2020 Flotilla will happen after all but with significant changes

Updated: Oct. 9, 2020 at 8:29 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - In a press release sent Friday morning, the annual Flotilla and Enchanted Airlie events are still happening, but with Covid-19 precautions.

The 38th North Carolina Holiday Flotilla and Airlie Garden’s Enchanted Airlie will go on during the week of Thanksgiving in Wrightsville Beach, after being originally canceled in August.

The Flotilla will be a dock competition judged from the water, rather than the usual boat competition which normally attracts an audience of 50,000 to the shore.

All residents and businesses on the route are encouraged to decorate their docks with seasonal lights. Floodlights and spotlights are not permitted. Judges will score the participants from the Carolina Runner on Friday and Saturday, Thanksgiving weekend. The winners will be announced Sunday, Nov. 28 with prizes for the top docks.

Airlie Gardens' annual holiday event Enchanted Airlie kicks off the same weekend. The event showcases 35-acres of sparkling lights, walking trails, holiday displays, and music.

“Enchanted Airlie is a beloved tradition and we have worked hard to ensure that we continue that tradition in the safest way possible,” said Janine Powell, Director of Donor Relations.

Santa will not be on site this year and face coverings will be required. Guests are allowed to bring their own food and drink since none will be sold at the event. Airlie’s gift shop will be open, but will only accept credit cards.

Tickets are available online only, beginning Oct. 29. The garden gates open the weekend of Nov. 27-29, as well as each night, Dec. 4-22.

This year there are four one-hour event times each evening – 5:30, 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 PM.

Blockade Runner will offer Enchanted Airlie packages for hotel guests.

Proceeds from Enchanted Airlie benefit the preservation and improvement of New Hanover County’s historic Airlie Gardens.

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