Spring Into Fun!

Warmer weather welcomes you to get outside and have fun

STORY BY: LISA STITES

Warmer temperatures, flowers blooming and lots of sunshine mean spring is finally here, and it means most of us are ready to get outside and get moving. There is usually no shortage of festivals and events to choose from this time of year, and April’s calendar is no exception. There are plenty of good reasons to get out and about this month, whether you want to learn more about coastal ecosystems, stretch your legs with a brisk walk or a half marathon or stroll among Southport’s stately Live Oak trees shopping and picking out plants for your garden. And any time of year is a good time to lend a hand and help an organization dedicated to serving others. Make plans to participate in one – or all – of these events and enjoy spring on the Carolina coast!

SOUTHPORT SPRING FESTIVAL April 14-15, Franklin Square Park in Southport The Spring Festival is an Easter weekend tradition 25 years in the making for locals and visitors. The weekend events draw more than 15,000 people to the quaint seaside city. This year’s events start at 10 a.m. on Friday and wrap up at 5 p.m. On Saturday, hours are from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Karen Rife, Downtown Southport Inc. (DSI) Marketing Chair, said the Festival is a “wonderful event for all ages.” The Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis and DSI co-sponsor the Festival. A 5k walk/run is scheduled, along with many children’s activities and live music. Food will be available for purchase, as well as plants, shrubberies and herbs for your home and garden. With more than 160 vendors, there will also be plenty of selections for some spring shopping. “Visitors and residents enjoy spending time with family and friends in our beautiful park setting, taking advantage of all that we have to offer,” Rife said. There is no admission fee for the Festival, but there is a nominal charge for some of the children’s activities.

LIGHTHOUSE RUN April 22, Oak Island Get your running shoes out and get ready to race in the Lighthouse Run. The annual race, brought to us by the Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce, features a Half Marathon, 1 mile, 5k and 10k. If your speed is a little slower, you can also walk the shorter courses. And if your pace is even more laid back, you can cheer on your favorite racers. This year, the route takes a new path, foregoing the bridge and taking a completely island course. The Half Marathon runners will reach the Oak Island Lighthouse and the 10K race crosses Davis Canal on foot bridges. Participants are encouraged to take the island theme to heart and sport their favorite Parrothead attire, a nod to famed singer Jimmy Buffett. Be a pirate, an island native, parrot or any other Buffet-esque character. There will be an after-run party at Middleton Park for the runners/walkers, with music from Ciprian Santiago Garcia, drinks and contests, such as hula-hoop, grass skirt hula dancing and the naming of Mr. or Miss Latitude. Packet Pickup and Registration is Friday night from 5 to 8:30 p.m. There will be music, and food and drinks will be available that night also. Check the run website for additional details: www.lighthouse10k.com Drawings on the pavement near SE 46th Street and Dolphin Drive will give the racers a unique starting and finish line. Artists will add their touches on Saturday, April 22 from 6 to 7:15 a.m. The Oak Island Lighthouse Run & Walk began 18 years ago when Clarence Willie, a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors and an avid runner and retired U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel, suggested the Chamber organize a 10k run/walk. The first run was help in April of 1999. Over the years, as the number of participants grew and the events outgrew their venues, the starting line moved, settling in at Oak Island’s Middleton Park this year. For more information, contact Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce (910) 457-6964. The Lighthouse Run is an event of the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce.

PHILLIP A. COOK MEMORIAL GOLF TOURNAMENT To benefit the Phillip A. Cook Education and Development Fund & Waves 4 K.I.D.S. April 10, Oak Island Golf Club This “Monday after the Masters” annual golf tournament benefits Waves 4 K.I.D.S. This non-profit organization is dedicated to providing financial support and essential services to satisfy the unmet needs of children associated with Child Protective Services (CPS) and Foster Care (FC) or the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) program in Brunswick County, according to the organization’s website, www.waves4kids.org The tournament kicks off at 8 a.m. with registration and biscuits. A shotgun start follows at 9 a.m. A silent auction is open all day until 2:30 p.m., when dinner is served, provided by Island Way Restaurant. Cash prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places, as well as closest to the pin on all the par 3 holes, longest drive on the last hole and hole in one. Waves 4 K.I.D.S. currently serves more than 1,000 youth and their families and or foster parents. All of the children the organization serves are based in Brunswick County. Donations help fund educational grants; tutoring and aids for doing schoolwork; art, music, singing, and dance lessons; summer camp tuition; therapeutic activities not covered by Medicare; sports equipment and medical and therapeutic devices; clothing and scouting uniforms; computers; school supplies and more. The Phillip A. Cook Education and Development Fund provides funding for students who are qualified but underfunded to attend vocational school, trade schools, and college. For more information on the tournament, contact Kay Wolf at tkwolf@ec.rr. com or Bobby Mitchell at bobby@cheappromosweb.com.

OAK ISLAND’S EARTH DAY CELEBRATION April 21, Middleton Park in Oak Island Oak Island Parks and Recreation Department is sponsoring Earth Day events at Middleton Park on April 21st from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event will feature handson environmental Earth-friendly activities and displays for all ages. School groups can take advantage of the chance to learn more about the environment in this unique hands-on event just steps from the Atlantic Ocean. Oak Island Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Squires said Oak Island celebrates Earth Day just a little bit differently from everyone else. “We teach kids and citizens about the importance about preserving the Earth by recycling, reusing and preservation. But since we are a coastal community, we also teach about the importance of coastal issues,” she said. Those issues include preserving the dunes, sea turtle protection, responsible fishing, protecting sea bird habitats and more. Earth Day is also a chance to reach out to newcomers to the area, Squires said. “Many Oak Island citizens are recent transplants to our area, so it’s important to educate them about coastal issues,” she said. “Since they have moved here, they too are stewards of our ecosystem.” Some of the groups in attendance will be the Ft. Fisher Aquarium outreach program, Beekeepers, Sea Biscuit Bird Rescue, NC Coastal Federation, and many more. If your group is interested in becoming a vendor or sponsor, or to find out more about the Earth Day celebration, call the Recreation Center at (910) 278-5518. Check out the event calendar in the Southport Magazine for more spring events in April.

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