November is a great time to live in or visit the Wilmington NC area. The weather is mild and it’s a great time to get outside and get into the community and holiday spirit. Here’s a collection of some of the November holiday events that are happening around town that are great opportunities to get out and enjoy yourself with family or a group of friends. From ribs to running to Santa, we’ve got you covered.

November 8-12, 2017: 23rd Annual Cucalorus Film Festival and Connect Conference

Wilmington NC has long been known as the backdrop for many popular films and TV shows. There’s a One Tree Hill convention that meets here each year to celebrate the popular show that was filmed here from 2003-2012. Part of the rich film history and tradition in Wilmington is the Cucalorus Film Festival. Cucalorus has been named one of the “Top 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World” for 3 years running by MovieMaker Magazine and landed a coveted spot on the “50 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for 2017.

Cucalorus is back for its 23rd year and it’s bringing something new to the area this year with more of an emphasis on stage performances. There’s now the Film Festival, Cucalorus Connect, and the Stage Experience. Get your tickets at to be part of this memorable experience!

November 10-12, 2017: Port City Ribfest

If you’re the kind of person who has a favorite barbecue spot and you’re willing to fight about it, then the Port City Ribfest in Carolina Beach is for you. This is the fifth year for the Ribfest and it promises to be the best yet as it moved from the height of the summer when temperatures soared into the low 100s to the much more comfortable month of November. Come and taste the ribs from over a dozen teams of ribbers from all across America, enjoy some good blues and America music, and enjoy being outside this time of year at Carolina Beach. Tickets are $8 for adults for one day or $12 for all three days. Bring a can of food for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina and save $2 off of adult admission. Children 11 and under get in free!

November 11, 2017: Southeast North Carolina Veteran’s Day Parade

Head downtown Saturday morning and help to celebrate America’s Heroes by cheering on the First Southeast North Carolina Veteran’s Day Parade. The parade begins at 9:30am and begins at the Cape Fear Community College Parking Lot heading south on Front Street, then taking a left on Orange Street and ending at the USO Building. The parade is being put on by the New Hanover Veterans Council and is sure to be a wonderful patriotic affair. For more details, visit the parade website.

November 18, 2017: Hampstead Kiwanis Park Turkey Trot

If you’re the athletic type and want to get out and run for a good cause, the Hampstead Kiwanis Park Turkey Trot is for you. There are three races: an 8k, a 2 mile, and a 1/2 mile kids fun run. Both the 8k and 2 mile runs will be timed. The 8k run begins at 9:00am and the 2 mile run begins at 9:05am. The kids 1/2 mile fun run begins at 10:00am. For more details and to register for the races, visit the Turkey Trot race website.

November 24, 2017: Tree Lighting Ceremonies in Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Wilmington

If you love tree lighting ceremonies, you’ll have three opportunities to see one on Black Friday. Pick your favorite place: Carolina Beach, Wrightsville Beach, and Wilmington.

  • Carolina Beach: The Island of Lights Festival in Carolina Beach and Kure Beach kicks off with Lighting at the Lake at Carolina Beach Lake Park. The event features an opening ceremony with the President of the Island of Lights Committee, Pleasure Island elected officials, and musical entertainment. Santa makes an appearance and free refreshments are available. Local Cub Scouts provide the Honor Guard and display the flag for the singing of the National Anthem. Starts at 7:00pm at Atlanta Ave. and S. Lake Park Blvd. in Carolina Beach.
  • Wrightsville Beach: Begins at 5:30pm at Wrightsville Beach park with special guest, Santa Claus!
  • Wilmington: At Riverfront Park in Historic Downtown Wilmington. Begins at 5:30 with the tree lighting happening around 6:25pm. There will be caroling and a holiday marketplace. Santa will also be making a special appearance!

November 24-25, 2017: Enchanted Airlie

Enchanted Airlie has been a Wilmington tradition since 2005. Guests travel from around the world to take in the self-guided scenic walk through 1/2 mile of garden paths filled with a spectacular array of lights and holiday displays. Enchanted Airlie runs from 5pm-9pm on November 24-25 and again on selected dates in December. For more details and to reserve your tickets, visit

November 25, 2017: NC Holiday Flotilla Festival in the Park / Boat Parade & Fireworks

The 34th Annual Flotilla weekend will be held on Friday and Saturday, November 24th and 25th, 2017. The Flotilla Experience is a weekend full of fun events with something for everyone including the  Launch Party with The Embers featuring Craig Woolard, an annual tree lighting ceremony with a visit from Santa on Friday, along with the Festival in the Park for families and children on Saturday afternoon prior to the actual Flotilla. For full information and to enter a boat, visit the flotilla website.

Check out these great November holiday events, and tell them Captain Carl sent you! 🙂

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