KidsPeace raises money for foster children

12 The second annual KidsPeace Art Gallery of Hope will be held Sunday, May 15, at the Church at Paddy’s Irish Public House in Fayetteville. The black tie evening event will showcase art from local Fayetteville artists, and will include an auction of the artwork.

KidsPeace is a private charity organization that helps children in foster care. It was started in 1882, and has grown across the U.S. as an organization. The mission of KidsPeace is, “to give hope, help and healing to children, adults and those who love them.”

Locally, KidsPeace holds fundraisers throughout the year to help the kids of Cumberland County and the surrounding areas, but in 2020, COVID-19 restrictions put their usual fundraising events on hold. The Art Gallery of Hope is a recent addition to the KidsPeace fundraiser calendar.

“The Art Gallery of Hope came into play last year. We used to have a lot of dress up fancy galas for KidsPeace but then Covid hit. We were looking for a reason to get dressed up again,” said Dominique Womack, art chair and founder of the KidsPeace Art Gallery of Hope. “We came up with this theme of doing an art gallery and giving people a chance to be snooty while still raising money for the kids and picking up some of the slack due to Covid.”

Last year’s event was a huge success, with $10,000 raised for the local charity. All proceeds of the event went to North Carolina kids in foster care. Womack decided to hold this year’s event in May, during Foster Care Awareness Month.

Canvases, prints and photography will be on display from local artists. Kids from the KidsPeace organization as well as students of Capital Encore Academy have donated artwork for the event. Adrian Warwick, a tattoo artist with New Addiction, has donated a print of one of his original works: a black and white portrait of a child standing in front of a tank with the Ukraine flag in color, in the background.
Carlos Tolentino will also be donating a piece of original artwork. Tolentino creates black and white images with bleach. His piece was the highest selling at last year’s auction.

“These two guys have been heavy hitters when it comes to art here in the city,” said Womack. “They are going to donate their work and their time to help us raise awareness for foster care.”
General admission for the event is $23 and tickets can be found at www.eventbrite.com/e/2nd-annual-kidspeace-art-gallery-of-hope-tickets-291739459577. The event runs from 6 to 9 p.m.

“Cumberland County has the most kids awaiting foster care,” said Womack. “I’m excited to get that final number and know those kids are getting after school programs, clothing, their foster parents are getting help.”

“We are giving them a home to lay their head in instead of having them bounce from house to house with their stuff in trashbags. That’s what hurts me the most, they carry their stuff around in trash bags. I just want to raise as much money as I can to help out these kids in our program,” she added.

The Church at Paddy's is located at 2606 Raeford Road. To donate to KidsPeace, visit www.kidspeace.org.

Fort Bragg soldier trains for Spartan Death Race

25 Capt. Daniel Gordon, Alpha Troop, 3rd Squadron, 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade, smiles as he talks about his love for obstacle races. In the plainly decorated gym at his apartment, he pulls 45-pound weights off the rack and places them onto the bar. He is focused on the events awaiting him at the end of June.

He gets a little distracted as he talks about his upcoming race — the Spartan Death Race in Pittsfield, Vermont. He is both excited and nervous. He begins to discuss some of the mental challenges he'll face.
Gordon is strong, and he spends a lot of time inside a gym or doing sporting activities. He has an infectious energy about him and moves and talks rapidly. His girlfriend, Melody Chong, is standing beside him and watching him with a smile. She picks up the weights and places them on the bar.

For 72 hours, Gordon will complete a series of tasks, both mental and physical, without any sleep. These tasks will include a 14-hour ruck march, a 26.2-mile sandbag carry and 26.2 miles of burpees. Gordon is not exactly sure what to expect at the Spartan Death Race. The race itself has about a 5 to 10% completion rate.

Tonight's workout is the second of the day for Gordon. This morning he ran 10 miles on Fort Bragg at 5 a.m. He tries to include running in his daily routine.

“I'm still not the quickest runner. I don't love running,” he says, laughing.

Spartan is very specific about the race's qualifications. Gordon went through an application process and was required to upload training videos each month after acceptance as a participant. He will compete in a series of mental challenges during the race, then complete the physical challenges.

“I think the more you get wrong, the more you do,” Gordon said of the physical exercises.

He admits that he is not entirely sure of all the activities and obstacles he will have to tackle to complete this three-day course. This part seems to energize Gordon. He has always been up for challenges. This is good considering this race also includes a barbed-wire-crawl marathon along with the other events.

“I've been doing a lot of mental preparation. I have been listening to podcasts. Your mind can handle ‘I'm going to carry this rock for an hour,' but it can't handle 'I have to carry this rock for 72 hours,’” Gordon smiles widely, then continues, “I want to be able to mentally function when I'm dead tired.”

Gordon attended West Point and said he was very active in sports growing up. His father, also in the military, pushed him not to give up and always complete things. He also taught Gordon and his sister to work hard at their activities. Gordon remembers spending hours hitting balls outside for practice. The discipline he has developed he credits first to his dad.

