An Epic Thanksgiving Holiday in Wrightsville Beach
Permission granted for redistribution – Photo credits required
The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Navigates Stormy Season
2018 Winners and Photos Below
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Samantha Black
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA – Following a record-breaking downpour on Saturday, plus two hurricanes and almost 33-inches of rain since September 1, the skies cleared and the 35th annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla officially launched the Carolina holiday season.

“We are Wrightsville Beach strong,” said Linda Brown, Committee Chair of the Flotilla, after enduring several hours of heavy rain with 30-mph winds earlier in the day.

“We are all survivors and will not give up,” said Mary Baggett, of Blockade Runner Beach Resort. “Hurricane Florence tried her best, but the flotilla goes on.”

Saturday’s rainfall of 1.64-inches surpassed the previous record set in 1983. Combined with wind gusts up to 39-mph, staging conditions were challenging for crew members of world-renowned Zambelli Fireworks. In spite of the day’s obstacles, the fireworks display was “a show of a lifetime,” said. Brown.

Saturday night’s North Carolina Holiday Flotilla featured a procession of twenty creatively decorated yachts and watercraft, each glittering with thousands of lights, slowly motoring past an estimated crowd more than 50,000. The flotilla ended with a massive and dazzling Zambelli fireworks display.

“I want people to know that you can have a devastating storm and no matter how tough you think it is to get back to “normal,” it can be done,” said Brown.

(see 2018 winners and photos below)

The 14th annual Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie, another holiday tradition with international prominence, began Friday, Nov. 23, and is open for 20-nights through Dec. 22. A limited number of tickets are available for the 2018 season.


Contacts:

Linda Brown, Committee Chair
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
910-256-2120

Janine Powell, Director of Donor Relations
Enchanted Airlie, Airlie Gardens
Office: 910-798-7703

Robert B Butler
Communications | Public Relations

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution – photo credits required

#NCHolidayFlotilla #EnchantedAirlie #WrightsvilleBeach #BlockadeRunner #AirlieGardens #Wilmington #NorthCarolina #AirlieGardens #FlotillaWeek #WBStrong #WrightsvilleBeachStrong #WilmingtonStrong

*Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie was named a Top 20 Event in Fall 2015 and North Carolina Holiday Flotilla was named a Top 20 Event in Fall 2016, 2017, and 2018.

2018 Winners and Photos
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Zambelli Fireworks – Courtesy of Jeoffrey Nathan
Best in Show – Captains Christina, Patrick, and Charlie Hudson – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Ken Oots
Best Sailboat – Captain Billy McGrew – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Best Sailboat – Captain Billy McGrew – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Best Costume and Crew Spirit – Captain Lisa Leath and Andy Almeter – 
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Best Costume and Crew Spirit – Captain Lisa Leath and Andy Almeter – 
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Winner 22' and under – Captain Joshua Reda – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Winner 22' and under – Captain Joshua Reda – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Winner 23' to 31' – Captain Katherine Fowle – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Winner 23' to 31' –  Captain Katherine Fowle – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Winner 31' and over – Captains Don and Stephanie Midgett – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Winner 31' and over – Captains Don and Stephanie Midgett – 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Zambelli Fireworks – Courtesy of Lydian Altman
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Anna Hogelin
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Anna Hogelin
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Jeoffrey Nathan
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Jeoffrey Nathan
2018 NC Holiday Flotilla Committee Members Linda Brown, Jud Watkins, Beau Gunn, and Jeoffrey Nathan – Courtesy of Jeoffrey Nathan
2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Jeoffrey Nathan
More photos of the 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla by Ken Oots of Star-News Online at this link:   https://www.starnewsonline.com/photogallery/NC/20181124/NEWS/112409983/PH/1 

More photos of the 2018 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla by Mark Darrough of Port City Daily at this link:
"The show will go on"
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla  and Enchanted Airlie
The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Ned Leary Photography (photo credit required)
Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of New Hanover County Parks and Gardens
WILMINGTON / WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NORTH CAROLINA – Just two months following a direct hit by Hurricane Florence, two nationally renowned holiday attractions return to Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach, in November.

“The show will go on,” stated Linda Brown, Committee Chair of the 35th annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, presented by Blockade Runner Beach Resort. “We need this for Wrightsville Beach Strong and the communities that surround us. The flotilla will go on.”

Undeterred by the loss of an estimated 275 trees during the hurricane, “Enchanted Airlie will not miss a beat this year,” said Tara Duckworth, Director of Parks and Gardens for New Hanover County, owner of Airlie Gardens.

