Music and art in the park for the bark


The O’Neil Sweetwater Pro-Am Music and Art Festival will be held at Wrightsville Beach Park Saturday, July 12, as a benefit event for multiple local animal charities.

Tony Butler, founder of the nonprofit Hope From Helen, said event admission is free, but the money raised from Tower 7 Baja Grill food sales and raffle ticket purchases will be split between the Sunburst Foundation, Paw’s Place, Adopt an Angel, Pender County Humane Society and New Hanover County Animal Control.

Butler said choosing the animal charities as the beneficiaries of the event was easy for him and Tower 7 owner Josh Vach.

“Those organizations really need it,” Butler said. “We are avid dog lovers and if we could open our own shelter we would but we can’t, and we see all the hard work these organizations do to help the animals that can’t help themselves.”

The items to be raffled that evening will include surfboards, standup paddleboards and other surf-centric goods.

The festival in the park will begin around 5 p.m. when food service begins. In addition to Tower 7, Butler said SurfBerry would also be on site selling Hawaiian shaved ice.

The artists showcased during the event will be -photographer Sean Ruttkay of Elemental Digital Art, surfboard artist Carleigh Sion, and another yet to be confirmed.

While indulging in the food and art offerings on hand, patrons will also have the chance to catch a variety of bands playing from 6-9 p.m. The Carvers, a classic surf rock band, will kick off the music at 6 p.m., followed by the reggae sounds of Steadfast at 7 p.m. and The South Hammock Bluegrass band at 8 p.m.

With the variety of arts and entertainment on tap for the festival, pro-am contest organizer Brad Beach said it provides a good complement to the surf contest.

“Not every family that is down there is into surfing and they may check the contest out just because they have never seen it before but everyone enjoys music, sitting outside and enjoying the environment,” Beach said.

See related story on page B4.



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