As the COVID-19 cases in New Hanover County continue to rise, the Riverfest Board has been monitoring the guidelines from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  Everyone from our vendors, attendees, sponsors, and downtown merchants have been affected by this pandemic. Logistically, this does not allow for the board to effectively manage, prepare, and put on a great festival for the city of Wilmington, NC.  Although discussions have been complex and difficult, we have ultimately decided that it is in the best interest of the community, and Riverfest, that we cancel the 2021 Riverfest this year due to Covid-19 for the second year in a row. Public safety is our number one priority, and with some discussion with city officials and law enforcement, this is the best course of action.

The Riverfest Board knows that this does not come without consequence.  Riverfest is a vital economic engine for local non-profits, community groups, small businesses, individuals, and vendors.  In addition, many in the city of Wilmington and around the state of North Carolina look forward to this great event, and we understand the disappointment that this may bring to some. We want to do our part for the health and safety of our community and mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19. Though we are disappointed too, we are not discouraged, and know that our 2022 Riverfest will be bigger and better.

On behalf of our committee, sponsors, volunteers, and all that make this happen every year, we would like to say thank you for your understanding and stay tuned for more detail. To our vendors, your application fee will be reimbursed starting September 7, 2021.

We look forward to seeing you October 7-9, 2022, for our Riverfest in the great city of Wilmington, NC.

We will get through this together.

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Wilmington NC Riverfest

Celebrated on the first full weekend of October, the Riverfest runs through Historic Downtown Wilmington on Water Street from the foot of Market Street to Cape Fear Community College. Currently drawing tens of thousands of people, this free, family-oriented celebration is a two-day event and has grown to be a widely anticipated annual celebration.  Riverfest was created in February 1979, by a group of Wilmingtonians interested in showcasing downtown Wilmington and the Cape Fear River and has since resulted in a cultural street festival that entices locals and tourists alike to our amazing Historic Downtown.

Fun & Entertainment



Riverfest boasts craft vendors, concessions booths, a children’s play area, entertainment on various stages, Saturday night fireworks, and more. This year, we will also be crowning our 5th Annual Miss Riverfest. One well-deserving young lady will be crowned and perform hostess duties throughout the festival.

Voted Top Seven Festivals to Visit!

Trips To Discover has voted Wilmington Riverfest one of the TOP Seven Festivals to Visit in North Carolina!

Benefit the Cape Fear Area

Although the yearly festival is dependant on sponsorships and donations from community businesses and organizations, the economic impact of Riverfest for Historic Downtown and the surrounding community has been estimated at over thirteen million dollars! Over 114,000 New Hanover county residents and visitors attend the Riverfest! Of those attending, 93% are FAMILIES, with 60% Female and 40% Male. Come on down to beautiful, Historic Downtown Wilmington, NC and spend a couple of days by the Cape Fear River where we will be celebrating our amazing community. See you there!

Wilmington Boat Show!

Wilmington Riverfest is extremely excited partner with The Wilmington Boat Show to bring thousands of people to downtown Wilmington for two spectacular events!

Join Us At the Wilmington Boat Show

A Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

A Special Thank You to Our Media Sponsors
Cumulus Media and WWAYTV3

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