With my hubris checked and my pretension thoroughly flattened by belly dancing, I decided to try something I knew for certain would be a bona fide challenge. My search led me to Air Born Aerial Fitness on Yadkin Road, and I could not have been more correct.
For those unfamiliar, Air Born Aerial Fitness is a studio specializing in unique classes focusing on circus arts training through aerial apparatuses. Examples include aerial silks, hoops, slings and my new arch nemesis — the trapeze.
The classes are designed for varying skill and fitness levels to build strength, endurance, core and flexibility.
Customers must go to the studio’s website to create a user profile to get started. Before signing up for any class, you must first sign up for Intro to Circus Aerial. The intro class is mandatory and goes through the basic language, movements and warm-up exercises for each piece of equipment. Heads up, it’s only offered twice a month.
Walking into class, I didn’t know what to expect, but I was relieved to see it filled with women like me: new, excited and nervous, so I felt in pretty good company.
The studio is, quite honestly, beautiful. A wide industrial space with colorful scarves hanging from the ceiling and 90’s alternative music piping in from the speakers, it looks exactly like the type of place where sweat and magic happen.
The appearance of Air Born’s owner, Zahra, and one of her instructors, Sarah, signaled for the start of class. Right away, I knew it would be a fitness experience unlike any other.
I wasn’t wrong.
Before being allowed onto the studio floor, Zahra and Sarah instructed us to remove our shoes (socks are optional) and jewelry and then directed us to wash our hands. The start of class is as you’d expect. Zahra gave a rundown of the classes offered, how to sign up for them, what to expect and how to be safe.
After that, it was time to fly or flail.
Looking at the instructors, you can see the power this type of exercise creates. Both women seemed so incredibly strong and capable as they handled the equipment. It was amazing to watch them move, and I was under no impression I’d come close to their grace and ease once on the apparatus myself. Still, it felt amazing and very humbling to try. But, let me be clear here: it was so hard. I strained, grunted, swung, and at one point — I might have even smiled. But at no point did I glide through the air with the greatest of ease.
Now, I wouldn’t have called myself “unfit” before that class, but it did bring attention to some areas of concern. Like apparently, I have zero upper body strength and a severe lack of coordination, all of which are necessary for hoisting, rotating and dismounting from the trapeze, silks and hoop. Despite the challenge, I didn’t feel discouraged; it made me want to dig a little deeper and maybe do a push-up or two.
Of the apparatus we tried during class, the hoop was my favorite, if only because it was Ashley-friendly enough for me to complete a cute little flip before sliding awkwardly to the floor. Zahra and Sarah were phenomenal instructors. With an eye for safety, both women were clear when stating their expectations. Still, they were tremendously helpful and patient, even acting as a spotter for those (me) who had a little trouble getting onto some (all) of the equipment.
Extra points to them both for not laughing once when I failed to hoist, rotate or dismount from anything at any time. However, I had a great time and loved how I felt when I left. It wasn’t the glow of fitness victory that carried me to my car but the hum of pride at having made a genuine effort and the thrill of trying something new.
I can’t say that aerial fitness is for everyone, but based on my experience, if you’re a fitness-focused individual looking for a fun, challenging workout — I do think you'll enjoy Air Born Aerial Fitness quite a bit.
And when you do decide to take the plunge — go with an open mind and a great sense of humor.
Editor's note: Up & Coming Weekly is sending our staff writer Ashley out and about in the local area to try new things. She will report on her experiences to help readers decide if they want to try the adventure, too.
Cookie decorating, Christmas crafts and pictures with Santa are just a few enticing things to do at A Very Merry Christmas at the Studio on Dec. 2. Jessica Lallier of Lallier Event Design and Taryn Corrado of Studio 215 are hosting A Very Merry Christmas at the Studio for families in Fayetteville.
The cost is $20 a person. Children under 1 are free. Studio 215 is located at 215 Williams Street in Fayetteville. Proceeds from the event will go to Wreaths Across America to lay wreaths at Sandhills State Veterans Cemetery.
“Fayetteville does not have a lot of family-friendly events,” Lallier said. “We wanted to change that! This will be full of family fun including pictures with Santa, letters to Santa, cookie decorating, Christmas crafts, Christmas movies and popcorn, hot chocolate and s’mores and so much more Christmas cheer.”
Corrado added: “Christmas is the happiest time of the year and my favorite holiday. The biggest reason why is because it is the time of the year I am able to spend time with my family. Military families know all too well what it is like to not have loved ones near for the holidays.”
