4th Friday features Back to Cool Bash

09 SCHOOL KIDSAs summer events are wrapping up, 4th Friday continues to offer an entertaining and family-friendly experience in downtown Fayetteville. 4th Friday is a tradition that occurs on the fourth Friday of every month and offers entertainment or art (or both). 4th Friday will fall on Aug. 23. The theme will be “Back to Cool Bash.” 

“It’s an end-of-summer bash for the kids going back to school,” Johanna Brum of the Cool Spring Downtown District said. “There will be a food truck, there will be artists. Maxwell Street will be closed, so we’ll extend that out and do bouncy houses and face painting.” 

There will also be artists and dancers. 

 The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County will also host its monthly parking lot party. The Arts Council’s 4th Friday Artist’s Program creates a space for artists to make and show their work and share their passion with others. Artists can visit www.theartscouncil.com/ParkingLotParty to sign up .

 The Arts Council will also offer an activity to keep with the “Back to Cool” theme — a dunk tank. “In the dunk tank, we will have school officials from several different schools to be dunked,” explained Antonio Renteria, the assistant director of operations at the Arts Council. “All proceeds will go to our Artists in Schools program.” 

The juried art exhibit 10:10:10 will also open on 4th Friday. It will include work from ten different artists. The display will be ten linear feet and will have ten self-curated exhibitions. 

There will also be a beer garden. Beer enthusiasts can look forward to “a fairly good mix of domestics, a couple different craft beers.” said Renteria. “There’ll be an IPA and an ale. A variety. There will also be seating for people to eat and local artists on our sidewalks and in our parking lots.” 

For people who are interested in learning more about the history of Fayetteville, The Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum has an exhibit every 4th Friday. This month’s exhibit is called “Market House History.”  Half of the Market House is a permanent exhibit. The exhibit will be “featuring collectibles and displaying different ways that the Market House has been promoted and displayed over time. It’s always been a symbolic place and has been used as an image on a lot of items,” said Bruce Daws, the museum’s director.

At Fascinate-U Children’s Museum, children can decorate a cloth lunch bag to use at school from 7-9 p.m. Playing at the museum is free for kids every Fourth Friday as well. 

 In His Presence Coffee, Books & More is partnering with Praise NOW 2019 will take place from 4-8 p.m. at Festival Park. It will have Christian music and be worship-centered. 

  Call the Cool Spring Downtown District at 910-223-1089 or visit www.theartscouncil.com to learn more about 4th Friday.

Umoja Festival celebrates community

11 umojaThe Umoja Group Inc. presents its 27th Annual Umoja Festival Saturday, Aug. 24, from 12-5 p.m. at Seabrook Park. The health fair portion will be from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

“This is our 27th year, said Wanda Wesley, co-coordinator for the Umoja Group. “We are having a community family festival and health fair. So, we are partnering again this year with Cape Fear Valley’s Take Charge of Your Health Program, and they are offering free health screenings. The health part will be inside the Smith Recreation Center and one side of the center will be full of community resources that are health related that support families and children and the other side will be the actual medical doctors and technicians to do more in depth screening for individuals.”    

The word “umoja” means unity. The purpose of the festival is to bring the community together to celebrate arts, crafts and the culture of the community and to share informational and educational opportunities.     

“For the actual festival that kicks off at 12 p.m., we will have entertainment, a proclamation from the city, a special tribute to the elders and there will be a special tent for the senior citizens to sit under so they will be more comfortable,” said Wesley. “One thing about the Umoja Festival that makes it so unique to me is that it is kind of intergenerational, which means we have things for little kids as well as older adults and senior citizens.” 

 Wesley added that the festival will feature a climbing wall from The Climbing Place, and will include the Tokay Rockers, E. E. Smith’s Marching Band, the Chrome Knights Motorcycle Club, antique cars, African storytellers, the NAACP, drummers, a talent show and food, arts and crafts vendors.           

“The Chrome Knights Motorcycle Club supports families in the community,” said Wesley. “They have adopted five schools — Ferguson Easley Elementary, T. C. Berrien Elementary, Margaret Willis Elementary, Westarea Elementary and Walker- Spivey Elementary School,” added Wesley.

She also noted, “What they do is … raise money to support those schools. Over the past three years they have donated over $8,000 in cash and supplies to the children in those schools.”   

There will be free health screenings for the uninsured and underinsured to include blood pressure, diabetes and body mass index readings as well as lung function tests and blood typing. 

“What I really like about this festival is that it is in the community that we support,” said Wesley. “We look forward to everyone coming out to support this great community event.”

