Posted: 04-11-2014
Encore’s Best Of Awards Party and Masquerade Ball

Written by Alexandra Flentje // Photography by Sean Carr Photography

This year’s Encore Best of Awards Party and Masquerade Ball was an absolute blast. The best of the best in more than 130 categories filled the BAC to celebrate local business owners, and, best of all, the proceeds were donated to awesome downtown local nonprofit Kids Making It.

Everywhere you looked in the BAC, a decorative mask stared back. Wilmington showed up to party, people, and some of the audience members weren’t even nominees. “I couldn’t resist a masquerade. I wanted an excuse to get dressed up,” said Harmony Hitchner.

The premiere sketch comedy troupe, Pineapple-Shaped Lamps, kept the crowd laughing and presented the awards. In the opening number, Zach Pappas thanked Encore for the opportunity to moderate the evening’s activities. “Encore was kind enough, foolish enough, and drunk enough to choose us to host!” Among the Pineapple-Shaped Lamps was Brett Young (known to the crowd as the Phantom of the Brooklyn Arts Center), who interrupted the presenters to make hilarious demands. “I’m kind of a squatter, and these people just showed up to hand out awards,” said the Phantom.

Kids Making It and Encore Magazine deserve their own award for the hard work they put into organizing the event. The six-month process is totally worth it for Encore Magazine Editor-in-Chief Shea Carver. “I’m excited to see all the people we work with, the businesses, art people, and nonprofit organizations. I’m excited to see their responses when they win. It’s a really great feeling to know they are being honored for all the hard work they put into the community,” said Carver.

The awards party has grown every year and become a great fundraiser for Wilmington. “This is only our second year doing it as a fundraiser, and that, I think, is something that really stands apart from any other kind of awards ceremony. We are utilizing it to continue to give back to the community in more ways than one,” said Carver.

Kids Making It is a woodworking and art program that gives at-risk teens a place to master new skills. “We are working hard every day to help as many kids as possible to stay on the right path,” said KMI Founder Jimmy Pierce. Kids Making It was established in 1994 and has helped more than 2,000 at-risk teens. Nonprofits depend on grants, donations, and fundraisers, and it’s so gratifying when the public comes out and really supports a good cause,” Pierce said. “Encore has this incredible event that brings out all the best of Wilmington for one night of big time partying. We are honored to be a part of it.”

Food from nominees was served on silver platters as the crowd laughed and danced all night. The battle of the bands featured Justin Lacy and the Swimming Machine, No Dollar Shoes, and Mike Blair and the Stonewalls. “When I first moved here, I learned the Encore award was the achievement to have,” said Lacy. Each band played two songs, and audience members cast their ballot by adding dollar bills to the bands’ tally.

“It’s the only award not characterized by reader votes. We thought since we were making a fundraiser this could be a really fun way of honoring our musicians—giving them a live performance to showcase why they should be voted for, versus just going online and clicking,” said Encore’s Carver. The winner was No Dollar Shoes who played the songs Driven Insane and Eyes Slammed Shut. Musician Jesse Jewel admitted to the crowd that he’d “like to say we knew it, but when we got here and heard the other bands, we weren’t so sure.” All three bands gave incredible performances that made the voting very close.

This year’s party raised the bar for the Encore Best of Awards, so “thanks for voting,” Carver said. “It was a wonderful night to celebrate the hard work everyone put into our community—because, after all, Wilmington rocks.”

For more information, visit: Kids Making It at, Encore Magazine at, and the BAC at For a full list of winners, visit


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