PINE KNOLL SHORES, NC April 14, 2014 - The North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores offers a personal touch to make the conservation connection at the annual Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival this Saturday. The Aquarium’s traveling touch tanks put live animals such as sea stars and horseshoe crabs at your fingertips during the event, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fort Macon State Park visitor center. Also enjoy live music by Gumbo Lily and fun, hands-on activities for children. More than 20 organizations annually join together for the observance, which is free.The Aquarium continues its celebration with a week-long Party for the Planet through April 26, emphasizing green places and spaces. Look for helpful displays among the exhibits on how to apply simple but effective changes in your own home and backyard. The annual Cakes for Conservation competition April 22 is a sweet way to underscore the week’s theme. Bakers ages 5 and up express their philosophies in frosting and compete for cash prizes with confections that depict “Backyard Buddies” – amphibians, birds, snakes, turtles, insects and plants. There is no entry fee. Judges will be looking for creativity, taste, portrayal of the theme and use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Cash prizes to be awarded include $100 to the winner in the professional category; $50 for the top confection in the amateur division; and $25 for the best effort in the junior amateur category for ages 5-17. Completed cakes should be delivered to the Aquarium between 3 – 5 p.m. April 21 or between 8 – 10 a.m. on April 22. All cakes will be on display from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 22. Winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m. After the awards, visitors are invited to partake in a taste test of all the entries. The Aquarium Party for the Planet activities are free with admission or membership.
HILTON HEAD ISLAND, SC April 14, 2014 - May is national biking month and Chamber Bike & Dine Week, presented by the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, April 28 through May 4th, offers bicycling enthusiasts the opportunity to enjoy fantastic cuisine island-wide.
Now in its second year, Chamber Bike & Dine Week, sponsored by Coligny Plaza, celebrates the island's ranking among the nation's best destinations for biking and fine dining. Participating restaurants will offer Bike & Dine Week menus to patrons arriving by bike along with special dining offers. With a full line-up of events, Chamber Bike & Dine Week celebrates the island's bicycle friendly setting with lunch meet-ups at Bomboras Grill during the week and Saturday's free bike ride. The Islander's Beach Ride @ Coligny, starts at 10:00 a.m.on Saturday, May 3rd at Coligy Beach Park. The ride, organized by the Town of Hilton Head Island and the Bicycle Advisory Committee is an open-to-all free bike ride from Coligny Beach to Palmetto Dunes and back. It's a great week to bike and dine with choices from Bomboras Grill to Street Meet Tavern, Mellow Mushroom and more. Participating restaurants are listed on the Chamber's website at www.ChamberBikeandDine.com.
Garden Lovers Weekend Spans April 11-13 NEW BERN, NC March 5, 2014 - Tryon Palace brings spring into full bloom with Garden Lovers Weekend, held April 11-13. Free garden admission will be offered all weekend, while the Heritage Plant Sale is limited to April 11-12, and the 6th annual East Carolina Pottery Festival will only be held on April 12. Enjoy more than 14 acres of Tryon Palace gardens for free during Garden Lovers Weekend. Visitors will see the splendor of tulips and spring blooms across the Palace gardens, which include the Kitchen Garden and the Latham Memorial Garden. All gardens will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Free garden admission is to the grounds only and does not include interior tours of historic buildings. The Heritage Plant Sale is always a popular event for lovers of history and gardening alike. Held from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13, the Heritage Plant Sale gives visitors a rare opportunity to buy plants that are both unique and historic. All the perennials, herbs, annuals, trees and shrubs sold at the Heritage Plant Sale will be from Eastern North Carolina nurseries or from Tryon Palace’s very own greenhouse.
