SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) — From colonial days to the present day, the city of Southport is known for celebrating Independence Day in a very big way.
Lots of communities across the county host Fourth of July celebrations, but few can say they’ve been doing it consistently for more than 200 years.
“This makes our 224th year, the first recorded one was in 1795, and even back in the 1800’s the parade consisted of women dressed in white marching through the street to honor the military and our Independence Day,” said Trisha Howarth, Chair of the Southport Fourth of July Festival.
In fact, the annual event is the official festival for the state of North Carolina.
According to the festival’s website, during colonial times, ships lay anchor in the harbor and shot cannons to commemorate Old Glory.
Incorporated as the N.C. 4th of July Festival in 1972, the Festival Committee strives to keep the focus of the festival on honoring our nation’s birthday with a little fun thrown in.
This year’s opening ceremony began June 23 and continues until July 4.
Some of the highlights leading up to the holiday this week include:
Monday – Summer Regional Art Show, Beach Day at Oak Island events, Shag Contest, Beach Day Concert
Tuesday – NC Maritime Museum Southport Open, Arts & Crafts, Food Concessions, Waterfront Stage Entertainment
Wednesday – Stephen Siller Tunner to Towers Foundation Presents: 9/11 Never Forget Memorial Mobile Exhibit, Old Jail Tours, Brunswick Big Band, Flag Retirement Ceremony
Thursday – Pancake Breakfast, Festival Parade, Shine and Show Classic Cars, Fireworks at 9 p.m.
There will also be a Salute To Veterans on July 2 with a free meal provided to veterans, and a Naturalization Ceremony consisting of more than 80 people from 35 countries who will become U.S. citizens on July 3. The main attraction, of course, are the fireworks which will light up the sky on July 4 at 9 p.m.
“There is something for everybody — kids, entertainment, fireworks, kid’s games — it’s a great place to be and I can’t imagine wanting to be anywhere else for the 4th of July,” Horwath said.