Springfest 2015: Come for the kids, stay for all the fun!

The annual Southport Spring Festival promises even more fun for families this year with more than 160 craft vendors, entertainment, food vendors and plenty of activities for children.

The festival runs Friday, April 3 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, April 5 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Southport’s Franklin Square Park (on Howe Street).
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The Festival is organized by Downtown Southport Inc. and the Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Club. It’s an event that’s been catering to locals and visitors for more than 25 years. In addition to the food and craft vendors, there will be plants sales, including flowers and azaleas. There will also be musical entertainment throughout the festival.

Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis President Peggy McDonald said the Festival has really grown in the last few years. Crowds have swelled from 7,000-8,000 five or six years ago to 14,000-15,000 the last couple of years.

Children’s activities will include a touch tank display managed by staff with the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher, a First Tee program in Southport Gym and the Ramps and Pathways program, which allows children to become engineers and design intricate networks for moving marbles. The Smart Start activity van will be on hand and there will be a free drawing for a child’s bicycle and an infant car seat from the Southport Police Department.

“We try to provide a family-oriented festival,” she said. “We try to keep everything, whether it’s food vendors or kids activities either free or at very little cost.”

The focus on children is a natural one for Southport-Oak Island Kiwanis Club, which is involved in numerous programs aimed at helping children in Brunswick County. The Club uses its portion of proceeds from the festival, including those from running a hot dog booth and the plant sales, to fund scholarships and to support programs to purchase books for childcare centers, Teen Court and Peer Court, a reading program at Southport Elementary and the Listening Post at Southport Middle School. The Club is also starting two new scholarships – one for young mothers who want to return to school and one for veterans. McDonald estimates that 96 percent of the money the Club raises locally is used here in Brunswick County.

The Festival also includes a 5k Run/Walk through Historic Southport on Saturday, April 5. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. at Waterfront Park and is $25 the day of the race. Participants will receive a T-shirt while supplies last. Awards will be given for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in overall male and female and 1st, 2nd and 3rd in each age group for male and female participants.

For more information, or to download a race application, visit www.downtownsouthport.org/spring-festival.

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