the 2010 NC 4th of July Festival. Photo by John Muuss.

When Southport celebrated Independence Day two centuries ago, grand ships dropped anchor in the maritime town’s harbor, firing off cannons in honor of our nation’s freedom. Today, we celebrate with fireworks shot off a barge in the Intracoastal Waterway, amongst much more hoopla in the name of Old Glory. From the recognition of war veterans to a shag contest on the beach, the NC 4th of July Festival has been the highlight of our coastal community since its incorporation in 1972.

In fact, the festival is currently nominated as one of the top 20 community celebrations in the United States by Johnsonville Sausage. Each contender was voted upon by the public through June 13th, and on June 24th (after press), the top 10 finalists will be revealed. The community celebration to earn the title “Best of US” also will bring home $10,000—while the other nine finalists will be awarded $1,000 each.

From the arts and crafts vendors to live music from renowned regional acts, Southport Magazine has every event covered for the 2013 NC 4th of July Festival. We’ve compiled all event details from the jubilee, held July 1st through July 4th, with additional festivities the weekend before. Plus, in the center of this magazine, readers will find our Patriots Map: a delineation of the area highlighting local sights, shops, eateries and more.
Please note, the Southport Rescue Squad will have a first-aid station open at E. Moore and S. Howe streets from noon to 8 p.m. on Tues., July 2nd through Thurs., July 4th.


Opening Ceremony
7:45 a.m.
Waterfront Park, Bay Street
Sponsored by the City of Southport, the Opening Ceremony includes welcomes from the mayor and the festival president, the singing of our national anthem, and a flag-raising at Waterfront Park.

NC Freedom Run/Walk
8 a.m., 5k race start
Waterfront Park, Bay Street
For over 30 years the Freedom Run has been racing through Southport’s serene waterfront and cityscape. Held the Saturday before the festival, the 5k run and one-mile fun run begins and ends at the beautiful Waterfront Park. The 2012 event drew a record 477 participants and the course record was broken by Owen Deale with a time of 15:49.

New for 2013 will be a Color Gauntlet. Runners will have the choice at two locations along the course to run through colored cornstarch will being sprayed on the participants. To prepare, make sure to wear a white shirt that you don’t mind staining and sunglasses/goggles to protect your eyes.
Registration and shirt pick-up: Friday, June 28th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Waterfront Park, or Saturday, June 29th from 6:30 a.m. to 7:45 a.m. Entry fees are $30/person or $15/children under 18, active military, and law enforcement.

Firefighters Freedom Competition and Apparatus Expo
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nash St. behind City Hall (201 E. Moore St.)
Since 1984, The City of Southport Fire Department has invited area fire departments to Southport to compete. What looks like fun games to the spectators is really an event to test the teamwork of a department as it pays homage to training and methods of our past. The competitive events this year will include Barrel Push, Bucket Brigade, Command Post, Sprinkler Plug and Tanker Tug. There are plenty of fire engines, ladder trucks and equipment on display, and the firefighters are happy to answer any questions.


Oak Island Farmer’s Market
7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Middleton Park Soccer Field
E Dolphin Dr. and SE 46th St.
Fruits, vegetables, honey. Handmade or homegrown products.

Youth Activities and Contests
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Middleton Park Soccer Field
E Dolphin Dr. and SE 46th St.
Live entertainment will be on hand all day, while inflatables will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Horseshoes takes place at 9 a.m., corn hole at 10 a.m., bocce ball at 10 a.m., and volleyball at 11 a.m.

Sand Sculpture Contest
12 p.m., Beachfront Cabana Area
46th St. and Beach Dr.
278-5518 • www.oakislandnc.com
Compete with your best sand art, creating larger-than-life images on the beach, such as alligators, sea creatures and more.

Skate Competition
5 p.m., Oak Island Skate Park
49th St. and Beach Dr.
278-5518 • www.oakislandnc.com
Watch area skateboarders show off all their best tricks in the annual skate competition.

Shag Contest
5 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., registration
7 p.m., contest begins
Middleton Park Soccer Field
E Dolphin Dr. and SE 46th St.
The Society of Brunswick Shaggers strives to perpetuate and preserve the shag dance and beach music. The contest is the club’s fund-raiser for the New Hope Clinic. New Hope has been providing free medical care for uninsured, low income residents of Brunswick County since 1998. Amateur shaggers only and contestants will dance for two minutes. Prizes range from $100 to $300.

Carolina Breakers Concert
6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Middleton Park Soccer Field
E Dolphin Dr. and SE 46th St.
A high-energy band with four lead vocalists and a horn section covering Motown, funk, R&B, and disco. The band sizzles on stage with one of the most diverse set lists, also including beach, boogie, blues, classic rock and country. They perform four decades of tunes.

