Thursday, August 27, 2009
The skyline of the Carowinds theme park in Charlotte will drastically change next year, as the amusement park has announced plans to debut the Intimidator, the Southeast’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster. Topping the list as the largest single investment in Carowinds’ history of $23 million, the Intimidator is named in honor of NASCAR’s most beloved driver, Dale Earnhardt, “The Intimidator.”
This massive attraction will stand 23 stories tall and send guests plunging down a 211-foot first drop at a 74-degree angle, reaching speeds in excess of 75 mph. The second (178-feet) and third (151-feet) hills are also taller than any roller coaster at Carowinds. With over a mile of track, the Intimidator will feature high speed twists and turns including seven steep drops – one for each of Dale’s NASCAR championships – and an intense finish through a diving spiral. The ride will last more than three minutes and replicate the speed and intensity of a fast-paced NASCAR race.
In addition to a record breaking coaster, 2010 will also usher in a whole new "planet" of fun for the little ones. Snoopy and the entire Peanuts gang will invade the theme park in 2010 as Carowinds debuts a newly re-themed children’s area featuring America’s most beloved beagle (formerly Nickelodeon Central). Children will be able to rub elbows with Snoopy, Charlie Brown and other favorite Peanuts' characters when Planet Snoopy debuts in 2010!
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
The seventh annual Mile High Kite Festival is a free event that takes place Sunday, September 6, in the meadows at the top of Beech Mountain.
The festival allows children of all ages to fly a kite at an altitude one mile above sea level. It is sponsored by the Beech Mountain Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with the Richmond Air Force kite club from Virginia and the Winds Across Carolina Club and Okra Society from Charlotte.
There is no charge for admission and free kites are given to the first 200 children under 12. There will also be a vendor selling a variety of kites, and folks are welcome to bring their own.
Contests will be held for biggest, smallest and best-decorated kites. All participants receive an official certificate from Beech Mountain mayor Rick Owen that proclaims: “I flew a kite a mile high at Beech Mountain.”
“The neatest thing about the event is when people drive up the mountain and walk into the field,” says Calder Smoot, the event organizer. “There is just this blast of color with all these kites flying everywhere.”
The field is divided into two areas: one for exhibitions and demonstrations from the kite clubs and one for the general public. Other activities include: children’s races while pulling bol kites, face painting, and a variety of craft vendors.
Festivities for the Mile High Kite Festival weekend begin Saturday, September 5, with a special clinic for kite makers from 2-4 p.m. Folks are encouraged to bring their homemade kites, and members of the kite clubs will be on-hand to discuss the intricacies of building kites.
There will also be an all-ages street dance from 7-9 p.m. Saturday in front of town hall.
Monday, August 17, 2009
While we're on the subject of baseball, the old minor league stadium made famous in the movie Bull Durham has a new look.
WRAL-TV reported that Durham politicians, area baseball coaches and former minor and major league ball players gathered for a game of softball to celebrate the reopening.
The Durham Athletic Park was home to the Durham Bulls from 1926 to 1994 and became nationally known when it was the location of the 1988 Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon film Bull Durham.
The Bulls moved to a new park in 1995 and the old one has been used for local baseball and softball leagues.
Durham spent $5 million to renovate the park, which reopened Saturday.
Minor League Baseball will use the city-owned stadium as a training facility for groundskeepers. North Carolina Central University will play home baseball games there as well.
Friday, August 14, 2009
It's a natural fit for Asheville, which recently claimed the title of "Beer City East" in an online poll. Much of the city's all-star lineup of breweries will be represented, including Highland, Pisgah, French Broad, Green Man, and Appalachian Craft Brewery... along with regional brands like Foothills (Winston-Salem) and Thomas Creek (Greenville, SC), and national stalwarts like Red Hook, Kona, and Blue Moon.
Despite the title of the festival, there won't actually be a baseball game. The Tourists will be in Hickory that day playing the Crawdads. But there will be music on a stage at home plate featuring some of Asheville's hottest local acts.
