Unmask child abuse at the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball & Auction

11 PinwheelFeathers, food, glamour and mystery are all on the playlist for the Child Advocacy Center’s sixth annual Pinwheel Masquerade Ball & Auction to Unmask Child Abuse, but topping the chart is the awareness and support raised to benefit this longstanding Fayetteville nonprofit. You can contribute to the safe and child-friendly center’s goals to interview, investigate and provide support for child abuse victims by joining in the fun and philanthropy Oct. 19, from 7-11 p.m., at this year’s new venue, Cape Fear Botanical Garden.

CAC Executive Director Roberta Humphries is excited about the event’s new location.

“The event has grown each year,” she explained. “The new garden venue will allow us to have more space in addition to indoor and outdoor seating. Guests will also have full access to view the Boo-tanical Halloween lights unique to the garden in October.”

To get in the spirit, gala guests are invited to don their fanciest masks of the non-Halloween variety and ballroom attire for the event. Entertainment for the evening includes a DJ, dance demonstrations, photo booth fun, chic cuisine, mask contests and both live and silent auctions for amazing prizes. Expect to see a flurry of food choices from 10 local culinary sponsors, beer, wine and other beverages, including the night’s signature drink, a pumpkin martini. Auction items up for bid include jewelry, college sports tickets, wine baskets, gift certificates and trip packages from Amfund to many desirable destinations — redeemable for up to three years.

Or instead of an item, why not bid on a service needed by a child abuse victim or family member? Stuffed animals priced to match the cost of essential resources will be up for bid, with a name and storyline to boot. For example, a plush dog tagged at $150 matches the price point of three mental health counseling sessions for a CAC client.

The Pinwheel Masquerade Ball is one of two signature fundraisers the CAC has each year. Locals love the excitement and mystique of the fall gala and the musical merriment of the spring’s Fayetteville Ultimate Lip Sync Challenge, too. According to Humphries, the center depends on these events, grants and charitable donations to be able to serve the approximately 700 child abuse victims the center sees each year.

Services include providing forensic interviews for child abuse victims in a safe setting, child advocacy to initiate the recovery process and direct assistance through mental health counseling and communitywide prevention education.

Until Oct. 5, early bird pricing for the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball & Auction is $75 per person,  $140 per couple or $1,000 for a limited number of premier reserved tables for eight with added amenities to include Champagne, signature drink tickets, special table decor and signage.  Standard pricing begins after Oct. 5 at $100 per person, $175 per couple and premier tables prices of eight at $1,200. Tickets are available for purchase in person at the Child Advocacy Center at 222 Rowan Street or online at www.CACFayNC.org or www.Eventbrite.com.

Last year, the Pinwheel Masquerade Ball & Auction raised more than $47,000 to help local children.


Community Concerts opens 2019-2020 season

10 ChicagoIt’s showtime!  Tuesday, Oct. 15, Community Concerts opens its 2019-2020 season with one of the longest-running and best-selling groups of all time — Chicago. It’s the first of a five-concert season for Fayetteville’s oldest arts organization.

The band Chicago was formed in 1967 in, you guessed it, Chicago. The group’s bonafides include two Grammy Awards®, multiple American Music Awards, 11 No. 1 singles, five consecutive No. 1 albums and record sales over 100,000,000, with 47 albums earning gold and platinum certification. Chicago was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2016, and Chicago’s first album, “Chicago Transit Authority,” was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2014.
Mannheim Steamroller rings in the holiday season Nov. 19, celebrating the 35th anniversary of this annual Christmas tour. When Mannheim Steamroller’s first album came out in 1984, blending classical music with new age and rock, it changed the holiday music landscape.


“I remember when I came out with my first Christmas album in 1984 followed by our first tour,” said Chip Davis, the founder and creator of Mannheim Steamroller. “Back then, many in the music industry said focusing on Christmas just wouldn’t work. Now, 35 years later, we are still going strong. I want to thank our fans for making us part of their holiday tradition. Today we often see multi-generational families join us during the holidays each year.”

Cozy up with your sweetheart as the Texas Tenors take the stage Friday, Feb. 14. In 2009, the Texas Tenors appeared on “America’s Got Talent.” In the 10 years since, they’ve released four albums, two television specials, four DVDs, several singles and a children’s book. They’ve won three Emmy Awards, The Gelett Burgess Award for Excellence in Children’s Literature and the distinction of being Billboard Magazine’s 2017 #10 Classical Crossover Artist in the World. Their most recent albums “Rise” and “A Collection of Broadway and American Classics” both debuted at #1 on the Billboard Classical Chart.
Shake off the winter blues March 6 with The Temptations and The Four Tops. The Temptations have been wowing fans with smash hits for more than 50 years. Today’s members of the group, Otis Williams, Ron Tyson, Terry Weeks, Larry Braggs, Willie Greene Jr., continue the tradition of great music. “The Temps have always been known for great lead singers” said original member Otis Williams. “Today we have four of the greatest leads in the proud history of the group.”

