It’s an extra-long holiday weekend, with lots of people having Monday off for July 4, and there are tons of fun to be had. Here’s just a few options.
It’s going to be a huge weekend for Wilmington’s brand-new, 7,200-capacity performing arts venue. Five local bands and two comedians will perform for the free event during which the public will get to see the venue for the first time. Acts include jazz fusion from the Benny Hill Trio, country and Americana from L Shape Lot and a blend of hip-hop, jazz and R&B from The Coastal Collective.
Details: 1-8 p.m. Sunday, July 4, 10 Cowan St., Wilmington. Free, no tickets required. Park will be closed for fireworks in downtown Wilmington at 9 p.m. July 4.
More: Here’s what having Riverfront Park Amphitheater could mean for Wilmington bands, music
A bunch of crazy-cool, even challenging sculptures go on display this weekend as part of an exhibition featuring the work of artists from four states, including North Carolina.
The exhibit at Cape Fear Community College’s Wilma Daniels Gallery, titled “PSSST,” is a collaboration between the members of the Philadelphia Sculptors group and members of the Tri State Sculptors, which includes artists from Virginia and North and South Carolina.
University of North Carolina Wilmington art professor Andi Steele is the president of the Tri State Sculptors, and also one of nearly three dozen artists who will have their work on display in the show, which had been in the planning stage before being delayed due to the pandemic.
“This past year, our society has been divided in many ways — socially, politically, and spatially,” Steele said in a news release. “We need physical connection and interaction to be able to move forward.”
Details: Opening reception is 6-9 p.m. July 2 at the Wilma W. Daniels Gallery, 200 Hanover St., Wilmington. Normal gallery hours are noon-5 p.m. Monday-Friday. A second reception will be held 6-9 p.m. July 23 as part of Fourth Friday Gallery Nights. The exhibit will remain up through Aug. 6. WilmaDanielsGallery.com.
Southport and Oak Island’s big annual celebration is back after a lost year due to the pandemic. And while this year’s festival is a bit more scaled back and spread out than normal — there won’t be a parade, for example — there’s a whole ton of stuff to see and do.
After a “beach day” of events on Oak Island on July 1 — including sports tournaments, beach music from Gary Lowder and Smokin’ Hot and 9 p.m. fireworks — events will take place in both Southport and Oak Island on Saturday and Sunday.
Patriotic events include readings of the Declaration of Independence, flag retirement and flag-raising ceremonies, and the Red, White & Blue Flotilla.
There will also be plenty of live music at multiple venues, including the American Fish Company in Southport (“yacht rock” band Nowcat plays 2 p.m. Saturday), Southport Tap and Cellar, Moore Street Market and, in Oak Island, Middleton Park Pavilion (Christine Martinez Band plays 1-4 Saturday).
The Red, White & Blue Car & Truck Show will be at Bill Smith Park in Oak Island on Saturday, with an arts and crafts market at Middleton Park Pavilion on Saturday and Sunday.
Children’s entertainment and activities will be in downtown Southport 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, and the festival will close with fireworks 9 p.m. Sunday at the Oak Island Pier.
Details: For full schedule, go to NC4thOfJuly.com.
Wilmington punk band Evening Shadows is a supergroup of sorts, comprised of members of some of the best hard rock acts in the area: drummer Scott Key of ASG, guitarist Jason “Bronco” Pierce of Toke, bassist Tyler Wolf of Valient Thorr, guitarist Matt Smith of Strike Anywhere and vocalist Matt Hearn of White Tiger and the Bed of Roses.
This weekend, the band will play an album release show for its new, self-titled opus forged during the pandemic. StarNews music writer Brian Tucker calls it “brash and melodic, ragged and catchy. It deftly melds a raw garage band sound and power chords with uplifting energy.”
The opening acts are no slouches, either: heavy rock band Mountain Thrower and retro/garage band Seeking Madras.
Details: 7 p.m. (doors) July 3 at Reggie’s 42nd Street Tavern, 1415 S. 42nd St., Wilmington. Cover charge.
More: Two Wilmington punk bands release full-tilt albums that reflect COVID frustrations
Before you see you see this Wilmington hip-hop/jazz/R&B act help open the new Riverfront Park Amphitheater on July 4, you can catch them in the more intimate environs of Waterline Brewing on Friday. Frontman Jared Sales has assembled a big ol’ lineup of band members from throughout the Coastal Collective’s decade-long run, as well as some guest vocalists and musicians. It’s going to be a party.
Also at Waterline this weekend, the Freedom Fest from 2-6 p.m. Sunday will be a family-oriented affair, with a food truck, water-balloon fights, pie-eating contest and more.
Details: Coastal Collective plays 8 p.m. July 2 at Waterline, 721 Surry St., Wilmington.
This Wilmington retro/psyche/garage rock act has been truly destroying it since things have re-opened, kicking out the jams at several venues, including the bar/restaurant Palate on North Fourth Street, where they’ll return on Sunday. Sets will bookend the downtown Wilmington fireworks.
Details: 8 p.m. Sunday at Palate, 1007 N. 4th St., Wilmington.
This old-school Wilmington act will bring its blues and rock sound to Wilmington’s most old-school venue: The Rusty Nail. The band features Harvey Dalton Arnold, formerly of ’70s Southern rock icons The Outlaws. More recently, Arnold has been touted by the Music Maker Relief Foundation. With guest musician Richard Bell, and what’s billed as an “impromptu reunion” of Heather, a Wilmington rock band that held sway here in the ’70s and ’80s.
Details: 8 p.m. July 3 at The Rusty Nail, S. Fifth Ave., Wilmington. $8.
Head on down to the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center for some old-fashioned July 4 fun. Staff members of the refurbished 1940s building will be decked out in WWII-era duds while offering up free doughnuts and coffee, as well as sodas for the throwback price of just 5 cents.
Plus, Voices, the Community Arts Center Choir, will make its public debut with concerts at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. featuring patriotic and swing tunes, and the short film “Home Away From Home – the USO at 2nd and Orange” will play on a loop throughout the day.
Details: 1-6 p.m. July 4 at 120 S. Second St., Wilmington.
More: Celebrate Independence Day at Wilmington’s Hannnah Block Historic USO
Fireworks didn’t go off for the Fourth of July last year in Southeastern N.C., but we’re making up for it this year. You can catch displays in Carolina Beach on Friday, in Surf City on Saturday, and in downtown Wilmington and Oak Island on Sunday. All displays will start about 9 p.m.
More: Where to watch fireworks in the Wilmington area for 4th of July
Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or John.Staton@StarNewsOnline.com.