Entertainment

Celebrating Fayetteville's namesake — Marquis de Lafayette

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“The happiness of America is intimately connected with the happiness of all mankind; she is destined to become the safe and venerable asylum of virtue, of honesty, of tolerance, and quality and of peaceful liberty.”
— Fayetteville’s namesake, Marquis de Lafayette

In the late 1770s, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, the marquis de Lafayette —called Gilbert by his friends — was about as All-American as one could get. Well, except that he was French, and America’s existence was still up for debate as it was still fighting for its freedom from British rule. Lafayette is Fayetteville’s namesake. This the only town named for him that he ever visited. He defied French royalty and fought side by side with Gen. George Washington, who later became America’s first president. Lafayette spent most of his personal fortune on the American cause and used his brilliant leadership skills to help lead American patriots to victory.

Each year, The Lafayette Society tips its hat to this French nobleman, who loved freedom and championed human dignity, with a birthday celebration — complete with cake and ice cream. The 2020 festivities are set for Sept. 3, 10, 11, 12 and will be virtual except for the downtown sidewalk sale — along with cake and ice cream — on Saturday, Sept. 12. To keep everything COVID-19 safe, the cake will be prepackaged Little Debbie cakes.

Artifacts and Arias has been a mainstay event at the Lafayette birthday celebration for about 14 years. This year, the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County joins the party as the French concert kicks off the festivities Sept. 3 with Hay Street Live, the Art’s Council’s bi-monthly virtual concert and entertainment venue. The shows a streamed via Facebook Live at https://www.facebook.com/TheArtsCouncilFAY/.

Dr. Gail Morfesis leads the entertainment portion of Hay Street Live with what she calls an informance. It is in a “Name that Tune” format. “In the past, we would play something like the song from ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,’ and people didn’t realize it was a French tune,” said Morfesis. “Last year, we used an Elvis Presley song based on a French song, and I sang for them the original French version.”

During this segment, viewers will be encouraged to write in and guess what the tune is.

Local artists are always prominent in the event, too. “This year I have a young person who I hope will play a violin piece,” Morfesis said. “He was in our concert five or six years ago and people loved him. We are also going to have an excerpt by the Thiriot family. … They are doing some French tunes and possibly a jazz number.”

Morfesis will also perform a French duet with Russian soprano Alina Cherkasova. Bella Venti, a woodwind quintet, will perform a piece with a piano.

“All pieces will be under five minutes long,” Morfesis said. “We want people to not be bored.”

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For the cocktail portion, Morfesis invited Ann Highsmith to be the host. “Our drink is the Highsmith mimosa,” Morfesis said. “Ann and the Arts Council’s Metoya Scott will do the drink for the evening. We will also have a Lafayette impersonator who will taste the cocktail and contribute do some of the spots. This is a variety show, so there is something new every two or three minutes.”

The French connection is an integral part of the performance as well. It is usually a piece written by an American who was somehow connected to France.
Join Director Emerita of Special Collections & College Archives at Lafayette College Diane Shaw as she speaks about Lafayette’s passion for human rights and the betterment of mankind. While many know of his contributions to the American Revolution, not everyone knows the depth of his passion for humankind. Visit https://www.youtube.com/user/faytechcc to view the speech Sept. 10, at 2 p.m., or any time afterward at https://www.lafayettesociety.org/.

“My desire is for people to know Lafayette in a broader sense,” said Shaw. “His great return visit in 1824/25, when he visited every state in the union … was remarkable and underscored his support of African Americans and their issues. I will be talking about how Lafayette first become an abolitionist and his experiment in South America and what happed on the tour. And about all his best friends who had slaves — like Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. And the gestures he made during that tour to African Americans. American Blacks knew Lafayette was their friend.

“I am going to go further than talking about anti-slavery and talk about other human rights. Lafayette helped gain rights for French Protestants and voting right for French Jews. … He was a friend to Native Americans, and he did a lot for them. Lafayette admired women and their intellect. He supported women reformers. He was against the death penalty and solitary confinement as well. I would like people to know him as more than the French hero of the American Revolution.”

A lot has changed since Lafayette worked so hard to make the world a better place. There is still room to keep improving, though. “I think Lafayette would have a lot to say about the state of America today and what is needed,” said Shaw. “In 1777, he had a vision for American that we would do well to adhere to today.

