Festive holiday events in Wilmington, NC

The holidays are really the most wonderful time of the year- family, friends, Christmas lights, and good ole Saint Nick gracing us with his presence (and presents).

If you’re looking for some fun & festive holiday events going on around the Wilmington, NC area, look no further!

From the telephone pole seashells and starfish around Wrightsville Beach, to the garland and bows hung high at The Forum, Wilmington, NC does the holidays big. Whether you are looking for decorated trees or boats lit up brightly with amber glowing lights, Wilmington has a holiday event for you.

1. Enchanted Airlie

Enchanted Airlie 2012 - Airlie Gardens - New Hanover County, NC

Since 2005 people have loaded their cars with their friends and family and headed to Airlie Gardens to walk the grounds and enjoy all of the lights. From Thanksgiving, through December 7th, you can fill your car with as many people will fit, purchase a $30 ticket, and enjoy all that Airlie Gardens has to offer this holiday season. You can visit their website here for more details and be sure to purchase tickets soon, they sell out FAST!

2. Downtown Tree Lighting

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On November 23rd, don’t miss heading down to the Riverfront Park at 6pm to enjoy festivities and watching the largest tree in downtown Wilmington, NC be lit up for all to enjoy! I was actually clued in to a little rumor that the big man in the red suit might be down there for some photos with the good little girls and boys of New Hanover County… Shhhh!

3. North Carolina Holiday Flotilla

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As someone that grew up on Wrightsville Beach, and specifically grew up on the water, this is one of my favorite events of the holiday season. On Saturday, November 24th from 10am-4pm there is a festival at Wrightsville Beach park with inflatables, food, and vendors that is so fun for the entire family. Fast forward to 6pm that night and you can jump on the boat or stand along the intracoastal waterway and watch a parade of boats decked from T-top to bottom in amazing Christmas lights. This entire night of fun wouldn’t be complete without a fireworks show across from Banks Channel. I’ll be out there bundled up, I hope to see you there! Click here for more info on the flotilla.

4. Cape Fear Festival of Trees at Fort Fisher

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So I’ve never actually attended this one, but it is definitely on my holiday to-do list this year. Looking through photos it looks like such a fun place to stroll through during the holidays! This event runs from November 19th-December 30th and each tree is sponsored by a business or philanthropy here in town! If you’ve been thinking about visiting the aquarium, the purchase of a general admission ticket also gets you into the festival of trees for free. Click here for more info and pricing.

5. Wilmington Downtown Holiday Parade

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On December 2nd from 6:30pm-8:30pm, head downtown to North Front at Walnut Street to South Front and Church Streets to check out Santa riding in his sleigh and all of the reindeer that come with him! This Christmas parade kicks off the month of December and is a true entertainment and musical spectacular. Perfect for kids of all ages, bundle up and enjoy what the Christmas season is going to bring to us all here in Wilmington!

6. The Nutcracker

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And what even would the holidays be if you didn’t attend the nutcracker? A City Ballet will be at the Wilson Center downtown on December 1st and 2nd to perform Wilmington’s only full length version of the Nutcracker. You truly can’t miss here, click here for more info and ticket prices.

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