The placement of wreaths holds special meaning for Lallier.
“I have been passionate about Wreaths Across America for the past five years,” Lallier said. “My sister died on active duty with the Army and is buried at Sandhills. The first Christmas after her passing, we laid wreaths and I realized that if enough funds aren't raised then not every veteran gets a wreath and I couldn't imagine my sister not having one.”
Corrado comes from a military family and has always supported veteran events and causes. Her dad, retired Army, has many "brothers" buried at Sandhills.
“We have the pleasure and honor to be able to give back to Wreaths Across America, plus proudly support other military and veteran nonprofits and organizations,” Corrado said.
Wreaths Across America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded to continue and expand the annual wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. The effort began in 1992 by Maine businessman Morrill Worcester. The organization’s mission — Remember, Honor, Teach — is carried out in part each year by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies in December at Arlington, as well as at thousands of veterans’ cemeteries and other locations in all 50 states and beyond.
Everyone is at home and you are looking for something fun for the whole family to do. Check out “Holidays on Hay: A Season of Light” celebration in downtown Fayetteville on Friday, Nov. 25, starting at 3 p.m.
The Arts Council of Fayetteville|Cumberland County has been planning to make the holiday season a little brighter, a little sweeter, and a lot more caring. From the incredible drone light show to the annual lighting of the holiday tree, and all the art, performances, food and craft-making in between, Holidays on Hay has something for everyone in your crowd.
Yes, drone light show. The Arts Council is gifting the all-new “Season of Light Drone Show” powered by Fayetteville State University. This free showcase will bring the holiday alive with innovative aerial displays of three-dimensional seasonal shapes and characters that can be seen up to four miles away. Imaginations will soar as 200 state-of-the-art drones present stunning holiday imagery across the night sky. This one-of-a-kind experience is a safe, environment-friendly, and sensory-friendly showcase for pets and all audiences.
It is expected to be a showstopper that your family will be talking about for many Thanksgivings to come.
Whether you’ve called Fayetteville home from the beginning or are here for a brief stint, remember family and friends from all over time and space at the tree lighting. Bridging past and present, those who have gone before and those yet to come, the “Illumination Ceremony: Community Tree & Candle Lighting” ushers in the holiday season as the community gathers in the spirit of unity with our loved ones and in reflection of those lost this year.
The Cool Spring Downtown District’s 22-foot Holiday Tree located in front of the Arts Center is a reminder of all the points of light we call family. Is it an annual tradition for your kids to make a gingerbread house? Then you should enter it into the annual “Gingerbread Village” contest produced by the Chameleon Children's Theatre for a scrumptious way to make holiday magic with the Arts Council and Callahan & Rice Insurance.
Whether a novice or a more advanced decorator, the village displayed at Capitol Encore Academy will be filled with the most delightful, imaginative and even traditional gingerbread house creations for a chance to win great prizes. Could you recreate your own home in gingerbread? Or maybe Cool Spring Place, listed on the historic register? Or how about the Arts Council building? There are many ideas to try, but interested applicants must register at www.WeAreTheArts.com/holiday to participate.
Many families have in their holiday practices an act of service in the community. The Arts Council is brightening the spirits of pediatric patients and nursing staff at Cape Fear Valley Health that cannot be home with their families for the holidays.
As you revel in the merriment of the day, stop in front of the Fascinate-U Children’s Museum to create an original “Get Well Wish Card” with a personalized message for the “Art of Caring” community project. “Being able to share holiday cards created by members of our community with patients will also allow them to have a sense of social support during their illness.
“We are grateful to the Arts Council for always thinking of ways to have a positive impact through the arts on those in our community who are facing illnesses,” said Sabrina Brooks, vice president of Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation.
You don’t have to go anywhere else to grab the perfect gifts for everyone on your list. The “Holiday ARTS Market” will ignite the streets of Downtown Fayetteville with glorious displays of unique, handcrafted holiday trinkets, treats and treasures created by local artisans.
Attendees will also experience the joyful sounds of music ensembles, festive dance exhibitions, and amazing theatrical performances by local entertainers and performance groups. You’ll feel a warm glow supporting local artists and crafters this season. Many of these groups are also nonprofit organizations, so if you’re looking for places for your end-of-year giving, this will also be a great day to find organizations to help support.
