Merrymaking in Southport

The Southport Christmas Flotilla, flowing from Southport Marina to Kingsley Park, will be the grand finale of Winterfest 2013. Courtesy photo

The Southport Christmas Flotilla, flowing from Southport Marina to Kingsley Park, will be the grand finale of Winterfest 2013. Courtesy photo

Though many holiday events throughout Southport take place each year—such as the Christmas Flotilla which garners a slew of onlookers annually—the week-long celebration of Winterfest only was established in 2011. Cindy Brochure, as director of tourism and economic development for the City of Southport, is ever conscious of the value of broadcasting organized events on tourism-based web sites. Culling the flotilla and other Christmas traditions together into Winterfest allowed her to showcase the events under the “Festivals” section of, the official travel and tourism web site of North Carolina. Plus, instilling Winterfest as a proper festival allows the entire community to help the celebration grow.

With the addition of new events such as Supper with Santa, Southport will become a holiday hot-spot during Winterfest. It’s all thanks to a partnership between many businesses and organizations in the area, including Downtown Southport, Inc. (DSI). Founded in 2007, the non-profit is dedicated to preserving the heritage and charm of Southport. Fittingly, this year the group will sponsor the Winter Craft Festival and the flotilla.

“The Christmas holidays in Southport are spectacular,” Peggy Popelars, president of DSI, describes. “The atmosphere begins with all the holiday festivals that actually begin in November. Then during the second week of December, Winterfest is an event that is filled with excitement for all, young and not as young. The holly trees are lit, the Christmas wreaths are hung, and the Christmas trees are all aglow with beautiful lights and ornaments.”

Folks can experience the wonder of Winterfest December 6th through 14th. We’ve compiled a list of the festival’s events to help readers navigate all the seasonal fun.

Christmas at the Amuzu
December 6-8 and 12-15
Thurs-Sat., 8 p.m. • Sun., 3 p.m.
Amuzu Theatre, 111 N. Howe St.
“Christmas at the Amuzu,” a musical variety show featuring numerous genres of holiday music, will be presented at the Historic Amuzu Theatre. Tickets can be purchased for $18 at Ricky Evans Art Gallery (211 N. Howe St.) and The Celtic Harp (108 E. Moore St.) in Southport and Color Me Carolina (300 Country Club Dr.) on Oak Island. Info: 523-2552.

Santa’s Fire Engine Ride
Tues., Dec. 10th • 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Fire Headquarters, 1011 N. Howe St.
After the annual tree lighting at the Southport Fire Department, families will be able to partake in trips around town on the big red trucks. The trucks will carry Santa and families to the Whittlers Bench at the waterfront and back along Howe Street to the fire department, where refreshments will be served and children can tell Santa what they want for Christmas. A bus is also provided for anyone who is not able or does not want to ride atop the fire trucks.

Cookie Contest
Wed., Dec. 11th • 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Southport Community Building, 223 E. Bay St.
There will be activities for children, and guests will be able to take home holiday-cookie ideas. For more details, contact

Supper with Santa
Wed., Dec. 11th • 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Southport Community Building, 223 E. Bay St.
Children can enjoy dinner with Santa under many elves’ watchful eyes, while parents enjoy holiday shopping and dining in Southport. There is a $5 charge per child; open to ages 3 to 12. Parents can sign up at Limited space available. For info, call 523-6124.

Children’s Tree Lighting and Holiday Movie on the Lawn
Fri., Dec. 13th • 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Garrison Lawn, 203 E. Bay St.
Holiday magic will come to life in the form of twinkling lights, while Jerry Jackson, WWAY meteorologist, gives a live weather report from the lawn. The free movie will begin around 6:30 p.m.; guests are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. “The Flight Before Christmas” is about a young reindeer who conquers his fear of flight to save Santa and his fleet. Info: 279-3331.

Winter Craft Festival
Sat., Dec. 14th • 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Garrison Lawn, 203 E. Bay St.
The crafts will be all handmade and/or homegrown. Arts and crafts, homegrown winter vegetables, cut flowers, homemade baked goods, honey, jellies, and pickles will all be for sale.

Book Sale
Sat., Dec. 14th • 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Southport Realty, 727 N. Howe St.
The Friends of the Library will sponsor this book sale.

Santa’s Workshop
Sat., Dec. 14th • 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Parks and Rec., 209 Atlantic Ave.
Santa’s little helpers will make Christmas crafts and decorations, and there will be holiday goodies to eat. Info: 279-3331.

Southport Christmas Tribute
Sat., Dec. 14th • 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Garrison Lawn, 203 E. Bay St.
The lawn will come alive with a holiday musical performance by the Brunswick High School Choir and Theater Troupe.

Old Brunswick County Jail Tours
Sat., Dec. 14th • 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Corner of Nash and Rhett streets
The Southport Historical Society will offer tours of the mysterious old jail.

Christmas Tour of Homes
Sat., Dec. 14th • 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Corner of Nash and Rhett streets
Explore seven gorgeous homes decked for the holidays. Free trolley service will be offered. $10/advance and $15/day of, available at the Visitors’ Center (203 E. Bay St.) Call 457-7927 for ticketing info. See this article on for a list of homes on the tour.

Southport Christmas Flotilla
Sat., Dec. 14th • 7 p.m. • Southport Waterfront
Conclude the holiday splendor with the annual lighted boat parade as it flows from Southport Marina to Kingsley Park.

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