Many mark the onset of autumn by crisp air and earlier, picturesque sunsets. Riverfest, a longstanding festival in Wilmington, has also become a highlight of fall in Wilmington and celebrates the historic charm and marvelous architecture surrounding the majestic Cape Fear River.

Wilmington has experienced major growth since the commencement of Riverfest in the late 1970s. Originally intended to revive and honor the Historic Downtown and the arts, Riverfest grew from forty volunteers and four concessions to an event today that currently draws in thousands and thousands of people, with over two hundred craft and food vendors, three hundred volunteers, and over thirty-five concession booths. Today, funds raised at Riverfest are invested in the human resources necessary to research and develop river preservation methods and technology. Riverfest begins on Friday, October 3 and ends on Sunday, October 5.

There is something for everyone at this year’s Riverfest: a riverfront concert series, beer garden, arts & crafts, fun and engaging activities for the kids, a classic car show, a stand-up paddle (SUP) race, and an 8K Run the River Race. The Riverfest Fireworks show is scheduled for Saturday, October 4 and a wonderful opportunity to bring the whole family downtown. The celebration runs from the foot of Market Street to Cape Fear Community College and has just recently expanded to down Water Street all the way to Chandler’s Wharf.

Among the many offsite Riverfest events, our favorite is the Garden Party at Greenfield Lake. A lovely outdoor venue with massive mammoth trees and Spanish moss, the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater is the newest addition to the list of things we love about Wilmington. This year’s Garden Party will be an afternoon of fun with live music, lunch, refreshments and water views from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM on Friday, October 3.

On behalf of WHET (Wilmington Harbor Enhancement Trust), we are the host location for kids to pick up their Treasure Maps at our Downtown office (106 N. Water Street), on Saturday, October 4th, during Riverfest. Kids will pick up the Treasure Maps and use the map as a guide to local downtown business that will give prizes to the kids.

Come enjoy what Historic Downtown Wilmington has to offer at this weekend’s Riverfest.