Oak Island Anniversary Fireworks
9 p.m., weather permitting
Oceanfront by Oak Island Pier
705 Ocean Dr.
Watch the sky light up to celebrate the close of another successful Beach Day.


Children’s Entertainment
9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Keziah Park, Lord and Moore streets
All activities are free, including face painting, coloring, beading, song, dance, and more.

Waterfront Stage Entertainment
1 p.m. to 10 p.m., Bay Street
From 1 p.m. to 2:40 p.m. enjoy the variety of DJ Dan, while Americana artist Dully Finch will take the stage from 3 p.m. to 3:40 p.m. From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., guests can enjoy gospel from Robert Carter, and country-rock artist CC Martin will perform from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m.

BHI Conservancy Benefit Picnic
4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Cape Fear Station
Bald Head Island
(910) 457-0089
Thirtieth annual event! Live music from Mark Daffer, food, children’s activity tent, bake sale, corn hole tournament and silent auction. Grand prize: Club Car golf cart.

Veterans Recognition
6 p.m., Southport Community Building
223 E. Bay St., www.cityofsouthport.com
As we celebrate Independence Day, let us not forget our nation’s independence is not a given, and it does not come without a cost. Each year the festival committee will choose a specific military branch, conflict or war to highlight, but make no mistake, all veterans and active military are welcome and honored. The ceremony will include displays, entertainment, food and a keynote speaker. Jeff Newton, a producer for NBC covering war for newspapers, wire service and TV for 19 years, will host the event.


Children’s Games
8:15 a.m., registration at Waterfront Park
9 a.m. games begin
The NC 4th of July Festival is sometimes compared to a Norman Rockwell picture. Old-time games like sack races or watermelon rolling that never go out of style could be the reason. T-shirts are free while supplies last at registration. Ages 6 to 11 will play at Waterfront Park while ages 5 and under will play at Garrison Lawn.

American Red Cross Blood Drive
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Blood Mobile at Waterfront Park
Please join our community-wide blood drive to celebrate freedom. All donors will receive a T-shirt plus are automatically entered in a drawing to win a $3,000 gift card.

Quilt Show
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Oak Island Moose Lodge #2059
4329 Long Beach Rd., Oak Island
Several hand-made original quilts and accessories will be on display. Show is free and public is welcome.

Waterfront Stage Entertainment
1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Bay Street
Rock band Double Barrel will play from 1 p.m. to 1:40 p.m. Check out contemporary Christian artist Megan East from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Motown and R&B cover group Tru Sol Band plays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Brunswick Concert Band Performance
3 p.m. to 3:45 p.m., Ft. Johnston Garrison Lawn
203 E. Bay Street
Band members are predominantly from Brunswick and New Hanover counties, but also include musicians from Pender and Horry (SC) counties. www.brunswickbands.com

Voter Registration
3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Southport Community Building, 223 E. Bay St.
Voting is a powerful right! Get registered to vote during the festival courtesy of the Brunswick County Board of Elections.

USCIS Naturalization Ceremony
4 p.m., Fort Johnston Garrison Lawn
203 E. Bay Street
Click here for full story.

Flag Retirement Ceremony
6 p.m., BB&T Flagpole, 104 S. Howe St.
The U.S. Flag Code states: “The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.” Held annually during the festival, the NC 4th of July Festival Retirement Ceremony is a somber and respectful event.


Pancake Breakfast
7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., Trinity Methodist Church
209 E. Nash St., southporttrinityumc.org
Benefits church missions and evangelism.

Golf Cart Parade
10 a.m., Bald Head Island Limited
6 Marina Wynd, 457-3701
As no cars are allowed on Bald Head Island, the parade goes down golf-cart style!

Flag Raising Ceremony
10:30 a.m., Moore and Howe streets
A unique ceremony where drum and fife meet the Knights of Columbus. The procession from the NC Maritime Museum on Moore Street is lead by a colonial band and citizens dressed in period costumes, followed by area public officials to the intersection of Howe/Moore Streets. The Knights of Columbus hoist the colors. The flag is donated by US Congressman Mike McIntyre and has been flown over our nation’s capitol.

Festival Parade
11 a.m., Moore and Howe streets
What is known as the current NC 4th of July Festival parade began in 1964 but has roots dating back to the 1700s, when the ladies of Smithville (now the City of Southport) dressed in white and marched through the town in observance of Independence Day. Today’s parade is much longer and has a bigger variety, with over 120 units filling the streets. See our Patriots Map (center spread and delivered around town) for the parade route. The parade also will be televised on WECT at 8 p.m.

