It’s Flotilla time!


The Christmas season is the season of lights. You see them everywhere – on houses – strung across the streets of towns – in the windows – even wrapped around trees. Those of us who live near water, and particulary in the warmer climates, are lucky to have our own sort of lighted Christmas parades in the form of flotillas. If you have never been to a flotilla I recommend it highly. Yes, it is a parade on the water, however, it always takes place at night – in cold weather – in warm weather – not likely to be rained out – but it can be fogged out like it was in Southport, NC last year. There is something very special about viewing a flotilla – about the boats slipping across the water in the night with lights gleaming from stem to stern and up and down the masts. There may be music, though it is often muted and you can hear the music of the water lapping against the shore.

If you have a chance to see a flotilla this year – don’t miss it. There are two in Brunswick County. The first is on Saturday, November 30 in Ocean Isle Beach and it takes place in the Intracoastal Waterway where it starts at the Inlet View Bar and Grill at 5 PM and ends at Sharky’s Restaurant. You can also attend the party there with music beginning at 9 PM after the flotilla each year.

The second flotilla, the Southport Christmas Flotilla, begins at 7 PM and can be viewed from Waterfront Park in Southport, NC on December 14. This flotilla starts and ends in the Old Yacht Basin. The creative winners of this flotilla are judged by Southport Elementary School art students. Flotillas are family friendly activities, so bring the kids with you for a lovely family event. In fact, make it a tradition.

What the Dickens is Going On?


Yes, I know, it is not yet Thanksgiving. However, once Thanksgiving has arrived and you have feasted you fill of food, and the relatives have gone home again – or you have gone home again – the madness of preparing for Christmas will begin. So, why not enjoy a bit of Christmas early, in a leisurely fashion, before the crazy rush. Besides, you will very likely be able to find some of the gifts you will need at this festival as well.

On November 22nd and 23rd, the streets of Southport will be transformed into “everything Dickens” by the Brunswick Arts Council with the cooperation of the City of Southport. The arts council website explains it this way: “There will be singing groups, juried artists and specialty craftsmen; a gingerbread village, a Christmas tree and costume contest; and, of course, FOOD and FROTH. On display will be the new 48’ touring train exhibit from the Wilmington Train Museum and the very recent award winning exhibit “Fantasy under the Sea” by The Wood-turners. The popular high teas will again be served locally! Merchants and Restaurants in Southport will be poised for the increased activity that the festival brings their way. Trolley rides and fun for all ages! The event will end with “A Tribute to Charles Dickens Candlelight Ceremony and ringing and singing in the holidays!”

The official schedule looks like this:

Friday – November 22, 2013
6:30 to 8:30 Southport Community Building – 223 East Bay St.
6:30 – 8:30 Olde English Victorian Social Gathering under the Tent
 A Welcome by Festival officials
 Cash Pub; beer, wine, traditional cider
 Costume Contest voting – selection of winner at 7:15
 Victorian apparel is optional – but encouraged!
 Victorian music ensemble
 2013 Student artwork display
 Silent Auction items
 Dickens Festival Student Artwork holiday cards

7:30 – 8:30 2013 Dickens Musical Revue ($10 ticket, $5 children 7-12, 6 or less, free)
 Cash Pub remains open, beer and wine and traditional cider

Saturday – November 23, 2013
10:00 to 6:00 Franklin Square Park – 130 E. West St.
Pre-qualified (juried) artists and craftsmen and/or exhibitors sell their hand-made, one of kind creations. Food and froth for sale – some specialty selections!
10:00 to 1:00 Franklin Square Park – Children’s Contest – 130 E. West St.
Vote for your favorite Children’s Victorian Costume – selection of the winner at 1:00 on Franklin Square Park Stage, must be present to win
10:00 to 4:15 Southport Baptist Church, Christian Ministries Center (CMC) – Contests – Corner of Howe and Nash across the street from the church
View a Display of Christmas Trees/Wreaths/Gingerbread Houses
Vote for the best of show; selection of winners at 5:30 at Franklin Square Park Stage
Raffle of Christmas trees/wreaths to support the advancement of arts and culture in schools and the community must be present to win or to return to the festival Saturday evening to “fetch” your tree by 9pm
Raffle drawing at 5:30 at Franklin Sq. Park
Photo Ops on the grounds at Southport Baptist Church, Santa will be there most of the day! Bring your camera! 2013 Charles 

10:00 to 5:30 Gymnasium – Exhibits – Corner of Atlantic and E. West
Three exhibits in the Gymnasium ($3 ticket, no charge for children 12 and under. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a ticket holding adult, 21 years or older)
 Wilmington Railroad Museum Train Exhibit
 Wilmington Wood-turners Prize-winning exhibit “Fantasy of the Sea”. Best in show award in Florida
 Victorian Village collection

10:00 to 5:00 Franklin Square Park Stage – 130 E. West St.
Performances throughout the day for children and adults
Dickens Actors stroll through the park and merchant areas
10:00 to 12:15 Trinity United Methodist Church – Murrow Hall – Corner of Nash and Atlantic
Mr. Fezziwig’s Ball ($5 ticket, $3 children 7-12, 6 or less, free)
 10:00 to 10:30 performance #1
 10:45 to 11:15 performance #2
 11:30 to 12:15 performance #3

