Li’l Friday: 40 weekend events, half celebrate NYE | Port City

Li’l Friday: 40 weekend events, half celebrate NYE | Port City
Sean Thomas Gerard will perform at Waterline on Thursday evening. (Courtesy photo)

SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Li’l Friday is a weekly roundup of events in art, music, theater, comedy, pop-up markets and more.

All events featured were scheduled as of Thursday; however, it’s wise to check in ahead of attending any one. Inclement weather, changes in schedules and unforeseen circumstances may shift for organizers at the last minute.

Thursday, Dec. 29

All is Bright
10200 Hwy. 17, Hampstead • Admission: $5

It’s the last two days of Poplar Grove Plantation’s holiday soiree. All is Bright features the plantation grounds bedazzled in tens of thousands of lights and illuminated scenes with photo opportunities. The Manor House is also decked out and open.

There will be fire-pits and marshmallow-roasting areas, with various food trucks featured every night among other cuisines, hot and cold libations, wine and beer, and arts and craft vendors.

Tickets are available at or at the gate. The event takes place Dec. 29 and 30, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Funds raised help Poplar Grove continue its mission of “education, conservation and preservation.”

Music by Sean Thomas Gerard — Waterline Brewing Company will be hosting local American singer-songwriter Sean Thomas Gerard from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The free show — tips for the musician welcome — will consist of Gerard performing solo, his songs stripped bare. Gerard will play from 2015’s “Great Unknown,”2017’s “While We’re In The Blue” and 2021’s “Finally Found a Paradise.” Waterline is located at 721 Surry St.

New Year’s Masquerade Karaoke Party — Broomtail Arcade and Pub is starting off the New Year early with a karaoke and masquerade ball Thursday from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. It’s free to attend. Everyone is encouraged to don their sparkliest attire and choose their favorite songs to sing, with D.J. Cool Hand Luke manning the karaoke party. Bring a snack to share with others.

Genealogy Drop-In — The free event takes place at the downtown library from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. to help those interested in tracing their family’s history. Author Timothy N. Pinnick (“Finding and Using African American Newspapers”) will host a gathering in the local history room on the downtown library’s second floor to provide guidance on genealogy tracing. Pinnick is the owner of History and Genealogy Spotlight, which concentrates on assisting libraries and individuals in identifying new and used African American books relevant to the African American research process. He has delivered his historical findings at numerous conferences nationwide and worked with the New Hanover County Remembrance Project to find the families and individuals impacted by the 1898 Massacre in order to preserve their legacies and histories. Pinnick will provide tips on getting started and be available one-on-one for those interested in starting their genealogical journey. 

Friday, Dec. 30

Cliff Cash
Dead Crow Comedy Room, 511 N. Third St. • Tickets: $20-$30

Cliff Cash will ring in 2023 with three final standup shows at Dead Crow Comedy this weekend. Two take place on Friday at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., and one at 7 p.m. on Dec. 31. 

Cash got his start at Dead Crow a decade ago and now travels the nation upward of 10 months a year. He released his first standup album, “Half Way There,” in 2021, which charted number one on iTunes. 

His humor, often told with a thick Southern accent, is observational, sometimes leans into the absurd and covers everything from family to politics. The Wilmington native has called his humor “smart Southern standup.”

“You know, we’re not all crazy rednecks holed up in a trailer in our confederate flag Snuggies watching ‘Duck Dynasty’ and saying mean things about gay people,” he told PCD previously.

Tickets are $20 to $30 and can be purchased here.

Gator Bowl Game Watch Party — DrumTrout Brewing Co. is hosting a Gator Bowl watch party Friday.  Notre Dame will take on the South Carolina Gamecocks, with kickoff at 3:30 p.m. DrumTrout’s doors open at 4 p.m. at 3710 S. College Rd.

NYE PreParty at Reggie’s — It’s the last night of the year to rock out a Reggie’s, 1415 42nd St. The venue will host a triple bill featuring The Queens Giant, the garage-rock of Wilmington’s Hyperloops, and The 2000s, 7 p.m. to midnight. It’s $10 at the door for 21 and up; $15 for 18 to 21.

Wilmington Latin Dance NYE Eve Party — Wilmington Latin Dance is closing out the year at Brunches with a final dance party at Brunches at Randall (3326 Jaeckle Dr.). The fun gets started at 9 p.m. with a fun arm tricks Bachata lesson, followed by social dancing for the rest of the evening and a midnight champagne toast. Attendees are encouraged to wear silver or gold. There is a $15 cover; tickets available here.

