NC – January 2017 / Newsmaker Alert / Two signature events promise
one exciting winter weekend, February 2-5, in Wilmington,
North Carolina. Jazz fans, chocolate lovers and wine aficionados can
feed their souls the first weekend of February when the North
Carolina Jazz Festival (Feb. 2-4) and Wilmington
Wine & Chocolate Festival (Feb. 3-5) return to Wilmington’s
renowned, walkable river district.
A winter tradition since
1980, the 37th Annual North Carolina Jazz Festival brings world-class artists
North Carolina for three nights of unforgettable performances. On February
2nd through 4th, more than a dozen traditional and swing jazz musicians
will take the stage in an intimate setting at the Hilton
Wilmington Riverside’s ballroom. The 2017 North Carolina Jazz Festival
kicks off on Thursday night with a 3 ½-hour “Styles of Jazz” concert
featuring world-renowned jazz singer, composer, actress and 6-time Grammy
nominee Nnenna Freelon and her trio.
Ms. Freelon, who has built a career on looking at standards from a non-traditional
point of view, has toured with Ray Charles, Ellis Marasalis, Al Jarreau,
George Benson, and others. Continuing the tradition of featuring a style
of jazz different from the festival styles, Wilmington’s own Sea Pans will
also perform on opening night. Sea Pans is comprised of a group of local
musicians whose style evokes the “flavor” of Trinidad. Founder and Wilmington
native, Vince Stout, meticulously handcrafts and tunes steel barrels to
create authentic versions of steel drums (Pans). The evening will come
to a rousing close with Professor Cunningham’s Traditional Jazz Jam.
A stellar lineup of All-Star
musicians distinguishes the N.C. Jazz Festival as one of the largest traditional
jazz festivals in the Southeast. Friday and Saturday evening concerts feature
the All-Stars in a traditional cabaret-style presentation of seven sets
with different leaders. This year’s All-Star artists include: Kevin Bales
and Rossano Sportiello (piano); Jim Fryer and Dion Tucker (trombone); Herman
Burney and Katie Thiroux (bass); Jonathan Russell (violin); Nate Najar
(guitar); Randy Reinhart and Bruce Harris (trumpet); Chuck Redd (drums
and vibes); Adrian Cunningham and Anita Thomas (reeds and vocals); and
Marion Felder (drums). Other highlights include workshops, master classes,
and a Patron’s brunch and jam with the All-Stars. 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
Tickets are available
online via the festival website and for purchase at Audio Lab, 5732
Oleander Dr., Wilmington. For hotel reservations and festival rates, contact
Hilton Wilmington Riverside: 910-763-5900; www.wilmingtonhilton.com.
Less than a block away, the
Wilmington Wine and Chocolate Festival tempts the palate with fine wine
and decadent chocolates at the Coastline Event Center (503 Nutt Street,
Wilmington). Wine and chocolate connoisseurs can sample delectable regional
wineries, chocolatiers, specialty foods and artisans on Friday evening,
and during the day on Saturday and Sunday. A Friday night gala-style Grand
Tasting (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. Jazz saxophonist Benny Hill
and his quartet will entertain with smooth and jazzy tunes while wine and
chocolate purveyors tantalize with tastings. Next door, the Riverview Comedy
and Craft Beer Lounge (8:00 p.m.) will feature up-and-coming comedian Daniel
Butler, whose unique blend of Southern-fried, cynical observations, and
high energy persona provide an unforgettable evening of entertainment.
Wilmington’s own Broomtail Craft Brewery will provide craft beer in the
Riverview Comedy & Craft Beer Lounge. A European-style wine and chocolate
marketplace on Saturday (11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (12:00 p.m.
– 4:00 p.m.) features more than 50 fine vintners, chocolatiers, bakers,
specialty food purveyors, artists and musicians. Marketplace diversions
include food demonstrations by Chef Sam Lawler of Catering Thyme and other
culinary and wine experts. There’s also a Kids’ Korner with art and activities.
Saturday’s entertainment lineup features local musicians. Admission charge
benefits 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.
Group rates available. For details, schedule, advance tickets and partner
hotels, call 910-742-0120 or www.wilmingtonwineandchocolatefestival.com.
City + Beaches: Between
sets and sips, visitors can enjoy Wilmington’s alluring 1.75-mile Riverwalk
with more than 200 shops, restaurants, and attractions. Prefer an ocean
view? The island beaches of Carolina
Kure Beach and Wrightsville
Beach are just a few minutes’ drive from the historic river district.
For a free 2017 Official Visitors Guide, call 866-266-969. For seasonal
highlights and special offers, visit www.wilmingtonandbeaches.com/seasonal-page.
and Beaches Convention & Visitors Bureau
New Hanover County Tourism Development Authority d/b/a Wilmington and Beaches
Convention and Visitors Bureau is the official destination marketing organization
of New Hanover County, North Carolina that stimulates economic development
through the promotion of travel and tourism.