Berries, A Battlefield And More In Pender

By Cece Nunn, posted Mar 15, 2024
Reenactors bring history to life at Moores Creek National Battlefield in Currie, where organizers expect a big turnout for the 250th anniversary festivities in 2026. (Photo courtesy of Moores Creek National Battlefield)
Each June, an estimated 40,000 people head to Burgaw to celebrate a tiny fruit.

The N.C. Blueberry Festival, founded in 2003, is one of several events in Pender County that have drawn more attention over the years.

Abby Homrighausen, who became executive director of the blueberry festival in December, said she believes its popularity can be traced to the variety the festival offers, from children’s entertainment to hundreds of vendors.

“There’s just everything for everyone at the festival. We have good music, good food and fresh blueberries of course,” Homrighausen said.

More than 100 volunteers are required to stage over 20 events within the N.C. Blueberry Festival, which also includes a car show, street fair, recipe contest, barbecue cook-off and 5K run.

In a southern Pender County town, Currie, staff members and volunteers at Moores Creek National Battlefield are planning the Revolutionary War site’s next anniversary celebration, which takes place every February.

“In the early morning hours of February 27, 1776, Loyalist forces charged across a partially dismantled Moores Creek Bridge. Beyond the bridge, nearly 1,000 North Carolina Patriots waited quietly with cannons and muskets poised to fire,” according to the battlefield’s website.

“This battle marked the last broadsword charge by Scottish Highlanders and the first significant victory for the Patriots in the American Revolution.”

The battlefield’s 2026 celebration will coincide with the nation’s 250th birthday.

As 2026 comes closer, “we’ve seen more interest and more focus on the American Revolution and Moores Creek in particular, and I think that’s why we’re seeing an interest in our reenactor numbers as well as our colonial tradespeople,” said Jason Collins, the battlefield’s chief of interpretation.

He said thousands participated in this year’s anniversary celebration.

“For this year’s event over Saturday and Sunday, we had about 4,500 folks who came out to the park,” Collins said. “That’s about right at our typical average for this event, but as we get into the 2025 and then especially the 2026 event, we expect those numbers to go higher.”
Ocean Fest, held in Surf City each year, is another growing Pender County festival that has garnered accolades in recent years.

“The mission of Ocean Fest Inc. is to celebrate and protect Mother Ocean while supporting other like-minded nonprofit organizations,” according to the Ocean Fest website.

The festival is held over two days each October and includes a surfing competition, art and live music.

“Although our primary focus is on that annual event,” organizers state on its website, “the organization works throughout the year to mobilize our coastal community to better protect Mother Ocean through beach/coast cleanups, pop-up events and our ongoing work with Topsail Island chapter of Ocean Friendly Establishments.”
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