Another favorite of the birthday celebration is the Lafayette tour. Explore five significant stops in and around downtown Fayetteville via video and learn more about Lafayette as well as Fayetteville’s history.

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The first stop is the Person Street bridge. It was the first bridge across the Cape Fear River. Learn some of the fun facts about its history. For example, it was a toll bridge — it was 2.5 cents to bring a sheep or a hog across. If you walked across, it was a nickel, but if you were on a horse, it was a dime. The fee for a carriage was 75 cents. Lafayette crossed in a carriage but didn’t pay a cent to cross. Catch the whole story here.


Next is the Liberty Point building. “We will cover the Liberty Point Resolves,” said Mike Samperton, one of the guides. “We will focus on the monument and a marker there that highlights the three names of Fayetteville.” Here, the tour covers Lafayette’s relation to the building as well as how the fair city nearly become known by a different moniker.
The next stop is Cross Creek Cemetery. “I will highlight four American Revolution vets buried there,” Samperton said. “We will also talk a little about Cool Spring Tavern. It was built in 1788, and all the VIPS stayed there the next year when we ratified the Constitution.”

Next up is city hall, which has the Lafayette bust. “We will highlight our relationship with our sister city — St. Avold France,” said Samperton. He also noted that just as Fort Bragg is being scrutinized for its namesake, Cumberland County had a similar issue in its past. It was actually called Fayette County for six months. Learn more about it on the tour.
The last stop is the Lafayette statue.

Visit https://www.lafayettesociety.org/ for more information about the events or about The Lafayette Society.

Pictures: (Top to bottom) The Thiriot family will perform on Sept. 3 at the French concert during Hay Street Live.  Diane Shaw (in red) speaking to Fayetteville State University students. Clarendon Bridge is now known as Person Street Bridge.

Kayak adventures await on area lakes and rivers

14 razvan chisu 6F98shIQysI unsplashNow that warmer days are upon us, I seek the refuge of water with my activity of choice kayaking. I have always had a mermaid soul that draws me to the water for activities such as paddle boarding, boogie boarding, swimming and surfing, but the kayaking experience has been unique. This versatile sport can be enjoyed in many different settings, from the river to open lakes and even the beach. I also love that the kayaking community is quite diverse in terms of age and physical ability. Anyone, even you landlubbers, can enjoy this sport.

If you do not own a kayak, a few places offer kayaks for rent. I appreciate these options as different types and sizes allow people to try them out and find a comfortable fit. I own a sit-in kayak, where my legs fit inside the vessel. Some buccaneers own sit-on-top kayaks, a flat style allowing legs to stay exposed, and prefer that style for both the rowing and what else – tanning. My 10-year-old daughter uses this type of kayak; it is safer, I feel, in the event she has to abandon ship. Everyone seems to have their preferences, so I think renting for a day to “test the waters” is a great option.

When I first began kayaking, I found it a pleasant surprise the number of places available for kayak access in the local community. The locations vary in level of difficulty and offerings regarding fees and amenities such as shuttle services, guided tours, events and classes. Some kayakers like such programming, while others prefer to strike out on their own.

Spring Lake Outpost on the Lower Little River in Spring Lake has rental options, guided tours and self-guided options. Book a fun float such as the SLO Glow Canoe or SLO Glow Kayak trip; Freedom Float for the Fallen; Memorial Candle Release or an adult, youth or tandem short-route trip. One option allows you to rent their vessel or use your own kayak to put in. You travel downriver to a designated location where SLO guides pick you up and drive you back to the starting point.

Another site for a similar shuttle experience is Cape Fear Adventures in Lillington. I enjoy this area of the Cape Fear River in neighboring Harnett County as it is wide enough to give paddlers the freedom to explore with minimal obstacles. I have visited on days when it was calm enough to row upriver and then almost sail back down to the ramp for departure. With a kayak, canoe or paddleboard rental, you can book the Leisure Paddle, Easy Float, 10-mile Challenge, Epic Overnight or Sunset Paddle. Rev up the action with Stand-Up Paddle Board Yoga or Whitewater Kayaking. Slow it down with Lazy River Tubing.

