This holiday season will be a little jollier with the unveiling of a new signature event


Click here to view list of events.


The Holly Jolly is being led by a collaboration between the Arts Council of Wilmington and New Hanover County, Wilmington Downtown Incorporated, Downtown Business Alliance, and the Residents of Old Wilmington.

This free, family friendly event will take place December 11 and 12, 2015, and will feature a wide range of holiday sights and activities.  Participants will be able to stroll throughout Downtown and visit beautifully decorated shops in an “open house” setting with merchants providing refreshments and offering holiday gift ideas.  Friday hours will be 4 to 8pm and Saturday hours are 11am to 8pm. Details about the Holly Jolly, including a list of times and places of the featured entertainment, may be found using this link.  

The Holly Jolly will begin with a ribbon cutting and kickoff on Friday December 11 from  4:30 to 5:30 pm in First Bank’s Water Garden, 201 Market Street. The Mayor, City Council Members, and business leaders will be present and the winner of the window decorating contest will be announced. As part of the kickoff, the Thalian Children’s Theater will perform a scene from Babes in Toyland.

During the event, street musicians and local choral groups will perform at various times and locations including Front Street, Market Street and along America’s Best Waterfront (according to USA Today).  Visitors can also delight in festive decorations that will adorn historic homes in the Downtown residential district. The neighborhoods from South Front to 3rd Streets and from Orange to Castle Streets will be especially decorated. In addition, the CW Worth House and Front Street Inn, two bed and breakfasts, will be open to tour on Saturday from noon to 5 pm.   

Santa Claus will arrive on the Henrietta III at 11:30 am Saturday December 12, and will be present at the Cotton Exchange from noon to 4 pm that same day to hear children’s wishes and pose for photographs.  Other highlights include boat decorations at Port City Marina and Bennett Brothers Marinas, a window decoration contest, a performance of selected excerpts from the show Mame and a drum circle at the Orange Street Landing. 

Click here to view a schedule of events.

Click here to learn about the Window Decorating Contest

Click here to download Holly Jolly Overview

Click here to download sponsorship information.