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NC Aquarium Earth Day Party for the Planet

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.

Look for traveling touch tanks from the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores this Saturday during the Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival, 10a.m. - 2 p.m., Fort Macon State Park visitor center.

Look for traveling touch tanks from the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores this Saturday during the Crystal Coast Earth Day Festival, 10a.m. - 2 p.m., Fort Macon State Park visitor center.

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.    

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Hilton Head Island Chamber Bike & Dine Week Returns

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.

Hilton Head Island Chamber Bike and Dine 2014

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.

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Palace Offers Weekend of Free Gardens, Heritage Plant Sale, and Pottery Fest

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.

Tags: Tryon Palace,things to do,New Bern,history,pottery,gardens,free
Category: History

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A Pirate's Exile: New England Rambling

Boston

Boston

Dillon, CO, April 3, 2014- Coming into Fairhaven, Massachusetts, I wasn’t really sure what to expect.  I was staying with a cousin of mine that I hadn’t seen in about a decade.  We had a weekend to catch up.  My Grandma in Tampa originally hails from this part of the world and I wanted to get the opportunity to lay eyes on it.  After spending so much time in NY, having only a week in Massachusetts was definitely a call to reality and to the pace that I had set for myself.  This was a guerrilla visit with several stops in several different locations and I would have to maneuver well in order to do everything I wanted to. Massachusetts is one of the few places in our country where the history runs beyond the normal one or two hundred years with quite a bit of frequency.  It’s home to Patriots fans and hockey fanatics.  Fenway Park and the Boston Red Sox.  The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Dropkick Murphys.  Population density at its finest.  People live so close together that addresses actually do go into the ½’s. My time started in Fairhaven on the eastern shore of New Bedford Harbor.  I caught a ride from NY with my aunt and uncle and had them drop me off at my cousin’s house.  After spending so much time in NY, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to fit enough into my week in Massachusetts.  I had three stops to make in order to see all of the people I wanted to.
The view across New Bedford Harbor

