North Carolina Jazz Festival & Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival
WILMINGTON, NC Jan. 27, 2015 – Wilmington, North Carolina’s award-winning riverfront provides a stunning backdrop for two signature winter festivals. The Wilmington Wine & Chocolate Festival features fine wines and gourmet chocolate the weekend of January 30 through February 1. The following weekend, February 5 through 7, the 35th annual North Carolina Jazz Festival will showcase the best in traditional jazz. Between sips and sets, visitors can enjoy a leisurely stroll or brisk jog along Wilmington’s 1.75-mile Riverwalk, which was recently voted the #1 Best American Riverfront by USA TODAY’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. Wilmington’s historic river district features more than 200 shops, restaurants, and attractions, all within easy walking distance. Prefer an ocean view? The island beaches of Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach are just a few minutes’ drive. From the river to the sea, there are great winter rates at hotels, B&Bs and vacation rentals: www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/season/2015-winter-highlights/.
Indulge in life’s tastiest pleasures—wine and chocolate—during the Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival (Jan. 30-Feb.1) at the Coastline Event Center (503 Nutt Street, Wilmington). Connoisseurs can sip, nibble, sigh and buy as they sample and purchase delectable delights from superb regional wineries, chocolatiers and artisans. A Friday night Grand Tasting gala (7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) kicks off with live music, heavy hors d’oeuvres ( by Catering Thyme) and a fine art exhibit. “The Schoolboys Band,” a popular local cover band, will entertain while wine and chocolate purveyors tantalize with tastings. Next door at the Riverview Room Bar & Terrace, a cash beer and cigar bar will feature a performance by “Basile, the Comedian” (8:00 p.m.). On Saturday (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.), the European-style wine and chocolate marketplace features more than 50 fine vintners, chocolatiers and artists. Marketplace diversions include: culinary demonstrations, a Kids’ Korner with arts/crafts, and live music by four jazz, acoustic and rock musicians. Sunday will feature the band “The Use-to-Be’s” with playlists from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s. Admission charge. Proceeds benefit the New Hanover County Senior Center’s programs. Grand Tasting tickets are based on availability. Saturday and Sunday marketplace tickets are good for one day only. Discounts for children (ages 6-12)/seniors (60+)/military (w/I.D.). Group rates available for parties of 10 or more. For festival details, schedule of events and bands, advance tickets and partner hotels offering special festival rates for attendees, call 910-742-0120 or visit www.wilmingtonwineandchocolatefestival.com. Tickets are also available at Wilmington-area Harris Teeter stores.
Each February since 1980, the North Carolina Jazz Festival (a Southeast Tourism Society Top 20 Event) brings world-class artists to Wilmington, North Carolina. On February 5th through 7th, fifteen traditional and swing jazz musicians will take the stage for three days in an intimate setting at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside’s ballroom. Cabaret-style seating and All-Star musicians distinguish this as one of the largest traditional jazz festivals in the Southeast. Celebrating its 35th year, the 2015 North Carolina Jazz Festival kicks off on Thursday night with a 3-hour “Styles of Jazz” concert featuring The Benny Hill Quartet (jazz standards), Molly Ryan with the Dan Levinson Quartet (swing), Rossano Sportiello (tribute to George Shearing), and Ed Polcer’s All-Star Jam. Friday and Saturday evening features an All-Star musician lineup in a traditional presentation of seven sets, each with different leaders. This year’s artists include: Adrian Cunningham and Dan Levinson (reeds), Ed Polcer (cornet), Nate Najar (guitar), Nicki Parrott (bass, vocals), Vincent Gardner (trombone), Rossano Sportiello and Mark Shane (piano), Kevin Dorn and Chuck Redd (drums), Herman Burney (bass), Bria Skonberg (trumpet/vocals), Molly Ryan (vocals), Benny Hill (sax) and the highly anticipated return of Jonathan Russell (violin). Other highlights include workshops, master classes and a Patron’s brunch and jam with the All-Stars (for Patron ticket holders). Events take place at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside (301 N. Water Street, Wilmington). Admission charge. For N.C. Jazz Festival tickets and details, call 910-793-1111 or visit www.ncjazzfestival.com. Tickets can also be purchased at Audio Lab, 5732 Oleander Dr., Wilmington. For hotel reservations and festival rates, contact Hilton Wilmington Riverside: 910-763-5900; www.wilmingtonhilton.com.
Go with the flow and see where the water takes you! Wilmington, N.C. & Island Beaches is a convenient drive along US 74 (from Charlotte) or I-40 (from Greensboro and Raleigh). Prefer to fly? The Wilmington International Airport (ILM) offers nonstop flights to five major hubs. For a free 2015 Official Visitors Guide, call 1-866-266-9690 or visit www.GoWilmingtonAndBeaches.com for visitor information and a complete event calendar.