Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Blog

4th of July in Southeastern North Carolina

Star spangled events throughout the Cape Fear Region and beyond!
Posted: June 30, 2017 by Honor Rudd

On July 4th, Americans celebrate the day in 1776 on which our great nation was born with the ratification of the Declaration of Independence. 

On July 6th the Declaration was first printed in a Philadelphia newspaper. On July 8th it was first read aloud in public, in Philadelphia’s Independence Square, with the joyful noise of a band and the ringing of bells. One year later, on July 4, 1777 the first Independence Day was celebrated with bells, bonfires, and the boom of fireworks. 

The custom of setting off fireworks to celebrate the 4th gradually spread across our burgeoning nation, becoming even more popular upon the conclusion of the War of 1812. Independence Day was named a holiday by Congress in 1870, and became a paid federal day-off in 1938. 

Today, the midsummer holiday is marked by all manner of celebration, involving lots and lots of fireworks from sea to shining sea, including a nationally-recognized display in our own Southport, NC, and a number of other celebrations throughout beautiful Southeastern North Carolina. 

This 2.2-square-mile fishing and port village has been doing it up on the 4th for over 200 years. The commemoration began simply in 1792, with ships anchored in Southport’s harbor firing cannons in tribute, and has grown into a massive festival which attracts 40-50,000 visitors each year. The celebration includes music, entertainment, games, arts and crafts, and food, as well as a wildly popular parade. Keep an eye out for the Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage Southport & Oak Island Offices’ float! 

This beloved event was incorporated as the “North Carolina 4th of July Festival” in 1972. The festivities are free to attend, although there are some activities and vendors which require applications and/or fees.

The parade begins on the 4th at the corner of Atlantic & Moore Streets at 11am. At 9 pm crowds will gather at the Southport Waterfront for a fireworks display and a band on the Waterfront Stage at 9:30. For more information, visit NC 4th of July

This quiet Brunswick County town, featuring 12 miles of pristine coastline, is the site of the N.C. 4th of July Festival Beach Day on Saturday, July 1st. 

Beach Day features live entertainment, and contests in horseshoes, corn hole, bocce, sand castle building, volleyball, and shag dancing. The festival traditionally concludes with a fireworks display at the Oak Island Pier. Unfortunately, damage sustained during Hurricane Matthew has rendered the pier unsafe. 

However, Oak Island residents and visitors can get a fantastic view Southport’s 4th of July fireworks from the Oak Island Lighthouse on Caswell Beach Drive. 

The Port City was established in 1739. Spanning 230 blocks, Wilmington’s historic district is the second-largest in the nation, and features a picturesque downtown, nestled along the Cape Fear River. The area features numerous opportunities for food, drink, and shopping, and the mile-long, wooden Riverwalk is an attraction all its own. 

On the 4th, popular local band, Port City Shakedown will go on at 6 pm at Riverfront Park. Beginning at 9:05 pm, a spectacular fireworks display will commence over the Cape Fear River, adjacent to the Battleship North Carolina. 

A National Historic Landmark, authentically restored to her World War II glory, The Battleship North Carolina Memorial was opened to the public in 1961. The ship serves to honor “the 11,000 North Carolinians of all branches of the service who gave their lives in World War II.” 

Throughout the month of July, in partnership with the Thalian Association Community Theater, The Battleship North Carolina presents the classic play Mr. Roberts. The run opens on the 4th, and will be followed by viewing of the Downtown Wilmington fireworks show. The bow of the ship will be reserved for members of the Friends of the Battleship North Carolina

On opening night, refreshments will be served at 6 pm, and the show goes on at 7. All other showings will begin at 8 pm. 

Pleasure Island boasts a historic and award-winning boardwalk which delivers a vintage, seaside experience the likes of which have all but disappeared from the East Coast. Here one can find famous homemade donuts, ice cream and fudge, fresh seafood, arcade games, galleries, and even an amusement park--the Ferris wheel provides a breathtaking birds-eye view of the Atlantic!

Carolina Beach features weekly fireworks which start on Memorial Day weekend and continue on Thursdays throughout the summer. Live entertainment at the Gazebo begins at 6:30 pm and the fireworks begin at 9. According to, “the best place to view this weekly spectacular show is on the beach strand located in front of the Courtyard by Marriott or on the historic Carolina Beach Boardwalk” 

On Monday, July 3rd, Carolina Beach will hold their Independence Day Fireworks by the Sea celebration. Rebekah Todd and the Odyssey’s blend of rock and blues will entertain the crowd starting at 6:30 pm, fireworks will begin at 9. 

This seaside town boasts seven miles of South-facing, sandy coastline with 30 public beach accesses. Ferry Landing Park is located on the east end of the island. Here you can find picnic tables, a fishing pier, a gazebo, and breathtaking views of the Intracoastal Waterway. 

A fireworks display will take place on the Ocean Isle Beach Pier around 9 pm on Monday, July 3rd—the show will be viewable from almost anywhere on the island. 

The Ocean Isle Beach 4th of July Parade will begin on the 4th at 10 am, proceeding down East Second Street to Lee Street. There is no formal registration for the event--those who would like to participate should meet at the Museum of Coastal Carolina parking lot at 9:15 am. Entries will be judged by category: golf carts, floats, walkers, and bicycles. 

Topsail is a 26-mile barrier island with pristine beaches facing the Atlantic. The area maintains its old-word feel with a ban on high-rise development. The island is home to the towns of Topsail Beach, Surf City, and North Topsail Beach. 

On Monday, July 3rd, Surf City will present an Independence Day Celebration with live music and fireworks at Soundside Park. Johnny White & the Elite Band will go on at 6 pm, and fireworks will begin at dusk. 

Holly Ridge, NC

The town of Holly Ridge sits between Wilmington and Jacksonville along Highway 17. 

The town holds an annual 4th of July Liberty Festival and Fireworks. This year, entertainment will be provided by The Carolina Band and a DJ. The event, featuring more than 40 vendors, will be held from 3 pm until 10 on the 4th. 

Jacksonville, NC

Home to Camp Lejune Marine Corps Base, and the Marine Corps Air Station New River, patroitism is very important to the area and its residents.

Onslow Pines Park will host the 34th Annual Onslow County Freedom Festival on the 4th from 2 to 9 pm. Festivities will include food, crafts and novelties, children’s activities, and amusement rides, as well as entertainment from Buzz Rocket Band, Anna Cole, Wild Honey, Carolina Beach Music Legends, and The Embers featuring Craig Woolard. Fireworks will begin at 9 pm. 
Wherever you find yourself celebrating Independence Day in Southeastern NC, there are festivities and fireworks not far away! 

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