“He always pushed us to do our best,” Gordon explains.

Obstacle racing has become part of his life in the last couple of years. These races, according to Gordon, are also good practice for his military career. They help prepare for situations that a soldier may find themselves in. It helps him answer some questions he says are essential to his job duties.

“Can you operate as a team when you are tired and hungry and you haven't slept? Can you mentally stay in the game when you want to quit?”

Gordon leans back to do a bench press. He does a few sets and then sits back up.

“You know,” he says, “I can handle you are going to crawl under barbed wire for 10 miles … it's that hour 65 or 70 when you are wondering when is this going to end; that's the scary part of it.”

Gordon leans back down and lifts more weights. He admits that the thirtieth of June isn't too far away, and 72 hours is a lot of time for things to “go wrong.” The right attitude, Gordon says, is key. “I think you only know if you are ready once you get there. And once you get there, you kind of gotta say, ‘alright, now I'm here. I got to accept that I am here.’”

“I'm not going to be one to tap out and do the walk of shame,” He explains. “… I think I'm going to make it. Once I'm there, I'm going to be there. That's been my mindset.”

Regardless of the outcome, Gordon says he will run it again. Pushing his limits is a thrill that he can't seem to get enough of.

Rock'n on the River concert series kicks off in May

22 Fayetteville’s summer concert series, Rock’n on the River, is back for the third year. The events will be held once a month on Fridays from May to October and feature a variety of performers, from local acts to tribute bands.

The series is billed as a place where families can relax and listen to great music. The community is invited to bring chairs and blankets and settle in for a night of family-friendly entertainment along the Cape Fear River.

“I want people to come out and bring the family and enjoy themselves, and have some food and have some drinks,” said event organizer Greg Adair.
The series started in 2019 when Adair realized there weren’t many activities for families after the Dogwood Festival in the spring.

“I just wanted another concert series where people can go have a drink, take the family and enjoy themselves,” he said.

“And that’s what we created, and it just took off.”

The first year the series had three shows, and the next year, they doubled to six. The pandemic forced cancelations in 2020, but they were able to bring it back in 2021.

Attendance has grown over the years, proving that the community wanted an event like this. One of the most popular nights in previous years brought in more than 1000 people.
Adair knows the importance of supporting local businesses after the shutdowns of the last two years, so all the event partners are from the area.

“When we went through 2020 [we] saw all these [businesses] really struggle to stay open,” he said. “It’s something we owe our community— to shop local. They have struggled for a year, almost two years now, and just barely getting back on their feet.”

He acknowledges that local businesses do not have to support events during downtimes, but they have stepped up to provide free entertainment for the community.

“They are still supporting these shows so people can have a free place to go,” he said. “There is a lot to be said about that.”

The season will kick off May 13 with opener Dark Horse (country) and headliner ABACAB (Genesis/Phil Collins tribute). Parking will open at 5 p.m., and the first band starts at 6 p.m. The second band will perform at 8 p.m. and end at 10:15 p.m.

Additional Rock’n on the River concerts are planned for June 17, Stone Whiskey (southern rock) and The Fifth (80s hard rock); July 22, Autumn Tyde (beach/R&B) and REV ON (Foreigner tribute); August 19, Regional Band Blowout with 80s Unleashed, Guy Unger Band and Rivermist (Adair’s band); September 16, Reflections II (party music) and KISS ARMY (KISS tribute); October 21, Joyner Young & Marie (pop) and Night Train (Guns N’ Roses tribute).

There is no admission charge for the event, but parking is $15 per car. Food and drinks are available for purchase on-site, so concertgoers should only plan to bring chairs or a blanket. The series is held at 1122 Person

St. behind Deep Creek Grill.
Follow the event Facebook page for updates at www.facebook.com/Rockn-On-The-River-271048666818630.

Mother's Day events for all

23 Mother's Day Carriage Rides in Downtown Fayetteville
Mother's Day is just around the corner. Gift the experience of taking a carriage ride through downtown Fayetteville with the Mother's Day Carriage Rides. The Queen Victoria Carriage will take you on a 15 to 17 minute scenic ride through downtown Fayetteville on Saturday, May 7 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The carriage will arrive and depart from the Cool Spring Downtown District's office located at 222 Hay St. (across the street from Pierro’s Italian Bistro).
Tickets are $75 and include carriage seats for two to six people. Carriages can accommodate approximately four adults and two children. Upon purchasing your ticket you will receive an email asking how many people to expect for your carriage ride. This is a rain/shine event and tickets are nonrefundable.
Cool Spring Downtown District strongly encourages those interested to take the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance online at https://bit.ly/MothersDayCarriageRides2022.
Contact the Cool Spring Downtown District’s office at 910-223-1089, for additional information.

