15 things to do in the Wilmington area for the long 4th of July weekend

·7 min read

Befitting the Fourth of July holiday weekend in Wilmington, there's plenty of things to do after you've hit the beach.

They include the N.C. Fourth of July festival in Southport, along with other patriotic concerts and gatherings, but it doesn't stop there. From concerts big and small and numerous comedy performances and no less than two full-on variety shows, the options are plentiful.

Please note that if it's fireworks you're looking for, I won't list them all here. Instead, check out our story listing all of the displays in the area.

And, for even more ideas of things to do this weekend, check out our list of outdoor summer concerts in the area.

More: Where to watch July 4th fireworks in the Wilmington area

More: Full list of outdoor summer concerts in Wilmington, plus Brunswick and Pender counties

ALL WEEKEND

Legacy

Vocal trio Legacy, featuring Wilmington's own Tracy Byrd (left), plays the North Front Theatre July 1-2.
Vocal trio Legacy, featuring Wilmington's own Tracy Byrd (left), plays the North Front Theatre July 1-2.

At North Front Theatre: Vocal trio featuring Wilmington's own Tracy Byrd (a performer in the Broadway tour of "Motown: The Musical") brings its genre-spanning vocal stylings to town for a two-night stand at this historic downtown Wilmington theater. Legacy performs everything from Motown, doo wop and disco to pop, hip-hop and R&B. With tunes spun by DJ Keybo, aka the actor and musician Keith Welborn. 7 p.m. doors July 1-2, $30-$60. 

N. C. Fourth of July Festival

People line the streets to watch the N.C. 4th of July Festival Parade in Southport, NC in 2018.
People line the streets to watch the N.C. 4th of July Festival Parade in Southport, NC in 2018.

Downtown Southport: If you're looking for something huge and family-friendly, this annual festival held in Southport is where you want to be. From a parade and live music to a car show, vendors, fireworks and much more, it's Southport's biggest annual event. Check out details in our story on the event, or go to NC4thofJuly.com.

More: NC 4th of July Festival: Parade returns to Southport, plus other events sure to be a blast

'Everything Everywhere All At Once'

At Thalian Hall's studio theater: This acclaimed sci-fi action comedy adventure from the directors known as Daniels (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) bring the multiverse rollicking into Thalian Hall as part of the Cinematique film series. It stars Michelle Yeoh as a woman whose day takes an otherworldly turn, literally, when she's identified as the one person who can save many parallel universes from the forces of evil. 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. June 30-July 1, $10. 910-632-2285. 

Dead Crow comedy shows

Wilmington comedian Matt Coghlan is the 2022 winner of the Port City's Top Comic contest.
Wilmington comedian Matt Coghlan is the 2022 winner of the Port City's Top Comic contest.

At Dead Crow Comedy Room: There's a trio of shows to keep you laughing at this Wilmington comedy club this weekend. Friday night, it's a showcase for the top three finishers in this spring's Port City's Top Competition: Matt Coghlan, Ellie Coleman, and Tyler Deese (7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m., $13-$23). On Saturday, multiple troupes from Wilmington's Dare Devil Improv school will perform, from kids all the way to adults, to raise money for the Support The Port Foundation (1 p.m., $15).

And on Sunday, longtime Wilmington promoter Louis Tee and Wilmington comic MT Bottles present the Live NC Color Variety Show. When they say variety, they're not kidding. Along with tunes from veteran Wilmington turntablist DJ Battle, there will also be magic and illusions from Rachel Darling; comic Omar Zamorano, a finalist for Port City's Top Comic; singers Mandee StarChild and Ian Daviz; and Raleigh stand-up comic Brandi Roberts.

Festivities start at noon in the Dead Crow's sweet outdoor bar called Lush, food trucks will be on-site and products from area vendors will be available. Tickets are $18.

THURSDAY

Stephen Marley

Stephen Marley, the Grammy-winning musician son of reggae icon Bob Marley, was born in Delaware in 1972 and attended public school in Wilmington.
Stephen Marley, the Grammy-winning musician son of reggae icon Bob Marley, was born in Delaware in 1972 and attended public school in Wilmington.

At Greenfield Lake Amphitheater: Marley, who is one of the children of reggae legend Bob Marley, was originally supposed to play Wilmington before the pandemic. Now, many reschedulings later, the Grammy winner is finally set to bring his island sounds to the shores of Greenfield Lake. He's got a bevy of originals, but will no doubt play some of his dad's well-known tunes as well. 7 p.m. June 30, $35. 

Tracy Shedd, with Lauds

At Ocean Grill & Tiki Bar: Two of the top indie rock acts in Wilmington team up for a double bill at this Carolina Beach venue. Shedd plays a brand of poppy rock whose catchy melodies mask and merge with incisive, introspective lyrics, while Lauds bring a guitar-driven dream pop sound that would've been right at home on '80s or '90s college radio. Both bands are on the roster of Wilmington-based label Fort Lowell Records. 7-9 p.m., free. 

