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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Spring Lake presents Screen on the Green & Food Truck Rodeo

10JUMANJIEnjoy a night under the stars, complete with entertainment and refreshments, at Screen on the Green & Food Truck Rodeo, a funfilled night for the whole family. The event takes place the second Friday of the month through August. Screen on the Green is hosted by Mendoza Park in the town of Spring Lake from 6-10 p.m., and it’s free to attend. July’s event occurs this Friday, the 13th.

Fans of dinner-and-a-movie will love having tasty options at the ready from food trucks selling fare on-site during the event. There will be a variety of foods available, including tacos.

This month’s film is “Jumanji.” The show starts as soon as the sun goes down.

The following month, Screen on the Green will feature “Coco,” Aug. 10, at the same time.

Come early and make some memories by enjoying the amenities Mendoza Park has to offer, including three baseball/softball fields, picnic areas, a large playground with swings, slides and deck systems, a large open space, a walking area and park benches.

Then, grab a blanket, a lawn chair, or whatever makes you comfortable, and enjoy “Jumanji” on the big screen.

For more information about Screen on the Green, call 910-436-0011 or visit www.spring-lake.org. Additional details are available on the town of Spring Lake social media pages on Facebook and Twitter.

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Fascinate-U offers fun and learning year-round

10fascinate uChildren can drop as many as two reading levels during the summer months. Even though school is out, there is plenty to do to keep young minds engaged. One option is to read at least 30 minutes each day. Another is to explore learning opportunities in other places.

Fascinate-U Children’s Museum has hands-on, child-friendly exhibits that will keep kids’ active minds busy and let young imaginations run wild during these hot summer days.

“We are open every day except Monday and all of our exhibits are hands-on, so when you come to visit, the children get to play and pretend to be a grown-up,” said Susan Daniels, executive director of Fascinate-U. “We have a grocery store, costume stage, a news desk, a doctor’s office, school room, army fort, post office, farm, voting booth and restaurant exhibit.” Daniels added that the children get to pretend to be employees through role-playing, manipulation and interacting with each other.

The museum also hosts several programs and events, including partnering with other child-centered summer camps in the community. “We do offer programs for visiting groups, and some of those summer camps come to us and we do science programs with the children,” said Daniels. “It is mainly slime and weird pets.”

As part of its regular programming, the museum has recurring events for families that can’t get to the museum during the week. “The second Saturday of each month we have a craft activity between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.,” said Daniels. “On the third Saturday of each month, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., we have a science activity.”

Daniels added that these events are free for participants with a paid membership. A family membership is $50 and includes admission for the whole family for the entire year.

“We invite the family to come out and join us for some interactive fun and engagement,” said Daniels. During 4th Friday events, the museum offers free crafts for children each month.

Another way Fascinate-U reaches out to the community is through partnerships with other community organizations like the Cumberland County Public Library and Information Center for story times. The museum also hosts summer camps and is available to host birthday parties.

Admission fee is $4 for children and $3 for adults. Admission is free Wednesdays from 1-7 p.m., and donations are accepted. For more information, call 910-829-9171 or visit www.fascinate-u.com.

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African World Peace Festival brings fun and education to town

08AfricanWorldPeace copyLoving Hands International and Culture & Heritage Alliance present the African World Peace Festival Friday, July 13 – Sunday, July 15 in downtown Fayetteville.

“This is our fourth year of putting together the African World Peace Festival,” said Isabella Effon, president of Culture & Heritage Alliance. “We want to bring cultural awareness and educate our children about the continent of Africa and let them know it is not just a country.”

Effon added the festival also includes the Caribbean community to let children know they have Africans and Afro-Cubans who have migrated and now become a part of the population.

The event will feature the African World Peace Festival with entertainment and music as well as a 5K Peace Run and Cape Fear Valley’s Take Charge of Your Health event.

Friday, July 13, is the kickoff from 6–10 p.m.

