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Pender County Events Receive Excellence Awards

BURGAW - Pender County events and festivals took home honors from the NC Association of Festivals and Events (NCAFE) Annual ShowFest in Charlotte. NCAFE recognizes outstanding events and festivals from across the state. 

“We are thrilled to announce, that Ocean Fest and Burgaw’s New Year's Eve Blueberry Drop are the 2024 NC Association of Festivals & Events Excellence Award Winners” said Stephanie Key, Tourism Assistant, who represented Pender County at ShowFest.

Ocean Fest was the recipient of Best Merchandise, Student Choice and Best T-Shirt.  The New Year’s Eve Blueberry Drop was awarded Best Poster.

"It means so much for Ocean Fest to be recognized by the North Carolina Festivals & Events Association again this year," says Executive Director Mark Anders. "Our team of volunteers works so hard throughout the year to pull off this event each October so it's really gratifying for our team to win state-wide awards like these."

Pender County Tourism, The Town of Burgaw and Ocean Fest all members of the association, submitted entries into a variety of offered award-winning categories for each event.  The awards program allows the association to honor and recognize festivals and events that took placed during the 2023 calendar year.

“We are happy to see the New Year’s Eve Blueberry Drop grow in popularity along with the notoriety across the state received from this organization,’’ stated Cody Suggs, Town of Burgaw Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Director. “The event is a collaborative partnership with Pender County Tourism, Pender County Parks & Recreation, and the North Carolina Blueberry Festival.”

“All of our Events and Festivals are unique and make an economic impact upon our area,” said Olivia Dawson, Pender County Tourism director.  “We are proud that these popular events have received these recognitions.”

The Annual Show Fest Event Innovators Conference is held in Charlotte, NC. The theme of this year’s conference was Getting Revved Up for 2023. Conference attendees included festival & event planners and industry professionals. For more information about NCAFE visit online at

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