The event is free and open to the public. Donations are appreciated. For more information or vendor inquiries call 910-485-8035. 

The word “umoja” means unity. The purpose of the festival is to bring the community together to celebrate arts, crafts and the culture of the community and to share informational and educational opportunities. 

Celebrate National Airborne Day in downtown Fayetteville

10 National Airborne DayIn 2002, President George W. Bush, designated “National Airborne Day”’ to honor the nation’s airborne forces. The Airborne & Special Operations Museum, located in downtown Fayetteville, will celebrate the 79th anniversary of the Army’s first official parachute jump Aug. 17, from 9 a.m. to noon. Come out and enjoy displays and re-enactors from the XVIII Airborne Corps, United States Army Special Operations Command and 82nd Airborne Division. 

In 1784, after seeing the first successful hot air balloon flight, Benjamin Franklin envisioned the United States having a military force that could drop from the sky. Fast forward to Aug. 16, 1940, and the U.S. Army successfully conducted its first official parachute jump. It was the birth of the “airborne.”

Here are a few things that you may not know about airborne units and paratroopers. 

Airborne units may or may not perform parachute operations. Some units keep their Airborne designation because of their historical past. Some units that do conduct airborne operations may not have the word “Airborne” in the unit’s name. 

Paratroopers are looked upon with great honor and respect. Those who choose to volunteer to attend Airborne school take on an enormous amount of risk. The training is among some of the hardest training in the military, both physically and mentally. Upon completing training, the student is awarded the Basic Parachute Badge. 

Military parachuting is separated into “static-line” and “freefall” parachuting. Static-line parachuting means that the paratrooper’s parachute is hooked to a cable inside the aircraft and the parachute opens automatically as the paratrooper exits the aircraft. Freefall parachuting is an advance infiltration technique in which the paratrooper opens their own parachute. 

A static-line paratrooper has completed the basic parachute school and has been awarded the coveted Basic Parachutist Badge. 

Military Freefall is commonly done by either High Altitude Low Opening — HALO — or High Altitude High Opening — HAHO. HALO jumpers can exit an aircraft as high as 35,000 feet and open as low as 2,000 feet. HAHO jumpers can exit a plane at 35,000 feet and open their parachute seconds after exiting the plane to fly for miles to their target. 

For those seeking more significant responsibilities, they can attend the “Jumpmaster” course. Not to be confused with the Jumpmaster Badge.  At the Jumpmaster Course, students learn the complexities of being responsible for all aspects of a jump — to include combat equipment, airborne and drop zone operations. Once completing the Jumpmaster Course and additional requirements, a paratrooper that has graduated the Jumpmaster course can earn their Senior or Master Parachutist Badge. 

The Military Freefall Parachute Badge is earned for completing the Military Freefall school. The Freefall badge is a separate badge from the parachute badge. Like the static-line Jumpmaster, Freefall has its own Freefall Jump Master Course. This badge is distinguished by a star and wreath at the top of the badge. 

If you see a paratrooper with a bronze star on their wings, they have parachuted into a combat zone. 

For more history about Airborne or National Airborne day, visit the Airborne and Special Operations Museum, or visit https://www.asomf.org/.

Static-line parachuting means that the paratrooper’s parachute is hooked to a cable inside the aircraft and the parachute opens automatically as the paratrooper exits the aircraft. 

The curtain rises: 2019-2020 theater season

10 kyle head p6rNTdAPbuk unsplashWith local theaters and performing arts groups rolling out their season schedules, there are plenty of top-notch performances from which to choose.

Fayetteville Dinner Theatre

The Fayetteville Dinner Theatre, Gates Four Golf and Country Club and Sweet Tea Shakespeare present “HamLIT,” Sept. 27-28. Imagine, if you will, the writers, director and actors of Shakespeare’s beloved “Hamlet” know the story they want to tell, but they get lost at a fraternity party on their way to the show. Each performance includes a full-service cash bar and wine tasting, duel entrée dinner with two sides. For more information, call 910-391-3859.

Cape Fear Regional Theatre

This season, Cape Fear Regional Theatre offers another great lineup, starting with “Mamma Mia!” The play tells the story of young Sophie, who, seeking to find her father,  invites three men from her mother’s past to her wedding. It runs Sept. 12- Oct. 9.

“No Child” is next in the lineup with a look into the way teachers change lives and build community. Anyone who has taught, attended or has loved ones who attend public school will love it. “No Child” runs Oct. 31-Nov. 17.

Shrek the ogre and his sassy sidekick Donkey take the stage Jan.23-Feb. 16 as the pair set out to rescue an unconventional princess. A show for kids and adults alike, if you liked the movie, CFRT promises you will love the musical. “Shrek” runs Jan. 23-Feb. 16.