More: Wilmington dream pop band Lauds matches its retro sound to a moody modern world on new EP

SATURDAY

Rainbow Kitten Surprise

N.C. band Rainbow Kitten Surprise performed at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater in 2019. This year, they'll be moving up to the larger Live Oak Bank Pavilion on July 2.
N.C. band Rainbow Kitten Surprise performed at Greenfield Lake Amphitheater in 2019. This year, they'll be moving up to the larger Live Oak Bank Pavilion on July 2.

At Live Oak Bank Pavilion: This North Carolina rock band, which got its start in Boone before going on to gather a nationwide following, blends multiple styles into its captivating songs, from rock and folk to hip-hop and electronic, all tied tenuously together by the high strains of frontman Sam Melo's voice. Themes and moods can range from the deeply emotional to the wryly humorous, but by artistically illuminating the concerns and experiences of a generation, the music of Rainbow Kitten Surprise hits a neve. It'll be their first time in Wilmington since a pre-pandemic two-night stand at Greenfield Lake in 2019. 7:30 p.m. July 2, $66-$250. 

North Carolina Symphony

The N.C. Symphony plays a "Stars and Stripes" show at the CFCC Wilson Center July 2.
The N.C. Symphony plays a "Stars and Stripes" show at the CFCC Wilson Center July 2.

At CFCC Wilson Center: Our state symphony's annual "Stars and Stripes" performance of patriotic music, a program of what the symphony terms " high-spirited classics and patriotic favorites." We're guessing that John Philip Sousa turns up, along with a surprise or two. 7:30 p.m. July 2, tickets start at $20. 

Reggie's 42nd Street Tavern

At Reggie's 42nd Street Tavern: Hardest-rocking show in Wilmington this weekend will undoubtedly be this triple bill. Longtime Atlanta thrash act Whores is known for its intense live shows, while Kansas City noise rockers Bummer, who record for the Thrill Jockey label, aim for catharsis with its blend of sonic and thematic heaviness. Filling out the bill is the hardcore act Capra, whose sound recalls such old-school punk acts as Suicidal Tendencies. 7 p.m. doors, $15 in advance, $18 day of show. 

SUNDAY

Acme Revue

Wilmington comic Julia Desmond is the brainchild behind the multidisciplinary Wilmington showcase known as The Acme Revue.
Wilmington comic Julia Desmond is the brainchild behind the multidisciplinary Wilmington showcase known as The Acme Revue.

At the Opera Room: After being postponed for a week due to COVID, this monthly variety show that brings together the best of comedy, music, visual art and DIY fashion returns. The brainchild of top-notch Wilmington comedian Julia Desmond, who also serves as host, the Revue is basically a big ol' kiss from Desmond for the Wilmington scene. Featured acts this week include stand-up comics MT Bottles and Matt Milner, with music by the Austin Glover Band and an art show from Wilmington's Kati Lyons, aka CattyLions.

Headliner is Wilmington indie rock stalwart Billy Heathen, whose propulsive, Devo-esque jams are some of the best tunes to come out of this town. 6:30 p.m. doors/gallery, 8 p.m. show July 3. $7. 

Port City Comedy Jam

At Thalian Hall's studio theater: Latest installment of the comedy and poetry series hosted by Wilmington-based actor Orlando Jones. Features a mix of touring and regional comics and poets. 3 p.m. July 3, $30. 910-632-2285. 

MONDAY

Wilmington Symphony Pops!

The 7,200-capacity Live Oak Bank Pavilion opened in July alongside the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington, N.C., Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
The 7,200-capacity Live Oak Bank Pavilion opened in July alongside the Cape Fear River in downtown Wilmington, N.C., Tuesday, August 24, 2021.

At Live Oak Bank Pavilion: The most epic concert in Wilmington this holiday weekend might just the Wilmington Symphony's first ever "pops" concert at the new amphitheater on the Northside. Featuring a range of singers performing a variety of styles, from pop to classical, while backed by a full orchestra, the even better news is that it's free. The program will highlight such American composers as George Gershwin ("Promenade: Walkin' the Dog") and Scott Joplin ("Maple Leaf Rag") while delivering patriotic favorites (John Philip Sousa's "The Stars and Stripes Forever") before making the segue into the evening's fireworks with, you guessed it, "Firework" by American pop star Katy Perry. 7:30 p.m. July 4, free. 

July 4 at the USO

The Hannah Block Historic USO building at Second and Orange streets.
The Hannah Block Historic USO building at Second and Orange streets.

One of the most charming Fourth of July celebrations in Wilmington happens each year at the Hannah Block Historic USO/Community Arts Center at Second and Orange streets. The building is a refurbished USO built in 1943, and from 1-6 p.m. the staff will wear '40s-era costumes while offering up free coffee and doughnuts, along with sodas for the World War II price of one nickel. While you're there, peruse the exhibits exploring the building's history, or watch a screening of the five-minute documentary "Home Away From Home," which will be playing on a loop all afternoon. At 3 p.m., a concert by the  Community Arts Center Choir will be held in the lobby. 1-6 p.m. July 4, free. 

Contact John Staton at 910-343-2343 or John.Staton@StarNewsOnline.com. 

This article originally appeared on Wilmington StarNews: Fun things to do in the Wilmington NC area from June 30- July 4