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November 20 @ 6:00pm - November 22 @ 5:00pm


Due to inclement weather and flooding of Downtown Wilmington, this year’s Riverfest has been rescheduled for Nov. 20-22. The Riverfest Committee worked very quickly to ensure that all vendors were notified and were pleased at their understanding and renewed commitment to be a part of the festival. Also, the City of Wilmington came to the festival’s aid in finding available dates in November that were open so that the annual event could occur.

Wilmington’s Riverfest is celebrated annually on the first weekend of October, and runs through Historic Downtown Wilmington on Water Street from the foot of Market Street to Cape Fear Community College. This year the theme for the festival is “Art on the River”.

Currently drawing nearly a quarter-million people, this free, family-oriented celebration is a three-day event that has grown to be a widely anticipated annual celebration. Riverfest was created in February 1979, by a group of Wilmingtonians interested in showcasing the Cape Fear River. Since then it has resulted in a cultural street festival that entices locals and tourists alike to our amazing Historic Downtown and beautiful, award-winning riverfront.

Riverfest boasts craft vendors, concessions booths, a children’s play area, entertainment on various stages, Saturday night fireworks, a rowing regatta, and more. Also, throughout the festival, come meet the first ever Miss Riverfest, Felicia Marie Jones.

Although the yearly festival is dependent on sponsorships and donations from community businesses and organizations, the economic impact of Riverfest for Historic Downtown and the surrounding community has been estimated at over three million dollars!

Riverfest kicks off Friday night at 6:00 pm with a live concert at Downtown Wilmington’s Riverfront Park. During festival hours, a beer garden will be open. On Saturday and Sunday, the street fair is open and showcases arts and crafts, food vendors, and live exhibitions. Also, during these days there will be continuous live entertainment provided by local bands and artists.

On Saturday, other events include a Sun Coast Cruisers Classic Car Show from 10am- 6pm. The Cape Fear Rowing Regatta Club will be holding a rowing regatta starting at 11 am behind the CFCC’s marine facility. Of course, a fantastic fireworks display will begin at 9pm on the waterfront. On Sunday, the Cape Fear AAAC Antique Car Show will display from 10:30am-3pm.

Riverfest prides itself in offering a family-friendly event. There are plenty of free family activities at the ever-popular Kidz Zone near the Cotton Exchange, such as face/hair painting, balloon art, games, amusements, arts/crafts, clowns, rides, mascots, live entertainment, and more.

Affordable event parking is available in public parking decks located at 2nd & Princess streets, at Front & Market streets; and at 2nd & Chestnut streets.

Riverfest continues its commitment to Cape Fear Community College with an endowment that helps support its Marine Technology Program studies and environmental efforts.


November 20 @ 6:00pm
November 22 @ 5:00pm
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Historic Downtown Wilmington
221 N Front St
Wilmington, NC 28401 United States
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