Fayetteville’s inaugural All-American Jazz Festival at Festival Park

10 jazz Editor's note: After the publication of this article, the Sandhills Jazz Society announced that, due to circumstances beyond their control, the venue for the All-American City Jazz Festival will be changing to Festival Park, located behind Segra Stadium. The dates and times of the performances and artists performing have not changed.

What could be more All-American than a celebration of America’s unique contribution to music in one of America’s foremost patriotic cities? Welcome to Fayetteville’s first annual All-American City Jazz Festival debuting Oct. 25-27 at Festival Park. 

 “All That Jazz” is more than a catchy show tune. Dubbed “America’s classical music,” it is an accurate description of an ever-evolving musical genre that is a many-nuanced wonder. Originating in New Orleans during the late 19th century and subsequently flavored by West African, Caribbean, Latin, Afro-Cuban and European influences, jazz became the multicultural musical stew in America’s melting pot. In each decade, from the 1900s on, talented and innovative musicians improvised and expanded the genre, serving up the varied menu we can choose from today. “All That Jazz” encompasses ragtime, blues, Dixieland, swing, bebop, cool jazz, free jazz, hard bop, modal jazz, jazz-rock and jazz fusion.

 Great jazz musicians include the famous and forgotten. Among the legends are W.C. Handy, Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, John Coltrane, Herbie Hancock and Miles Davis. Among jazz vocalists, Billie Holliday, Ella Fitzgerald, Dinah Washington, Ethel Waters and Louis Armstrong stand out. Carrying on today, we have the likes of Wynton and Branford Marsalis, Diana Krall and crossover artists like Harry Connick, Jr. and Norah Jones.

 Here in Fayetteville, the Sandhills Jazz Society might just be incubating the next great jazz innovator. According to its website, SJS “…encompasses a wide spectrum of jazz, blues, world, creative and improvised music including evolving forms of jazz and the technologies and media that influence jazz as an art form.” Presented by SJS, the Fayetteville-Cumberland Youth Council, and Cumberland County Tourism Development Authority and supported by a grant from the Fayetteville/Cumberland County Arts Council, the All-American Jazz Festival will be held at Festival Park.

“The Arts Council is pleased to partner with the city of Fayetteville in support of the All-American Jazz Festival,” said Greg Weber, Arts Council CEO. “Project Support Grants for 2019-2020 will help fund 26 projects. … These projects help strengthen our communities through festivals and concerts, youth education programs, art exhibitions, workshops and more.”

 The festival lineup promises something for everyone. Friday, Oct. 25, will be a night of beach and shag music with the Blackwater Band and the Embers, featuring Craig Woolard, performing. Saturday, Oct. 26, jazz stars Willie Bradley, Avery Sunshine, Julian Vaughn, Eric Darius and Brain Culbertson will perform. Sunday, Oct. 27, local high school and college jazz students will honor the legends of jazz by performing some of the standards for which they are noted.

Friday’s concert begins at 7 p.m., while the concerts Saturday and Sunday begin at 4 p.m. For more information, including ticket purchases and prices, visit www.sandhillsjazz.com.

Whether or not to attend the Zombie Walk is a no-brainer

09 Zombie WalkIt’s October and Spooky Season activities abound. Feeling festive? Are you a fan of “The Walking Dead”? Now you can be one of them. No, not the show. The Fayetteville Zombie Walk & Prom is returning to downtown Fayetteville on Oct. 25.

The fun starts at the Headquarters library at 4 p.m., where people participating the walk can take part in do-it-yourself zombie makeup preparations and zombie games. Headquarters library will also host the Black, White and Red Masquerade party at the same time. Dress in those colors and join the fun, which will also feature a spooky story performance and a costume contest.

At 5 p.m., the library will have a Haunted Tale. The Zombie Walk preparty begins at 6 p.m.

Once you’ve dedicated some time to perfecting your zombie look, meander down to Ray Avenue, where the walk will begin. Three local bands, The Answers, KEYSE and The Sherman Neckties, will perform this year.  Live music will go till 10 p.m. Then the fun will move to the Drunk Horse Pub for the Zombie Prom, where there will be more live music and a zombie king and queen costume contest. The winners get $100 cash and A $50 Back-A-Round Records gift card.

Aside from the zombie fun, other businesses and organizations downtown have events planned, too. The Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County will provide a variety of activities for attendees of 4th Friday. “We’re going to have a laser zombie shooting activity, but there will also be some kid-friendly alternatives as well,” said Bob Pinson, the operations director for the Arts Council. “We’re going to have the 82nd Airborne Division Band, Riser Burn, from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m.” Other activities from the Arts Council will run from 6-9 p.m.

“In the back, we’re still doing our beer garden,” Pinson said. The Arts Council will also open a new exhibit on 4th Friday in partnership with Cape Fear Studios called “Cooperation.” The first part of the exhibit is at Cape Fear Studios and the second will be at the Arts Council.

Oct. 25 is the opening night of the inaugural All-American City Jazz Festival at Segra Stadium. Friday night will feature beach and shag music with the Blackwater Band, Starring the Embers, and Craig Woolard. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.  The event will feature more musicians through Oct. 27. Visit https://www.sandhillsjazz.com/events for details.

