Wednesday, 13 October 2021
Written by Hannah Lee
After being suspended for over a year, Blues-N-Brews is coming back to Fayetteville. The annual fundraiser is bringing over a dozen North Carolina breweries to the city, all in order to raise funds for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre.
The usual summer event was moved to October this year since Festival Park only recently opened up. Ashley Owen, the Marketing Director for the Cape Fear Regional Theatre, said that as soon as reservations opened up, they grabbed the Oct. 30 date.
The season won’t be the only thing different this year. Instead of the usual 3-ounce sample glass that is given out, attendees will instead be given full size cans of beer. The change comes amid COVID precautions. Having less hand-to-hand contact with the passing of the glass prompted the change.
“We are really hoping that by having the cans and having more products at a time, you are spending less time in line and spending more time in the field, looking at the food trucks and listening to music,” Owen said. “It’s a little bit different this year, but it’s still the same Blues-N-Brews festival that people love.”
The list of 16 breweries includes Dirtbag Ales (Hope Mills), Southern Pines Brewing Company (Southern Pines), the Mash House Brewing Company (Fayetteville), Gaston Brewing Company (Fayetteville), Red Oak Brewery (Whitsett), Foothills Brewing (Winston-Salem), Aviator Brewing Company (Fuquay-Varina) and Gizmo Brew Works (Raleigh).
The breweries will be organized by location so attendees will be able to start with the mountain breweries and end with the beachside ones. Owen says that by organizing the breweries this way, people will be able to drink their way across North Carolina. There will also be eight food trucks at the festival so people can purchase food with their drinks.
For those who don’t enjoy craft beers, there will be a special tent where people can get seltzers, ciders and wine.
Outside of the several breweries and food vendors, a lineup of three returning bands and musicians will be performing at the festival along with one new performer.
The Guy Unger Band will be playing during the VIP Hour, which is from 4 to 5 p.m. and can only be attended by those who purchase a VIP ticket.
Next will be Nattalyee Randall, who has history not only with the festival but with the Cape Fear Regional Theatre. She has previously performed in one of their productions, but she has also performed as a backup vocalist at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards with Sam Smith.
After Randall, Willie Bradley will be returning to the festival for his second performance. Bradley is a trumpet playing, chart-topping jazz artist from Orangeburg, South Carolina, who considers Fayetteville a second home. He used to teach music in several Cumberland County and Fort Bragg schools.
“During the pandemic, all of my shows started dropping off. I used that time to complete my new CD project,” Bradley said. “From March 2020 up until July 2, I was completing my new project. I had stuff to do.”
The album, “It’s My Time” was released back in July and two of the songs on the album trended on the Smooth Jazz Billboard. The song, “It’s My Time” peaked at number one.
Coming back to the festival, Bradley is excited to play not only some covers and his older music, but tracks from his newest album as well.
“I think people are ready to get out and have a great time and I think that even though we are in the midst of COVID protocols, I think it will still be a huge event just based on the reputation from previous events,” Bradley said. “I think that it will be a great turnout as usual.”
After Bradley, the 2 Bald Guys Dueling Piano Show will perform. Chris Ketchman and Mark Pleasant are known for giving a high energy, interactive, sing-and-clap-along comedy show at many Fayetteville venues. This local act will be performing for the first time at the festival and will close the night out.
A CAN Do Attitude ticket can get you four drinks for $30, if purchased before the event. If purchasing at the gate, the ticket price is raised to $40. Non-drinking tickets are $10, and a single drink ticket is $5. There will also be a $5 discount for active duty military, front line workers, healthcare workers and educators.
The $75 VIP Experience ticket holders will get an extra hour of the festival, 5 drink tickets, shaded seating, exclusive
merchandise, a catered meal and “Unicorn Beer” from the Mash House.
The money will go back to the Cape Fear Regional Theatre to help with costs of performances, their theater camps and renovations.
“It’s not been an easy year to be a theatre,” Owen said. “The more people that will come to Blues-N-Brews, the better off we will be when we reopen our newly renovated theatre.”
The fully renovated theatre is expected to reopen in December, if there are no further delays with supply chain issues.
Owen says they are still looking for volunteers to help out with setup, help backstage, pass out beer, check-in guests, deliver ice to brewers and vendors, and help clean up. There are more than 200 positions available to sign up.
Those who work two or more hours during the event will receive a free t-shirt. Those who work four or more hours will be able to attend the rest of the event for free and receive two tickets to one opening weekend show during the Cape Fear Regional Theatre’s 2021-2022 season.
To find out more about how to volunteer, go to https://www.cfrt.org/bnb/
The festival will take place in downtown Fayetteville’s Festival Park on Oct. 30 from 5 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available by phone at 910-323-4233, at the Cape Fear Regional Theatre Box Office Monday through Friday from 1 to 6 p.m. or at Anstead’s Tobacco Co.
Tuesday, 05 October 2021
Written by Eddie Southards
It’s been a good year on and off the golf course for Thomas Owen.
On the course, he played in his first USGA championship when he qualified for the U.S. Mid Amateur in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Off the course, Owen and his wife welcomed the birth of their second daughter in July.
Now, Owen gets ready to defend his title in the Cumberland County Golf Championship on Oct.15-17 at Gates Four Golf & Country Club.