The view across New Bedford Harbor

Staying the weekend with my cousin was one of the smartest things I’ve done since leaving North Carolina.  She, her husband and their two twin daughters allowed me the chance to pass a couple of days in the area where my grandmother grew up and also for us to catch up.  One of the first things I noticed about Fairhaven was the pair of wind turbines they have directly in the center of town.  The locals have complaints about the noise that they make but it’s nice to see a community that isn’t shying away from renewable energy.  With so much evidence pointing towards an eventual collapse in the fossil fuel industry, the places that get the jump on things like solar, wind and hydroelectricity will be the places that don’t feel the pinch as much. The second most noticeable thing was the water.  Fairhaven, Marion, New Bedford and Wareham, the four places I visited, are all economically dependent on the sea.  This was a welcome surprise for me as the place that I’ve grown up and lived most of my life, Sneads Ferry, is a fishing village.  It put a familiar spin on things that were new and fresh.  The beaches and waterfront are admittedly different than what I’m familiar with at Topsail.  They are more of a marshland than sandy beaches.  It is comparable to the waterfront on the ICW or the New River in Onslow County.  I imagine that during the summer there is quite a bit more activity but since my visit came during February, I had the entire coast to myself for the most part. 1621949_10153827102835313_549587592_n I couldn’t hit New England and not go completely gluttonous on the food.  The first night that I was in town, I got ahold of a dozen sea scallops that were fresh off the boat.  I hit them with a little olive oil and salt and pepper and sautéed them up for dinner.  It was a great way to start a New England palate.  After a night in, we decided to head out for a drive and wound up at my Uncle Mickey’s favorite restaurant.  He lives in California these days and I couldn’t help taking some pictures to show him what he’s missing.  For the second time on my trip I got a “lobstah” roll and some “chowdah.”  Tampa’s food was good but it doesn’t stand up to the original.  The chowder at Mike’s Restaurant is untouchable.  There is no better chowder that I’ve had.  It’s creamy, buttery, sweet and savory and the perfect companion to a lobster roll.  Combined with some Cape Cod chips, it makes a meal that can be found just about anywhere on the coast of New England for under ten bucks. After I stayed in Fairhaven, I made sure to hit Marion and Wareham to visit two friends of mine that I met in NC but live in Massachusetts.  Amy and Dawn were part of a bridal party that I met at Lorelei’s in Sneads Ferry and stayed in touch with over the last year or so.  When I realized that they were within 10 minutes of where I was staying, I made sure to get some couch space and make time to hang out.  The most incredible thing that I’ve found about traveling so far is how open people are to having me swing through their house for a night, weekend, week, month, etc.  Sometimes it’s a friend from home who went back to their home or a family member, sometimes it’s a buddy from the bar.  I get to feeling like it’s a way that people become a part of my adventure without leaving their lives but any way you slice it, I’m grateful. 1900008_10153827103085313_1797748602_n Amy, Dawn and I went to their favorite hole in the wall bar for a few drinks and I’d being lying if I said I didn’t just sit back and listen.  The “r” in some words is lost entirely and in others it’s more pronounced than it would be in other parts of the country.  For example, Fairhaven becomes “Fahaven” and Wareham becomes “Wayuh-ham.”  Car is “cah” but the “r” in “great” gets prefaced with a kind of pre-syllabic “guh-rate”.  Difficult to explain but easy to listen to.  We had a few drinks and I met a handful of their friends.  The futon was plenty comfy and the company was great, which was exactly what I needed in the middle of the transition from small town New England and the bustle of Boston. Dawn gave me a ride to Middleboro, MA so that I could get a ride on the commuter train into Boston.  My money was running pretty dangerously low at this point and was all on card.  I got out of the car, said bye and proceeded to look for information on when the next train was running.  A conductor was walking by and I asked her if she had a minute.  She replied that the minute was it because the train left in 60 seconds.  Long story short, they took cash or smartphone payment, neither of which were in my possession.  The conductor asked, “You heading into Boston?” I told her I was and asked where an ATM was, to which she replied, “Just get on and don’t say anything.” Now I won’t drop her name or do anything that would make her life difficult but that woman saved me ten dollars.  It might not sound like much but in a scheme the scope of which I’m undertaking, ten dollars goes an awful long way.  If you aren’t too needy, you can live for a couple of days on it.  Little things like this, that I keep seeing in people who don’t know me, are a pretty encouraging thing.  The free train ride wasn’t the only cool thing that happened that day and my luck was pretty good. I pulled into South Station in Boston and figured that I would walk to North Station.  I had printed walking directions and it didn’t look too far.  Boston on foot is incredible.  I was carrying about 80 pounds of bags though so I took my time and had a few breathers.  In  February it’s a cold place but it’s crawling with people.  People are everywhere and pedestrian traffic flirts with what are known as “Mass-hole” drivers at just about every intersection.  Horns sound in the background and the noise of traffic is constant.  When you first look down towards the Financial District and notice the size of the buildings and the enormity of the entire city all at once, it’s hard not to feel a little overwhelmed by the grandness.  Juxtaposed against that are the tiny little historical buildings that dot the landscape every once in a while. 1780807_10153840544395313_1592424663_n I suddenly realize that I’m lost.  I’m not on the street that I’m supposed to be on and I can’t remember where I got turned around.  I take a break by a bus depot and try to get my bearings.  At this point, my phone is off and I only have wifi so typing it into GPS isn’t going to do a thing.  I try to orient myself North and plan on just asking directions. Finally, I see a young lady who looks like a suitable candidate for North Station Info, so I put on my best customer service face and asked for directions.  For the second time of the day my luck swings toward the unbelievable.  Janine is not only headed to North Station, she’s headed to Reading, the stop that I need.  She helped me out immeasurably by pointing out the way and helping me finally get the metro card system all figured out but more than that, she was a nice person.  She pointed out that if I took the subway with a bus connection, rather than the commuter rail all the way, I would basically pay a fraction. Since I had a guide as great as Janine, getting to Reading, MA and my friends, Liane and Fabio was getting easier by the second.  When I got to the train depot in Reading, I realized I had made a mistake.  I hadn’t foreseen that none of the payphones were functioning.  In a smartphone world, they aren’t really necessary but if you don’t have one, they come in pretty handy.  None of the phones worked.  They were just empty boxes.  I started hoofing it away from the station and came across a McDonalds.  Now lots of you are gonna turn your nose up at the mention of it but I love McD’s.  They have incredible coffee, decent sweet tea, a dollar menu and free wifi.  I got myself a cheeseburger and a coffee and settled in to get in touch with my people. Liane came and got me and we headed off to their place.  They live in North Reading, a few miles down the road.  Fabs and Liane are friends from Sneads Ferry who moved back to Massachussets a little while back.  They were superb hosts and I got to hang out with their dog, Rasta.  I took a day to wind down and then took off to check out Salem, MA.  Made famous by the witch trials that were held there hundreds of years ago, the area has become host to an economy that is driven by the occult, metaphysical and “magic”. DSC_0098 I spent an afternoon wandering around Salem and was pretty surprised at how much there was to do and see.  I had candy from America’s oldest candy shop and visited several stores in order to produce the materials necessary to make my magical lucky rock (which I still have).  I also got a psychic reading from a practicing Voodoo Priest.  I won’t tell you how it went because it was expensive and you should do it yourself.
Ye Olde Pepper Companie, the oldest candy store in America

