Splash into summer in Cumberland County

13Fantasy lakeWith temperatures reaching well into the 90s, enjoy the summer with a little fresh air – and a lot of aquatic adventures. From epic water slides to relaxing river cruises, Cumberland County offers countless alternatives to your backyard pool in the way of affordable waterside fun.

Home of the famous Tarzan Swings, Jump Tower and Master Blaster Slides, Fantasy Lake is the perfect place to find a little adventure. While the children cruise down the mellow Banana Slides, sit back and relax in one of several porch swings over the lake or grill out at one of three picnic areas on-site. Let your little ones discover Fantasy Land, a smaller version of Fantasy Lake perfect for elementary school-aged children. Fantasy Lake is located at 5869 Permastone Lake Rd. in Hope Mills. Tickets are $10 for ages 3-10 and ages 60 and up or $16 for ages 11-59.

For a carefree day on the water, try a boat ride on the Cape Fear River. Captained by U.S. Coast Guard Commander Freddie Mims, these cruises come in 2-, 4- and 8-hour packages and vary in price depending on group size. Military and senior discounts, not to mention free rides for children under the age of 12, make these daytrips the perfect getaway for your family. Call 910-709-1758 for tickets and information.

Grab your life jacket and test out your kayaking skills on the great Cape Fear. Cape Fear River Adventures in Lillington offers kayaking and canoeing, white water kayaking, rafting and lazy-river tubing. Enjoy a trip lasting anywhere from an hour to two days, or take a group of 12 or more on a teambuilding retreat. Open seven days a week mid-May through August, trips vary in cost according to the amount of time spent on the water. Call 919-495-5555 to reserve your trip.

Waldo’s Beach features a family-friendly water park, fishing area and year-round RV campground. This exciting recreation area offers a variety of activities, to include waterslides, a lazy river and a shaded picnic area. The campground offers power and free Wi-Fi, not to mention hot showers and coin laundry machines to help you clean up after a long day at the pool. Daily water park tickets are $10 for ages 10 and under and $12 for ages 12 and up. Camp rates are $38 for a day, $245 for a week and $565-$595 for a month. Waldo’s Beach is located at 6742 Waldo’s Beach Rd. in Fayetteville.

Fayetteville has several public pools that are open through Labor Day. Head over to Chalmers Pool at 1520 Slater Ave. to enjoy a six-lane lap pool, water playground and an open wading pool. For your little ones, try the Splash Pad at Kiwanis Recreation Center at 352 Devers St. The Keith A. Bates, Sr. Pool at 4945 Rosehill Rd. features a kiddie pool, a six-lane lap pool and a 24-foot enclosed water slide. The Westover Aquatic Center is located at 266 Bonanza Dr. and is home to an 8-lane competition pool, a water slide and a wading pool.

The Spring Lake Outpost offers daily kayak adventures along the lower Little River. Veteran-owned and open seven days a week, the Outpost offers short-route trips, which are 3 miles long and take two hours to complete, and long-route trips, which are 6 miles long and take 4 hours to complete. Alternative adventures, such as Sunset Paddles and “Slo Glow,” are also available. Walk-up on the weekend or reserve your weekday trip at www.springlakeoutpost.com.


PHOTO: Fantasy Lake in Hope Mills is home to the famous Tarzan Swings, Jump Tower and Master Blaster Slides.

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All aboard Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s ‘Garden Railway’ exhibit

11Train 1 May 2018 1080x675Since the early 1800s, trains have captivated the collective American imagination, conjuring up dreams of freedom and the ability to bring economic prosperity to the country. Celebrate the history and magic of the railroad at Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s “Garden Railway” exhibit that runs daily through Friday, Aug. 31. The track includes approximately 450 feet of curves, bridges and plants in addition to the trains. It is set up in the Friendship Garden.

Today, garden railways are a fun way for train enthusiasts to enjoy outdoor model trains year-round.