Children and the young-at-heart will enjoy the special “Kids Holiday Craft Corner” that will be filled with activities like decorative holiday make and takes, Santa's Workshop, a Christmas Bounce House, and lots of exciting train rides around the Market House on The Polar Express. Those little big hearts will enjoy making magical memories with their parents and caregivers.
Visit www.WeAreTheArts.com/holiday for more information about featured performances, the gingerbread contest registration and more. Brighten your holiday (and holi-night!) with your friends and family on Friday, Nov. 25 at the Arts Council’s “Holidays on Hay: A Season of Light” celebration.
The event is presented by Fayetteville State University, Cape Fear Valley Health, Callahan & Rice Insurance, with project support from Capitol Encore Academy, Chameleon Children's Theatre, Fascinate-U Children’s Museum and Cool Spring Downtown District. Drone production provided by Pixis Drones.
Small Business Saturday is a national initiative started in 2010 by American Express. It is observed on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is designed to highlight small businesses. This shopping guide is not exhaustive, so, be sure to venture out and check in with all of your local favorites to see if they are offering specials. All offers listed are subject to change without notice and are subject to supply availability. For any additional details please reach out to the individual businesses.
A Bit of Carolina This specialty gift shop carries everything North Carolina such as tees, food, souvenirs, gift baskets and more! This Best of Fayetteville winner a selection of Fayetteville-specific items. Simply Southern Large Totes will be on sale for $40, down from the original price of $79.95. Simply Southern Accessories will be buy one, get one free, while supplies last. Lastly, they will be offering 15% off on custom gift baskets and gift boxes. A Bit of Carolina is located in downtown Fayetteville at 306 Hay Street.
Apple Crate Natural Market Apple Crate Natural Market will offer free frankincense and mir incense with every $50 purchase. They will also offer double points on all body care, essential oilers and gift items. This deal is for Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. This store focuses on nutrition supplements, vitamins and specialty and organic foods. They have two locations, 2711 Raeford Road, open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. The other location, located off 5430 Camden Road Suite #103 is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Baker Motorsports Baker Motorsports is a family owned and operated powersports store with the same passion as their customers. If they are not working they are out riding ourselves. This year, they have sales going on for Friday and Saturday. Zero freight or set up fees on all units, 10% off all parts, 15% off all audio parts, and everyone has a chance to win a $500 gift card by going to mybakerms.com. This motorbike shop is located at 3700 Sycamore Dairy Road.
Blissful Alchemist Blissful Alchemist is a brand new, woman-owned boutique, salon and yoga shop. Their modern, whimsical boutique features clothes, books, crystals, jewelry and more. They also offer Spray Tans, Hair & Makeup, Blowouts, Lashes, Waxing, Teeth Whitening, Nails, Pedicures, Facials, Botox, Injections, Brows, Reiki, Life Coaching, Acupuncture, Massage, Meditation, Past Life Regression, Red Light Therapy, Herbs, Oils, and more. In their store, they will be offering a buy one, get one 50% off for clothing. The rest of the boutique will be 15% off. They are located at 414 Ray Avenue.
Bragg Unique Boutique The Bragg Unique Boutique Gift Shop will be offering 25% off all wholesale items, as well as sales on select consignor items such as 18% off Engraved Bullet Pens. They are also offering a chance to win a $10 gift card for every $30 you spend. The BUB is part of the Association of Bragg Spouses and is supported by ABS Volunteers. They sell gifts, handmade items and specialty items. All profits go directly to the ABS Scholarship and Welfare Funds. They are open Tuesdays and Thursdays. Their website, bragg-unique-boutique.square.site is also available 24/7. They are located on Fort Bragg at Bldg 2-2211 Woodruff Street.
CPR Cell Phone Repair This cell phone repair shop handles all electronic device repairs for clients throughout Cumberland County. This busy shop off Raeford Road currently holds a five-star rating on Google and specializes in a wide variety of digital device repairs, including smartphones, tablets, computers, laptops, game consoles, camera MP3 players and more. For Black Friday, they will be offering $15 off any tempered glass protector and $20 off any cell phone cases – including Otterboxes. This Best of Fayetteville winner is located at 926 Brighton Road.