At Fascinate-U Kids Museum, children can create no-sew felt monsters. Fascinate-U has free museum play every 4th Friday.

For more information about 4th Friday events, call The Cool Spring Downtown District at 910-223-1089.

It’s a spooktacular time of year in downtown Fayetteville

12 01 Spooktacular timeIt’s a Spooktacular time of the year for visiting the historic downtown district according to Hank Parfitt, who is on the program committee for the Cool Spring Downtown District. Parfitt would tell potential visitors that any time of the year is a good time to get downtown. There is so much to see and do that it’s hard to know where to start. One option is a carriage ride called Carriage Tours of Old Fayetteville that will take you and some of your friends on a 45-minute to one-hour tour with a professional tour guide through the historic district. Connecting guests with the past as they are pulled by two draft horses in a limousine wagon, this carriage tour engages you in the 250-year-old history of the city of Fayetteville in a fun and entertaining way. The carriage holds up to eight people and has a canopy for protection from the sun and light rain. The carriage rides take once a month. The next one is Oct. 19, and the next one is Nov. 16. Both rides are from 1-6 p.m. and the cost is $25 an hour, or $20 with military ID and children 12 and under are $15. Parfitt recommends that you call in advance, but it’s not required.

On Oct. 31, get to downtown for a  special carriage ride. Not only do the owners of S&S Carriage Rides, Tina and Gary, provide the historic carriage tour, but they also go all-out during the different holidays. Count Dracula will be steering the carriage this particular evening, and the carriage will be in a Halloween costume, as well. Rides begin at 3 p.m. and end at 8 p.m. These rides last 15 minutes and are a great break from the trick-or-treating many will be participating in downtown already. The cost for this evening is $10 for adults, $5 for children 10 and under. However, if you’re an adult, and you arrive during that first hour, 3-4 p.m., it costs $5.

All carriage rides begin and end at 222 Hay St. Pay using cash or debit/credit cards.

For something that is a little more frightful this month, The Dogwood Festival is prepared to deliver. On Oct. 19, enjoy an eerie evening as historians guide you through Cross Creek Cemetery for a stroll among the tombstones. Tickets are $10. Call in advance to reserve a spot for your Historic Haunting: A History Cemetery Tour experience, as the spots do tend to fill up quickly. Visit the Dogwood Festival’s website https://www.thedogwoodfestival.com/fall-festival for more information.

There is a lot going on in downtown Fayetteville this month, including spooky carriage rides. Photo Credit: VisitFayettevilleNC.com

Wizardry in the Garden wields magic at Cape Fear Botanical Garden

13 02 HogwartsWizards and dragons and werewolves — oh my! Fans of the wizarding world of Harry Potter run to, not from, such spine-chilling creatures. And, thanks to Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s Wizardry in the Garden event, the jaunt to Hogwarts just got a whole lot closer. Coming Oct. 18 from 6-11 p.m., this popular Harry Potter style attraction is back for its second year, thanks to a rabid-like response last year from locals that garden Director of Events and Marketing Shelia Hanrick affectionately calls, just as true followers themselves do, Potterheads or Potterfreaks. 
And come they will, but in deep disguise. Present and ready for the night’s well-mannered frivolity may include the likes of Luna, Deloris Umbridge, Hermione, Ron, Hagrid, professor McGonagall, Hedwig the Owl, Harry Potter and maybe even “He Who Must Not Be Named.” But of course, they can’t say who that is. There will be robes and wands, scarves and scars, and above all, house colors to show one’s allegiance. Since “Harry Potter,” the only trend that came close to choosing a favorite house was taking up with Team Jacob or Team Edward in the “Twilight” heyday. Decisions, decisions. 
Fast forward 22 years and the CFBG is celebrating the successful saga by bringing a fun-filled night and its own kind of magic to the adult-only attendees. As it turns out, the tale has something surprisingly in common with the botanical garden. According to Hanrick, the Hogwart is a flower that blooms in North Carolina and once grew at CFBG, though not currently. Hogwarts, similarly, is the alma mater of Harry, Hermione and Ron, the three musketeers of the myth, and the beloved school where the once amateur trio blossomed into skilled sorcerers and conquerors of evil, one page at a time.

13 01 HogwartsUpon entering the garden the evening of Oct. 18, festivalgoers will leave the current world behind as they revisit the Potter epic in the re-created halls of Hogwarts. With activities in nearly every corner of the garden complex and even outside in the garden with the featured Boo-anical lights of October all aglow, there are enough options to satisfy muggles and magicians alike.

Begin the evening in the Azkaban-like jailcell scene for a “Wizard Wanted” selfie photo for a personal memento. Next up is the garden’s Orangery room, transformed, abracadabra, into the Great Hall at Hogwarts, with suspended jack-o-lanterns, floating candles and other themed trimmings. Guests can participate in a rousing game of quidditch, green-screen style, in the Relyus sponsored photo booth. Photo prints are a complimentary event souvenir.