“Alex Schleyer, who is a garden railway enthusiast, came out to the garden and did a presentation,” said Sheila Hanrick, director of marketing and events for CFBG. “He wanted to set up a garden railway out of the kindness of his heart, so people can see how garden railways can be done in their own backyards and the way it has been made to look as if it has always been there.”

In a video on the garden website, Schleyer explains the installation process. “We used the actual process that real railroads do. The track is large enough that it requires drainage … (and) it requires ballast to hold track.”

Now that the exhibit is open, there are several opportunities to expand on it and to draw in the community to enjoy it.

Hanrick added that individuals would never know that it was just laid down for a temporary exhibit through August.

“We will continue to add things throughout the summer,” he said. “There will be a day in July where we will have pedal cars that individuals can ride through foot power along a dirt path. We hope to incorporate a program with the Transportation Museum to get them out here to talk about how railway transportation changed agriculture for the United States. At that point, crops then could be transported across country. We are planning a whole lot around this train exhibit to get folks into the garden, find out what is here and just enjoy this beautiful setting.”

While encouraging everyone in the community to come out, Hanrick said CFBG staff is especially excited to see children. “If children want to bring their little superhero or miniature toys, Alex, our conductor, will certainly let those toys go for a ride,” Hanrick said.

CFBG hours of operation are Monday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from noon-5 p.m. The last daily admission is 4:15 p.m. “Garden Railway” merchandise is available for purchase.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12, $9 for members of the military and senior citizens, and free for children ages five and under. It is also free for individuals with a garden membership.

For more information, call 910- 486-0221.


PHOTO CREDIT: www.capefearbg.org

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National Day of the Cowboy celebrates spirit of the Old West

01coverUAC0071818001Just outside of Hope Mills, at 7 Branch Farm in Lumber Bridge, North Carolina, horses, cattle and people thrive on 37 acres of farmland. It’s a place steeped in the cowboy spirit: love for the land, adventure, gritty hard work and integrity. And, in 2014, it became the first venue in North Carolina to celebrate National Day of the Cowboy.

The late Wyoming U.S. Sen. Craig Thomas first sponsored National Day of the Cowboy in 2005 as a way to celebrate cowboys’ and cowgirls’ contribution to America’s culture and heritage. Since then, celebratory rodeos have taken place across the nation every fourth Saturday in July.

Enjoy 7 Branch’s fifth National Day of the Cowboy rodeo Friday or Saturday evening, July 27 or 28, or Sunday afternoon, July 29.

Buddy Blackman, general manager of 7 Branch, said he expects a crowd of 1,500 to 2,000 people at each show, with Saturday likely being a standing-roomonly event.

“It’s to remember our heritage,” he said. “You don’t see a whole lot of cowboys walking around nowadays. This is keeping the spirit of the Old West alive.”

Blackman is the son of Ron Payne, who started the farm nine years ago with only eight acres of land and a dream to build a horse farm. Today, with the help of his children, it’s grown to 37 acres and hosts several training and rodeo events each year.

The National Day of the Cowboy rodeo includes traditional favorites like barrel racing, team roping, cowboy mounted shooting, and, of course, bull riding. Throughout each rodeo, Blackman said, there will be a total of about 50 cowboys and cowgirls competing for special belt buckles – a mark of honor – and prize money. This includes 20 bull riders.

There will also be fun, modern parts of the show. Cowpaty the Rodeo Clown will perform, a professional who’s been at work since age 11, along with the Carolina Stars Trick Riders. Carolina Stars is a duo comprised of former Dixie Stampede performers Leslie Reed and Lori Graham. They’ll perform death-defying stunts on Leslie’s new Palomino Quarter horse and Lori’s Appaloosa mare.

The audience will be engaged throughout the show, but Blackman is bringing back one activity that invites direct audience participation (and squeals): Bull Bowling. He first introduced the popular rodeo activity last year, and it was a hit.

