Having a Blast at the N.C. 4th of July Festival
For 226 years the residents of the Southport and Oak Island communities have proudly celebrated our nation’s independence, and they’ll do so again this year with activities on July 1, 3 and 4.
The 2021 N.C. 4th of July Festival kicks off on July 1, and events are scheduled for people of all ages in the Southport-Oak Island area. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, some events have been relocated to sites that allow social distancing and other events revised to reduce crowd sizes. This year marks the 226th N.C. 4th of July Festival.
The celebration starts on July 1 with the traditional Oak Island Beach Day, which will include games, music and food and end with fireworks.
The festival continues on July 3 and 4 with events including readings of the Declaration of Independence, a flag-raising Ceremony, a flag-retirement ceremony, Rockin’ & Rollin’ to the Red, White & Blue Car & Truck Show, an arts and crafts market, music and entertainment and the Freedom Flotilla. On July 4 at 9 pm, a spectacular fireworks display will be fired from the Oak Island Pier. The fireworks, which can be seen for miles around, will end the 2021 4th of July festivities.
For more than 220 years the residents of the Southport and Oak Island communities have proudly celebrated our nation’s independence. The history of North Carolina’s 4th of July Festival celebration was first recorded in a newspaper in 1795. The many ships lying at anchor in the harbor would discharge salutes from their cannons at daybreak and throughout the day, with the ships’ officers and town officials sharing companionship toasting the young nation’s independence.
In 1972 Southport incorporated the N.C. 4th of July Festival, and the festival remembers the sacrifices, celebrates freedom and promotes family fun.
“Because of the efforts of civic groups and citizens, the event has grown and we expect more than 50,000 visitors to the 2021 N.C. 4th of July Festival,” says Trisha Howarth, co-chairperson of the festival. “Each year, city residents and business owners decorate their yards and shop windows with patriotic decorations, and for a time, the sounds of the festival fill the air.”
Last year’s official N.C. 4th of July Festival events were completely virtual due to the pandemic. The virtual events, which can still be viewed online at the festival’s website, provide a great deal of depth and history.
Festival planners are still taking some public-health precautions.
“Some events, including the annual parade, have been postponed until 2022 because the event planners made decisions months ago for the health and safety of attendees,” says Karen Sphar, executive vice president of the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce. “We still encourage social distancing, but there’s a wide array of activities for all the family to enjoy.”
Sphar, who has been with the Southport-Oak Island Area Chamber of Commerce since 1988, adds, “The patriotic spirit of America is alive and well in the City of Southport and Town of Oak Island. As Americans, this is a particularly exciting year to celebrate the 4th of July for the Southport-Oak Island community and for our business community because the pandemic was challenging, but now we’re headed in the right direction.”
N.C. 4th of July Festival apparel is highly sought year after year. T-shirts will be available in a few merchants’ shops in the area and are available online at sptokimerchandise.com.
Want to go?
N.C. 4th of July Festival
July 1, 3 and 4
For more information, phone (910) 457-5578, (800) 457-6964
For the calendar of events, visit nc4thofjuly.com.