If you are not into the river scene, several lakes in the local area allow you to launch your kayak free of charge. A few of my favorites are Hope Mills Lake in Hope Mills, Lake Rim in west Fayetteville and Mott Lake on Fort Bragg. All have ramps for easy water access, but Hope Mills Lake provides a nice kayak ramp that makes embarkment a snap. Lake Rim Park offers guided lake tours and off-site paddling adventures as well.

I like to take a few things on my kayak adventures that you may wish to take, too: a small cooler with water and snacks, bug spray, a sun hat or sunglasses and flip flops or water shoes. Requirements are life jackets for each person and an emergency whistle, just in case.

Don’t forget to batten down the hatches, as even on calm days, it’s easy to lose a phone to the water. How devastating it would be to miss out on sharing pictures of your adventure with your social media mates. So, grab your Mer Pals, hit the open water and beat the heat this summer.

Enjoy history and mystery at Cape Fear Botanical Garden

12 CapeFearBotanicalGardenlogoHistory comes alive at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden, a premier garden experience located in Fayetteville’s own backyard. The garden opened in 1989 and serves not only to educate horticulture students from nearby Fayetteville Technical Community College but the public as well. The garden is home to the numerous plant species and communities of the Cape Fear River basin.

Educational activities for all ages abound, such as the upcoming Heritage Tour. Members and visitors are invited to join staff for a Saturday morning tour of the McCauley Heritage Garden Aug. 18 at 10 a.m. The garden is home to five historic structures, including a general store, farmhouse, tobacco barn, corn crib and the farmhouse outhouse. Guests will learn about early 1900s farm life in North Carolina and will explore the interiors of all the historic structures.

All ages are welcome. Children under the age of 10 must be accompanied by an adult.

The garden is also excited to announce the third and final Sunset Picnic Series Murder Mystery Scavenger Hunt “A Hawaiian Homicide” Aug. 21 from 5:30-8 p.m. The Owle’s arrive to discover that something mysterious has happened to the patriarch of the family, Lou Owle.

There’s a mystery to be solved — who killed Lou Owle? So, gather up the family or friends for a social-distancing Hawaiian-style family reunion with the Owle Family and help them find Lou Owle’s killer. Gilbert Theater actors strategically staged throughout the garden will provide clues to guests in search of answers on this self-led scavenger hunt. Enjoy food available for purchase from Cousins Maine Lobster food truck and the Garden View Cafe. Beer and wine will also be available for purchase. Cool Heat will provide live music, and there will be vendors on-site for guest’s shopping pleasure.

“The June and July events were well received and brought many first–time visitors to the garden, exposing them not only to the beauty and cultural versatility of Cape Fear Botanical Garden, but also to the talented troupe of actors from the Gilbert Theater,” said Sheila Hanrick, director of marketing and events at the garden. “We invite everyone to join us for a mysterious and fun evening on August 21.”

Hosting cultural events in the garden’s natural setting increases public awareness of the local natural environment and exposes guests to the benefits of nature. The self-led murder mystery scavenger hunts provide the best of both worlds during COVID-19. They allow people to interact at a safe distance while supporting the Cape Fear Botanical Garden’s mission of connecting people with nature.

End the summer with an evening at the Garden and help solve the mystery of what happened to Lou Owle.

The Heritage Tour and “A Hawaiian Homicide” are free to Garden members and included with Garden admission for non-members. Pre-registration is required. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the number of participants is limited and registration may fill up quickly.  For more information, call 910-486-0221.

Support local entrepreneurs by shopping at farmers markets

13 dane deaner opZCDREwnMI unsplash 1Farmers markets have grown in popularity in recent years. Nowadays, consumers interested in farmers markets can likely find one near their homes whether those homes are in rural communities, the suburbs or bustling cities.

People who have never before shopped farmers markets may be curious as to why many people find them so appealing. The following are a handful of benefits of shopping farmers markets that might turn market novices into full-fledged devotees.

Freshness: Many people visit farmers markets because the fruits and vegetables sold at such markets seem to taste more fresh than those sold at chain grocery stores. People are not mistaken, as the produce available at farmers markets often comes from local farms, meaning there's no long-distance shipping necessary. Locally sourced foods need not be frozen en route to the market, meaning foods purchased there tend to taste especially fresh.