Audience members are invited to enter the arena and stand in white circles drawn in the dirt in a bowling pin formation as a Brahman bull is released into the space. Last man standing is the winner.

“Some people have a theory that by standing completely still, the bull won’t charge at them,” Blackman said. “Sometimes it’s true; last year, the bull ran by several people to go after the people who took off running.” Blackman said it’s an event that gets the adrenaline pumping while remaining relatively safe. “We have professional bull fighters out there to control things,” he said. “We’re not going to let a bull get someone down.”

Overall, Blackman said, the threehour rodeo event is fast-paced and action-packed.

Friday and Saturday night, gates open at 5 p.m. and the rodeo starts at 8 p.m. Blackman recommends arriving early, as the lines will be long around 7 p.m. There will be food vendors, information and plenty to see and do as visitors wait for the rodeo to start once they’ve entered, Blackman said. Sunday’s rodeo kicks off at 2 p.m.

Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased at www.Dayofthecowboync.com. Cape Fear Valley’s Friends of the Cancer Center will benefit in part from ticket sales. You can get free tickets a couple of different ways, though. Camping World of Fayetteville, the event’s title sponsor, is giving free tickets to visitors who come do a walkthrough. Camping World is located at 5117 US Hwy 301 S in Hope Mills. WKML 95.7 is also offering listeners a chance to call in and claim free tickets in the weeks leading up to the event.

Visit www.7brancharena.com to learn more about the farm, and click “Calendar” for a list of smaller, more training-focused events throughout the year.

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July’s 4th Friday: A Midsummer Night Downtown

10FourthFriAs Fayetteville’s arts and local business-oriented culture has grown, so have 4th Fridays. 4th Fridays are a monthly, timehonored way to enjoy and keep up-to-date on the city’s artistic heartbeat while strolling downtown’s homey sidewalks. July’s 4th Friday falls on the 27th.

“This month’s (theme) is an old favorite: A Midsummer Night Downtown,” said Sam DuBose, general manager of Cool Spring Downtown District. The theme refers to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” one of Shakespeare’s most popular works, in which mischievous fairies run the show.

Elaine Kelly, owner of Turner Lane, is the chair for July’s 4th Friday. She said visitors should look out for a Fairy Door Scavenger Hunt, a Fairy Garden Market at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum, a magic man show, craft experiences, themed magical food and drinks, outdoor musical performances, street players, face painting and other fairy/medieval-themed activities.

The bulk of the events will take place Friday evening from 5-9 p.m., and the Fairy Door Scavenger Hunt will continue Saturday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

The Fairy Door Scavenger Hunt presents magical quests spanning 34 downtown locations with over $500 in prizes for all ages. Fairy Journals with maps and instructions for the hunt can be found at participating downtown businesses, which include Turner Lane, Rude Awakening, Pressed – A Creative Space, City Center Gallery & Books, and many others.

See a full list of participating businesses by searching the event page “Midsummer Night Downtown” on Facebook.

There will be more to see and do the evening of the 27th than just themed activities, though.

The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County will debut its new exhibition, “10:10:10” from 7-9 p.m. Annah Lee, director of artistic programs at Artspace in Raleigh, acted as its juror. She selected 10 artists to receive 10 linear feet of exhibition space to curate at the Arts Council gallery.

“This exhibition is unique in that the artists not only select which works they would like to install, but they actually do the installations themselves along with the other artists. What will result is 10 self-curated exhibitions,” said Janet Gibson, Arts Council director of marketing and communications.

Selected artists include photographers, illustrators, 3D artists, interior designers and art educators. They range from being self-taught to holding Masters of Fine Arts. “10:10:10” runs through Aug. 18.

Headquarters Library will host a singalong to traditional American work songs from 6-9 p.m. in the Pate room. The singalong is part of “The Way We Worked,” an exhibition created by the National Archives and made possible in Fayetteville by the North Carolina Humanities Council. Light refreshments will be served.