ROANOKE ISLAND, NC April 2, 2014 - Celebrate this year’s Earth Day at the third annual OBX Earth Fair Saturday, April 26, at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute, 850 NC 345, in Wanchese. A number of local organizations team up to provide an afternoon of family fun, featuring lots of hands-on activities throughout the facility and on surrounding grounds. The North Carolina Aquarium on Roanoke Island brings Enviroscape, an interactive model for demonstrating how water can become polluted when it travels over land, streets, yards and through storm drains. The model also points out how our personal actions can affect the health of our oceans, sounds and waterways. Earth Day features an ongoing speaker series by local professionals and a student film festival by the Monitor’s National Marine Sanctuary Youth Working Group. New this year will be the incorporation of outdoor activities along the canal and wetlands at the institute’s facility. Event participants receive a passport to complete during a journey through the Earth Fair, which can be used for a free entry into a raffle for the chance to win great prizes. Additional raffle tickets are available for $1. Earth Day is free and open to the public and made possible by support from the N.C. Coastal Federation, UNC Coastal Studies Institute, N.C. Sea Grant, Jockey’s Ridge State Park, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Join us for Earth Fair OBX III to learn more about local organizations that are working to educate, protect, and promote sustainability. The event will be held rain or shine.
PINE KNOLL SHORES, NC March 31, 2014 - The Cakes for Conservation competition April 22 adds a sweet touch to the annual Earth Day Party for the Planet at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores.Bakers ages 5 and up are invited to express their philosophies in frosting and compete for cash prizes with confections that depict “Backyard Buddies” – amphibians, birds, snakes, turtles, insects and plants you might see from your deck or in your garden. There is no entry fee. Judges will be looking for creativity, taste, portrayal of the theme and use of local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Cash prizes to be awarded include $100 to the winner in the professional category; $50 for the top confection in the amateur division; and $25 for the best effort in the junior amateur category for ages 5-17. Completed cakes should be delivered to the Aquarium between 3 – 5 p.m. April 21 or between 8 – 10 a.m. on April 22. All cakes will be on display from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on April 22. Winners will be announced at 3:30 p.m. After the awards, visitors are invited to partake in a taste test of all the entries. The annual bake-off is part of a week-long Earth Day Party for the Planet at the Aquarium April 20-26. Green Places and Spaces is the theme for displays and activities that emphasize simple ways to “go green” at home. The Aquarium Party for the Planet activities are free with admission or membership. On April 19, the Aquarium and its traveling touch tanks join 20 other conservation-minded organizations at Fort Macon State Park for the Crystal Coast Earth Day Celebration. Also enjoy live music, hands-on activities and other family fun focused on green living from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Charlie T. RiverDog Plans to Have Spectacular Entrance for the First Game of the Season presented by South Carolina's Future Scholar 529 Program CHARLESTON, SC March 28, 2014 - New York Yankees Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra reportedly said that he loves home openers, whether they are at home or away. There's no doubting that he'd love the home opener for the Charleston RiverDogs, the Class A affiliate of the 27-time World Series Champions Yankees. The RiverDogs opens the 2014 season on Monday, April 7, at 7:05 pm at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park against the rival Greenville Drive. "Opening Night is always a big night for us as it also signals the unofficial beginning of Spring and another fun-filled season of RiverDogs Baseball," said General Manager Dave Echols. "This is one game that we don't hold back because we want to make a good first impression." Fans, whether local or visiting from out of town, will enjoy the Opening Night festivities as the club features the city of Charleston and its charm. Opening Night will feature a grand pregame parade that wraps around the outfield warning track that will highlight many staples of Charleston including the College of Charleston cheerleaders, the North Charleston High School marching band, the South Carolina Stingrays' mascot Cool Ray, The Citadel Bulldogs' mascot Spike, zoo animals, the lads from the Holy City Beard and Moustache Society, and a quite few others one wouldn't expect to see on a baseball field. Santa and many creatively decorated floats are expected to join in on the fun as well. As the parade concludes, the 2014 RiverDogs will be introduced to the home crowd when they enter the stadium on horse-drawn carriages. On-hand to perform the Star Spangled Banner will be national recording artist, former American Idol contestant, and local star Elise Testone. Also, just like in many years past, Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr. - the ballpark's namesake - will throw the ceremonial first pitch. But the pregame highlight will be the arrival and introduction of loveable mascot Charlie T. RiverDog, who will have a welcoming like none other. Fans will want to keep an eye on the sky for this one. Since the Greenville Drive will be our opening week guests, it begins the "Battle of the Palmetto State" rivalry series presented by Spinx. The winner of the season-long battle will receive the Rivalry Championship Trophy, and with it goes the bragging rights as the state's best Sally League representative. Fans will also enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 beers, courtesy of Coors. The first 5,000 fans that pass through the Riley Park gates will receive a 2014 magnet schedule compliments of South Carolina's Future Scholar 529 Program. Plus, The Joe's brand new, state of the art videoboard and scoreboard will both make their RiverDogs debuts, and be on display for everyone to enjoy for the very first time during a professional baseball game. Tickets are on sale for the RiverDogs' 2014 season that begins with a seven-game homestand that features the Drive and Augusta GreenJackets. For more information, please contact the Riley Park Box Office at (843) 577-DOGS (3647) or online at www.riverdogs.com.