The 14th annual Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie begins Friday, Nov. 23, and will open for 20-nights through Dec. 22, 2018. The 35th annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, another Thanksgiving week tradition, will be held on Saturday, Nov. 24.

“Following the hurricane, the scene in Airlie Gardens was incredible with debris everywhere. The staff and volunteers were amazing. I commend them for all of their hard work, their dedication, and their passion for Airlie to reopen in November.

“I think the average visitor won’t know the difference. The iconic structures and Airlie Oak survived the storm. We’ve redone all the lighting with LEDs, and the displays will be even brighter; our signature attractions, including the mesmerizing Singing Christmas Trees are returning; and, we have a lot of new things planned. The Gnome Invasion art exhibit was cut short by the hurricane in September. Some of the gnomes will make an appearance Enchanted Airlie,” said Duckworth.
The Singing Christmas Trees – Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy New Hanover County Parks and Gardens
Enchanted Airlie has gained national and international prominence, attracting visitors from 50 states and over 40 nations. 2017’s sold out attendance exceeded 53,000. With one more night on the calendar in 2018, Duckworth anticipates another sold-out year.

“Festival in the Park, a prelude to the flotilla, opens from 10 AM to 4 PM on Saturday,” said Linda Brown. “This year’s festival includes 75 to 90 vendors; a large play area for the children with bouncy houses and slides; the popular and relaxing Arab Choo-Choo train ride; arts and crafts booths; food vendors; and the antique, classic, and special interest car show. The car show has grown tremendously, with over 150 cars expected this year.”

Saturday night’s North Carolina Holiday Flotilla features a procession of creatively decorated yachts and watercraft, each glittering with thousands of lights, slowly motoring past an estimated crowd more than 50,000.

Following the colorful and festive water parade, the flotilla ends with a massive and dazzling Zambelli fireworks display.

Although the hotel is closed for renovations due to damages sustained from Hurricane Florence, Blockade Runner Beach Resort will continue to serve as the host and presenting sponsor for the Holiday Flotilla in 2018.

“The Blockade Runner has been a partner since the very beginning in 1983,” said Brown. “We’re so sorry for their damages during the hurricane, but we are excited to have the flotilla headquarters, sponsor’s tent, and judge’s stand on Blockade Runner’s sound-side lawn and docks again this year.”

A North Carolina landmark locally owned by the Baggett family, Blockade Runner Beach Resort is planning to wrap up repairs and improvements with a grand reopening in early spring 2019.

Text voting continues this year with the People’s Choice Awards selected by spectators. “Text voting is growing substantially,” said Brown. “Four years ago, we had about 5,600 votes; last year, we had over 14,000 text votes,” said Brown. Winners receive flotilla trophies and prizes at the captain’s breakfast on Sunday.

“I want people to know that you can have a devastating storm and no matter how tough you think it is to get back to “normal,” it can be done,” said Brown. “We are making sure that Flotilla is strong this year because we are Wrightsville Beach Strong.”



Contacts:

Janine Powell, Director of Donor Relations
Enchanted Airlie, Airlie Gardens
Office: 910-798-7703

Linda Brown, Committee Chair
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
910-256-2120

Robert B Butler
Communications | Public Relations

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution – photo credits required

#NCHolidayFlotilla #EnchantedAirlie #WrightsvilleBeach #BlockadeRunner #AirlieGardens #Wilmington #NorthCarolina #AirlieGardens #FlotillaWeek #WBStrong #WrightsvilleBeachStrong #WilmingtonStrong

*Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie was named a Top 20 Event in Fall 2015 and North Carolina Holiday Flotilla was named a Top 20 Event in Fall 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of New Hanover County Parks and Gardens
Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of New Hanover County Parks and Gardens
Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of New Hanover County Parks and Gardens
2017 Winners and Photos
34th annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
13th annual Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie

Wrightsville Beach, NC – Thanksgiving week, known as flotilla week in Wrightsville Beach, launched the Carolina holiday season with two long-running traditions, the 34th annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, including a massive 20-minute Zambelli Fireworks display, and the 13th annual Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie.

Mark and Leslie Armstrong of Hampstead won the People's Choice Award, using the holiday flotilla to promote animal adoption to more than 50,000 people on the parade route. The Armstrong's also won the text voting People's Choice Award in 2016, donating the $1,500 prize money to nonprofit Rescue Connect.