Cape Fear Studios will host its “6 by Exhibit” from 6-8:30 p.m. Artists were invited to submit work of any medium, so long as one of the creation’s dimensions measures 6 inches.

From 6-9 p.m., the Market House will feature a temporary show titled “Vintage Postcards.” View original documents like receipts, bills and letters that help tell the story of business development in Fayetteville.

From 7-9 p.m., Fascinate-U Children’s Museum invites families to visit its craft table and create a free seashell critter with recycled plastic eggs.

Call CSDD at 910-223-1089 or visit www.theartscouncil.com to learn more about 4th Friday.


PHOTO CREDIT: Downtown Alliance

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Historic carriage tours offer peek into E.E. Smith’s home

11Smith Ezekiel Ezra Caldwell V4 IAAbout every second Saturday between March and November, the community is given an uncommon opportunity to time travel.

Residents and out-of-town visitors receive the exclusive chance to hear and learn about Fayetteville’s nearly 300-year-old history while they ride in a horse-drawn canopied carriage. Led by volunteers who double as tour guides, passengers cruise through the Cool Spring Downtown District on a 45-minute historic tour that can take them as far back as the early 18th century in Fayetteville’s ever-evolving narrative.

Mark Regensburger, president and chief executive officer of CSDD, said these monthly expeditions distinguish the city’s downtown district from more urban-feeling zones found in cities like Charlotte, Raleigh and Winston-Salem, despite Fayetteville’s current ranking as North Carolina’s fourth-largest metropolitan area.

“It feels more homey,” Regensburger said. “Having that tie with the horse and carriage rides gives us a different ambience, a different feel, and you feel like you might’ve stepped back in time.”

Dr. Hank Parfitt, co-owner of City Center Gallery & Books and organizer of the tours, said sharing stories from the city’s dynamic past is fun for both the riders and their tour guides.

“Our tour guides – they’re not just railing off a bunch of facts,” Parfitt said. “We’re telling stories about people and events that took place in Fayetteville.”

July’s historic tour, which takes place the 14th, will be guided by Bruce Daws, the city’s historic properties manager. It’s a rare occasion to learn about and see the home of Ezekiel Ezra Smith – better known to locals as E.E. Smith.

A man of many hats, Smith was born in Duplin County, North Carolina, in May of 1852. Smith wasn’t formally educated during his childhood because of his skin color. Despite that obstacle, he went on to earn both his bachelor’s degree and doctorate from Shaw University and left a legacy as a diplomat, serviceman, principal and longtime president of Fayetteville State University.

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1878, he took a position as principal of an elementary school in Goldsboro. He would eventually serve as principal of a high school in Asheville after obtaining his doctorate.

Soon after taking the position in Goldsboro, Smith was selected to serve as a major in North Carolina’s Home Guard in 1880. In 1898, he joined a North Carolina regiment of black troops that, though never called upon, was formed to go into battle during the Spanish-American War.

He was appointed head of the Howard School, now known as Fayetteville State University, in 1883. Five years later, he served as the consul to Liberia, notably improving U.S. relations with the foreign country.

He returned to Fayetteville in 1899 and served as the president of FSU for nearly 50 years. He held that position for the remainder of his life.

Smith’s 19th-century Fayetteville home was purchased by the city two years ago and is being restored, making this tour a unique occasion for people to see this historic landmark.

Parfitt said longtime residents of Fayetteville are always able to gain new knowledge when they participate in a historic tour. “They always come away shaking their heads saying, ‘Wow. I didn’t know that.’ That, to me, is a lot of fun to hear (coming from) someone like that who already knows a lot about Fayetteville,” he said.

Newer residents have the chance to gain a little more, Parfitt added. “For someone who has just moved to the community, it helps ground you in this community you’re now going to call home.”

Spots for the July 14 historic tours, which run from 9 a.m. to noon, can be reserved at City Center Gallery & Books at 112 Hay St. or by phone at 910-678-8899.

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