2021 NC 4th of July festival split between Southport and Oak Island

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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Southport has been celebrating the 4th of July since the late 1700s. But for the first time, they’re splitting this year’s events with Oak Island.

“Everything before was in Southport,” Oak Island town manager David Kelly said. “We’ve given them the opportunity to spread some things out, have different locations. But we’re just sort of helping them with the celebration.”

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The location changes are due in part to the pandemic, which forced the festivities to be fully virtual last year.

Despite the challenges, Oak Island is embracing their part in the celebration.

“Beach day is our big day, July 1st,” Kelly added. “We have activities on the beach, at Middleton Park. We have a band coming that night, shag contest. And we have the fireworks at the Oak Island Pier.”

While many events have moved down the road, Southport Mayor Joe Pat Hatem says the town is still planning to be fully involved.

“It’s gonna be a sea of red, white and blue,” Hatem said. “And the biggest events in Southport are gonna be the neighborhood gatherings and the family gatherings that happen every July 4th. That’s not gonna change.”

Hatem is optimistic the improving pandemic will allow this year’s July 4th celebration to be as good as ever.

“It’s a spectacular event, we’ll have the flotilla out,” Hatem continued. “It’s just gonna be a very festive time in Southport. No city in North Carolina’s more patriotic than the city of Southport.”

Mayor Hatem feels that if things continue to improve with the pandemic, Southport should be able to have the full festival — including the parade — next year.