Mar 03, 2011, 14:54 ET from North Carolina Brunswick Islands

Big-Time, Small Town Event celebrates More Than 200 Years of Patriotism

SOUTHPORT, NC, March 3 /PRNewswire/ - One of the oldest, largest and most historic Fourth of July celebrations of any small town in America takes place July 1-4, 2011 in Southport, part of North Carolina's Brunswick Islands. The event gets even more patriotic this year as the National 9/11 Flag, salvaged from the World Trade Center, makes its only North Carolina stop on a commemorative journey across America before becoming part of the National September 11 Memorial Museum at Ground Zero.

Since 1795, the maritime community of Southport, NC has celebrated the nation's independence from Britain in a big way. Today, people come from across the southeast to commemorate this historic happening with fireworks, patriotic tributes, beach festivities, events for adults and kids, music, and a chance to sample the area's famous Calabash-style seafood.  

Highlights include a wildly popular Fire Fighter Freedom Competition that has seen as many as 250 participants from North Carolina fire and rescue departments and a 4th of July parade with more than 120 entries.

Patriotic and civil events pay tribute to veterans and active military personnel and include a naturalization ceremony for aspiring U.S. citizens. History is honored via tours of the old jail, the Smithville burial grounds and the Chapel of the Cross at St. Philip's Church.

Oak Island Beach on Friday, July 1, is the site for live beach music, shag contests, volleyball, sand sculpting and more. Children's entertainment includes old-fashioned games, face-painting and crafts projects.

Music from patriotic to blues and country runs throughout the weekend.  Local fare such as fried shrimp, hot dogs, Greek gyros, funnel cakes, and cotton candy will be served alongside the area's famous Calabash-style seafood.

For a complete list of activities, visit

In the southernmost corner of North Carolina, stretching from the Cape Fear River to the South Carolina border, lies North Carolina's Brunswick Islands. Five barrier islands and six pristine beaches surround quaint island and mainland towns brimming with restaurants, shops, old Civil War forts, lighthouses, historic architecture and over 30 golf courses. For more information, visit

SOURCE North Carolina Brunswick Islands