Li’l Friday: 40 weekend events, half celebrate NYE | Port City
The musical “Kinky Boots” will be staged on New Year’s Eve at Thalian Hall, as part of its gala to ring in the new year. (Courtesy Opera House Theater Company)

Saturday, Dec. 31

New Year’s Eve Celebrations
Various locations • Various costs

The countdown to 2023 is on and the Port City is in no shortage of ways to celebrate. Below is an abridged list of events. 

New Year’s Noon: The Children’s Museum of Wilmington (116 Orange St.) always rings in the new year with events for kids and families. Activities include creating a streamer wand, decorating a party crown, making glitzy slime and reflecting on the year.. 2023 will be rung in at noon with a confetti toss in the courtyard.

Scooters Family New Year’s Eve Kids Countdown — Another early celebration will take place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at 341 Shipyard Boulevard. Scooter’s Family Skating Rink will have an open skate session complete with a countdown. However, it will also open for the official 2023 celebration from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Skating is regular admission price, or a package including pizza, drink and party favors is $25 plus $4 rental fees. Anyone under 18 requires parental supervision.

Carolina Beach New Year’s Eve Party Taking place at the Carolina Beach Pier in 2023, the New Year’s Eve’s Island of Lights celebration is family-friendly and will have a DJ, dancing, refreshments and party favors for purchase. There also will be a beach ball drop at midnight with a fireworks display.

The Blueberry Drop — In Burgaw the annual Blueberry Drop will take place from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The Ace Party Band will perform and there will be fireworks after the drop; the event takes place 100 S. Wright St.

Second Glass — Second Glass is hosting a four-course prix-fixe menu crafted by Chef Ryan O’Janpa for $75 per person. To include the wine pairing, it’s $125 per person, with tax and gratuity applied at checkout. There are two seating options still available, between 4 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. 

Floriana — A prix-fixe menu of firsts and seconds of Italian courses will be $85 per person, featuring smoked salmon, duck confit, pumpkin mousse, portabella, scallop, and short rib. Seatings are at 5 p.m., 7 p.m., and 9 p.m., and reservations are accepted at OpenTable. Floriana is located at 2 Market St.

Seabird — The downtown seafood restaurant will include a four-course prix fixe for $95; it’s $130 with wine pairings. Course one includes choice of local egg salad, duck rillettes, or roasted local carrots, followed by Brasstown beef ribeye spinalis tartare, warm mushroom salad or prawn en papillote, and then a course of monkfish pil pil, eye of Brasstown beef prime rib or roasted sunchoke and perigord truffle raviolis. Dessert includes olive oil cake, cheese with persimmon jam or honey ice cream. The menu is accessible here.

Circa 1922 — The downtown restaurant at 8 N. Front St. is offering a three-course meal for $75. Diners can choose from tuna crudo, oysters on the half shell, beef tartare, lobster-pumpkin bisque, sunchoke agnolotti and pear and gorgonzola salad, followed by a second course option of filet mignon, grouper, scallops, short rib bourguignon and tagliatelle and porcini trifolati, with a triple chocolate tart for dessert. Reservations are accepted by calling 910-762-1922.

Three10 — In the Brooklyn Arts District, the modern seafood restaurant Three10 (1022 N 4th St.) will have a five-course prix-fixe for three seatings, 5 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10:15 p.m. Items on the menu include an amuse bouche of foie gras or roasted root vegetable terrine, followed by scallop crudo, smoked oyster or charred baby corn. The next course will consist of a fruit and cheese plate or a salad, and then the choice of fish of the day, crab risotto or roasted winter vegetable risotto. The entree choices are seared duck breast, roasted pork belly or grilled celeriac, with the dessert consisting of eggnog pots de creme or chocolate cake. Reservations can be made by calling 910-399-5428. 

Kipos — A five-course menu will be offered at Wrightsville Beach’s newest Mediterranean restaurant in Lumina Station for $90 a person. After 10 p.m. the restaurant will turn into an afterparty with a DJ and a complimentary sparkling wine toast at midnight. Kipo’s is located at 1900 Eastwood Rd.

Oceanic — NYE celebrations will take place on the second-floor ocean view dining room with a DJ, complimentary passed hors d’oeuvres and display stations, lounge seating, champagne toast at midnight, and party favors. A cash bar will be open. Doors open at 9 p.m. and it’s $50 a ticket.