The North Carolina Holiday Flotilla and Enchanted Airlie attract over 100,000 spectators during the holidays and have been distinguished as *Top 20 Events by the Southeast Tourism Society. The flotilla is based at host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
Category: People's Choice Award
Name of boat: C'Mon Cletus (#2)
Captains: Mark and Leslie Armstrong, Hampstead, NC
Theme: Seahound Sleigh (For non-profit Rescue Connect, encouraging animal adoption and prevention of abuse)
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla People's Choice Award– Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
Category: Best in Show Award 
Name of boat: J&B #10
Captain: Bob Bleecker, Fayetteville, NC
Theme: Lumina, Trolley, Grinch who stole Christmas
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best In Show – Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best In Show – Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best In Show– Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
Category: Best Powerboat 23' to 31'
Name of boat: Charlie #16
Captains: Patrick and Christina Hudson, Wilmington, NC
Theme: Sleigh Boat
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best 23 - 31 ft – Courtesy Robert B Butler
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best 23-31 ft– Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
Category: Best Powerboat  31' and over
Name of boat: Collision Course #3
Captain: Michael Lucas, Wilmington, NC
Theme: All American Christmas
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best 31 ft and Over  – Courtesy Robert B Butler 
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best 31 ft and Over – Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
Category: Best Powerboat 22' and under
Name of boat: Craigcat (#7)
Captains: Brent and Craig Jernigan, Waccamaw, NC
Theme: Star Spangled Christmas
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best 22 ft and Under – Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth 
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best 22 ft and Under – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
Category: Best Costumes & Crew Spirit
Name of boat: Sea Biscuit #11
Captain: Dean Brennan, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Theme: Dinos Rock
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best Costumes Crew – Courtesy Robert B Butler
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best Costumes Crew– Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
Category: Paula Sturdy Award
Name of boat: (No Name) #19
Captain: Jon Shellem
Theme: Palm Tree Island Tribute
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Paula Sturdy Award– Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
Category: Best Sailboat
Name of boat: Piping Plover #21
Captain: Jud Watkins, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Theme: Pint Night, Wrightsville Beach Brewery
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best Sailboat – Courtesy Beth W. Hedgepeth
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Best Sailboat – Courtesy of Sally T. Butler
Love those Zambelli fireworks!
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Fireworks – Courtesy Robert B Butler 
2017 NC Holiday Flotilla Zambelli Fireworks – Courtesy of Sally T Butler
13th annual Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie

Created by Airlie Gardens Foundation, Enchanted Airlie brings to life 35-acres of walking trails in the nighttime forest with an estimated one million colorful lights, holiday displays, and seasonal music. The half-mile stroll also offers an indoor visit with Santa plus food and beverage vendors with hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn, cookies, a unique local brew, and more.

Enchanted Airlie is open to the public through December 22. There are two reservation times each evening, 5-7 and 7-9 p.m. Enchanted Airlie tickets are available on the Airlie Gardens website, or, Blockade Runner guests can contact the hotel for tickets.

Proceeds from Enchanted Airlie benefit the preservation and improvement of New Hanover County’s historic Airlie Gardens.


2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
2017 Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Robert B Butler
Flotilla Week Itinerary
An Epic Thanksgiving Holiday
The 34th annual NC Holiday Flotilla
The 13th annual Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie
NC Holiday Flotilla, Courtesy of Ned Leary Photography (photo credit required)
​​​​​​​
Itinerary:

Wednesday, Nov. 22, 2017 
All Day and Thanksgiving Eve
Thanksgiving Eve Arrival – Activities on the oceanfront garden lawn, beachcombing, waterway nature tours, and East Oceanfront Dining (910-256-2251). Host Hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday Nov. 23-26, 2017
Departing at 12:30 PM, 2 PM, and 5 PM
Scenic nature tours for the family with Captain Joe Abbate, the Cape Fear Naturalist. Enjoy the Holiday Harbor Island Tour with a history narrative of the Wrightsville Beach Harbor and surrounding barrier islands. Learn, discover, explore, and enjoy the natural wonders on the Carolina Coast. Departing from the Blockade Runner docks.

Thursday, Nov. 23, 2017
Thanksgiving Day Buffet at Blockade Runner Beach Resort – Children's games on the garden lawn, chairs and umbrellas on the beach, and The Loop after the feast. The 2.5-mile John Nesbitt Loop offers fresh air, exercise, and the scenic beauty of Wrightsville Beach. The Loop is used for walking, biking, jogging, and skating. Call 910-256-2251 for Thanksgiving Day Buffet reservations - traditional and coastal fare.