Curate Essentials Curate Essentials is an herbal apothecary and boutique selling vintage and handmade goods located in the heart of Fayetteville’s historic Haymount Hill. They believe in taking a holistic approach to health and wellness. They create all-natural products to help you live in balance with your mind, body, and spirit. They will be selling a special holiday box for $60. This box will include seasonal items like a candy cane crush sugar scrub, cranberry goat milk soap, honey oatmeal moisturizers, a holiday soy wax candle, and a handmade ornament. The shop will also be selling festive and seasonal lattes and pastries. Curate Essentials is located at 1302 Fort Bragg Road and will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Dragon's Lair Comics This local comic book store will be offering buy two, get one free select comic books. There will also be $1 back issues available and the Spider-Man wall will be 25% off. For everyone who drops into the store on Saturday, they will get a free new comic. Dragon’s Lair Comics has been a part of the Fayetteville community for over 40 years. This store is open Monday through Sunday, typically from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is located at 6243 Yadkin Road.
Fit4Life Health Clubs This sports performance and wellnes center offer professional and trained staff to help you along your fitness journey, no matter how much support you need. At Fit4Life, you aren’t joining a gym; you are gaining a community. This Best of Fayetteville winner is offering a sale that won’t get any sweeter. Their monthly package will be on sale for $10 a month or pay just $349 for the entire year. This membership includes 24/7/365 access, a free kids zone, free group classes, and one free session with a personal trainer. They are located in multiple places in Fayetteville. To learn more about this deal, call (910) 568-5982.
Lily Kat's Consignment Boutique This local boutique will be offering a two-day small business sale. They will be offering 25% off storewide. There will also be a sidewalk sale on Saturday. If you are shopping at the store, make sure to spin the wheel for extra discounts when you have a total purchase of $50 or more. LilyKat’s Consignment Boutique has been a destination for thrifty fashionistas sense August 2011. They won Up & Coming Weekly’s Best Thrift Shop for 2022. They are located at 817 Elm Street.
MUAH Lash & Beauty Bar MUAH Lash & Beauty Bar specializes in makeup, waxing, skin care, body enhancement, and serves as a spa, hair salon, tanning salon, and lash and brow bar. This military spouse-owned business opened in 2020. They are offering several deals this week, including 20% off any full set of lash extensions or lash lift, free brow wax with any full set of lashes or lash lift, customized facial with free light therapy, 50% off body contouring/sculpting and 50% off non-invasive booty lift/ cellulite break down. These deals are available online at their website https://www.vagaro.com/muahlashandbeautybar. They are located at 1530 N Bragg Blvd, Spring Lake and opened Monday through Saturday.
Popcorn-Is-Us, LLC Popcorn-Is-Us pops fresh quality popcorn daily. They pair fresh popcorn with high-quality local ingredients such as creamy farm fresh butter, rich milky caramels, fine chocolates, fresh roasted locally grown nuts, flavorful candy coatings, spicy peppers and savory cheeses. All to create delicious, specially handcrafted, savory or sweet gourmet flavors that everyone can enjoy. They will be selling regular large buckets of popcorn for $12.99 instead of $18.99, and premium large buckets of popcorn will be on sale for $15.99. This popcorn shop is located at 3300 Rosehill Rd., Suite #103.
Pressed - A Creative Space For the whole weekend, Pressed will be having sales in their shop and online. Starting on Friday, all of their shirts, crystals and crystal bracelets will be 30 percent off. On Saturday, a free sticker will be given out with any $75 purchase, as well as 30 percent off for shirts, crystals, and crystal bracelets. On Monday, their website will be 30 percent off as well. This store sells clothing, crystals, and other items of interest for those who see things differently. They are a veteran-owned business in Downtown Fayetteville. They are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are located at 120 Hay Street.
Rocket Fizz Rocket Fizz has the largest selection of candy and soda ever found in one store. Hundreds of sodas from microbreweries worldwide and almost every candy ever made. You will discover amazing flavors here. The local franchise is owned by Ann Sims, Ineke Morris-Verschuur and James Morris. At their store, you’ll see such enticing items as toys, novelties, candies, movie posters, vintage rock concert posters and more than 400 varieties of soda pop. For Small Business Saturday, if you buy two tin signs, you can get the third one for free. This candy and soda shop is located at 1916 Skibo Road #A8. Sweet Tea Shakespeare This theatre company will offer 20 percent off tickets for their “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.” Join the most innovative theatre group in Fayetteville for a unique immersive retelling of the classic Jules Verne tale. Savor Fayetteville Pie Company’s unique curated menu while diving into the thrilling tale of deep-sea adventure. This non-profit company focuses on fathering a diverse community around a common table to delight in the magic of story, song and stagecraft. Their website is sweetteashakespeare.com.