The Four Tops first came together in 1953 as the Four Aims. The band’s first hit was “Baby I Need Your Loving.” It was released in 1964 and made them stars. It was the beginning of decades of smash hits including, “I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch,” “Reach Out,” “Standing In The Shadows in Love,” “Bernadette,” “Ain’t No Woman,” “When She Was My Girl,” “It’s the Same Old Song” and more. Today, the band is made up of original member Abdul “Duke” Fakir, singer and songwriter Alexander Morris of Detroit. Ronnie McNeir replaced the legendary Levi Stubbs and Roquel Payton, who is the son of original member Lawrence Payton, is part of the group as well.

Stay tuned for the final 2019-2020 concert details, to be announced at a later date.
In addition to great music, Community Concerts support great causes throughout the community. From scholarships to performance opportunities to the Fayetteville Music Hall of Fame, this all-volunteer organization not only brings first-class entertainment to the community at reasonable prices, but it also works to help grow the local arts community.
To find out more about Community Concerts or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.community-concerts.com.  


‘You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown’ hits all the right notes

10 Charlie and Snoopy copyThe Gilbert Theater opened the 2019-2020 season with “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” based on the comic strip “Peanuts” by Charles M. Schulz. The show, which launched its 26th season, brings the familiar fun of Charlie Brown and his friends to a new audience, while thrilling the inner child of older audience members with a nostalgic trip down memory lane. The show runs through Oct. 6.

Linda Flynn, the stage designer, kept things simple with a sunny background, reminiscent of the original comic look. The actors carry the few props they use in and out of each scene as necessary. But they didn’t skimp on tradition. Schroeder’s piano, Lucy’s psychiatric advice booth and Linus’s blanket all feature prominently throughout the play.

The production also stayed close to tradition with the costumes. Lucy is in a blue dress, Sally wears pink and Charlie Brown is unmistakable in his iconic yellow tee shirt with brown zig zags. Their characters are as familiar as a childhood friend.

The cast dazzled the audience. 18-year-old Dan Follett was irresistible as Charlie Brown. He plays the anxiety-ridden character perfectly and has the audience in tears as he pines for the ‘red-head girl’ from beneath a brown paper bag.
Jennifer Czechowski is the delightfully bossy, Lucy. She bounces back and forth between know-it-all psychologist and lovestruck schoolgirl pining away for Schroeder with ease.

Gage Long plays Schroeder, the tortured artist who’s more infatuated with Beethoven’s “Fur Elise” than Lucy’s attention-seeking moves. His character seems hopelessly out of place when he’s not banging on his beloved keyboard.
Caryn Festa plays Sally. Her platinum ringlets and fluffy pink dress notwithstanding, she’s the most adult-like character in the bunch with an innate ability to manipulate everyone from the teacher to Snoopy.

LeeAnn Valcarcel is Snoopy, America’s most beloved pet. Whether she’s lounging on top of the doghouse or chasing rabbits with Sally, she’s delightfully sarcastic and always manages to appear cooler than the humans.

And finally, Quentin King steals the show as Linus. His lispy line delivery juxtaposed with his four-syllable dialogue were charming. Who else could deliver a five-minute dissertation on the psychological similarities between a security blanket and an adult’s hobby? And he truly believes he can walk away. “It’s a cozy sanctuary but it’s far from necessary, ‘Cause I’m just as self-reliant as before. As a simple demonstration of my independent station, I will go and leave my blanket on the floor.” Until he realizes he can’t.

The entire cast warbles through each song, slightly off key but with the enthusiasm only a school-aged child could deliver. And they bounce from one scene to another, staying only long enough to remind you of some long-forgotten conversation, maybe on the playground or in your best friend’s back yard. And then they’re off again, bouncing around your childhood memories and hitting all the hot spots.

For more information and to purchase tickets visit www.GilbertTheater.com.

The Indigo Moon Film Festival offers indie films and philanthropy

09 Indigo Moon Lights! Cameras! Action! Film lovers, gather round. The highly anticipated annual Indigo Moon Film Festival opens Oct. 11. 
“Film is a way to present different viewpoints to a mass audience. All of the ones at the festival point to the fact that film can offer you a viewpoint into a world that is not right in front of you,” said Wright. 
All of the films are ones to look forward to. But N.C. film “My Father’s Brothers” will feel close to home because — well, it is. It highlights the father-in-law of Elaine Kelly, owner of Turner Lane, and an ill-fated mission in Vietnam. The movie, made by Sean Kelly, will be shown at the Airborne & Special Operations Museum, a new addition to the film venues.