Friday – Saturday, Nov. 24-25, 2017
5-7 PM and 7-9 PM
The 13th annual Airlie Gardens’ ‘Enchanted Airlie’ comes alive with an estimated one million twinkling lights illuminating the half-mile, self-guided walking trail of holiday displays with seasonal music. Warm holiday refreshments add the perfect touch for an evening stroll. http://airliegardens.org/events-news/enchanted-airlie/

Friday, Nov. 24, 2017
5:30 PM
See the annual Tree Lighting Ceremony and visit with Santa at Wrightsville Beach Town Hall.  Bring and give an unwrapped toy for the US Marine Corps annual Toys for Tots holiday drive. Hot chocolate will be available for donations.

Friday, Nov. 24, 2017
7:00 PM
The North Carolina Flotilla Launch Party features Craig Woolard and the Embers. Enjoy an evening of live entertainment, great food and drinks, a silent auction, dancing and good times. Heavy hors-d’oeuvres and a cash bar at host hotel Blockade Runner. Cost: $35 per person. (Captains meeting at 6:30 PM) http://ncholidayflotilla.org/

Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017
10 AM – 4 PM
Festival In the Park is a family highlight of Flotilla Week at Wrightsville Beach Town Hall. The festival includes a large play area for children including inflatable slides and bounce houses, a coloring contest, the always popular Arab Choo Choo, an antique car show, local merchants and arts and crafts booths, live entertainment, and a large selection of festival food and drinks. http://www.whatsonwilmington.com/event.php?id=29539

Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017
6 PM
The 34th annual NC Holiday Flotilla attracts an estimated 50,000 visitors each year to cheer the parade of yachts and motorboats, each decorated with a holiday theme and thousands of glittering lights. The flotilla follows a 4-mile route, passing the judges viewing stand at the host hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort. 

Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017
Immediately following the Holiday Flotilla
The 34th annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Fireworks will be presented by world famous Zambelli International. The evening sky is illuminated with a stunning 20-minute, 4,000-round fireworks display, showering the waterways with sound and color.

Sunday Nov. 26, 2017
Departing at 12:30 PM, 2 PM, and 5 PM
Scenic nature tours for the family with Captain Joe Abbate, the Cape Fear Naturalist. Enjoy the Holiday Harbor Island Tour with a historical narrative of the Wrightsville Beach Harbor and surrounding barrier islands. Learn, discover, explore, and enjoy the natural wonders of the Carolina Coast. Departing from the Blockade Runner docks.

Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie, Courtesy of Brett Cottrell NHCNC
2017
Airlie Gardens, Fireworks, Flotilla Launch Carolina Holidays
2016 NC Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Wrightsville Beach, NC – Thanksgiving week, known as flotilla week in Wrightsville Beach, will launch the Carolina holiday season with two long-running traditions, both distinguished as *Top 20 Events by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Flotilla week, packed with festivities and family activities, highlights the 34th annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, including a massive 20-minute Zambelli Fireworks display, and the 13th annual Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie. Both events combined attract over 100,000 spectators during the holidays.

Located on the flotilla parade route and providing transportation and tickets to Enchanted Airlie, host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort begins the celebration with a traditional and coastal feast on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 23, 2017. During flotilla week the Holiday Harbor Island Tour departs the docks 3-times per day with Cape Fear Naturalist Captain Joe Abbate, and features a historical narrative of the Wrightsville Beach Harbor and surrounding barrier islands.

Flotilla week’s itinerary is packed with Friday’s tree lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, and the Holiday Flotilla Launch Party featuring the Embers. Saturday’s schedule includes Festival In the Park, bustling with bouncy houses, slides, climbing walls, the Arab Choo Choo, live music, an antique auto show, and an estimated 100 booths featuring local merchants and arts and crafts vendors. Enchanted Airlie will open both Friday and Saturday.

Created by Airlie Gardens Foundation, Enchanted Airlie brings to life 35-acres of walking trails in the nighttime forest with an estimated one million colorful lights, holiday displays, and seasonal music. The half-mile stroll also offers an indoor visit with Santa plus food and beverage vendors with hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn, cookies, a unique local brew, and more.

Enchanted Airlie has gained national and international prominence, attracting visitors from 50 states and over 40 nations.
2016 NC Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Ned Leary Photography (photo credit required)
Saturday night’s North Carolina Holiday Flotilla features a procession of creatively decorated yachts and watercraft, each glittering with thousands of lights, slowly motoring past an estimated crowd of 50,000 revelers. Text voting continues this year with the People’s Choice Awards determined by spectators and presented to the winners on Sunday.

Immediately following the flotilla, a 20-minute, 4,000-round fireworks display illuminates the night sky, showering the waterway with sound and color.

