12 With the return of a full-blown Fayetteville Dogwood Festival just behind us, it’s easy to tell Spring has sprung in North Carolina. Let the outdoor everything begin!

No better way to forget the weirdest summers ever than to simply glance at what lies ahead and make new memories as we embrace all we can. April will go out in a glorious glow as Israel Houghton, Hezekiah Walker and Fred Hammond bring their Festival of Praise to the Crown Coliseum for an amazing night of Gospel music. The month of May holds plenty of promise for us all.

The annual National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 5, unites people of faith and gives us an opportunity to come together as friends and neighbors, seeking God and the best way forward for our communities near and far. That same day, Fayetteville’s Festival Park will come alive with touring and Christian recording artists Seventh Day Slumber. As they crisscross the country on their “Death by Admiration Tour,” the band promises a high-energy evening of music meant to turn more than just heads.

The lyrics of their songs, and the message they bring on and off stage are meant to turn both hearts and minds to a future none of us control. The free concert includes tour mates Decyfer Down, Spoken and Amongst the Giants at Festival Park, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Fayetteville Dinner Theatre keeps the summer fun happening again this year with their Gates Four Summer Concert Series. After an exciting kickoff in April, the musical pump is primed and ready to deliver some of the most loved hits of the 70s and 80s with a tribute to the rocking female sister act, Heart, during a lively show on Friday, May 6. There’s an incredible lineup all summer long, making it completely worth being on the mailing list for all they’re bringing to the community indoors and out.

All of these events provide a perfect backdrop and opportunities to get together as we warm up for summer. In just a few short weeks, we’ll celebrate Memorial Day.

Our high school seniors will move their tassels from right to left as they cross the stage and receive their diplomas at Cumberland County’s Crown Coliseum. Whether it’s a trip to the beach, a flight across the country, or some of the best local entertainment ever assembled, I hope this will be a summer to remember for all the right reasons. Celebrate life, celebrate family, and celebrate the return of the most exciting season in North Carolina!

C’mon Summer … you are welcome here!

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