In-season foods: Some grocery stores may sell fruits and vegetables even when those foods are out of season. Farmers markets only sell in-season fruits and vegetables. To grow fruits and vegetables out-of-season, farmers may need to rely on chemicals or other unnatural methods. No such means are necessary when farmers stick to growing foods in-season.

Environmental benefits: According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, food in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles to get to consumers' plates. Such journeys burn natural resources, pollute the air and produce sizable amounts of trash that ultimately ends up in landfills and/or the world's oceans. Because food sold at farmers markets is locally sourced, considerably fewer natural resources are necessary to transport the food from farm to table, and the relatively short distances the food travels translates to less air pollution.

Biodiversity: Many farmers market shoppers find unique foods not readily available at their local grocery stores. This is not only a great way to discover new and delicious foods but also a way to promote biodiversity.

Hormone-free animal products: Farmers markets do not exclusively sell fruits and vegetables. Many farmers markets also are great places to find meats, cheeses and eggs. Animal products sold at farmers markets are typically antibiotic- and hormone-free, which is both more humane to the animals and healthier than animal products produced with hormones or
antibiotics.

Farmers markets are more accessible than ever, and the benefits to shopping such markets are endless.

Now, more than ever before, is the perfect time to support local entrepreneurs. One of the great characteristics of Cumberland County farmers markets is that, in addition to touting agricultural goodness, other items from local entrepreneurs, like sauces and jellies, crocheted pieces, soaps and more are often offered.

Here are a list of regular pop-up and brick-and-mortar farmers market locations.

Dirtbag Ales Farmers Market

Popular for its taproom, Dirtbag Ales offers a variety of fun activities throughout the year, to include a farmers market. The farmers market welcomes individuals, families and furry companions to support local artisans on Sundays through Nov. 22. The market notes on its Facebook page that it is adhering to social distancing guidelines with face masks being strongly encouraged. Preorders and prepay will be offered. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more information on the vendor lineup. Dirtbag Ales is located at 5435 Corporation Drive. Visit -https://www.facebook.com/dirtbagalesfarmersmarket/?eid=ARBzYoEIHDqKQpjM4ryHihJaVs-4Y4SMXOSHiGJ9YmhzJ85g69SwR7dAo3tKoP6hwq215i7dwX1I3LGb&fref=tag for more information, or call 910-426-2537.

Murchison Road Community Farmers Market

This farmers market, located next to Fayetteville State University is a program that stems from the school's Development Corporation. Find delicious baked goods, handmade crafts and more from the area’s growers and artisans. The Murchison Road Farmer’s Market is located at 1047 Murchison Rd. The market is closed for now, but the organizers hope to resume it in the fall. To learn more, visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/fayettevillefreshnc/ or call 845-216-1242.

City Market at the Museum

This farmers market, touting fresh produce, beautiful artwork, baked goods, soaps, candles and more is held on Saturdays from 9 a.m.-
1 p.m. The market is held at the Fayetteville Area Transportation and Local History Museum, located at 325 Franklin St., giving you the perfect reason to stroll around the downtown area and support local merchants.
For information, call 910-433-1944.

The Reilly Road Farmers Market and Carolina Farmers Market

This tried and true local favorite has been open for 40 years. Satisfy your sweet tooth with old-fashioned candies, honeys and jam, browse the fresh produce, or pick up some delicious cheese here. The farmers market is located at 445 N. Reilly Rd., although owner Mike Pate hopes to move into a building currently under construction at the corner of Raeford Road and Bunce Road. Pate also owns Carolina Farmers Market, a nursery with a beautiful selection of flowers, on 4400 Raeford Rd.  The Reilly Road Farmers Market is open throughout the week from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 910-868-9509 for more details. The Carolina Farmers Market is open from 11 a.m.- 6 p.m. For more information, call 910-426-1575.

Bright Beginnings

If the evenings are more convenient for you to do your shopping, then Bright Beginnings will be the perfect market for you. The night market, located at Bright Light Brewing Company in downtown Fayetteville, is open on the first Friday of every month. Visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Bright-Beginnings-112449620380630/ or call 919-349-6062 to learn more.

Local ice cream spots make summer sweeter

“Life is uncertain — eat dessert first.”
— Ernestine Ulmer.