Sauce’d — Party favors, fries, cocktails and all the NYE happenings screening on a 100-inch TV. Sauce’d on the downtown Riverwalk is hosting DJ Uniique spinning the tunes, and will have its lounge and outdoor heated patio open. A $25 ticket includes admission, a complimentary champagne toast at midnight, a complimentary mini fry basket with your choice of sauce and party favors. Limited VIP tickets ($125) are available and include a table for four, a bottle of champagne to share, four individual fry orders and four holiday shooters.

Bluewater — Ring in the New Year on the Intracoastal Waterway at Bluewater Waterfront Grill on the second floor. There will be dancing to music from Uptown Easy, complimentary late-night bar bites, champagne toast at midnight, and party favors to ring in the new year. The music starts at 9 p.m. and the party has a $50 admission fee, including complimentary late-night bar bites, a midnight toast and party favors. Dinner and drink reservations open before the party.

Flytrap Brewing — Flytrap is tappijng a limited release of its keg-conditioned Imperial Stout just in time for New Year’s Eve. The party will have live music from the Gin Fizz band from 8 p.m. to midnight, along with photo ops from The Little Green Booth from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. There will be a champagne toast when the ball drops. Brewery opens at noon but festivities kick off around 7 p.m.

The Starling Bar — Located in the Cargo District at 1612 Queen St., the whiskey bar opens at noon but evening celebrations begin at 6 p.m. with handmade pizzas from Chase Sessoms until 9 p.m., DJ Bo Fader spinning from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m with DJ Taylor Slavetti taking over from 10:30 p.m. until after midnight. There will be a free glass of bubbles handed out to ring in the new year. 

Ironclad Brewery — A black-tie party will get underway at the 2nd Street brewery for $130 to $150 a ticket, including an open bar until 12:30 a.m. There will be a champagne toast at midnight, with a DJ and photo booth. Food will be catered by Quanto Basta.

Disco Party — Waterline is bringing in local musicians Beats and Coffee for a disco party on New Year’s Eve. Bell bottoms, sequined dresses and gold chains are welcome. There will be ‘70s-themed party favors and a free champagne toast at midnight. Mommiez food truck will be parked onsite. Festivities start at 9 p.m.

Nauti Dog — Courtney Lynn & Quinn will perform at Carolina Beach’s Nauti Dog from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. with a dance party to follow. There will be a Prosecco toast at midnight, and a perfect view of the Carolina Beach fireworks and ball drop. Nauti Dog is located at 5 Cape Fear Blvd.

Barzarre — One local club is taking the millennium back to the 1980s and 1990s with a techno dance party. There will be flashing lights, visual effects and music videos playing on the big screen. It’s free admission and the party goes from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Barzarre is located at 1612 Castle St.

Satellite Bar and Lounge — In the South Front District, Satellite Bar and Lounge will have free admission and live music with local band Kicking Bird at 8 p.m., followed by Let’s Dance, a set by Fort Lowell Records, at 10 p.m. 

Fermental — Live music is planned at the Cargo District bottle shop including the local talent of Kyle Lindley, Stuart Currin, Sean Richardson, and others. Bed Eatz Taco Truck will be serving Mexican food, plus there will be a rotating selection of rare beers on tap, wines by the glass, mead, and a complimentary champagne toast at midnight. It’s free to attend.

The Lookout — More of the Roaring ‘20s will be enjoyed downtown at The Lookout, 23 N. Front St., from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. The Tea Cup Jazz Band will perform from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tickets are $40 in advance and $50 the day of and include a complimentary Great Gatsby welcome cocktail and champagne toast at midnight. There will be drink specials served from the cash bar all night long and professional photographer will be on site snapping scenes from the evening.

NYE Yacht Rock PJ Party — Bull City Ciderworks (615 S. 17th St.) is hosting a free Yacht Rock Pajama Party starting at 9 p.m.  Yachty by Nature will spin the tunes for the most comfortable dance party, as attendees are encouraged to dress in their PJs. Cider and cider cocktails will be for sale, with a “Firework” NYE cocktail on special, featuring ghost pepper simple syrup served with Upcide Down pineapple cider. A VIP ticket is available for $30, which includes a mini-bundt cake, a firework cocktail and a champagne toast at midnight in a souvenir BCC flute glass.