“Murder for Two,” is not only a mystery. It’s a barrel of laughs. With one actor playing the investigator and the other playing all 13 suspects — and both playing the piano — this musical comedy/whodunit will have you dying of laughter. It’s onstage March 5-22.

Next up, April 9-26, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” goes straight for your heartstrings. Mrs. Shear’s dog is dead and 15-year-old Christopher is determined to find out what happened. 

The season closes with “Jelly’s Last Jam,” May 14-31. Join jazz pioneer Jelly Morton as he gets a second chance at life. The audience will follow Jelly from the steamy back alleys of New Orleans to the brightly lit stages of New York as he makes good for past mistakes. 

Learn more about CFRT at cfrt.org.

Gilbert Theater

The Gilbert Theater is a semi-professional community-minded theater company and conservatory with a mission to “ … produce creative, innovative plays and events to stir audiences and students of its conservatory to explore and contemplate the human condition through the talents of local and guest artists.”

The 2019-20 season opens with “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” which runs Sept. 20-Oct. 6. 

“It’s a Wonderful Life” has become a holiday tradition at the Gilbert, and this year does not disappoint. It opens Nov. 22 and runs through Dec. 15. 

“Ruins,” a comedy/drama by Montgomery Sutton, is up next onstage from Jan. 24-Feb. 9. 

Get ready for some of the classics with “The Complete Works of William Shakespeare — Abridged” March 20-April 5.

The season closes with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”

Find out more about Gilbert Theater at gilberttheater.com.

Givens Performing Arts Center

Givens Performing Arts Center in Pembroke has a reputation as a top-notch venue for entertainment. Season ticket holders are invited to upgrade their ticket status and join the Act 1 Diner’s Club. The Diner’s Club includes dinner before specific performances, for just $35. The dinners are served in the Chancellor’s Dining room in the James B. Chavis Center. Learn more about Act 1 at https://www.uncp.edu/resources/gpac/act-1-diners-club.

With five Grammy Awards and an induction into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, The Blind Boys of Alabama have been in the music business for more than 70 years. From traditional gospel music to spiritual works by songwriters like Eric Clapton, Prince and Tom Waits, the group has appeared on recordings with many artists, including Lou Reed, Peter Gabriel, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, Susan Tedeschi, Ben Harper, Patty Griffin and more. They will be onstage at GPAC Sept. 12.

Josh Knott’s and Lea return to the stage with new acts for “Extreme Illusions and Escapes,” Sept. 20. The pair have won the 2016 Merlin Award and the 2016 Fair Award for achieving the highest level in their craft on both national and international stages. Inspired by  Las Vegas-style shows, this performance is fast-paced and includes a variety of stunts — and plenty of audience participation.

Oct. 11 brings “Queen Nation” to Givens. The 90-minute production of Queen’s greatest hits offers tribute to one of rock’s iconic bands. 

“Cirque Mei”from the People’s Republic of China showcases traditional and contemporary Chinese circus acts. The performance showcases 40 elite circus artists and acrobats, who will perform many of the most popular Chinese circus routines including Hoops Diving, Lion Dance, Collective Bicycle Skills, Flying Meteors, Foot Juggling with Umbrellas, Female Contortion and Ladder Balancing Act. The “Cirque Mei”performance is set for Oct. 27.

“Noises Off!” is a comedy by Michael Flynn that has received rave reviews. It’s opening night of the play “Nothing On,” and things couldn’t be worse. Full of glorious surprises and delicious comedy — and the audience gets to see the pandemonium unfold backstage. “Noises Off!” is scheduled for Nov. 14-15.”

Nov. 22, don’t miss the Holiday Extravaganza, which celebrates the holidays with the talented students and faculty of UNCP students and faculty. Enjoy all your holiday favorites performed by choirs, ensembles and more. And don’t miss “Tuba Christmas,” a preshow miniconcert.

Nov. 24, celebrate the holidays with “The Nutcracker,” presented by Dance Alive National Ballet, complete with beautiful costumes and sets and incredibly talented dancers for the Christmas season. 

“Bandstand” a Tony Award-winning Broadway Musical comes to GPAC Jan. 29. Bringing foot-tapping music and heart-stopping dancing, the story unfolds in 1945 just as soldiers return from World War II. 

The New York Times describes the show as “both a peppy celebration of can-do spirit and a more somber exploration of what American servicemen experienced when they marched home from World War II. It’s a great argument for why theater can sometimes tell a story more boldly and more viscerally.” 