12:00 to 2:30 Southport Community Building – 223 E. Bay St.
12:00 – 2:30 Olde English Victorian Social Gathering under the tent
 A Welcome by Festival officials
 Cash Pub; beer, wine, traditional cider
 Costume Contest voting – announcement of winner at 12:45
 Victorian apparel is optional – but encouraged!
 Victorian music ensemble
 2013 Student artwork display
 Silent Auction items
 Dickens Festival Student Artwork holiday cards

1:00 – 2:00 2013 Dickens Musical Revue ($10 ticket, $5 children 7-12, 6 or less, free)
3:30 to 5:30 Southport Baptist Church – Sanctuary – 200 Howe St.
Performance by Susan Savia, Soloist from Wilmington followed by Oakwood Waits, Carolers from Raleigh ($10 ticket, $5 children 7-12, 6 or less, free)
3:30 to 5:00 Trinity United Methodist Church – Murrow Hall – Corner of Nash and Atlantic
“The Night before Christmas Carol” – written by Dr. Eliot Engel, performed by David zum Brennen ($10 ticket, $5 children 7-12, 6 or less, free)
6:00 to 6:45 Franklin Square Park – 130 E. West St.
Tribute to Charles Dickens by Candlelight – ringing and singing in the holidays!
 Special Dickens Reading
 Tree lighting in Franklin Square Park
 Carolers
 Holiday wishes by the Festival Queen, Southport Mayor Howard and Jeanette Serens, President, Brunswick Arts Council
 Ringing and singing in the holidays!

Contact info:
· (Jeanette) phone 910-547-0690 or (h) 910-371-2641 for sponsorships and donations
· (Meg) phone 910-508-8116 or (h) 754-5102 for festival information
· (John) phone 631-334-7428 or (h) 755-5383 for festival information

Advance purchase of tickets for the indoor venues located at:
Southport-Oak Island Chamber of Commerce
Shallotte Chamber of Commerce
North Brunswick Chamber of Commerce
Southport Visitor Center
Ricky Evans Gallery – Southport
On line at
At the door


Of Dogs and Kids and Surf Fishing…



I really wanted to attend a poetry workshop  on “The Epistolary Poem: Letters from Within.” in Charleston today. I was looking forward to seeing a friend I have not seen in years and meeting some new friends as well. I had hoped to learn how write a poem to the hawk that hovered between the ridges of autumn trees in Pennsylvania during a recent visit I had made. Or to the stars my daughter, my sister and I stood under one chilly early morning where we held hands in a circle and made a wish. Or to the ocean, so faithfully there every time I return home from somewhere else. But it was not to be. 

By mid morning I decided to take myself down to the beach for a walk. I threw a long sleeved shirt that had been my daddy’s over my T-shirt and drove the few blocks to the beach access. I had not taken many steps when I realized that the shirt had to come off – to be tied around my waist. The November sun was warm, as was the sand under my bare feet, and the breeze was light. A perfect day. There were a couple of people paddle boarding on the calm water and a number of men surf fishing as I walked along. I don’t think they even cared if they caught anything or not as they sat comfortably in their beach chairs watching their lines. A couple of them had their families with them. Their wives had stretched out a quilt on the sand and the kids were running, searching for shells, laughing and totally enjoying themselves. A little two year old boy plowed the sand with his toy front end loader. A few people were sitting in beach chairs reading books. People were walking their dogs – one couple had two Border Collies with them. I hoped to run into Susie, the shelter dog, who I am trying to teach that I am friendly. I met her mom, Jeannie, the other day and as I squatted down and put out my hand, Susie came up to sniff it. Not like the first time I met her when she ran away from me. Jeannie said that is the closest Susie has come to anyone else since she got her from the shelter. It must be terrible to live in fear of other people. And so, the walk on the beach did not disappoint – it never does. And this scene is being replayed on every beach in Brunswick County – a special place to live or to visit. And – it’s all good. 

No Boundaries


Every two years for two weeks in November Bald Head Island, NC opens its doors and hearts to artists from all over the world through the auspices of the No Boundaries International Artist Colony. No Boundaries, Inc., a non-profit organization located in Wilmington, NC, founded the colony in 1998 to “provide artists from around the world and the local community a forum for free expression and cross-cultural dialogue.” Their Mission Statement states: “We believe our projects contribute to the cultural health of the global community and its ability to imagine and realize a future filled with diverse voices that will be heard with empathy.”

This years’ participants, who hail from such far flung places as Rwanda, Australia, Houston, China, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Raleigh and Seattle, boarded the Bald Head Island Ferry on November 1 to begin their adventure. Once settled in they began their projects in film making, photography, poetry, paper making, sculpting, painting and mixed media. Many of the artists work in more than one medium and some of them cross mediums from visual art to writing.

The unique ambiance of the island, the music of the sea and the bright sky will definitely add to the inspiration each of these artists brings to his/her work. The synergy and excitement of working together will be a catalyst to more excellent work as well. If you would like to get a taste of this experience, you are in luck. There will be an open studio day on November 13 from 10 AM until 4 PM where you can mingle with the artists and take part in the creative process.

More information can be had at:,, and