Ye Olde Pepper Companie, the oldest candy store in America

Finally, I definitely spent plenty of time in Boston and got to see the entire city from one end to another.  The visual scope of a place like Boston is pretty hard to take in without feeling insignificant.  It has a very old world feel to it in some places and in others, it’s all 20th century America.  It seems like everything is made of brick.  There’s so many different neighborhoods and areas.  The Financial District is impressive but some of the older parts of the city are every bit as powerful.  I got to see both the Paul Revere House and the chapel that he used to signal from.  Knowing that some of America’s most important events happened right under your feet is kind of cool.  Having somone who knows their way around the city makes it easier but it is definitely not a difficult place to navigate and despite the preconcieved notions about New Englanders, most of the people are warm and kind. DSC_0081 More than the architecture, again, it’s good food that I’ll remember the most.  I was shown a sandwich while in the area that I highly recommend to anyone who has the opportunity.  A roast beef threeway is worth whatever investment you have to give in order to experience it.  They are a messy roast beef with cheese and bbq sauce that have been perfected by Massachusetts’ northern shores.  It seems more and more to me like people everywhere insist that they have the best food and more and more, I’m inclined to believe them, so long as I get some. DSC_0052 Massachusetts is a place I’ll be returning to.  I have too many friends and family there and too many things I didn’t get to do but once I packed my bags, I caught a ride to North Station and got ready to catch my Amtrak.  I wasn’t sure about how the trip was gonna be but I knew that it was an estimated 44 hours with a stop in Chicago.  I was headed to visit another friend from Sneads Ferry, my buddy Taylor, in Arvada, CO, just outside of Denver.  This would be about twice as long as I’d ever spent on the train so I had a few books and things packed. North Station in Boston is some of the best people watching I’ve ever done.  I literally started taking notes so that I could remember all of the things that I was thinking.  I even wrote a short song about yoga pants and the lovely ladies who are so enamored with them.  For an hour and a half (my train was delayed before we boarded) I got to sit and drink coffee and watch other travelers hurry to and from their trains.  It’s amazing what an imagination can do for you because I had stories for all of the people made up in my mind I’ve said before that I enjoy using the train to get around.  It isn’t always cheaper than flying but it is a little more comfortable and entertaining.  This time was no disappointment.  The ride to Chicago was pretty uneventful other than the fact that we kept getting delayed.  We were three and a half hours late getting to Chicago, which left me no time at all to see the city and gave someone else the opportunity to sip coffee and make up stories about me as I hurried around the station.  I was pretty tired after around 26 hours on the train and having to listen to some idiot try to impress a girl that was very obviously already involved with him.  Irritated would be an understatement.  There is nothing I dislike more than listening to someone who is trying to sound intellectual fail miserably.  This guy was spouting nonsense facts and figures about the states we were passing through as if he were some sort of tour guide.  By the end of that leg of the trip, everyone on the train, including his girlfriend, were very obviously tired of his voice. It’s interesting to me how quickly someone can ostracize themselves from a group and not even see it coming.  I’ve always tried to be conscientious of the people around me and try to make sure that I’m not rocking the boat too hard.  Anyhow, once I boarded the connecting train and found my seat, I immediately went to the lounge car to write.  I wound up talking music with a guy from Lincoln, Nebraska who was on his way home from a vacation.  As the night wore on, more and more people wandered into the lounge and dining cars for company, coffee or cocktails. I met a man from Iowa, obviously drunk, who decided to sit down and open up to Paul, the musician from Nebraska, and I about his life and his problems.  He was a motorcycle mechanic who had become dependant on a disability pension.  To hear him explain it, if he got employed he would lose the ability to get the government assistance he needed to afford his medications but he couldn’t make enough money under the table to get by comfortably.  I’m not sure what the situation really is but I do know at least one thing for sure.  Nobody likes listening to someone who is wasted complain about how sucky their life is.  I excused myself and took a stroll around. There was a group of people in the dining car that I wound up joining.  It was clear to me from my days working the door and bouncing that a couple of guys had been overserved.  There are a lot of drinkers on trains.  One had a stash of airplane bottles of vodka and cigarettes and was congratulating the other on their total agreement about life, philosophy, religion, politics and music.  The conversation included other people but these two were leading most of it.  It’s the situation when two irritating loudmouths from opposite ends of life come together to form a glorious bonding of obnoxious.  I enjoy watching people like that because, like failure, it shows how not to get the right results.  You can learn a lot of lessons by watching other people be irritating and loud. 1926918_10153848430255313_755473262_n I won’t get into my personal beliefs here but we can suffice it to say that I didn’t agree with their outlook.  Anyone who assumes automatically that they are the smartest person in the room, without knowing the company they keep, is an ass and generally comes across as one.  I engaged myself and my opinions into the talk and couple of the other folks kind of opened up and we got around to drinking and talking (something I do pretty well) and that’s when the crazy started. Somewhere in Nebraska, one of the loudmouths (whose partner in crime had left him somewhere in Middle America) became so obnoxiously drunk that apparently, he spit on one of the Amtrak employees.  This young man was covered in flash art tattoos and had some gauges in his ears.  He had spent plenty of time letting everyone know how much money he had in the bank and how incredibly successful he was at what he did.  He bought up liquor and horded it so that when he got cut off he could keep drinking and then forgot that he had it and tried to buy more.  Long story short, he was arrested and taken off of the train.  I hate to take joy in other people’s misery but several of us had a good laugh at the idea of this guy waking up in a drunk tank somewhere in the vast emptiness of Nebraska the next morning without a clue about where he was, how he got there and what happened.  The rest of us got to split up his liquor and cigarettes and had a hell of a good night enjoying the train on the way to Denver.  