Enchanted Airlie is open to the public Nov. 24-25, Dec. 1-2, 8-10, and 13-22, 2017. There are two reservation times each evening, 5-7 and 7-9 p.m.  Enchanted Airlie tickets are available on the Airlie Gardens website, or Blockade Runner guests can call the hotel to make arrangements.

Airlie visitors should plan ahead. “We will sell out all dates and times,” said Janine Powell, Airlie Gardens Director of Donor Relations.

Proceeds from Enchanted Airlie benefit the preservation and improvement of New Hanover County’s historic Airlie Gardens.



Contacts:

Janine Powell, Director of Donor Relations
Enchanted Airlie, Airlie Gardens
Office: 910-798-7700

Shannon Friedrichs
Linda Brown
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
910-256-2120

Robert B Butler
Communications | Public Relations

Permission granted for reprint and redistribution

#NCHolidayFlotilla #EnchantedAirlie #WrightsvilleBeach #BlockadeRunner #AirlieGardens #Wilmington #NorthCarolina #CapeFearNaturalist #FlotillaWeek

*Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie was named a Top 20 Event in Fall 2015 and North Carolina Holiday Flotilla was named a Top 20 Event in Fall 2016 and 2017.

NC Holiday Flotilla Host Hotel, Blockade Runner Beach Resort, Photo courtesy Lemonstripe
           Courtesy NC Holiday Flotilla
Courtesy NC Holiday Flotilla
Courtesy NC Holiday Flotilla
2016 Winners North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
Brent Jernigan, Lake Waccamaw, Best of Show, NC Holiday Flotilla, Photo by Karen Pennington
NC Holiday Flotilla BEST OF SHOW Trophy, passed each year to the new winner – Photo courtesy of Karen Pennington
Flotilla, Fireworks, and Airlie Gardens Launch Carolina Holidays
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC - Thanksgiving week, known as flotilla week in Wrightsville Beach, launched the Carolina holiday season with the 33rd annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, including a 4,000-round Zambelli Fireworks display, and the season opening for Airlie Gardens' 12th annual Enchanted Airlie. ​​​​​​​


2016 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Raising the flags at the NC Holiday Flotilla – Photo Courtesy of Karen Pennington
"We had perfect weather Saturday evening for the flotilla andEnchanted Airlie," said Karen Pennington of Blockade Runner Beach Resort, host hotel for the flotilla. "The sky was clear, temperatures were seasonally warm at 55 to 60 degrees with a light breeze."
33rd Annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Winners:

Category: Best of Show 
Captain: Brent Jernigan, Lake Waccamaw, NC
Vessel: Craig Cat #11
Theme: White Water Christmas

Category: Peoples Choice 
Captain: Mark and Leslie Armstrong, Hampstead, NC
Vessel: Come on Cletus #2
Theme: Hang Claws

Category: Crowd Favorite 
Captain: Jordan Messick, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Vessel: Tall Tail #8
Theme: The Jolly Jellyfish

Category: Best Powerboat 31ft. and over 
Captain: Jewell Jessup and Carlos Ferrario, Wilmington, NC
Vessel: Endless Summer #1 
Theme: Rock the Boat - A Floating Studio 54

Category: Best Powerboat 23ft. - 31ft. 
Captain: Patrick, Christina, and Charlie Hudson, Wilmington, NC
Vessel: Charlie #5
Theme: The Pirates of Wrightsville

Category: Best Powerboat 22ft. and under 
Captain: Tim Morrison, Carolina Beach, NC
Vessel: Wake Zone #16
Theme: Train 

Category: Best Sailboat
Captain: Kevin Snyder, Raleigh, NC
Vessel: Why Knot? #17
Theme: Coastal Christmas

Category: Best Costumes & Crew Spirit 
Captain: Michael and Chris Spivey, Liberty, NC
Vessel: Angler Management #7
Theme: The Christmas Kraken