The Renaissance Day Spa Holistic wellness goes beyond physical health, involving the mind and body. The Renaissance Day Spa staff make it their mission to ensure customers feel like royalty. This Best Of Fayetteville winner is offering a buy one, get one half-off deal with all of their services. This special will be available through the end of the month. Services include deep tissue and Swedish massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, waxing, infrared saunas, cryotherapy, dry float and compression therapy. They are located at 1534 Purdue Drive.
Triangle Rock Club The Triangle Rock Club is a premiere indoor rock climbing center and gym. Their state-of-the-art facility offers lead and top rope climbing, bouldering and a comprehensive fitness center. They are selling discounted punch passes. Their punch passes are bulk day passes that never expire. Afterward, if you would like a membership, it will waive the initiation fee. Punch Passes for adults will be $119 instead of $155. Child Punch Passes will be on sale for $79 instead of $110. This veteran-owned gym is located at 5213 Raeford Road.
Yalacky Outfitters NC They bring outdoor lakeside activities to the Hope Mills community. Kayak rentals, fishing bait, outdoor apparel and equipment, life-size yard game rental. They are selling unlimited weekend passes for $100. This pass can be redeemed once a day, any Saturday and Sunday. This offer includes single kayak for two hours. This pass can be used from Jan. 1, 2023 through Dec. 31, 2023. To buy a pass, call 910-221-6077 or email email@example.com.
The official schedule for the 28th annual Cucalorus Film Festival has been released and tickets are now on sale for all events.
This year’s festival will take place Nov. 16-20 in downtown Wilmington and will showcase 136 films, beginning with the Wilmington-made opening night feature film, “The Devil’s Stomping Ground.”
Other features include thought-provoking documentaries like the closing night film, “Rise and Rebuild: A Tale of Three Cities” and the strange-but-true tale of “The Pez Outlaw.” From dark comedies like “Sick of Myself” to the crowd-pleasing “Sarcastic Fringehead” comedy shorts block, this year’s lineup has something for every film-goer.
Screenings take place at Thalian Hall, on campus at UNCW and also at the recently renovated community cinema, Jengo’s Playhouse.
Film selections range from “Butterfly in the Sky,” a documentary about the beloved children’s literary TV show “Reading Rainbow,” to “Our Father, the Devil,” a psychological thriller about trauma, power, guilt, and the devils hiding within us all. Featuring Oscar-worthy performances, “Our Father the Devil” has taken home awards at every festival, including Best Narrative Feature at Sidewalk Film Festival and the Audience Award at Tribeca Film Festival. Director Ellie Foumbi will be in attendance during Cucalorus and will participate in Q&A sessions following both screenings.
As always, the festival offers up a sweet selection of short films curated into blocks named after weird animals like “Leafy Seadragon” (docs about land) “Pleasing Fungus Beetle” (short docs about family), and of course our annual short comedy showcase this year is called “Sarcastic Fringehead.”
Taking cinema beyond the screen, the Cucalorus Performances program welcomes Isabella Rossellini back to Wilmington to perform her one-woman show, “Darwin’s Smile." This ultimate Bus to Lumberton experience has been 25 years in the making, tickets are limited, so grab yours now at cucalorus.eventive.org.
Fan favorite Alex Tatarsky returns to the stage with her new show “Dirt Trip.” Julia Desmond’s “Acme Revue” brings a dynamic combination of visual art, comedy and music.
The new Conversations program highlights the ability filmmakers have to generate discussion and connection within their storytelling. This year’s Conversations program explores Black history in Wilmington with wilmingtoNColor, the OUT Dance Project, and “The Making of the Nuevo South," a television series about the Latino immigrant experience in the South.
The full lineup of films is available at cucalorus.eventive.org/schedule. Grab a Pegasorus Pass to gain access to the whole film festival, plus parties, conversations and other events. Access to “Darwin’s Smile” is not included in the Pegasorus Pass.
Cucalorus is sponsored by the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources, City of Wilmington, New Hanover County, University of North Carolina Wilmington, the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council and over 70 businesses.
Cucalorus is a multi-disciplinary organization supporting emerging and innovative artists through an annual film festival, two regional festivals, a residency program, a community cinema, an outdoor film series, and youth education programs. Cucalorus brings people together to celebrate, discover, and create. The annual festival provides a non-competitive environment to support independent filmmakers, performance artists, and community organizers who use storytelling to transform our world. More information is available at www.cucalorus.org.