Tickets range from the $40 VIP level (admission, sampling mug, t-shirt, ticket to an upcoming game, catered clubhouse meal) to $20 (admission, mug & baseball ticket). There's also a $10 ticket for designated drivers, which gets you admission to the festival and soda, but no beer.
Tickets are available at the McCormick Field box office, as well as online at Ticketmaster.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Others among the 102 authors appearing at the free public festival, to be held at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, include Will Blythe, author of the Carolina-Duke basketball rivalry book To Hate Like This Is to Be Happy Forever, former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell, forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs and favorite North Carolina novelists Doris Betts and Clyde Edgerton. A schedule for the festival will be announced later this month.
The festival, whose theme is “A Celebration of Reading and Writing,” will include author readings and talks, exhibits, performances, book signings, sales and children’s activities.
"With this lineup of authors, the festival will offer something for everyone," said festival director Amy Baldwin. “With poets to novelists and genres ranging from thrillers and memoirs to romance and award-winning literature, the festival will be a landmark event for the Triangle that no one will want to miss.”
For more information visit www.ncliteraryfestival.org.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
The Best Dish in NC competition is a statewide contest that chooses North Carolina’s top restaurants that are using and promoting North Carolina food products on their menus. The competition aims to recognize and reward the efforts of restaurants and chefs who use NC products to increase the awareness of the quality of local foods, restaurants and chefs. Judges tasted the food, awarded points for presentation and creativity, and judged the marketing efforts of each finalist. Combined with the use of North Carolina ingredients, these criteria determined the winners for the 2009 Best Dish in NC restaurant competition.
Four Square Restaurant earned the Fine Dining award by featuring a four course meal that included Lamb Carpaccio, Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho Trio, Prosciutto wrapped Trout and Buttermilk Cupcakes with Blueberry Mousse. Not far behind as the first runner up was Indigo Marsh, located in Surf City. The three year Best Dish veteran restaurant offered Littleneck Clams in Savory Smoked Tomato and Clam Broth topped with Smoked Goat Cheese and Fresh Herbs.
The Yancey House Restaurant earned the Casual Dining title with its signature Crab Cakes, Bloody Mary Gazpacho, Chicken Paillard in Buerre Blanc sauce and Peach Trio of Peach Upside down Cake, Peach Ice Cream and Peaches in Wine. First runner up was the Inn on Church from Hendersonville, NC. It entered Turkey Croquettes, Spinach & Melon Salad, Berry and Vanilla Yogurt drizzled with Sourwood Honey, Pan fried Flounder with roasted Corn and Sweet Red Pepper Tamales, and Butternut Squash Ice Cream in a homemade Pecan Waffle cone.
“The Best Dish in NC contest helps food producers, farmers and restaurants alike by increasing sales of North Carolina food products and the attention each restaurant receives for their culinary talent,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Through the marketing efforts of each participating restaurant, consumers learn more about where their food comes from.”
Nineteen finalists were chosen based on their proposed menus featuring N.C. products and their marketing plan for promoting their menu to customers. Restaurants were allowed to enter a combination of dishes (for example, an appetizer with an entrée and dessert), but each was judged as a single entry.
Visit www.bestdishnc.com for a complete list of finalists, restaurant contact information, entered menus with pictures, chef bios, judging criteria and contest information.
Monday, August 10, 2009
The Tour is a demanding 105-mile timed ride featuring 40 miles along the Blue Ridge Parkway, and a cumulative elevation gain of 11,000 feet. The ride is named after the Tuckasegee River, which borders much of the closing stretch.
“The Tour de Tuck attracts a certain type of rider who’s looking for a fierce challenge and something a little bit different,” said course director Greg Duff. “Because of the Parkway, it is somewhat solitary, unlike the huge rides where you’re always with a large group.”
The Tour de Tuck offers two options – the 105-mile century ride and a shorter, 60-mile metric century ride. Both rides start and finish at Mark Watson Park in Sylva. All participants receive a goody bag and catered post-race meal.
The entry fee is $55. Registration is only available online at www.tourdetuck.com.