Best in Show, Brent Jernigan, Craig Cat #11, White Water Christmas – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
NC Holiday Flotilla – Photo Courtesy of Karen Pennington
Best In Show, Brent Jernigan, Craig Cat #11, White Water Christmas – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
NC Holiday Flotilla Captain and Crew Awards Brunch, Blockade Runner, Photo by Karen Pennington
People's Choice Award, Mark and Leslie Armstrong, Come on Cletus #2, Hang Claws – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
People's Choice Award, Mark and Leslie Armstrong, Come on Cletus #2, Hang Claws – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
NC Holiday Flotilla Captain and Crew Awards Brunch, Blockade Runner, Photo by Karen Pennington
Crowd Favorite, Jordan Messick, Tall Tail #8, The Jolly Jellyfish – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Crowd Favorite, Jordan Messick, Tall Tail #8, The Jolly Jellyfish – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Crowd Favorite, Jordan Messick, NC Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Karen Pennington
NC Holiday Flotilla Captain and Crew Awards Brunch, Blockade Runner, Photo by Karen Pennington
Best Powerboat 31' and Over, Jewell Jessup and Carlos Ferrario, Endless Summer #1, Rock the Boat, A Floating Studio 54 – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Best Powerboat 31' and Over, Jewell Jessup and Carlos Ferrario, Endless Summer #1, Rock the Boat, A Floating Studio 54 – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
NC Holiday Flotilla Captain and Crew Awards Brunch, Blockade Runner, Photo by Karen Pennington
Best Powerboat 23-31', Patrick, Christina, and Charlie Hudson, Charlie #5, Pirates of Wrightsville – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Best Powerboat 23-31', Patrick, Christina, and Charlie Hudson, Charlie #5, Pirates of Wrightsville – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
NC Holiday Flotilla – Photo Courtesy of Karen Pennington
NC Holiday Flotilla – Photo Courtesy of Karen Pennington
Best Powerboat 22' and Under, Tim Morrison, Wake Zone #16, Train – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth 
Best Powerboat 22' and Under, Tim Morrison, Wake Zone #16, Train – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth 
Best Sailboat, Kevin Snyder, Why Knot? #17, Coastal Christmas – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Best Sailboat, Kevin Snyder, Why Knot? #17, Coastal Christmas – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
Best Costumes and Crew Spirit, Michael and Chris Spivey, Angler Management #7, The Christmas Kraken – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
2016 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
2016 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
2016 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla – Photo courtesy of Beth W. Hedgepeth
2016 NC Holiday Flotilla Fireworks – Photo courtesy of Karen Pennington
2016 NC Holiday Flotilla Fireworks – Photo courtesy of Karen Pennington
2016 NC Holiday Flotilla Fireworks – Photo courtesy of Karen Pennington
NC Holiday Flotilla – Photo Courtesy of Karen Pennington
NC Holiday Flotilla – Photo Courtesy of Karen Pennington
NC Holiday Flotilla – Photo Courtesy of Karen Pennington
NC Holiday Flotilla – Photo Courtesy of Karen Pennington
NC Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Ned Leary Photography
Wrightsville Beach, NC – Thanksgiving week, known as flotilla week in Wrightsville Beach, will launch the Carolina holiday season with two long-running traditions, both distinguished as Top 20 Events by the Southeast Tourism Society.

Flotilla week, packed with festivities and family activities, highlights the 33rd annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, including a massive 23-minute Zambelli Fireworks display, and the 12th annual Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie. Both events combined attract over 100,000 spectators during the holidays.

Located on the flotilla parade route and providing transportation and tickets to Enchanted Airlie, host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort begins the celebration with a traditional and coastal feast on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 2016. Throughout the day and flotilla week, scenic nature tours, eco-shelling, inshore bottom-fishing and sunset cruises guided by The Cape Fear Naturalist, Captain Joe Abbate, depart from the Blockade Runner dock.

Flotilla week’s itinerary is packed with Friday’s tree lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, and the Atlantic Marine flotilla launch party featuring the Embers. Saturday’s schedule includes Festival In the Park, bustling with bouncy houses, slides, climbing walls, the Arab Choo Choo, live music, an antique auto show, and an estimated 100 booths featuring local merchants and arts and crafts vendors. Enchanted Airlie will open both Friday and Saturday.
Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie – Courtesy of Brett Cottrell NHCNC
Created by Airlie Gardens Foundation, Enchanted Airlie brings to life 35-acres of walking trails in the nighttime forest with an estimated one million colorful lights, holiday displays, and seasonal music. The half-mile stroll also offers an indoor visit with Santa plus food and beverage vendors with hot chocolate, coffee, popcorn, cookies, a unique local brew, and more.

Enchanted Airlie has gained national and international prominence, attracting visitors from 50 states and over 40 nations.

Saturday night’s North Carolina Holiday Flotilla features a procession of creatively decorated yachts and watercraft, each glittering with thousands of lights, slowly motoring past an estimated crowd of 50,000 revelers. Text voting continues this year with the Crowd Favorite and People’s Choice Awards determined by spectators and presented to the winners on Sunday.

Immediately following the flotilla, a 23-minute, 4,000-round fireworks display illuminates the night sky, showering the waterway with sound and color.

