Start 2018 off with a bang by partaking in the Island of Lights New Year’s Celebration in Wilmington. The annual event is a Treasure Island tradition that is now in its 25th year. The towns of Carolina Beach and Kure Beach come together each holiday season to create a series of family friendly events.

Welcoming the New Year

Unlike some New Year’s Eve parties, the Island of Lights event is a family-friendly way to welcome the new year. It begins at 9 p.m., with the location rotating between Carolina and Kure beaches each year.

The event is free to the public and includes a DJ and dancing. Refreshments and party favors are available for purchase, if attendees choose to do so. Another traditional part of the New Year’s Celebration is a raffle, with the winner taking home the original artwork that was the inspiration for the Island of Lights official Christmas card and ornament for the year.

The highlight of the evening’s festivities is the giant beach ball that drops at midnight on the beach, followed by a spectacular display of fireworks to welcome the new year.

Start of the Season

Pleasure Island’s seasonal tradition kicks off with the Lighting at the Lake Ceremony in November, the night after Thanksgiving, which serves as the official beginning of the month long Island of Lights Festival. The seasonal celebration concludes with the New Year’s Celebration.

For The Lighting at the Lake Celebration, there’s a bevy of lighted displays around the lake that families can view while walking the one-mile route. The second Friday after Thanksgiving, the festivities continue with the Christmas Parade. Including floats, bands and Santa Claus, the parade route proceeds from Atlanta Avenue down Lake Park Boulevard to the Federal Point Plaza in Carolina Beach.

The second Saturday after Thanksgiving is the annual Christmas Flotilla. Fishing boats and pleasure craft are adorned with their best holiday decor to travel from Snows Cut to the Carolina Beach Boat Basin and back, competing for prizes and adding to the wonderful holiday spirit.

This year’s New Year’s Eve party will take place at the Carolina Beach Boardwalk on Cape Fear Boulevard. For more information, visit the Island of Lights website at

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