2022 Update: Due to construction happening in downtown Wilmington, Rims on the River is canceled for 2022. It will be back next year from October 27 to 29, 2023.
If you’re planning a trip to the area, check out all of our Wilmington, NC posts.
Rims On The River is one of those events that we always end up at, although we don’t always plan for it. In the past, we had been selling Pete’s marinara sauce at the weekly farmer’s market near the river, so it’s just a couple blocks walk to the event.
The Rims On The River annual antique car show is usually one block up from the river on Front Street between Ann St. and Red Cross St.
You should go, especially if you love antique cars. Even if you’re not a car guy or gal, it’s worth going to. Because there is actually more to do than just look at cars.
Planning a trip into Wilmington, NC for Rims On The River? Get help planning your trip with this Wilmington, North Carolina Travel Guide.
5 Reasons To Check Out Rims On The River In Wilmington, NC
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Information for the 2023 Rims On The River is being slowly given to the public. Since it’s more than a year away, we have to base this on the 2021 event. (The 2022 event is canceled.)
If you’re coming to Rims On The River, you’re coming for the cars. The show features pre-1980 cars in a main car show that begins in the morning. And over 500 cars are usually expected.
Later in the afternoon, awards are presented in various categories, like Best In Show, Best Antique (1940 & Older), and Spectators Choice. So if you come to watch, make sure you get your vote in.
The car show is actually up on Front Street instead of on Water Street because Water Street is still under construction. It’s pretty much been under construction since just after our wedding, which was lucky because we were able to take the most beautiful wedding photos on the water.
But still, the car show is only one block away from the Cape Fear River, which is beautiful in October.
You can walk down one block, walk on the Wilmington Riverwalk, and sit on the outdoor patio of one of the restaurants on the boardwalk. You can watch the jet skis, get a great view of the USS Battleship, and just enjoy the sunshine.
In years past, there had been a free all ages concert all day long. Then, in 2019, it was canceled because of all the construction happening downtown.
So instead, there was an after party at Reggie’s 42nd St. Tavern with music.
We don’t know what’s going to happen in 2023, so we’ll have to wait a little bit longer to see what the music portion is.
The Rims On The River Cruise
While the Rims On The River event is free, the weekend usually closes out with a cruise.
Nothing about a 2023 cruise has been mentioned yet, so we’ll have to keep an eye out to see if that’s happening in the future.
The Perfectly Pinup Wilmington Contest
Perfectly Pinned Up is hosted the fourth (although calling it the fifth) annual Pin Up Contest at the most recent Rims On The River. The contest is also a fundraiser for a charity.
This isn’t an objectifying beauty pageant. The contestants aren’t able to wear bathing suits, costumes, or lingerie. The outfits must be family friendly.
Also, in the past, there was a Q&A round (about vintage, pinup, or car kulture); and some of the points are awarded for the contestant’s fundraising efforts.
Rims On The River: Frequently Asked Questions
Rims On The River is completely independent of the car show in the Independence Mall in Wilmington, NC. That’s hosted by the Cape Fear Chapter AACA (Antique Automobile Club of America).
Although there are members of the AACA that attend Rims On The River, the Chapter does not host Rims On The River. It is hosted by Cool Wilmington.
Yes. More information can be found at facebook.com/rimsontheriver.
Looking for more car shows in Wilmington, NC?
There are a bunch of car shows in Wilmington, NC scheduled between now and Rims On The River 2023.
Head over to this link to see a list of Wilmington, NC car shows. It lists car shows near Wilmington, NC as well, including ones in Leland, Carolina Beach, and Southport, NC (all towns within driving distance of Wilmington)
The link will update with additional car shows as they’re posted, and remove car shows as they happens, so that link is a great resource if you’re someone who likes antique cars.
Planning a trip to Wilmington, NC?
If you’re planning a visit to Wilmington, NC for Rims On The River, you definitely want to plan out other activities to do that weekend. Rims On The River generally runs from 11 am to 5 pm, so that leaves you a bunch of time to eat and drink.
A few other posts to help you choose your Wilmington itinerary are below:
- 20+ Must Try Restaurants In Wilmington, NC
- The Complete Guide To Breweries In Wilmington, North Carolina
- Best Cups Of Coffee In Wilmington, NC
- 10+ Things To Do When It Rains In Wilmington, NC
- 10 Free Things To Do In Wilmington, NC
- The Complete Guide To Distilleries In Wilmington, NC
More events near Wilmington, NC:
If Riverfest was your first time in the Wilmington area and now you’re looking for more excuses to come back, there are some other events you’ll want to put on your calendar.
For the spring, add the North Carolina Azalea Festival (the biggest annual event in Wilmington) and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival.
For the fall, there’s Wilmington Riverfest.
In the winter, there’s Enchanted Airlie (the light display at Airlie Gardens) and Leland in Lights (a light display in neighboring Leland, NC).
Have you been to Rims On The River in Wilmington, NC? Let us know what you thought about it in the comments.
Monday 20th of May 2019
That's awesome that the cruise is for all to join in on the fun! If ever I'm around Wilmington, NC I'll have to check it out!
Friday 17th of May 2019
I would have a blast there. My husband really enjoys things like this too.
Friday 17th of May 2019
I wish we had such cool events in Europe, or maybe we do and I just don't know about it LOL
Thursday 16th of May 2019
I love antique cars. This event seems to be interesting. Wish I was nearby to have the fun.
Thursday 16th of May 2019
What a fun event! I've never been to Wilmington before but my favorite show, One Tree Hill, was filmed there so I'd love to one day!