Southport Winterfest Flotilla

One of the most well-known and beloved of all coastal Carolina traditions are the multiple holiday flotillas! Imagine an entire waterborne parade featuring boats of all different shapes and sizes rigged with dazzling lights from bow to stern. The Winterfest Flotilla, held in Southport, will be taking place next weekend and we would love to see you there welcoming in the holiday season!

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Many visitors to coastal Carolina might have seen or heard of the holiday flotillas before, but have you ever wondered how it all got started? The first holiday flotilla in the area took place over 30 years ago in the nearby town of Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. A local woman named Martha Lee sat around with many of her friends planning how to capture some of the warmth and vibrance of Wrightsville Beach’s summer months and bring it to the cooler months. Taking inspiration from a similar style event she had seen years ago in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, she felt it would be fitting to have a unique holiday parade that took advantage of the brilliant waterways around the area. It would inject much-needed spirit and color into the community at a time when the town’s beach goers stayed warm inside.

From there, the first flotilla in North Carolina was born, and since then, nearby coastal towns have refined and made the concept their own! Southport is one of these many communities, and the flotilla here is known throughout the state as being one of the best!

The Cape Fear River and surrounding islands provide the perfect vantage point for watching one of the greatest holiday shows you will see in the Southeast. If you’re the kind of person who loves everything about living on the water and the holiday spirit of the season, this is the perfect event for you. Audiences of all ages are looking forward to locals lighting up their boats in the best yuletide finery.

All sorts of vessels are being encouraged to take part in the event this year, including powerboats, sailboats, and even paddle boats! The boats will be raising anchor and casting off at Southport Marina at 7:00 PM on December 10th. There is no cost to attend. Put on a warm holiday outfit, bundle up and bring as many friends and family as you desire!

Whether you’re the ultimate Christmas cheermaster or just want something special for the holidays that you can create memories from, the Southport Winterfest Flotilla is an event you want to mark your calendar for! So, prepare to set sail for holiday fun, because this year’s event is rumored to be bigger and better than ever. There will also be additional fun events all weekend long such as Southport’s Storefront Showcase!