Enchanted Airlie is open to the public Nov. 25-26, Dec. 2-4, 9-11, and 15-22, 2016. There are two reservation times each evening, 5-7 and 7-9 p.m.  Enchanted Airlie tickets are available on the Airlie Gardens website, or Blockade Runner guests can call the hotel to make arrangements.

Airlie visitors should plan ahead. “We will sell out all dates and times,” said Janine Powell, Airlie Gardens Director of Donor Relations.

Proceeds from Enchanted Airlie benefit the preservation and improvement of New Hanover County’s historic Airlie Gardens.​​​​​​​
NC Holiday Flotilla – Courtesy of Ned Leary Photography
Contacts:
Janine Powell, Director of Donor Relations
Enchanted Airlie, Airlie Gardens
Office: 910-798-7700
Cell: 910-612-7854
jpowell@nhcgov.com
Linda Brown
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
910-256-2120
Info@NCHolidayFlotilla.org
Robert B Butler
Communications | Public Relations

*Airlie Gardens’ Enchanted Airlie was named a Top 20 Event in Fall 2015 and North Carolina Holiday Flotilla was named a Top 20 Event in Fall 2016.

Permission granted for redistribution – photo credits required.
2015
Winners, Photos, and Wedding Proposal from North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
Enchanted Airlie Launches Month-long Holiday Show

2015 Best of Show, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
2015 People's Choice Award, Captains Ava and Scott Werstein, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
2015 People's Choice, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
2015 Crowd Favorite, Lindley College, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Beth Watson Hedgepeth
2015 Best Powerboat 22' and Under, Captain Chris Spivey, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Beth Watson Hedgepeth
2015 Boat Size 23-31', Captain Mark Dillon, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
2015 ​Best Powerboat 31' and Over, Christopher Bishop, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
2015 Best Powerboat 31' and Over, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
2015 Best Sailboat, Captain Dean Grey, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Beth Watson Hedgepeth
2015 Best Costumes and Crew Spirit, Captains Patric and Christina Hudson, North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Beth Watson Hedgepeth
Marriage proposal by Captain Mike Hamby of Wilmington, North Carolina, 2015 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
Marriage proposal by Captain Mike Hamby, 2015 NC Holiday Flotilla, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
2015 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla Zambelli Fireworks, Photography by Brad Austin Butler
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, courtesy of Robert B Butler
Winners 2015 North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, courtesy North Carolina Press Release
Captain Mike Hamby with bride-to-be Sharon Edelstein, courtesy North Carolina Press Release

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC - Large crowds gathered Thanksgiving week in Wrightsville Beach for the 11th season opening of Enchanted Airlie and the 32nd Annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla. Opening nights at 67-acre Airlie Gardens were completely sold out, with holiday light and sound shows continuing through December 22.

Saturday's holiday flotilla followed a 4-mile route, idling past an estimated 50,000 visitors, and passed the judges' viewing stand at Blockade Runner Beach Resort. Twenty-three yachts, sailboats and motorboats, each competing for cash, prizes, and bragging rights, were brightly decorated with thousands of twinkling lights in a variety of holiday themes.

In a first for the North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Captain Mike Hamby of Wilmington used his holiday decorated boat as a surprise wedding proposal. When passing his girlfriend on the parade route, Captain Hamby flipped a switch lighting up the words: "Sharon, will you marry me?" Sharon Edelstein of Wilmington accepted the surprise proposal via cell phone.
 
Flotilla evening ended with a stunning 4,000-round fireworks display by Zambelli International, illuminating the night sky, and showering the waterway with sound and color. 

Text voting continued this year, with Crowd Favorite and People's Choice Awards determined by spectators. 

Fall weather conditions for the week were ideal, with clear skies, highs in the 60s and 70s, with lows mostly in the 50s.  

2015 winners include:

Category: Best of Show 
Captain: Brent Jernigan 
Vessel: Craig Cat 
Theme: Merry Marlin

Category: Peoples Choice 
Captain: Ava and Scott Werstein 
Vessel: Cash
Theme: Santa Claws
Furtilla

Category: Crowd Favorite 
Captain: Lindley College
Vessel: That's What Sea Said
Theme: Snow Wars

Category: Best Powerboat 31ft. and over 
Captain: Christopher Bishop
Vessel: Bella Mare 
Theme: Santa's On Vacation December 26th

Category: Best Powerboat 23ft. - 31ft. 
Captain: Mark Dillon
Vessel: Summer Salt
Theme: Top Gun