RALEIGH, NC March 29, 2014 - The outdoor festival Cedars in the Pines on the Plaza, scheduled for Saturday, March 29, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, has been postponed due to the forecast of severe storms and strong winds. The event will be rescheduled, and a date will be announced in the near future. The event is co-sponsored by the Triangle Lebanese Association and the Khayrallah Program for Lebanese-American Studies at N.C. State University. For information about the N.C. Museum of History, call (919) 807-7900 or access www.ncmuseumofhistory.org or follow on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+ or YouTube.
NCpedia Makes North Carolina History and Geography Available Online via the "North Carolina Gazetteer"
RALEIGH, NC March 28, 2014 - NCPedia and the N.C. Government and Heritage Library, in cooperation with the University of North Carolina Press, now make the entirety of "The North Carolina Gazetteer" available online through NCPedia at www.ncpedia.org.
The free online encyclopedia features thousands of articles and resources about North Carolina culture and history. It is hosted by NC LIVE, and managed by the State Library of North Carolina's Government and Heritage Library within the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. "The North Carolina Gazetteer" is a dictionary of North Carolina's geographical place names documenting their location, history and origins. First published by the UNC Press in 1968, it was compiled by noted North Carolina historian William S. Powell, Professor Emeritus of history at UNC-Chapel Hill. A revised 2010 edition co-edited with Michael Hill of the N.C. Office of Archives and History updated and expanded the volume. It contains information on more than 20,000 places in North Carolina. "The key is that, whereas other sources list just the name, Powell's book included the stories and derivations behind the names," says Hill. "No other state has anything like it. I was pleased to work with Professor Powell and UNC Press on the revised edition." Hill is lead research historian in the Office of Archives and History at the N.C. Dept. of Cultural Resources. "'The North Carolina Gazetteer' has had a prominent place on the bookshelf of North Carolinians for more than a generation," says UNC Press Editorial Director Mark Simpson-Vos. "Journalists, librarians, and teachers have told me they cannot do their work without its handy reference to our state's places." Nearly 21,000 place names are in the expanded "Gazetteer." "Together, Mike Hill and Bill Powell were able to update this resource for the 21st century, and we are thrilled that it is now so easily accessible for all readers through the NCPedia website," added Simpson-Vos. "I know plenty of folks are going to spend hours like I have losing myself in the important, surprising, and sometimes quirky history of these places and their names." The local color in the text gives a unique richness to each place. "'The North Carolina Gazetteer' is a tremendous resource for anyone who lives in, or has ever traveled through, North Carolina," says State Librarian Cal Shepard. "Where else would you go to find out Hanging Dog Creek was named after a Cherokee legend, or that Wolf Pit Township was named for the way colonists trapped wolves? We are excited to make it available through the NCpedia site." Since its first printing the "Gazetteer" has been an essential reference for anyone with a serious interest in the Tar Heel state. The "Gazetteer" is the third work to be made available online through NCpedia's partnership with UNC Press. The agreement to make the content from both the "Encyclopedia of North Carolina" and the six volumes of the "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography" available online was announced Feb. 9, 2012. All articles from the "Encyclopedia of North Carolina" were added by the end of 2012. NCpedia is on schedule to complete the process of integrating articles from the "Dictionary of North Carolina Biography" this year. The NCpedia expansion to include resources from the University of North Carolina Press has been funded through a Library Services and Technology Act grant through the Institute of Museum and Library Services.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rick Hendrick and Ray Evernham Unveil Iconic Elvis Car That Will Be on Display at Charlotte Motor Speedway AutoFair Hosted by OldRide.com
