TOPSAIL BEACH — For the 31st year, art and beach music lovers will gather in Topsail Beach, for the Autumn with Topsail festival. Autumn with Topsail takes place, rain or shine, from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 and 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 20. As always, AWT takes place on the grounds of the Historic Assembly Building, 720 Channel Boulevard, Topsail Beach.
Admission is $6 for adults, or $10 for an adult two-day pass. Children age 12 and under and active-duty military with an ID are free. Proceeds from the festival go to the Historical Society of Topsail Island, a volunteer non-profit organization that owns and operates the Assembly Building and Missiles & More Museum.
This year’s juried art festival will feature arts and crafts from a variety of categories and a record number of vendors. Artwork and other items to be displayed and sold include oils, acrylic, charcoal, photography, ceramics, glass, metal, pottery, wood working, leather, fiber, wool, musical instruments, jewelry and much more. Good food, live music, a beer and wine tent and lots of activities for children will also be available, but the principal focus is on the art, according to Rick Stidley, Chairman of the AWT festival.
“Since Hurricane Florence our Historic Assembly Building has undergone extensive restoration and repairs totaling over $300,000,” Stidley said via a press release on the festival. “We now need to rebuild our reserves so that we can continue to operate our building and fulfill our mission to collect, preserve, and promote the history of the Greater Topsail area. Your continued support is needed as we work to preserve this historic building which functions at the very heart of this island community.”
Live bands will perform both afternoons at the festival. Starting at noon Saturday, The Carolina Band will take the stage, followed at 5 p.m. by the North Tower Band. On Sunday, The Band of Oz headline the festival’s musical entertainment from 1 to 4 p.m.
In addition to art, the Food Court that will have a large selection of delicacies prepared on festival grounds. Snacks and sweets will be available alongside traditional southern food and ethnic options. Adults can enjoy a wine and beer tent with plenty of tables and chairs for relaxation. The Kiwanis Club of Topsail Island Area will also host its annual Pancake Breakfast from 7:30 to 10 a.m. on Saturday and 8 to 10 a.m. on Sunday. Food will be served up inside the Assembly Building on festival grounds. Pancake breakfast prices are $7 for adults and children over 12 years, $4 for children 6 – 11 years, while children 5 and under eat free with an adult purchased breakfast.
Also, the Assembly Building, children’s crafts include painted friendship rocks, pirate eye patches, mermaid tiaras, seashell “critters” and designer beaded anklets, necklaces and bracelets.
The Assembly Building houses the Missiles & More Museum, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. during the festival. Admission to the museum is free but donations are graciously accepted. The museum houses numerous exhibits including Operation Bumblebee, Women’s Airforce Service Pilots, Pirates of the Carolinas, Camp Davis, Native American Indian artifacts and much more. For additional information visit the AWT website: www.autumnwithtopsail.com or the HSTI website: wwwtopsailhistoricalsociety.org.