GPAC hosts the Siberian State Symphony Orchestra Feb. 18. Founded in 1977, the orchestra quickly won a reputation as one of the best orchestras from Russia. The orchestra plays with the finest Russian soloists and plays the great Russian classics.

Winning a 2016 Tony Award for Best Musical Revival, “The Color Purple” is a classic story about love and triumph in the American South in the early 1900s. It will be onstage at GPAC March 2. The music includes jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues. 

The GPAC season closes April 28 with “An American in Paris.” Bringing romance and adventure to the stage, this production tells the story of life in postwar Paris as World War II veteran chooses to make a name for himself as a painter in Paris. Then he meets Lise, a young Parisian woman who complicates his life greatly. 

Find out more about GPAC and all it has to offer at https://www.uncp.edu/resources/gpac/professional-artist-series.   

Sweet Tea Shakespeare

Fayetteville’s favorite roaming theater troupe has a busy season ahead.

“HamLIT” brings comedy and hijinx to the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland  County Oct. 4 and runs until Nov. 1. The show plays at Dirtbag Ales in Hope Mills Oct. 10 before moving on to venues in Sanford, Fuquay-Varina and Benson. Come ready to laugh.

STS celebrates the holidays with “Behold,” a Christmas concert featuring familiar gospel tunes. The show focuses on Mary’s story. It’s a stirring and heartfelt show, sure to put you in the holiday spirit. It runs Dec. 4-14.

Jan. 2-15 STS tells a tale of ambition and evil, featuring a king, witches, murder plots and more as “Macbeth” comes to Fayetteville before heading to Raleigh Jan. 23-26.

Lovers, mischievous fairies and well-intentioned actors come together in the comedy “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It plays April 23-26 at Fayetteville State University and April 30-May 3 at the Poe House at the Museum of the Cape Fear Historical Complex.

Inspired by Chaucer’s “The Canterbury Tales,” “Knight’s Tale” runs June 4-21 at the 1897 Poe House. 

Find out more about the Sweet Tea Shakespeare season at http://www.sweetteashakespeare.com.

Better Health hosts dodgeball tournament

 09 Diabetes Dodgeball Tournament 1“Diabetes. Dodge It.” That’s the tagline for the annual Better Health Dodgeball Tournament scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 24. It takes place at Freedom Courts Sportsplex, which is located at 3126 Gillespie St. According to Amy Navejas, executive director of Better Health, this unique fundraiser began because Better Health “wanted to come up with a fundraiser that was new and different for our area, but still highlighted our emphasis on moving and being healthy. After tossing around several ideas (Better Health) settled on the idea of bringing dodgeball to Cumberland County. It’s an incredibly fun, lively and competitive event that brings the community together.” 

 The fundraising goal for the 2019 tournament is $20,000. “Last year we were close,” said Navejas, “so we know that, with the community’s support, we can do it this year. This is a crucial fundraiser for Better Health programs. It allows us to continue to offer emergency medications and dental care to the uninsured, diabetes and nutrition education, (the) childhood obesity program and more.”

 Tournament teams are organized and fielded by various businesses, local gyms, professional organizations and personnel from some municipal departments like the Fayetteville Police Department. “This is a great team-building event,” Navejas said. “A lot of organizations do this as an opportunity for staff to come together, have fun and be active at the same time. We want people to see that there are tons of ways to work physical activity into your routine. It doesn’t have to be just sit-ups and push-ups, which can be daunting.” 

 Founded as a non-profit in 1958 with the mission to provide for the unmet healthcare needs in Cumberland County through assistance, referral and education, Better Health has been providing life-sustaining medications, dental care, diabetes education and medical equipment for over 60 years. Additionally, Better Health offers diabetes management clinics, cooking demonstrations and screening, a childhood obesity program — which teaches an estimated 1,200 children about healthy lifestyle choices — vision care for the uninsured, medical supplies and medical equipment loans. 

 In addition to the tournament, Better Health programs rely on the United Way and other local charitable foundations and trusts for funding, support from local churches and donations from the community at large. Many of the Better Health programs are staffed by health professionals who volunteer their time. Better Health also relies on donations of good used medical equipment such as wheelchairs. These donations are the sole source for its medical equipment loan program.

 “We encourage everyone to come out (for) Dodgeball … on Aug. 24,” said Navejas. “You won’t be disappointed. The closer we get to that final round, the more intense it gets. Let’s dodge, duck, dip and donate.” 

General admission to the tournament is $5 at the door. To find out more about registering a team, visit www.betterhealthcc.org.

The Better Health "Diabetes. Dodge It." tournament is set for Aug. 24. 

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