Does this quote resonate with anyone? Life has not been normal since COVID-19 reared its ugly head, causing massive quarantines and economic instability. Ernestine Ulmer’s advice is timely, and summertime is the best time to enjoy a universally loved dessert — ice cream. I easily persuaded family members to “go glimmering,” our family’s nickname for a spontaneous adventure, and taste test the unique flavors of homemade ice cream in the Cape Fear region.

There are a plethora of commercial businesses where you can buy ice cream in our region — too many to list in here, so our emphasis was on homemade and hometown entrepreneurs who offer not only delicious ice cream but also a fun destination worth exploring. For this article, I chose three locations, each under an hour’s drive from downtown Fayetteville. Still, I felt guilty leaving out Sweet Frog, Baskin-Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery and the employer of teenage me — Dairy Queen. It was at DQ that I learned how to artistically twist the soft ice cream into a little curlicue on top of the cone and quickly dip it into the chocolate without dumping the whole confectionary treat.
On the road, our first adventure was to Gillis Hill Farm, which is always a fun family excursion. We visited on a “strawberry Saturday” where, in addition to getting delicious ice cream, we could also pick strawberries and purchase fresh produce, jams, jellies and honey. Before we even sampled the ice cream, we bought two baskets of berries and a round watermelon we tucked into our trunk. Children love visiting Gillis Hill Farm as there are animals and play areas sprinkled throughout the grounds. Farmers in this area since the 1700s, the most recent generation of the Gillis family has expanded into agritourism.

The ice cream shop was open during the quarantine but operated responsibly by requiring social distancing and allowing only one person at a time to order at the window. Instead of the usual perch on the porch rocking chairs, Gillis Hill Farm encouraged us, and all visitors, to enjoy treats in our cars. The homemade flavors vary — check their Facebook page to see what to expect during your visit. They offer cups, homemade waffle cones and pints you can take home. I sampled the strawberry, having just left the patch, and it was creamy and flavorful. My daughter tried the banana and found it oh so “a-peel-ing.”

Sunni Sky’s was our next day’s adventure, and it did not disappoint. Described as “ice cream heaven,” there are almost always over 120 flavors to choose from and a larger-than-life hot-pink ice cream cone statue to take a selfie by. In the past, they even had “hot” flavors — one famously named “cold sweat” that would cause partakers to break into one. Cheers to the employees, aka “inspectors” — per the stenciled titles on every worker’s shirt, who managed a two-car line up to keep fans fed and moving efficiently. My choice was a butterscotch bliss, my daughter had blue nerd, and my husband tried a double scoop of coffee. Bits of butterscotch provided extra sweetness, and the coffee choice smelled as good as it tasted. The blue nerd was colorful but excessively filled with nerds and a little too sugary.

We decided to “double-dip” our Sunday adventure and head to the nearby town of Coats to try the ice cream at Smith Farm. Unfortunately, it was closed due to the quarantine. We were excited to try their fresh fruit flavors and creamy ice cream but will have to plan another date to experience their offerings firsthand (and mouth). Their Facebook page promises wood churned ice cream, delicious shakes and root beer floats.

During the “shelter-at-home” days, some families invested in ice cream makers to make recipes from scratch. From low-cost hand-cranked models to speedier high-tech machines, anyone can create homemade cold and creamy treats. The magical transformation of the simple ingredients of fresh fruit, cream and sugar into ice cream enthralls both the young and the young at heart.

Make time to celebrate summer by making a batch of homemade ice cream or setting out on an excursion to one of these locally owned venues. The unique flavors, fresh ingredients and pride in craftsmanship will be your reward.

More homemade ice cream shops in and around Fayetteville

Gillis Hill Farm
2701 Gillis Hill Road
Fayetteville, N.C. 28306
910-867-2350
http://www.gillishillfarm.com/

Sunny Sky’s Homemade Ice Cream Inc.
8617 NC-55
Angier, N.C. 27501
919-427-7118
http://www.sunniskys.com/

Smith Farm
NC-55, Coats, N.C. 27521
910-897-4269

Smallcakes: Cupcakery & Creamery
2132 Skibo Rd #114
Fayetteville, N.C. 28314
910-835-1074

The Sweet Palette
101 Person St.
Fayetteville, N.C. 28301
910-489-7342

The Coffee Scene
3818 Morganton Rd.
910-864-0555

 

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