Pop in to shop at the duplicated Diagon Alley, located inside the garden’s Grand Hall room, to visit vendors of all kinds. Merchants include Quilt Boutique, BeeHive Yourself, Oh So Southern Designs, the Upcycled Candle Company and Natural Eccentrics, with wares ranging from candles and honey to pottery and jewelry.

You are sure to work up an appetite with all this action, so it’s food trucks to the rescue with Rookie’s Taco Truck, A Catered Affair and Elite Catering on-site. At dessert time, give in to temptation with LegenDairy Bakes’ famous French macaroons and treats or Gnam-Gnam Gelato’s creamy gelato. Marci’s Cakes and Bakes offers house-color cake pops, chocolate frogs and butterbeer cupcakes.

13 03 HogwartsAnd speaking of beer, Wizardry in the Garden will have a full-scale bar available with a wide selection of alcoholic and nonalcoholic choices, including the signature drink of the night, butterbeer. Butterbeer, made with cream soda, is rich with butterscotch flavoring and can be consumed with or without a shot of something stronger.

Cozying up to the bar in costumes of all types, guests can enjoy the rocking tunes of Hawthorne and Holly, a “wizard wrock” band playing original music back in the Great Hall. According to Hanrick, the nearby terrace area will be open for dancing, “if anyone wants to cut a rug.” At some point in the night, the microphone opens to a costume contest with an audience-picked winner and one grand prize.

New this year, Xscape Factor of Fayetteville plans to set up a mobile escape room with a Shrieking Shack theme. This feature begs to ask: Can you get back from the Shrieking Shack?

Live entertainment continues with the roaming Magic by David performances and the garden’s creature feature of Herpcentric reptiles from Lumberton. Snakes, aka serpents in the wizarding world, will be available for sight and even touch, if you dare. Not to worry, the beastly basilisks from the books aren’t bred here.

Ready to win a prize? Harry Potter trivia is another of the night’s attractions, led by professional trivia talent Michael Thrash of Fayetteville. What is the name of Ron’s pet owl? What are the three deathly hallows? Only the right answer wins in this game of knowledge. The fun continues with Quidditch pong and cornhole, a Horcrux hunt and free invisibility cloaks for all.

Tickets for the official Wizardry in the Garden, Hogwarts and All, event include admission and one signature drink ticket. Tickets for ages 18-21/designated drivers are $20 in advance or $25 at the event. Tickets for ages 21 and up are $25 in advance or $30 at the door. IDs will be checked. To purchase in advance at www.eventbrite.com.

Celebrate Community at the North Carolina Fall Festival

The Fourth Annual North Carolina Fall Festival takes place Thursday, Oct. 17, through Saturday,  Oct. 19, on Main Street in downtown Raeford.

 “This is the fourth year of the Fall Festival, but it is the 35th year of our festival in Hoke County,” said Melissa Pittman, executive director of the North Carolina Fall Festival. “The name was changed five years ago from the North Carolina Turkey Festival to the North Carolina Fall Festival.”

 Pittman added the name was changed because at the time the festival was organized the largest employer and commodity of Hoke County was turkeys. “We changed the name to make it more inclusive of all of the businesses in Raeford,” she said.

 The celebration kicked off Saturday, Oct. 5 with the Second Annual Golf Tournament. Card Tournament Tuesday will be Oct. 15. Senior Day is Wednesday, Oct. 16, with bingo, lunch, health screenings and a guest speaker.

 The parade takes place Thursday, Oct. 17, at 5:30 p.m. “We do the parade every year, and that allows students to show off their band, their cheerleaders, their sports team. Each of our schools and several businesses in town will get a float,” said Pittman. “It’s a huge event that only happens once a year in Hoke County.”

 A “Stuffin’ and Stompin” dinner takes place from 5-7 p.m. at West Hoke Middle School Friday, Oct. 18. The cost is $8. The Turkey Bowl follows at 7 p.m. at Hoke High School in Raz Autry Stadium.

 The last day of the festival is Saturday, Oct. 19, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Live music will be provided by The Dowdy Boys, Dv8er, Donnie Henderson and Winslow Ratliff. The featured band is Soul DeCree, who will perform at noon.  “Our festival sets out each year to bring artists, different cultural events and craftsmen to (the) community,” said Pittman. “Many of our children have seen storytellers that they would have never seen if it had not been for the festival.”

 There will be a Children’s Corner at the festival that features a climbing wall, double slides, obstacle courses, a trackless train ride and games. “They get to come and participate in our Children’s Corner, which is entirely free this year with our county and city governments paying for that area so our local children and any child that comes will not have to pay,” said Pittman. “We will have craftsmen that do their work on the street, cultural dancers and a dance troupe that will perform, the Lumbee Tribe who will perform, step teams and bands.” There will also be a food court and a wine and beer court.

 Also, there will be an art contest between all of the students in Hoke County.  Cash prizes will be awarded, and their art will be displayed from Oct. 18 – Nov. 11. The school that wins the overall display receives a donation from the festival to go toward  the school’s art program.

 The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 910-904-2424 or visit www.NCFallFestival.com.

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