The North Carolina Justice System is sponsoring a film called “Rigged: The Voter Suppression Playbook,” which is about gerrymandering, a recent hot topic in the news. Another  one of the many films offered is a short called “Boxed,” which is an Academy Award nominee. Wright and Johnson are excited that their festival puts a positive spotlight on Fayetteville. Every year, they said, people in the film industry who come to the festival are excited about what Fayetteville has to offer. “The filmmakers who come in are enchanted by Fayetteville, saying things like, ‘it’s a well-kept secret,’ and ‘I hope I can come back next year,’” said Wright.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Tourism Development Authority, the Indigo Moon Festival can advertise outside of the community to bring more people to the area to see the films.
New to the festival this year is a decision from the board to give 100% of the box office to Connections of Cumberland County. Additionally, the opening night film is “The Dog Doc.” 

“We are partnering with the Fayetteville Animal Protection Society for this screening and asking people to bring dog or cat toys or food to the screening, which we will then pass on to FAPS,” Wright said.

These kind efforts make the festival the most philanthropic of its kind in North Carolina. The motto of Wright and Johnson’s organization, Groundswell Pictures, is “film inspires change,” and those involved in the festival are putting those words to action.

A variety of films are offered at the film festival every year, from animations to documentaries. To decide which film to see, Indigo Moon has created a movie matchmaker, which is a short quiz on the event website that customizes a list of movies for the people who take it. Since movies overlap over several locations, this feature will help attendees find a movie that matches their tastes.

The Indigo Moon Film Festival opens Oct. 11 and runs through the 13th. Ticket prices vary. Visit http://www.indigomoonfilmfestival.com/ for more information on the movies offered, the different venues and to purchase tickets.

Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s Heritage Festival celebrates simpler times

 09 Heritage FestivalAs its name implies, the Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s annual Heritage Festival, to be held Oct. 5 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m., is a throw-back to earlier and perhaps less complicated times. Held in the McCauley Heritage Garden and featuring a fully restored 1880 farmhouse and general store, the festival celebrates life on a turn-of-the-century farm. 2019 marks the 16th annual Heritage Festival, CFBG’s oldest annual event.

This year, the Garden is partnering with the Cumberland County North Carolina Cooperative Extension Office to produce the festival, which will be sponsored by Ed’s Tire and Auto Service and Holt Oil Company.

 In keeping with the period, according to Sheila Hanrick, director of marketing and events for CFBG, “Activities (will) include butter churning, pumpkin decorating, corn husk doll making, beeswax candle making, games, crafts and more. We will also have a scarecrow-building contest that attendees can enter for prizes. Some of the activities will require an additional fee. The Garden will be selling roasted sweet potatoes, along with all the trimmings like butter, cinnamon sugar, marshmallows and more.

 “Vendors of handmade crafts and food items will also be a part of Heritage Festival. And we will have two food trucks participating: My Daddy’s BBQ and Cedar Creek Fish Farm. James Creek Cider House will be on-site selling cider and hard cider.”
 On hand will also be a petting zoo from Carolina Fun Factory and ax-throwing by Axes and Armor. Keeping the crowd entertained throughout the event will be the bluegrass band, Cumberland County Line and the Young Warriors Praise Team Native American Dancers from Robeson County as well as cloggers from Kerry’s Dance Beat in Eastover.

 According to Hanrick, CFBG focuses on educating the community and helping people reconnect with nature. “All proceeds raised through our public events, including the Heritage Festival, go back into supporting our education programs,” said Hanrick. “Our vision is to transform people’s relationship with nature and help them connect with the natural world. We are a beautiful green space for people to leave stress behind and come reconnect.”

 To that end, CFBG hosts over 7,000 school children each year. It also sponsors a Therapeutic Horticulture program that serves people of all abilities in partnership with the U.S.O. of N.C, Wounded Warrior Program, CFV Cancer Center, Service Source, Vision Resource Center and several long-term care facilities in Cumberland County. CFBG also provides adult education classes and various horticultural workshops yearly.

“Heritage Festival is a fun event that provides an opportunity to step back in time,” said Hanrick. “Come out and play a game of checkers on the front porch, sip some cider, enjoy some food and listen to great music.”

 Heritage Festival admission is free for members of CFBG. General admission for nonmembers is $5 for adults and $3 for children 6-12 with children five and under admitted free. Special note should be made of the 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. festival time as it differs from past years. For further information, visit the CFBG website at www.capefearbg.org.

Latest Articles

  • The holidays aren’t always easy
  • Tip accordingly
  • Fun at the Thanksgiving table
  • Teacher goes above and beyond
  • ‘Behold’ Sweet Tea Shakespeare’s Christmas cantata
  • A Dickens Holiday turns 20