TOPSAIL BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Topsail Beach is celebrating a milestone birthday.
The town turned 50 in March, but locals are celebrating next week.
Those who have lived on the island since day one say a lot has changed since 1963.
"You come across that bridge, it's like the weight of the world has just stayed over there," Pat Braxton said.
Braxton has been crossing the bridge to Topsail Beach since before the town incorporated. Her parents built a home on the island in 1949. Fourteen years later, Topsail Beach became a town.
From the expansion of roads to the home development she's witnessed the last 60-odd years. Braxton says one principle of the community has gone unchanged.
"The basic process of Topsail Beach has stayed the same. It is still a family beach," she said.
A family beach that Brad Pierson and his loved ones have made ritual of visiting decades. His grandmother started the tradition in the 1920s.
"It means a lot to my family, because it reminds me of my grandmother," Pierson said. "You know, the way things used to be."
With a retreat so tranquil, locals say it gives a person time to forget the rest of the world.
"You do puzzles, you play cards, and you make friends that are long life-time lasting," Braxton said.
Resident Lawrence Valerio said, "I think this is the best place as far as friendly people."
Some say the 50th anniversary celebration is all about those people and the community they create.
"We feel like we have a gem down here," Braxton said.
August 31st there will be a celebration for everyone. It includes live entertainment, food and fireworks.