CHARLOTTE, NC March 25, 2014 - Icons from the worlds of NASCAR and music came together at Charlotte Motor Speedway Tuesday when Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rick Hendrick and Ray Evernham helped unveil one of Elvis Presley's most prized vehicles, which will be on public display during the Charlotte Motor Speedway AutoFair hosted by OldRide.com, April 3-6.The car was unveiled after undergoing an extensive preservation to restore it to the condition it was in when Elvis last drove it in 1976. "It has never left Graceland®. It has been there in the auto museum in Graceland. This car has not been run in 25 years," said Jack Soden, CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises. "If we had fully restored it, it would be a 1973 Stutz. But leaving that little bit of that DNA of Elvis - the original seats in the condition they are in, little nicks here and there - that makes it Elvis' and we wanted to preserve that."
CHARLOTTE MOTOR SPEEDWAY TICKETS
Rumored to be among Elvis' favorite cars, the 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III was also well-known as being the last ride for The King of Rock 'n' Roll, who was last photographed driving the car into the gates of Graceland just hours before he died. Before Earnhardt Jr. drove it into Monday's press event, no one had driven the car since Elvis. "I've been over to Graceland a couple of times and seen the car, but I didn't read up on the plaque that that was the car that he drove the night that he passed away," Earnhardt Jr. said. "It's pretty incredible to be able to sit in it. They haven't really touched the interior of this car since he drove it. I'm a big fan, and knowing how big an entertainer he was and how much he meant to a lot of people, it really meant a lot to me to be able to drive the car today. "It's got his personality written all over it. You look at the side pipes and the lines - its interior… From the inside out, it's got a lot of personality." Hendrick's love of cars is no secret, but even he admitted being more than a little awestruck during Monday's event. Hendrick rode in the passenger's seat as Earnhardt Jr. drove a couple of laps around Charlotte Motor Speedway as part of the press event. "I've seen his movies. I've been to his concerts. I never thought I would get to sit in his car," Hendrick said. "I never thought we'd get to see it or touch it. To be able to sit in it, that was something. That was really special." Soden said he was excited to see the car driving around Charlotte Motor Speedway and eager to see the fans' reactions when it is on display during the AutoFair. "To unveil it for the event next weekend is just terrific. There could not be two finer people to have succeeded Elvis in getting in that car and taking it for a drive," he said. While the 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III will be the centerpiece attraction of the Nationwide Insurance Classic Car Showcase Pavilion, the AutoFair will also feature an Elvis tribute artist contest, an Elvis-themed menu at the Jailhouse Rock Cafe and additional Elvis memorabilia from Graceland. The AutoFair features more than 50 car club displays and more than 10,000 vendor spaces offering an array of automotive parts and memorabilia. More than 1,500 collectible vehicles of all makes and models will be available for sale in the car corral that rings the 1.5-mile superspeedway. In addition, up to 200 cars will be auctioned by Dealer Auctions Inc., and kids can enjoy face-painting, bounce houses, and other games and entertainment in the Play Zone. Hours for the April 3-6 AutoFair hosted by OldRide.com are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Ticket prices are $10 per day for adults, and children 13 and under are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Fans who buy three tickets get the fourth day free. Parking for the event is $5. For more information on the four-day event, contact the speedway events department at (704) 455-3205 or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. To purchase tickets, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267), or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. Keep up with all the latest news from the speedway by liking Charlotte Motor Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CharlotteMotorSpeedway or following on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cltmotorspdwy.