Category: Best Powerboat 22ft. and under 
Captain: Chris Spivey 
Vessel: 5 o'clock Somewhere
Theme: Here We Come a Whale-
sa-ling

Category: Best Sailboat
Captain: Dean Grey
Vessel: Bird
Theme: Patriotic Christmas

Category: Best Costumes & Crew Spirit 
Captain: Patric and Christina Hudson
Vessel: Charlie
Theme: Have an Awesome Lego Christmas

Flotilla website:  www.NCHolidayFlotilla.org 
 
Contact:
Pres Davenport, Board Chairman
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
info@NCHolidayFlotilla.org
p. 910-256-2120

Robert B Butler | PR
www.RBButler.com 
www.NCPressRelease.org 
Times Square, NYC, courtesy Robert B Butler, Full Moon Photo, Lee Capps Photography
Times Square, NYC, courtesy Robert B Butler, Full Moon Photo, Lee Capps Photography
Yes, this is real. Full Moon Rising at Wrightsville Beach, N.C., Courtesy Lee Capps Photography, Burlington
Airlie Gardens' Enchanted Airlie
Photography by Josh McClure
Courtesy Wilmington and Beaches CVB
An Epic Thanksgiving Holiday in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina
Listen for details...
Full Moon, Flotilla, Fireworks, and Airlie Kick Off Holidays


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – The 32nd Annual North Carolina Holiday Flotilla, Zambelli Fireworks, and The 11th Annual Enchanted Airlie officially launch the holiday season Thanksgiving weekend in Wrightsville Beach. As if by design, a full moon rising will prelude festivities Thanksgiving Eve, Wed., Nov. 25, 2015, at 5:45 p.m.

Voted a Top 20 Event in 2015 by the Southeast Tourism Society, Airlie Gardens’ 67-acre nighttime forest awakens as Enchanted Airlie, with an estimated one million twinkling lights illuminating the half-mile, self-guided, walking trail of holiday displays and seasonal sounds.

Conceived and created by Airlie Gardens Foundation eleven years ago, Enchanted Airlie has rapidly gained national and international prominence as a must-see attraction. “We had visitors from all 50 states and 47 different countries,” said Janine Powell, Airlie Gardens’ Development Director. “In 2014, attendance was a record breaking 40,000 people.”

As well as a maritime parade of festive boats and stunning fireworks, the flotilla itinerary is packed with Friday’s tree lighting ceremony, a visit from Santa, and the Atlantic Marine Flotilla Launch Party featuring the Embers. On Saturday, Festival in the Park will bustle with bouncy houses, slides, climbing walls, the Arab Choo Choo, live music, an antique auto show, and an estimated 100 booths featuring local merchants and arts and crafts vendors.

Located directly on the flotilla parade route, host hotel Blockade Runner Beach Resort kicks off the holiday celebration with a traditional and coastal Thanksgiving Day feast for early arrivals. Cape Fear Naturalist Captain Joe Abbate will navigate local waters with scenic nature tours and Sunset Cruises at the Blockade Runner dock.

North Carolina Holiday Flotilla features a procession of creatively decorated yachts and watercraft, glittering with thousands of lights, slowly motoring past an estimated crowd of 50,000 cheering revelers. Text voting continues this year, with the Crowd Favorite and People’s Choice Awards determined by spectators.

Immediately following the flotilla, a 21-minute, 4,000-round fireworks display illuminates the night sky, showering the waterway with sound and color. “We have a long show by Zambelli Fireworks, one of the most reputable fireworks companies in the world,” said Pres Davenport, Flotilla Chairman. “We’re able to put on a really impressive display that rivals or surpasses most July 4th shows.”

Enchanted Airlie will open to the public Nov. 27-28, Dec. 4-6, 10-13, and 16-22. There are two reservation times each evening, 5-7 and 7-9 p.m. Enchanted Airlie tickets are available on the Airlie Gardens website, or Blockade Runner guests can call the hotel to make arrangements. Tickets sell out frequently and are not available at the gate.

Proceeds from Enchanted Airlie benefit the preservation and improvement of New Hanover County’s historic Airlie Gardens.


Contact:

Janine Powell, Development Director
Enchanted Airlie, Airlie Gardens
910.798.7700 (office)
910.612.7854 (cell)
jpowell@nhcgov.com

Pres Davenport, Board Chairman
North Carolina Holiday Flotilla
910-256-2120
info@NCHolidayFlotilla.org

Robert B Butler
Communications | PR
 
 
An Epic Thanksgiving Holiday in Wrightsville Beach
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