The Girl From Ikebana

Simple elegance is harder to achieve than it seems, but the
Wilmington chapter of Ikebana International is game to try. A showcase of 50 arrangements at the Arboretum should sate your appetite for the Japanese art of floral design. Even their guest, Cape Fear Bonsai, will be there, albeit in miniature. When spring is beginning to shout, let Ikebana whisper. March 17, 1–5 p.m., and March 18, 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission is free. NHC Arboretum, 6208 Oleander Drive, Wilmington.

Crazy on Her

Ann Wilson of Heart, aka Rock and Roll Hall of Famer with two of the most memorable songs of 1976 (and conveyor belt of hard rock hits after that), comes to the Wilson Center. She promises “songs from my years of solo work and the unforgettable songs of Heart” plus work from her new album, “Beautiful Broken,” but honestly, we’d go hear Ann Wilson sing the phone book. March 21 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $37.80–83 Call 910-362-7999 or visit

Let There Be Bagpipes!

Grab your green and prepare to thrust your fists in the air, rejoicing. Wilmington’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade may not be the biggest downtown sees, but what it lacks in size it makes up for in spirit. Live music, dancing, food vendors and green beer abound. Rain or shine, North Front and Water streets will be filled with Irish pride with the parade starting at 11 a.m. on March 11. The family-friendly festival lasts until 6 p.m.

Party Like it’s 1959

Step into a Turner Classic Movie at Cape Fear Museum’s launch “Patio Party” for the opening of the Smithsonian’s traveling exhibit “Patios, Pools, & the Invention
of the American Backyard.” Some of us might still be rotating kabobs on the grill, vacuuming in high heels and extolling the virtues of conditioned air, but others may need a refresher on the era that invented suburbia as we know it. Held outdoors in the museum park with retro cocktails and Thrill of the Grill cuisine, it should be a swingin’ party and a swell exhibit! Should your closet not accommodate this mid-century mission, tiptoe over to The Wonder Shop (22 N. Front St.), Jess James’ Style Girl Vintage (511 Castle St.) or Second Skin Vintage (615 Castle St.). March 23, 5–8 p.m., Cape Fear Museum, 814 Market St. Tickets: $15 members, $30 non-members.

Running with Narrative

Ever wanted to run (or walk) a 5k? Or do you feel revved up about social justice issues with no outlet? Get ready for the 2nd Annual Free Movement & Black Man Running 5k for social justice. Held among the pines of Hugh MacRae Park, this 5k (3.1 miles) run and festival aims to build community and improve the health and social crises facing African-American men, but everyone — regardless of skill level — is invited to participate. Black Man Running is a project of Working Narratives, a Wilmington-based media arts and social justice organization. Their free weekly running group meets Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at Jengo’s Playhouse, 815 Princess Street. 5k Registration fees are $20 per individual, $12 per team. March 11, 8 a.m.– 4 p.m. Hugh MacRae Park, 314 Pine Grove Drive, Wilmington. Register at

Visions of Mermaids

Swimming in our heads (and in pirate lore) are mermaids of the Cape Fear. Who’s to say, on a dreary night, bordering on scurvy, Blackbeard or Stede Bonnet didn’t catch a glimpse of these illusive Amazons of the sea? There’s a reason for the feminine pronoun “La” when speaking of “La mer” and that ships are always referred to as “she” —  the sea is indelibly romantic. Visiting for two weekends, we have the world famous Weeki Wachee Mermaids (of Florida) to perform in the 235,000-gallon Cape Fear Shoals habitat tank at the NC Aquarium. A slew of opportunities to see them swim with sharks, rays and schools of fish, or to meet the mermaids on dry land, will be available with regular admission and additional programming. Doughnut breakfast with mermaids, paint night and other opportunities are by reservation. March 3–5, March 10–12, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, Tickets: $8.95–10.95, NC Aquarium, 900 Loggerhead Road, Kure Beach.

More Chicken Fried Cow Bell

Southern Culture On The Skids is that soundtrack music — that Tarantino soundtrack music — but this North Carolina-made band puts on a show in their own right. Shout out all the words to the “Camel Walk” and perform fevered dances to “Meximelt” or just drop into the trance of their special mix of rockabilly, greasy surf and blues rock ’n’ roll. In 2014, the Southern Folklife Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill even mounted an exhibition about their impact on Southern music and culture (as if we had any doubt). Opening act: The Phantom Playboys. Thursday, March 9, 7–11 p.m. Tickets: $15 advance, $18 at the door. Reggie’s 42 Street Tavern, 1415 42nd St., Wilmington.

Choose Your Own Dystopia

An immersive performance experience that laughs at the fourth wall, “Real Life Test” by NYC-based dance company Motion Picture Show has us intrigued. Set in “Victory Mansions,” a George Orwell’s 1984 inspired narrative lets in audience members 10 minutes at a time for a 2 1/2 hour promenade-style performance in a location disclosed to you only when you purchase your ticket. A elite choose-your-own-adventure directed by Broadway choreographer Nick Kepely? Yes please. Brought to us by Cucalorus Film Festival’s artist residency program. March 1 & 2 at 8 p.m., March 3 & 4 at 10 p.m., March 5 at 6 p.m. Tickets: $20–45 at

Made in the Old North State

We know N.C. has no shortage of artisans, tinker men (and women), and potters who can throw more than gravy on the wheel. You may know we are the Tar Heel State, but what about the Turpentine State? The Rip Van Winkle State? The woodworkers and whittlers know. They are made of tough stuff and they make tough stuff. Shop this “Made in N.C.” festival for pottery, jewelry and handcrafted items for your home from 50+ vendors. Also, food trucks and cash bar. March 18 & 19, 12 – 6 p.m. Admission: $5, kids under 12 are free. Brooklyn Arts Center, 514 North 4th Street, Wilmington.


Wilmington likes to drink. There’s no doubt about that. A local beach store even sells tank tops that say “I’m not drunk, I’m just from Wilmington,” which is booze-logic if we’ve ever heard it, but it does make the point that we like to get in our cups. But, a new 10-day festival highlights our burgeoning fancy craft beer crowd, there for taste and not so much sheer quantity, though there is that, too. Pairings with cuisine, a brewing competition, the events are getting creative. The newly forged Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance put aside differences from the ancient beer wars of years past and invites the groups together to just have a drink. Cape Fear Craft Beer Week: March 24 – April 1, times, locations and event prices vary. Details at

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