PUMPKINS N HAY N OYSTERS, OH MY!

Ahhhhhhhhhh. Fall has arrived to Brunswick County, NC. Sunny days, cool breezes, open window nights with the sounds of crickets and night birds, glorious sunrises and sunsets, sparkling ocean waters, sandy beaches for walking, family oriented festivals – we have the best of it all. The upcoming weekend promises to be beautiful and is filled with outdoor events for adults and families. What adult among us does not recall the fun of fall hayrides? You can relive them this weekend – and in Boiling Spring Lakes, NC, you can experience a hayride with a twist:  Boiling Spring Lakes Haunted Hayride

Fall and oysters go together like – well – fall and oysters. Add to that a festival and you couldn’t ask for anything better –  especially when it is happening in Ocean Isle Beach, NC and includes an oyster shucking contest and a road race.

North Carolina Oyster Festival

Fall is harvest time at the farms – a time to celebrate another successful harvest. What better way than to have a day filled with pumpkins, hayrides, good food and fun events for kids and adults alike. One such working farm near Calabash, NC, invites you to take part in just such a day:  Indigo Farms Pumpkin Day

INDOOR FAMILY ATTRACTIONS

Brr – I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that it’s cold in Brunswick County, NC. Though we have been having record setting low temperatures recently the result of which have been late start times for the Brunswick County Schools, we can still be thankful we have not had any of that beautiful precipitation called snow. Yes, it’s lovely to look at – but it’s not fun to shovel or drive in – especially in an area where there is no equipment for clearing the roads or melting the ice. Some of us have had other problems related to the low temperatures. As for me – this is the third time in a month that my pipes have frozen – and this time I did let my outside faucets drip. Hopefully, they will not burst again this time. And I know I am not alone in this predicament. The first time I understand there were problems all over the island. After tonight’s record setting low (again) the temperatures are supposed to be in the 50s tomorrow – I love you, tomorrow! Sunday will be even warmer, however, rain is predicted. I am sure families have been getting antsy from having to spend so much time indoors and the brief respite tomorrow will likely not be enough to get rid of the pent up energy, so here are a few suggestions for taking the whole family out for a fun and interesting day.

The North Carolina Maritime Museum at Southport where they have a vintage periscope through which you can view the surrounding area:(http://southport.insiderinfo.us/attractions/southport/north-carolina-maritime-museum-at-southport/profile/)

Ingram Planetarium in Sunset Beach, NC where you can watch a light show and experience Category 1 hurricane force winds in the Science Hall’s Hurricane Simulator: (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/attractions/sunset-beach/ingram-planetarium/profile/)

Planet Fun and Starz Grille in Shallotte, NC where you can have all kinds of fun and food as well:(http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/attractions/shallotte/planet-fun-and-starz-grille/profile/)

SEPTEMBER, TOO

Most of the tourists visit Brunswick County, NC during the summer months. They spend their time enjoying the beaches, shopping, eating at our excellent restaurants and participating in scheduled events. The residents, however, know how to have fun, too. Even though the summer officially ends with Labor Day, there are events every weekend from which to choose. Last week I suggested three options: Big Toy Day, the Around Oak Island Sunfish Race, and the Brunswick County Intercultural Festival. Here are three more to add to your calendar: 

September 6, 2014 – The Brunswick Family Assistance 10K, 5K & 1-mile Fun Run and 10K walk at Sea Trail Resort and Convention Center (http://oceanislebeach.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/september/5-star-race-productions-llc/profile/)

Determined runners at the start in one of our races at Beautiful Brunswick Forest

September 27, 2014 – The Southport Wooden Boat Show (http://southport.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/september/southport-wooden-boat-show/profile/)

September 28, 2014 – The First Bank Oktoberfest 15K & 5K in Brunswick Forest (http://leland.insiderinfo.us/annual-events/october/5-star-race-productions-llc/profile/)

2012 Finisher Medals

 

Mike’s Garage Band

On the Mike’s Garage Band Facebook page you will find the quote, “Its just about having fun.” And so it was for the band members who found each other in 2010 and began reliving their youth in Mike’s “garage.” The band members hail from Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington DC and New York. They came together when they all retired to Southport, NC. Some of the members had played in bands in their youth, others had played instruments but had never played in a band, but they all had interest in and enthusiasm for music and entertaining. In the short time they have been together the band has become so popular that they play for capacity crowds at every event.