Gio Fund — The no-kill animal welfare nonprofit that helps save at-risk animals is hosting a NYE fundraiser at 117 Village Rd NE. Tickets are $20 per person presale or $30 at the door and include appetizers, dessert and a champagne toast. A cash bar will be open. Funds go toward the Gio Fund Event Center. 

U’NIQUE NYE — A fundraising event celebrating the Roaring ‘20s will take place from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. There will be live music with Machine Gun, dinner catered by Middle of the Island and a silent auction — including a vacation to Hawaii — as well as an open bar. Dinner is served at 9 p.m. Tickets are $150 (not available at the door) and all proceeds go back into the community, specifically to high school scholarships. U’nique raises awareness for suicide prevention and mental health. The party takes place at Sir Tyler Terraces, 1826 Sir Tyler Dr.

Kinky Boots — If catching a theater production is more up your alley this holiday, Opera House Theater Company and Thalian Hall have just the night planned to ring in 2023. For $246 a ticket, attendees will be served dinner at 6 p.m. before enjoying the local debut of the Tony Award-winning musical “Kinky Boots,” with score by pop artist Cyndi Lauper. The afterparty kicks off at 11 p.m. in the ballroom, complete with karaoke and the live ball drop at midnight. All proceeds benefit Thalian Hall, Wilmington’s historic theater. Show and party tickets are $140 and the party only is $80.

NYE Sidewalk Saturday — If you’re looking to enter a new year being more health conscious and sober, then Mocksie can help. The new non-alcoholic beverage company, founded by Carter Jewell Hamerski, is hosting a sidewalk sale in a tent beside its location in the Soda Pop district. From noon to 4 p.m. at 713 Princess St., a variety of beverages will be available for purchase. Read more about the newly launched business here from previous Port City Daily reporting.

New Years Eve Illumination Night — Annually, in the Country Haven development, located behind Walmart in Porters Neck, the neighborhood lights thousands of luminaries welcoming in the new year. The community is encouraged to to drive through slowly among 3,400 lights that line 84 homes. It’s open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. near 223 Country Haven Dr.

Carolina Beach State Park Trail Half Marathon and 5K — For those looking to set a healthy pace for 2023, the Carolina Beach State Park Trail Half Marathon and 5K trail race takes place at 8 a.m. in Carolina Beach. There are 13.1 and 3.1 mile courses, with all levels of speed and ability welcome. The rolling pine-laced single track takes runners along the coast on interesting terrain. Those 21 and over will get a beer on the patio at the American Legion Post #129, the location of race’s start and finish line. Both events are times with the half-marathon having a three hour and three-minute cutoff. More information can be found here.

Li’l Friday: 40 weekend events, half celebrate NYE | Port City
The boardwalk on Fly Trap Trail at Carolina Beach State Park. (Port City Daily/File)

Sunday, Jan. 1

First Hike of the New Year
Carolina Beach State Park, 1010 State Park Rd. • 

The park welcomes participants to the return of its free first day hike. A ranger at Carolina Beach State Park will share with participants information about the area’s natural resources and history.  

Hikers will trek two miles to Sugarloaf Dune from the marina parking lot to see the Cape Fear River. All welcome, and no registration is needed for the two-hour event. Hiking shoes and water are encouraged; everyone will meet in the marina parking lot at 10 a.m.

Wrightsville Beach Polar Plunge — Communities in Schools’ of Cape Fear’s annual Wrightsvilleplunge is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 1, 11 a.m., at the Crystal Pier at the Oceanic in Wrightsville Beach. It’s $35 to register and all proceeds benefit Communities in Schools. CIS provides programs and services to at-risk youth in New Hanover and Pender counties. It provides resources that help empower students and reduce the region’s dropout rate. For those who can’t make it to Wrightsville Beach in person, there is also a satellite plunge option welcoming people from anywhere to join the cause. Learn more here.

Surf City Dolphin Dip — The 2022 Dolphin Dip is open to anyone — families and their pets — for free. Dippers meet at the Roland Avenue Beach Access at 11 a.m. in Surf City. A costume contest will take place, as participants are encouraged to dress up for the plunge. A horn sounds at noon for swimmers to “wash away” the woes of 2022. Proceeds from T-shirt and merchandise sales (cash only), as well as donations benefit Share the Table. The nonprofit helps feed those in need in Holly Ridge, Surf City, Hampstead, Rocky Point, Scotts Hill, Sneads Ferry, Jacksonville, Topsail Beach, and North Topsail Beach.

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