Springtime Events

 

Time to get outside and enjoy the weather

BY: LISA P. STITES

 

We made it through another winter and dare I say, spring is finally peeking it’s head out. We’ve rounded up a few not-to-be-missed events around the area to fill your calendar. So, put on your flip flops, gather your friends, and get out to celebrate the return of warmer weather.

OAK ISLAND EARTH DAY CELEBRATION

As a grassroots movement rallying for increased protection of our environment, the first Earth Day was observed in 1970 ultimately resulting in the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Since then, celebrations have taken off like gangbusters. In 1990 Earth Day went global and according to National Geographic, currently 200 million people in over 140 nations participate in Earth Day on April 22.

Our precious spot on the map is no different. Celebrate all things green at the Oak Island Earth Day on April 22nd. This free event will be held at the town’s Middleton Park. People of all ages can learn how to take care of our planet, especially our precious spot on the map.

There will be educational booths from numerous environmental groups, such as the Bald Head Island Conservancy. There will be staff from the Ft. Fisher at Fort Aquarium, and attendees can learn how to build a butterfly garden, and learn about sea turtles, recycling, and the importance of sea oats and sand dunes. They will also have the chance to get an up-close look at seabirds. Tours of the Nature Center on Yacht Drive will also be part of the Earth Day Celebration. The recently-refurbished center is a great place to learn about native wildlife, trees and plants.

Last year’s Earth Day celebration saw more than 250 visitors,and organizers hope to see even more turn out this year. Area school groups also attend, giving the students a chance to learn about and appreciate the natural beauty of the community.

“Our focus for the Oak Island Earth Day is protection and care of the Earth, along with our fragile coastal environment,” Oak Island Parks and Recreation Director Rebecca Squires said. “At the festival, you will find local groups that have ties to stewardship of insects, small animals,sea life, water quality, stormwater runoff, and more.”

Some of the other groups in attendance will be the Ft. Fisher Aquarium outreach program, Beekeepers, Sea Biscuit Bird Rescue, NC Coastal Federation, and many more. The event is free and open to the public.Sponsorship spots are also still available. For more information, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at (910) 278-5518 or email falkenhagen@ ci.oak-island.nc.us.

The Parks and Recreation Department is also hosting another nature program the following day, on April 23rd. “The Honey Files…A Bee’s Life” will be held at the Nature Center. This educational presentation is free and will provide information on bees and why they are important. The Program will cover honey bee biology, the life stages of a honey bee, the queen bee, the life stages of a bee and honey. There will be a live honey bee observatory and free tastings!

NATUREFEST: HIGHLIGHTING SOUTHPORT’S BEAUTIFUL ECOSYSTEM

This year’s Nature Fest lineup includes activities throughout town aimed at highlighting the beautiful local landscape, flora and fauna this beautiful seaside community has to offer. NatureFest 2016 is scheduled for April 30th, throughout various locations in Southport. The day kicks off bright and early with a bird walk around town at 7a.m. The walk will be led by birding expert Jill Peleuses. Space is limited, so make your reservations early. After birdwatching, festival goers can enjoy a pancake breakfast at Trinity United Methodist Church. The morning events finish up with nature-themed presentations from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., with topics including the Venus Flytrap, how to get involved in Citizen Science and incorporating native plants into your landscape. Afternoon activities will include a scavenger hunt from noon to 3 p.m., a native plant workshop at 1:30 p.m. and free activities for children at Franklin Square Park from 1 to 3 p.m. Tim the Pelican, a full-time resident at Oak Island’s Sea Biscuit Wildlife Shelter, will make an appearance at 2:30 p.m. There are also some other limited-space activities,such as a bus trip to the Green Swamp Preserve at 1 p.m., a salt marsh kayak tour at 1 p.m. and a History and Nature Walking Tour at 2 p.m. Visit the Festival’s Facebook page or call (910) 457-9453 for more information.

LIGHTHOUSE RUN AND PHLOCK TO THE BEACH

What do the Oak Island Lighthouse Run & Walk, a classic cars and airplanes show and Jimmy Buffett-style concert have in common? They’re all part of the Phlock to the Beach festival on April 16th. Brought to the area by the Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce, this year’s event again promises something for everyone.

The day starts with the Lighthouse Run that morning. Participants can choose the 1 mile, 5k, 10k or1⁄2 marathon. Registration fees include a T-shirt for the 5K, 10K and 1⁄2 marathon participants. There is no fee to join the 1 mile “fun run” for children but it is not a timed event. Participants in the 1 mile race will not get a T-shirt,but they will get a medal. Adults are encouraged to run with their children. All race participants are also encouraged to dress like a pirate or embrace the Jimmy Buffett theme of the day. A Yoga warm up will get things started at 8:10 a.m. before runners head out on their courses. Registration fees vary for the categories. Check www.oakisland- lighthouserun.com/phlock-to-the-beach- event-details/ for more information.

The Oak Island Lighthouse Run & Walk began 16 years ago when Clarence Willie, a Chamber Board member, avid runner and retired U.S. Marine Lieutenant Colonel suggested the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce organize a 10k run/ walk,according to the Chamber’s website. The first run was held on April 10, 1999.

The 5k was added in2006 and it was a popular addition especially for those that didn’t want to tackle the G.V. Barbee Oak Island Bridge. In 2012, the race drew such large numbers that the 1⁄2 marathon was added, and all the runs began and ended at the N.C. Baptist Assembly at Fort Cas- well. The races’ popularity has once again led to a location change, with the runs stopping at starting at Oak Island’s Mid- dleton Park Extension.

Those who would rather ease into their day can instead head to the Cape Fear Regional Jetport For the EAA #939’s Wings & Wheels Show. A pancake breakfast starts at 8a.m. The all-you-can-eat breakfast costs just $5. The Berlin Airlift C-54 “Spirit of Freedom” will be open for tours on the west ramp of the Cape Fear Regional Jetport from 8:30 a.m.to 2:30 p.m. There will be a small admission fee to go into the plane. Classic cars will also be on display. The “Spirit of Freedom” will be available for tours again on Sunday, April 17th from 9 a.m. to noon. It will also perform a “Candy Drop” on Sunday at 1 p.m. All children on the airfield at that time will receive a candy bar.

The Phlock to the Beach Concert starts at 3:30p.m. with music from Mango Boys. Live reptiles will be on display from the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, and there will be Buffet-style contests, art on the apron and raffle drawings. Food And wine will be available for purchase; coolers will not be allowed. Music From the Coco Loco Party Band will wrap up the evening.

Tickets for the concert are $5 in advance and $10 at the door. Children under 15 get in free with a paying adult. For more information about Run, Phlock, Drive and Fly visit: www.southport-oakis- land.com/index.htm

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Southport Area's Culture & Events Magazine