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North Brunswick chamber hosts new event with Riverfront Arts Festival

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By Brian Slattery

Shining a light on the northern end of Brunswick County is the goal of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce’s summer plans.

So the chamber director and board decided to create a host of events to do that through the rest of the year.

The chamber will anchor its yearly activities with a Riverfront Arts Festival this month and a Beer, Boots and BBQ festival in the fall, said Dana Fisher, executive director of the North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce.

Before Fisher began working for the chamber, the group hosted a Spring Fest, but it has not been organized for several years.

“The Spring Fest ended five years ago and it was more kid related,” Fisher said. “We want to create our own thing. We will try to do two major events.”

The first of those is the Riverfront Arts Festival, which will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, May 31, in the Brunswick Riverwalk at Belville Park, across N.C. 133 from Belville Elementary (the former Brunswick River Park.)

“This will have kid’s stuff, but the focus will arts, culture and history,” said Susan Cruse, North Brunswick Chamber board president.

Fisher said the Riverfront Arts Festival is a chance to build off the enthusiasm created in Northern Brunswick County for the Belville’s planned Riverwalk along the Brunswick River.

Fisher and Cruse said the long-term goal of the Riverfront Arts Festival is to celebrate the arts, music and history of the area.

For the first event, they are mixing in community and kid’s activities, including a karate demonstration, a performance from the North Brunswick High School jazz ensemble, and making slime with the Children’s Museum of Wilmington.

“We will have a bunch of arts and crafts. We have already got a lot of entertainment (participating),” Fisher said.

“It will become more arts focused year to year. But we already have pretty good arts and crafts this year,” Cruse added.

Cruse said they also want to make the arts and crafts activities unique to northern Brunswick County.

“We are trying to include the culture and history of the area. So the storytelling will have a slant of history to the stories,” she said.

They have scheduled several storytellers, including Helen Kramer talking about World War II from 10 to 10:30 a.m., the North Carolina Maritime Museum members will dress up in costume interpretations and talk about pirates from 11 to 11:30 a.m.

Navassa Mayor Eulis Willis will talk about the town of Navassa and the Gullah people from noon to 12:30 p.m. Brunswick Town presenters will dress up and talk about 18th and 19th Century colonial medicine from 1 to 1:30 p.m.

John Crowder will talk about the history of Leland from 2 to 2:30 p.m. Mayor Mike Allen will talk about the town of Belville, Indians and war from 3 to 3:30 p.m.

Wilmington Water Tours directors are scheduled to talk about the Brunswick River from 4 to 4:30 p.m.

Seidokan Karate’s demonstration will run from 1 to 2 p.m., while the North Brunswick High School jazz ensemble will perform from 3 to 3:30 p.m.

The Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit will host a demo with dogs from 3:30 to 4 p.m.

The event also will feature a guitarist playing in the morning and have food vendors at the park.

The chamber will host two summer events, as well: the Leland Under the Lights Car Show in August and the first North Carolina Rice Festival in September.

For more information about the Riverfront Arts Festival, call the chamber office at 383-0553.

Brian Slattery is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or bslattery@brunswickbeacon.com.