Are You King of the Island?
The Island Independence, dubbed the largest July 4th athletic event in Eastern North Carolina, provides the opportunity to both run and paddle your way to fame. Run the 5K race or paddle in the 5K stand up paddle board race, or do both and win the King of the Island title with fastest aggregate time in both.
More than $2,500 in cash prizes will be awarded to teams, individuals and relay teams. In addition, all participants receive a custom beach towel.
Registration is $30-$65, depending on the event entered. Registration packets can be picked up between 4-7pm on Friday, July 1, or 6:30-7:15am on the morning of the race. To learn more, or to register, visit its-go-time-com/island-independence-5K.
If you can’t make it to the NC Aquarium at Fort Fisher, no fear – the aquarium will come to you. Outreach Coordinator Andy Gould returns to Topsail Beach each summer for six consecutive Wednesdays, June 29-Aug. 3. The program, which runs from 1-2pm, is held at the Topsail Assembly Building.
The fun, hands-on, educational programs include costumes, props and live animals to make the programs entertaining, enriching and exciting for all participants, putting sea turtles, alligators, snakes and other critters at the public’s fingertips – literally. The goal, said Gould, is to teach people about species that are native to North Carolina and teach them how they can help protect them for generations to come.
Topics include Dinosaur Discovery, Jammin’ Jellies, Wild Wetlands, Changing Oceans, Turtle Time and Aquarium Olympics.
It is not necessary for participants to register in advance, walk-ins are always welcome. While there is no set cost for the program, donations are graciously accepted to help support the program.
Earth & Surf in North Topsail
Spend a Saturday getting acquainted with nature at the Keep Onslow Beautiful Earth & Surf Fest. The annual festival makes the connection between the health of the environment, the economy and people, with plenty of fun activities to go around.
Earth & Surf Fest encompasses both the sound and ocean sides of the island and includes educational and artisan booths, along with a surf competition, paddleboard race, beach yoga, demonstrations, a 5K sand run and live entertainment.
This year’s festival is scheduled for Saturday, July 9. For a full schedule, or to register for the numerous events and competitions, visit www.earthandsurffest.com.
Sneads Ferry, a quaint seafood village, is most famous for its main catch, shrimp, and each year it brings in more than 385 tons of this popular crustacean. Each year, in an effort to celebrate and honor local fishermen and the seafood industry, the Sneads Ferry Shrimp Festival attracts shrimp and seafood lovers from all over North Carolina and beyond.
Hosted by the Sneads Ferry Community Center, the festival is a two-day affair, Aug. 13-14. Guests will not only enjoy a plethora of shrimp offerings, but also live entertainment, crowning of festival queens, a petting zoo, a street dance, fireworks, shrimp pheading contests, craft vendors, carnival rides and tons of additional opportunities to enjoy the bountiful harvest that what puts this area on the map. For information, visit www.sneadsferryshrimpfestival.org.
Spot on Fun
Hit the streets of Hampstead for one of the largest festivals that celebrates this town’s most abundant catch, the spot. Hampstead is host to the NC Spot Festival each September offering a two-day event filled with fun, food and entertainment.
This year, the annual event will be held Sept. 24-25. Guests are treated to a true Southern fried spot dinner featuring two spot, fries, coleslaw, hushpuppies and sweet tea, served from 11am to 6pm on Saturday and from 11am to 5pm on Sunday.
Additional fun includes the Spot Festival Queen and Princess Pageant, rock climbing walls, carnival rides and art and craft vendors. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets to relax and enjoy live entertainment followed by late night fireworks at 9pm on Saturday. All proceeds go to Topsail schools and the Hampstead Volunteer Fire Department. For additional details, visit www.ncspotfestival.com.
Autumn on the Island
There isn’t a better way to end the summer season and enter the crisp, cool months of fall than Autumn with Topsail, held Oct. 15-16. It is hosted each year on the third weekend in October by the Historical Society of Topsail Island. All proceeds go directly to maintaining the Missile Assembly Building and the Missiles and More Museum.
The event started in 1988 and continues to offer excellent local crafts, carnival rides, food, a wine and beer garden and other fun. The festival features a juried artists’ court with several regional artists displaying and selling artwork. The 2012 entertainment lineup will feature local favorites, the Band of Oz and the Coastline Band.
Things get started on both Saturday and Sunday with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Kiwanis. But it’s the juried art show that is always sure to bring in the visitors. Local and regional artists display and sell their work on-site amidst the food vendors, games, children’s art activities, rides and live entertainment.
One-day admission is $5 for adults, $8 for both days. Children 11 and under and active duty military are free. Details: autumnwithtopsail.com.
New Year’s Dip
Each New Year’s Day, the Dolphin Dip Foundation brings people together for a fun opportunity to take the challenge and hit the cool ocean waters for a refreshing way to embrace a new start. The water is chilly, but it doesn’t seem to stop crowds in Surf City from taking a brave immersion in the frigid ocean waters of the Atlantic during the annual Dolphin Dip.
The annual Dip will be held at 11am on Jan. 1 at the Roland Avenue Beach Access in Surf City. The swim begins at noon. Participants are invited to wear creative costumes since the event includes an award ceremony rewarding those for being the best dressed. To register, or to obtain additional details, visit dolphindip.net.