Shine & Show Classic Car Show
11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Bay Street
Revel in America’s love affair with vintage vehicles! Take a stroll down memory lane at the festival car show presented by the Cape Fear Cruisers.

Waterfront Stage Entertainment
1 p.m. to 9 p.m., Bay Street
Rodney Dane and the Runaway Train take the stage from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Classic and alternative rockers, Sgt. Rock, will play from 3:30 p.m. to 4:40 p.m. Mark Roberts Band will perform from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Commodore’s Regatta
2 p.m., Southport waterfront
Watch veteran sailors vy for the prize during the Cape Fear Yacht Club/Pilot Commodore’s Regatta.

Live Pro Wrestling
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Fort Johnston Garrison Lawn
203 E. Bay Street
The United Pro Wrestling Association will pit experienced wrestlers against each other in its 4th of July brawl. www.theupwa.com

Fireworks Cruise
8 p.m., Bald Head Island Marina
Take the ferry out onto the river for an up-close look at the Southport fireworks. 457-5003, www.baldheadisland.com/island/ferry

9 p.m., Southport waterfront
Crowds of people line the waterfront and many “ships” anchor in the harbor to watch a brilliant fireworks display, launched from a barge in the Intracoastal Waterway. Plenty of ooh’s and aah’s will be packed into the 20-minute fireworks show, which is the finale for the festival. Alternate fireworks viewing location is near the Oak Island Lighthouse on Caswell Beach Drive, Caswell Beach.


Arts and Crafts
Franklin Square Park, 105 E. Moore St.
July 2nd-4th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Visitors to the over 120 booths can appreciate the park’s beautiful live oak trees that offer shade from the summer sun. There will be many fine, hand-made items by artists and crafters in Southport. The festival asks folks to leave pets at home, except for service and law-enforcement dogs.

Child Safety and Digital Heat Display
Corner of S. Howe and Moore streets
July 2nd-4th, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
An event of the Southport Police Department, the NC Department of Insurance, and NC Safe Kids Buckle Up.

Food Concessions
Waterfront Park, Bay Street
July 2nd-4th, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Chow down on authentic fair foods, from hot dogs to cotton candy.

Historic Chapel of the Cross Self-Guided Tours
St. Philip’s Church, 205 E. Moore St.
457-5643 • www.stphilipschurch.org
The Chapel of the Cross dates to 1843, built by soldiers at Ft. Johnston. It features a rich wooden interior with 18th-century altar railings. It is open 24 hours a day for prayer and meditation to anyone in the community. Seven different flags are displayed above the chapel, representing the political entities under which the parish of St. Philip’s has worshiped throughout the years. These include England, Spain, Grand Union, North Carolina, Confederate States of America and the USA.
The tours will be offered on Sat., June 29th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sun., June 30th from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.; Mon., July 1st from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., and from July 2nd through 4th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

NC Maritime Museum at Southport
204 E. Moore St.
Tues.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
457-0003 • www.ncmaritimemuseums.com
Southport, North Carolina stands at one of the world’s crossroads, where the mighty Cape Fear River meets the Atlantic Ocean. Her past is tied to both the river and the sea. It is a story of exploration, piracy and commerce; of pilotage, salvage and fishing. The North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport tells the story of the Cape Fear region’s people and their relationship to the water: a tale of tides, wind and ocean.

Sea Notes Choral Society Concert
Southport Baptist Church
200 N. Howe St. • www.sea-notes.com
With a patriotic theme, of course, the Sea Notes will present “Americana,” directed by Jane Boberg. Guest violinist Beverly Andrews will also perform. Free but donations are welcome. July 2nd and 3rd at 7:30 p.m., and July 4th at 3 p.m.

Summer Members Art Show
Franklin Square Gallery, 130 E. West St.
Tues.-Sat., 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
457-5450 • www.franklinsquaregallery.com
Franklin Square Gallery hosts the Associated Artists of Southport (AAS), a non-profit organization of over 125 exhibiting members dedicated to the cultural enrichment of our city. The organization supports its members and area residents by offering workshops and competitions. The Members Show includes works such as paintings, drawings, prints, pottery, ceramic art and jewelry. Join the members for a raffle at 5 p.m. on Thurs., July 4th. A First Friday reception for the show will be held on Fri., July 5th from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Old Jail/Old Smithville Burying Ground Tours
Nash and Rhett streets
The Old Brunswick County Jail was built in Southport in 1904. It is located at the corner of Nash and Rhett Streets across from the Old Smithville Burying Ground. Since 1984, the structure has been maintained by the Southport Historical Society and has recently undergone extensive renovations. Jail tours will run on Sat., June 29th from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.; and July 2nd through 4th from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Burying Ground tours will run on Tues., July 2nd and Wed., July 3rd at 2 p.m.

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine