April SaltWorks

71st Annual North Carolina Azalea Festival

North Carolina’s largest festival of its kind and Wilmington’s premier community celebration is here. The Azalea Festival is a Wilmington institution, and with more than 50 events, this year’s festival promises to be a week full of beauty, entertainment and fun. Highlights include: Juried Art Show and Sale (April 7-15); Youth Art Contest (April 11-15); High School Writing Contest (April 11-15); Billy Currington Concert with Drake White and Kenton Bryant (April 13); Airlie Luncheon Garden Party (April 13); 38 Special with Tuesdays Gone (April 13); Patron’s Party Gala (April 14); 71st Azalea Festival Parade (April 14); Ludacris with Childish Major (April 14); Fireworks (April 14). For the full list of events and more information: ncazaleafestival.org.

Mandolin Spring

Mandolin Orange’s Southern sound is perfect for a spring evening at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater. From their early performing days in Chapel Hill, the band has received international attention for their Americana music and powerful and poignant songwriting. They are a versatile duo: In addition to vocals, Emily Frantz plays the guitar and violin; Andrew Marlin plays the banjo, mandolin and guitar. Mandolin Orange has toured across the United States and Europe, with appearances at major music festivals like Austin City Limits, South-by-Southwest, Merlefest, Newport Folk Festival and more. Tickets: $25-30. April 29, 6 p.m. Greenfield Lake Amphitheater, 1941 Amphitheater Drive, Wilmington. For more information: (910) 332-0983 or mandolinorange.com.

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is one of the 11 ensembles that comprise Lincoln Center for Performing Arts, the largest performing arts center in the world. It represents the highest quality of chamber music and performs both during its season at Lincoln Center in New York and on national tours. The Chamber Music Society has created programs to bring the art of chamber music to listeners from a wide range of backgrounds with the hope to engage new audiences. This program features works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Maria von Weber and Johannes Brahms. Together, these pieces provide an image of the evolution of German classicism in music. Tickets: $25-$75. April 24, 7:30 p.m. UNCW Kenan Auditorium, Wilmington. For more information: (910) 962-2500 or www.uncw.edu/arts.

Tours of Historic Houses…

From quaint cottages to elegant mansions, Wilmington is a treasure trove of important historic houses. The Historic Wilmington Foundation has saved more than 200 properties from destruction since its founding in 1966. The Azalea Festival Home Tour is a great way to benefit the foundation and explore several historic houses throughout town. Eleven properties will be open for exploration, and docents will be available at each location to share highlights and history. A ribbon-cutting ceremony with dignitaries and free ice cream at the Daniel-Poisson House at 315 S. Front Street will kick off the tour. Proceeds benefit the Historic Wilmington Foundation, whose mission is to protect and preserve the historic resources of Wilmington and the Lower Cape Fear region. April 14-15. Tickets: $30 in advance; $35 starting on Saturday of the Azalea Festival. For more information and to purchase tickets: historicwilmington.org.


…and Gardens

The Azalea Festival Garden Tour is one of the longest-running and most popular garden tours in the South and is a perfect way to enjoy Southern hospitality and the vibrant colors of spring. A ribbon-cutting ceremony at Greenfield Park will start the tour with live music and the Azalea Festival Court, and a reception with punch and homemade cookies. This year’s tour is themed “Bloomin’ Beautiful!” and features 11 gardens. Dozens of local artists will be at work in the gardens throughout the weekend during the third annual Plein Air Paint Out, and their work will be on offer at the Wet Paint Sale on Sunday, April 15, at the Cape Fear Museum. Profits from the tour are reinvested in the community as beautification and horticultural grants within New Hanover County, scholarships at UNCW and Cape Fear Community College, and conservation efforts on Battery Island. April 13-15. Tickets: $25. For more information: capefeargardenclub.org.

Springtime at Poplar Grove

Mark the beginning of spring at Poplar Grove’s 26th annual Herb and Plant Fair, an event featuring some of North Carolina’s best garden vendors and local artisans and crafters. The Poplar Grove grounds will be filled with a wonderful selection of local plants including herbs, perennials, annuals, hanging baskets, shrubs, vegetable starts and houseplants. There will also be garden art and accessories, herbal products, artisan crafts and local food. Artist and musician Mark Herbert will be playing live music, and volunteers will lead classes and nature trail walks. Admission: $5 (free for kids under 12). April 7-8. Poplar Grove Plantation, 10200 Highway 17 N, Wilmington. For more information: (910) 686-9518 or poplargrove.org.

Rosanne Cash with John Leventhal

Few names mean as much to American country music as the Carters and the Cashes, considered by many the royal family of Nashville. Country music icon Johnny Cash’s oldest daughter, Rosanne Cash, is a music star in her own right, a Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter who blends country, pop, blues, folk, rock and Americana to create a unique sound. She will perform with her collaborator and husband, John Leventhal, a five-time Grammy Award-winning musician and producer. Not to be missed. Tickets: $49-$69. April 5, 7:30 p.m. Thalian Hall, 310 Chestnut St., Wilmington. For more information: (910) 632-2285 or thalianhall.org.

Master Gardener Plant Sale

With spring in full swing, there is no better time to spruce up your garden and no one better to help you than the master gardeners at the New Hanover County Arboretum. The annual New Hanover County Arboretum plant sale will have a huge selection of trees, shrubs, ornamental plants, annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, azaleas, rose bushes, Japanese maples and more. Trained master gardeners will be available to help any budding gardeners with advice on planting and long-term care. Admission is free. April 19-22. 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Thursday–Saturday); 12 p.m. – 5 p.m. (Sunday). New Hanover County Arboretum, 6206 Oleander Drive, Wilmington. For more information: (910) 798-7660 or arboretum.nhcgov.com.

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