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Earth Fair OBX III

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.

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NC Aquarium cake competition sweetens Earth Day celebration

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.

“Backyard Buddies” such as birds, snakes, turtles, amphibians, insects and plants are featured in the NC Aquarium’s 2014 Cakes for Conservation competition April 22.

“Backyard Buddies” such as birds, snakes, turtles, amphibians, insects and plants are featured in the NC Aquarium’s 2014 Cakes for Conservation competition April 22.

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.

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RiverDogs' Opening Night to Feature Charleston's Charm; Pregame Parade

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. Charleston RiverDogs helmet rack 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.

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March 29 Lebanese Festival Postponed at Museum Due to Weather

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. North Carolina Museum of History 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.

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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 North Carolina Gazetteer

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.

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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.

Left to right: Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden, Rick Hendrick, Ray Evernham, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Charlotte Motor Speedway President and General Manager Marcus Smith pose for a photo with Elvis' 1973 Stutz Blackhawk during a press event Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Elvis' 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III will be on display during the AutoFair

Left to right: Elvis Presley Enterprises CEO Jack Soden, Rick Hendrick, Ray Evernham, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Charlotte Motor Speedway President and General Manager Marcus Smith pose for a photo with Elvis' 1973 Stutz Blackhawk during a press event Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Elvis' 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III will be on display during the AutoFair hosted by OldRide.com, April 3-6. Photo: CMS/HHP

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."

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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."
Dale Earnhardt Jr. pulls out onto the track in Elvis' prized 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III during a press event Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Elvis' 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III will be on display during the AutoFair hosted by OldRide.com, April 3-6.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. pulls out onto the track in Elvis' prized 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III during a press event Tuesday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Elvis' 1973 Stutz Blackhawk III will be on display during the AutoFair hosted by OldRide.com, April 3-6. Photo: CMS/HHP

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.

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