Saturday, July 14, at 7 a.m. is pre-registration for the 5K Peace Run. The run starts at 8 a.m. There will be free health screenings provided by Cape Fear Valley’s Take Charge of Your Health at 11 a.m. These screenings are for diabetes, blood pressure and sexually transmitted diseases. The music festival starts at 2 p.m. and will end at 10 p.m. The headliner is Kevin Lyttle. There will also be cultural performers.

“This year for the health screenings we want to reach out as much as possible to let Wilmington Road, B Street and surrounding areas know they are a part of the Cool Spring Downtown District,” said Effon. “We want them and the surrounding communities to come and participate in the free health screenings.”

The event continues Sunday, July 15. “From noon-7 p.m. is the gospel concert,” said Effon. “It will feature traditional drumming and contemporary gospel music, and we will have vendors until 5 p.m.”

Loving Hands International and Culture & Heritage Alliance are nonprofit organizations that focus on the needs of the poor in Ghana and West Africa as well as the local needs in the Fayetteville and Fort Bragg area. “Our cause is to give back to the community and also to reach back to students in Africa,” said Effon. “We have been collecting books for schools, hospital supplies and first-aid supplies to send over there.”

Effon added that in the Fayetteville/Fort Bragg area, the organization facilitates canned food drives for Operation Blessings during the summer.

“Come join our community event with all of us celebrating diversity and benefitting our community,” said Effon.

The cost of the 5K run is $25 for children and $30 for adults. The music festival is free and open to the public. Bring your lawn chair and umbrella to enjoy the music. Food vendors will be on-site. If you want to volunteer, become a vendor or sponsor, or if you have a question, call 910-728-2186.

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Summer reading programs offer entertaining options

10SummerReadingThis summer, two library systems, Fort Bragg’s Throckmorton Library and Cumberland County Public Libraries, will host summer reading programs. The programs are designed to encourage reading among all ages through activities, events and prizes.

The goal of these programs is to combat a phenomenon known as the “summer slide,” or summer learning loss. Summer slide is the tendency of students in the summer to lose some of the knowledge and academic skills they learned during the school year. Research shows, on average, students lose a month’s worth of school-learning over summer vacation, with declines in math and reading. The loss grows more substantial as student age increases. Reading is shown to help counteract the effects of the summer slide, and libraries hope to encourage readership through their summer reading programs.

Fort Bragg’s summer reading program, held by Throckmorton Library, runs from June to July. Though it has already begun, anyone can sign up throughout the six weeks of the program.

The program has an event each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The activities include the “Children’s Song Hour” on June 20 to help children learn letters, syllables, words and sentences  through music. The June 27 program is titled “The Parisian Juggler – Paris.” Another event is “Living in a Vacuum, the Liquid Nitrogen Show: Space” on July 11. This event will show science in action through experiments involving vacuum chambers and liquid nitrogen. July 18 is themed “Saddle Up ‘N’ Read with the Amazing Teacher, Steve Somers: Cowboys.” The program concludes on July 25 with “The Rockstar Magic of Chris and Neal.”

All Throckmorton Library summer reading events are free and open to all ages. The summer reading program is sponsored by Fort Bragg Federal Credit Union, Triangle Rock Club, Pioneer Services and USAA.

Cumberland County Public Library’s summer reading program began June 1 and ends August 15. Readers of all ages are encouraged to join, with the library hosting visitors such as Pete the Cat and Clifford the Big Red Dog. There will also be crafts and experiments focusing on science, technology, engineering and math. Readers who progress through the program will earn prizes. Teens and adults who participate may win gift cards. The gifts are provided by the Friends of the Library, and there is a limit of one prize per person.

For more information on Fort Bragg’s summer reading program, and to register as a reader, visit: https://bragg.armymwr.com/promos/2018-summer-readingprogram.com

For more information on Cumberland County Public Library summer reading program, and to register as a reader, visit: http://ccplbulletins.blogspot.com/2018/05/summer-readingprograms-because.html.

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