“It’s been on my short list of goals to make a USGA championship,” Owen said. “I’m tickled to death. But I haven’t played as much golf as I did the last couple of years. We’ve got a newborn baby girl and I didn’t want to stray too far from her.”
Owen, 33, has been the dominant player in the CCGC for the last five years. Since 2016, he has won twice and finished as the runner-up three times.
“I’m always excited to play in that,” Owen said. “I have a better understanding of how to play that course successfully. I know what clubs to hit and how to play it. I’m looking forward to it.”
Owen’s biggest challengers are expected to be two eight-time champions of the event — Billy West and Gary Robinson. They tied for third place last year but were a distant 10 shots behind Owen when the final round was rained out.
“I think Thomas Owen is the favorite, not trying to put pressure on him,” West said.
“He’s the defending champion, he qualified for the U.S. Mid Am and he’s among the top 10 amateur players in North or South Carolina.”
Robinson, who will turn 63 on the first day of the CCGC on Oct. 15, has a remarkable record of longevity in the tournament. He is not only trying to win the event for the ninth time but is seeking to win it in a fifth decade. His first victory came in 1982.
“The ninth time would be great, it is important,” Robinson said. “But winning it in five decades would be, to me, more important. It means more to me just to be able to compete at this age. I’m happy with that but it still doesn’t mean I don’t want to win.”
West, who is 47, is impressed by what Robinson has accomplished and the way he still can play golf.
“One thing I’ve always admired about Gary and the reason I have so much respect for his game is he’s obviously always set the benchmark,” West said. “One of the things I have the most respect for is the longevity of his career.”
Robinson attributes being able to play at a high level for nearly 40 years to a couple of things.
“One thing is, I’ve been blessed with good health,” he said. “I try to stay in shape. I did do physical labor most of my life. I did a lot of stretching and it kept me limber. I don’t lift weights but I do use bands and do a lot of stretching to try and stay loose that way.”
West said Robinson can still hit the ball farther than him despite the difference in their ages.
“The power he still has in his early 60s is incredible,” West said. “It gives him a competitive advantage in those senior events he plays in and allows him to compete and win when he’s playing people of all ages. He really is nothing short of extraordinary how he’s been able to maintain his game at his age.”
But Robinson knows his chances of beating West and Owen, only 33, will be more difficult as he gets older.
“I know Thomas and Billy with the age they are, they obviously still have more chances than I do,” he said. “I would like to win a couple more if possible but we’ll just take them one at a time.”
West also is building quite a record in the CCGC. He also is trying for a ninth win and trying to win in a fourth decade. His first win came in 1994.
“It would mean an awful lot,” he said.
“The one reason I love this tournament so much is it has sort of followed me throughout my life. When I first played in it, I was a 16-year-old kid in high school. Then I was a college student, then a law student and then a young professional. Now, I’m married with two kids. To be able to win through the years, it links to each one of those points in my life and has been very
special,” he said.
“To be able to say I won it in four decades would be quite an accomplishment. I guess Gary and I, for the moment, have this competition going and it would be great to win another.”
Robinson is coming into the tournament in top form. He teamed up with Preston Edmondson of Morrisville to win the N.C. Senior Four-Ball Championship in August in Clemmons.
In September, Robinson had a top 10 finish in the Carolinas Senior Amateur in Pawley’s Island, South Carolina, and a top 20 finish in the North Carolina
Mid Amateur in Sanford going against players who were mostly younger than him.
There are other players expected to be in the field who could challenge the Big Three. Jake Barge finished second last year and Matt Hudson won the Cumberland County Match Play Championship in the spring. Chris Holland beat Owen in that event, ending his six-year winning streak.
This will be the 53rd year of the CCGC, a tournament that has survived losing a major sponsor in 2014 and seeing a drop in participation.
Bill Bowman, the publisher of Up & Coming Weekly, took over as tournament director and has staged the event at his home course of Gates Four. That is a change from the past when the event rotated to different courses in Cumberland County.
“We almost lost this tournament altogether,” Bowman said. “There are few tournaments in North Carolina that have been around 53 years, that’s for sure. Keeping this one is extremely important, I think, to the community.”
The tournament will take a step toward involving other courses next year. Bowman said King’s Grant has agreed to host the first round in 2022. Robinson is a co-owner of King’s Grant.
“The sentiment of the players is they would like to see it moved around,” he said. “I think Bill Bowman is doing the best he can in keeping up with some of the traditions of the tournament. So, we’ll take the first round and see where it goes.”
This year’s tournament will have a new wrinkle with the creation of a Junior Division for players 12-14 and 15-18. The field will be limited to 30 players. The entry fee is $145 and they will play Oct. 16-17.
Entry forms for the CCGC and the junior division are available at cumberlandcountygolfclassic.com and at local golf shops.
The entry fee for the CCGC is $175 for 54 holes for the Men’s and Senior Divisions and $145 for 36 holes in the Women’s and Super Senior (age 65 and over) Divisions.
Players in the Adult Division must be 16 or older and live in Cumberland County. The deadline to enter is Oct. 10 at 5 p.m.
William Schaefer won the Men’s Open Division last year, Michael Lane took the Senior title, Edwin Baez was the Super Senior champ and Clara Brown won the Women’s title.
For questions, call Gates Four general manager Kevin Lavertu at 910-425-6667 or Bowman at 910-391-3859.