Huske Hardware’s Simply Southern Mother’s Day Brunch
Join Huske Hardware Restaurant & Brewery for our Simply Southern Mother's Day Brunch in beautiful downtown Fayetteville. Brunch favorites to include our Signature Salmon and Huske Benedicts, steak and eggs, biscuits and house sausage gravy, country fried steak and eggs, chicken and waffles and other dining favorites.
Huske will be highlighting our Stella Rosa Mimosas that include flavors such as peach, berry, blueberry, pineapple, as well as a traditional Moscato Mimosa.
The full bar will be open and serving will be from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Reservations are highly recommended and can be made through Eventbrite at https://huskebrunch.eventbrite.com. Reservations are held for 15 minutes before table is released. All parties must be present to be seated.

Mother's Day Brunch Iron Mike Conference Center
Iron Mike Conference Center on Fort Bragg is hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch, May 8. The brunch will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and reservations are required.
The menu will include a variety of breakfast items, a carving station, a salad bar, a selection of vegetables and a dessert spread.
This event is open to the public. Call 910-907-2582 for additional information or to make reservations.


Fort Bragg Fair Mother’s attend free
“The Fort Bragg Fair brings together soldiers and families with our supportive community members,” said Col. Scott Pence, Fort Bragg Garrison Commander. “As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, we are happy to return to the normalcy of fair rides, local concerts and nostalgic fried food concoctions.”
The public is invited to enjoy carnival rides, games, entertainment, food and more.
The fair will be open through May 8, Monday through Friday from 5 - 7 p.m. Bring your mom out for a day of fun on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 8. All mothers will be admitted free with a paying child 36 inches or taller up to the age of 17.
Parking is free and accessible off Bragg Boulevard to non-ID cardholders, just outside the fairground. ID card-holders may park on the installation at Watson Street.
For entertainment and admission prices, please visit https://bragg.armymwr.com.

M.A.D.E market offers fresh produce, local crafts

21 Sustainable Sandhills and Sweet Valley Ranch are teaming up to bring an exciting new farmer's market to the people of the Sandhills.

Sandhills M.A.D.E. Market at Sweet Valley Ranch will launch on May 7 and continue every first and third Saturday through Oct. 15.
M.A.D.E., an acronym for makers, agriculturalists, designers and entrepreneurs, is a project of Sustainable Sandhills, and this will be its first year in operation.

Up & Coming Weekly spoke with Jonelle Kimbrough, who has been executive director of Sustainable Sandhills for the past three years.

"The market provides a place for farmers, artisans and crafters to come together and have an outlet to sell their products to the local community while also connecting them with a consumer base in the absence of a brick and mortar store."

The market is especially eager to connect those who sell fresh produce with those who may have difficulty finding it.
Sweet Valley Ranch, located off I-95, is considered to be part of a low-access tract area, meaning a significant portion of the population lives more than one mile away from a grocery store or supermarket, making it a challenge to purchase fresh, affordable produce.

Kimbrough hopes the market not only creates access to these goods but brings exposure to those providing such a valuable service.

"Local food is healthier, better for the environment and better for the economy," she said.
According to their website, Sustainable Sandhills is a non-profit organization dedicated to strengthening communities by creating resilient environmental, economic and social resources for current and future generations.

The organization aims high with this new endeavor and hopes it will be bigger than the average farmer's market.

"Small businesses are the cornerstone of the local community, and they keep money in our community. When you shop locally, you're giving money to a family, possibly a neighbor, not another big box store," she continued.

"We take pride in recruiting vendors of all backgrounds. We support small businesses owned by women, veterans and members of the BIPOC community. While other markets in the area have a long waitlist to participate, this market is a great opportunity for newer vendors who want to get their names and products out. We want to be a network for small business owners, helping them market and sell to their local community."

North Carolina is home to around 217 farmer's markets. It is ranked tenth in the number of farmer's markets in the United States.

"I would say this market is different because we have a unique set of vendors who possess a wide variety of skills," Kimbrough told Up & Coming Weekly. "We have vendors that produce their meat right here in the Sandhills, apothecaries, just so many types of artists and crafters who create a great cross-section of makers and farmers."

Only goods grown, raised or made in North Carolina are accepted at the market. The hands that sell the products are the same ones that made the product which Kimbrough feels is an essential aspect of this program.
Another unique feature of the M.A.D.E. market is its location.

Sweet Valley Ranch, an agro-attraction here in Fayetteville, will have activities for just about everyone on market days. Dinosaur World, inflatables, Go-Karts and fun seasonal activities will make this market fun for the whole family. Parents can shop and enjoy the food trucks while kids can get out and run around.

"We're looking forward to getting it open and underway," said Kimbrough optimistically. "We're excited for everyone to come out and have a good time."
The Sweet Valley Ranch is located at 2990 Sunnyside School Road.
For more information about the market or to be a vendor, visit https://sustainablesandhills.org/sweetvalleyranchmarket/.

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