Lumina Daze revives Wrightsville Beach history for 20th year


As the sun sets over the Blockade Runner Beach Resort’s lawn Aug. 28, guests at the 20th Lumina Daze will dance to shag music and watch movies under the stars during a night that briefly revives a whimsical time in Wrightsville Beach’s past.

Four hundred guests attended last year’s Lumina Daze and Madeline Flagler, Wrightsville Beach Museum of History’s executive director, hopes for a similar number this year. Most of them are either current or former Wrightsville Beach residents, she said.

She called the event festive but casual, adding, “It does have that kind of intimate feel because people tend to know each other. They come back year after year.”

The Imitations, Wilmington Big Band and the Dixieland All-Stars will provide music both inside and outside, encouraging guests to swing and twirl as dancers did nearly one century ago at Lumina Pavilion.

The iconic three-level, 12,500-square-foot dance hall stood at the south end of Wrightsville Beach and attracted crowds of revelers during the early 1900s. The pavilion also featured a shooting gallery, a bowling alley and a projector screen 50 feet in the ocean on which visitors watched movies from the beach.

To pay homage to that activity, the Wrightsville Beach Museum partnered with Cucalorus Film Festival to erect a movie screen on the Blockade Runner’s lawn on which they will project short films during the Lumina Daze.

Guests will also see plein air and jewelry artists creating work for the silent auction and preview a new historic walking tour museum board member Donna Starling developed.

For Wrightsville Beach’s newer residents, the night offers a glimpse of the island’s history. But the night is more nostalgic for those attendees who lived through that period and come together every year at the Lumina Daze to resurrect those memories.

“There’s a contingent that comes back every year and has a little informal reunion at the event,” Flagler said.

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