But it is not really just about having fun. You see, the band donates all proceeds to charity – every penny. And by the end of 2013, they had raised more than $100,000 for local, regional and national charities. These funds have helped the literacy council, Hurricane Sandy survivors, food pantries, Susan Komen Foundation, Hope Harbor Home, the American Red Cross, Kiwanis, Brunswick Community College scholarships and the American Legion among others.

Mike’s Garage Band will be performing at two upcoming events.  Proceeds from the first event will go to the Brunswick County Victims Assistance Fund of the Brunswick Sheriff’s Charitable Foundation, which provides assistance to victims of violent crime. It will be held on January 31 at the St. James Community Center in Southport, NC from 5:30 PM until 9:30 PM. You can bring your own beer, wine, non-alcoholic drinks and snacks. Tickets are $10 and you can get tickets and more information by contacting Monique Stenquist at 253-5277.

On March 1, you can attend an evening of 60’s music and dancing at 101 Stone Chimney Place in Supply, NC from 5:30 PM until 9:30 PM. The price is $12 and there will be sandwiches for sale with a cash bar including beer, wine, pretzels and chips. Proceeds from this event will benefit Brunswick Family Assistance. Tickets can be purchased by contacting the agency at 754-4766 or 754-7322.

What a perfect way to help those less fortunate and to have an enjoyable and memorable evening at the same time. Why not get together a group of friends, put on your dancing shoes and head for the 60’s music of Mike’s Garage Band?

It’s time to channel your inner pirate…

…..and head for the 20th Annual Stede Bonnet Regatta in Southport, NC on Saturday, November 2.

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The regatta is named after Stede Bonnet, the Gentleman Pirate, who plied the waters off the coast of the Carolinas -sometimes in cahoots with Blackbeard. He met his end at the end of a rope in Charleston in 1718. The captain and crew of the sailboats that take part are all required to be decked out in pirate regalia, a rule that sets the tone for this fun event. Many of the spectators also wear their pirate duds and this year it would not surprise me to see Captain Jack Sparrow among them. He has been lurking about the town of Southport of late and taking part in all the special events – even wandering through the Waterfront Market on occasion. 

Though prizes are awarded, the race itself is a fun event where you might witness a man overboard, or a grounding of a pirate ship, or the firing of water cannon. There is even a coveted Boob Prize awarded at the ceremony following the race. You can also take part in the after-the-race party at the Yacht Basin Provision Company. There will be a band, dancing, drinks food and fun until you and the pirates drop.

Check out these web sites for more information: http://www.stedebonnetregatta.com/ and http://provisioncompany.com/

“Now if you’re ready Oysters dear, we can begin to feed.”

I’m sure that the oysters you will find at the 33rd Annual NC Oyster Festival on the island of Ocean Isle Beach did not voluntarily walk out of the sea like they did for the Walrus and the Carpenter in Lewis Carol’s “Through the Looking Glass” – but isn’t it fun to imagine that they did? 

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This year’s festival, held on Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20, is a great way to spend beautiful Fall days with your family. There will be music in the air both days starting at 10 AM featuring the following bands: Sawgrass, The Entertainers, Jaded Mayberry, The Lost Trailers, New Beginnings Praise Band, Sea Cruz and Craig Woolard Band. You can chow down on oysters and fried fish served by the Shriners or partake of a plethora of other foods and drinks that you will find in the festival area between Second and Third Streets. Be sure to leave enough room to participate in the Oyster Stew Cook-off and vote for your favorite stew. 

A favorite event at this festival is the Oyster Shucking Contest. Amateur and professional oyster shuckers take part in this event free of charge, The professionals, however, are participating in the North Carolina Oyster Shucking Championships and vying for the title of North Carolina Oyster Shucking Champion and a trip to the National Oyster Shucking Championship in Maryland. The winners in Maryland will go on to compete in the World Oyster Shucking Championships in Galway, Ireland.

The kids will enjoy the rides, Super Fun Slide, inflatables, face painting, airbrush tattoos and treats like ice cream and kettle corn. Arts and crafts booths will include handmade jewelry, woodcraft, painted glassware, Christmas ornaments, natural soaps, handcrafted clothing items and other items by local artists. 

Parking on the island is limited but you can catch a free shuttle from the corner of Highway 179 and Causeway Drive or from the Ocean Isle Beach Airport. There is a fee of $5 (payable at the event) for adults and children over eight years of age. Please leave your family pets at home – only service dogs are allowed on the festival grounds.