Bald Head Island Celebrates Old Baldy on National Lighthouse Day

BALD HEAD ISLAND, N.C.Bald Head Island, a ferry-accessed community off the coast of Southport, is known for its pristine beaches, commitment to a car-free lifestyle, world-renowned sea turtle protection program and, last but certainly not least, as being home to the state’s oldest standing lighthouse, Old Baldy. During the weekend of Aug. 2-5, 2019 the Old Baldy Foundation, which oversees the preservation of the 202-year-old lighthouse, will celebrate Old Baldy with a roster of activities including historic happy hours and reenactments, free lighthouse admission, fun runs and live music in conjunction with the National Lighthouse Day.

The weekend-long celebration begins Aug. 2 with a Roaring ’20s-themed Historic Happy Hour at Old Baldy, taking guests back to a time when flappers and prohibitionists enjoyed the island's first beach resort developed by Thomas Franklin Boyd. Guests can celebrate this watershed moment in Bald Head Island history sipping cocktails with costumed historians, dancing to jazz music, and viewing a black-and-white, silent film of Bald Head Island from the era. On Aug. 3, the Annual Old Baldy Duck race invites participants to “adopt” a duck to float down Bald Head Creek.

The official National Lighthouse Day Festival, which takes place on Aug. 4 on the grounds of Old Baldy, will feature tributes to the Coast Guard, lighthouse keepers and others that lived on the island, as well as those telling the history of the Civil War and Old Baldy’s place in this important piece of history. There will also be a reenactment area where visitors can walk through a Civil War encampment put on by the 30th North Carolina Infantry Regiment. The family-friendly festival also offers the chance to tour Old Baldy free of charge and a Run for the Light 5k, 10k and 1 Mile Fun Run. All race participants receive a signature finishers medal, race shirt, headlamp, reusable bag, snacks, and a free beer or wine card. Finishing off the weekend against the backdrop of the lighthouse is a concert on Aug. 5 from Craig Woolard, lead singer of iconic beach music band "The Embers".

Since 1817, Old Baldy has marked the mouth of the Cape Fear River guiding ships through the river’s channels and sandbars as well as past Frying Pan Shoals, a shifting area of shoals that has been nicknamed "The Graveyard of the Atlantic.” Standing tall at 110 feet with a distinct octagonal shape, Old Baldy was officially relieved of its lighthouse duties in 1935 but continues to be the most iconic, and photographed, spot on the island. Visitors who climb the 108 stairs are rewarded with breathtaking views of the island, Atlantic Ocean and Cape Fear Estuary. The grounds of Old Baldy also include Smith Island Museum which is housed in a replica of the 1850’s lighthouse keeper’s cottage and contains artifacts that shed light on the island’s rich maritime past.

The event is made possible by the sponsors and volunteers who support the Old Baldy Foundation. For information, prices, and tickets for the entire weekend- head to or call 910-457-7481.

About Bald Head Island:
Bald Head Island is a boat-accessed community located two miles off the coast of Southport. Transportation on the island is restricted to golf carts, bicycles and pedestrian traffic. Of the island’s 12,000 acres, 10,000 acres of beaches, salt marsh and maritime forest are protected and will remain undeveloped. Old Baldy, the most famous manmade structure on the island, and one of the first things visitors notice when they arrive on Bald Head Island, was built in 1817 and is one of the few lighthouses where visitors may climb all the way to the top. Those who ascend the 108 steps to the lanthorn room are rewarded with epics views of the marsh, forest, beach and mouth of the Cape Fear River. To learn more about the island, visit



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