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US: Raleigh, NC – A Far Out Hippie Gathering Sharing Peace, Love and Goods

Hippie Tribe Fest is where the Bohemians roam. Created to bring community together, and to bring out the fun and free spirit in all of us; to create an experience for attendees to enjoy nature, to see incredible works of art, natural products, hand-made, Bohemian and Fair-Trade, amazing creations from local artisans and to enjoy performances by talented musicians.dreamstime_xl_100707558300dpi

At the main stage, there will be six hours of top notch musical artists and performers. Gifted buskers/solo artists will be performing throughout the festival and at the Feeling Groovy tent. At the Flower Child tent you will find an array of children activities and fun for the whole family.

Throughout the Hippie Tribe festival you can discover some of the most talented body artists including  Henna, Face Painting. One of the highlights featured is a one hour Drum Circle, where drummers, dancers and hoopers are welcome and encouraged to participate, sharing the energy and heartbeat of Mother Earth.

HTF_smallest_postcards_wBleedDelicious food available from local food vendors and food trucks. Attendees are encouraged to bring out their Hippie style, folding lawn chairs, blankets, drums and other instruments, as well as an umbrella; this is a rain or shine event. All parking will be on site and FREE.

Advance Entry Tickets $5 ($10 at the door); Children 12 and under – FREE. Tickets Here

Location: Sugg Farm Park at Bass Lake, 2401 Grigsby Ave, Holly Springs, NC 27540
Date: Sat, Sept. 29 2018
Time: Noon – 7pm (rain or shine)
Tel: 919-825-1122
hippietribefest.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: rockymounttravel.com

US: Mystic, CT – Spiritual Recharging at Winter Solstice Celebration thru Yoga and a Gong Bath

Winter Solstice is a good time to feed your inner light with  clarity that will prepare you for the New Year. It  is an astronomical phenomenon marking the day with the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year.Yoga 19457606

Winter Solstice Celebration allows you to experience both the power of Baptiste Yoga with Elizabeth Johnstone and also the Gongs with sound healing artist Stephanie Marisca of In Divine Harmony. In this workshop learn to release tension through the powerful principles of Baptiste yoga. Allowing the heart to open the healing sounds of gong tones,  sound relaxation will gently restore harmony to your body, mind, and spirit.Yoga Gong 18525058

Bring whatever you need to be comfortable laying on the floor for the Gong Bath. Suggested to bring a change of clothes and a blanket. Cost: $35 In Advance/ $40 Day of

Location: Mystic Yoga Shala, 80 Stonington Road #2B, Mystic, CT 06355
Date: Sat, Dec 16
Time: 4 – 6 pm
Tel: 860-536-0237
mysticyogashala.com

For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: ctvisit.com/mystic
thisismystic.com

US: Rocky Mount, NC – 10th Annual Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown

The 10th Annual Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown is a professional cooking competition based on KCBS categories (chicken, pork ribs, pork & beef brisket). Awards include Grand Champion, Reserved Grand Champion, and People’s Choice Award. Cash awards, trophies and plaques awarded up to 10th place in each category. There will be 58 opportunities to win. BBQ Throwdown Meat

The Friday night Kick Off Party includes a Kick Off Concert featuring Who’s Bad- The Ultimate Michael Jackson tribute band  held in downtown Rocky Mount. KCBS representatives will be present and competition judging starts at noon on Saturday, October 14, using the blind judging technique. This is a party you don’t want to miss, with plenty of delicious food, beverages, and great entertainment. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and come have some fun.BBQ THrowdown Stage

Schedule of Events:

Friday & Saturday, October 13-14, 2017

  • 10th annual Eastern Carolina BBQ Throw Down (Competition)
  • Includes: People Choice

Friday, October 13th (12pm – 8:30 pm)

  • BBQ Kick Off Party (Train Station Lawn) 5:00 pm – 8:30 pm
  • Who’s Bad Michael Jackson tribute band 6:30 pm (Train Station Lawn)

Saturday, October 14th (10:00 am – 6 pm)

  • Food Vendors, Commercial Vendors, Exhibitors, Live Music

Location: 101 Coastline St, Downtown Rocky Mount,NC  27804 – in front of the Helen P. Gay Historic Rocky Mount Train Station
Date & Time: Fri, Oct. 13 – Sat, Oct. 14, 2017
Time: Fri 12 pm – 8 pm, Sat 10 am – 6 pm
Tel: 252-972-1159
downtownrockymount.com/events/eastern-carolina-bbq-throwdown
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: rockymounttravel.com

US: Royal Palm Beach, FL – Eat Delish BBQ While Supporting A Great Cause

Uncle Gary's Rib Fest

What started out as a family get together has turned into a great community event. The  12th annual Uncle Gary’s Rock & Rib Fest is a labor of love. Uncle Gary’s lost his 3-year-old daughter 14 years ago to cancer and Started this BBQ event in her honor and to benefit the Kids Cancer Foundation.Uncle Gary's Kids Cancer

This feel good festival has fun for the whole family including: great live music featuring three live bands throughout the day, dancing, bounce houses, kid’s Fun-zone, face painting, balloon artist, playgrounds, grab bags, games and prizes for the kids and adults, raffles, auction, Pet Rescue Puppies petting zone, princesses and super heroes.Uncle Gary's Rib Fest Kids

Don’t forget the delectable BBQ foods: yummy baby back ribs, smoked pork tenderloins, burgers, chicken, hot dogs, side dishes and cold beverages.Uncle Gary's Rib Fest -Radio

Bring your lawn chairs, blankets, sunblock and kids to this  admission free event that is so much more than just a chance to have fun with the family, eat ribs and barbecue and listen to local bands. All proceeds will be donated to the Royal Palm Beach-based Kids Cancer Foundation.

Location: Wellington Amphitheater. 12100 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington, FL 33414
Date: Sat, April 1, 2017
Hours: 2 – 9pm
unclegarysrockandribfest.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: palmbeachfl.com

US: Hope Mills, NC – Come Out and Learn Hollerin’

Learn a lost art from people who have been holding on to hollerin’ for over 47 years keeping the North Carolina staple “Hollerin’” alive at the Worldwide Hollerin’ contest on October 8th. fayetteville-hollerin

“Hollerin’,” a traditional form of communication used in rural areas to convey long-distance messages, is considered by some to be the earliest form of communication between humans. “Hollers” exist for virtually any communicative purpose imaginable. The hollers featured at the World Wide Hollerin’ festival fall into one of these four categories: distress, functional, communicative or pleasure.

Enjoy a wide variety of fun activities and entertainment, including: the Hollerin’ Contest, Paradise Acres BBQ & Chicken, assorted food vendors, live music, crafts and Children’s activities. Visitors are invited to bring their chairs, blankets and coolers and enjoy the contest on the 12-acre Paradise Acres facility. hollerin

Eighty percent of the proceeds from the event are donated to Wags4Tags.org , an organization that matches trained shelter dogs with veterans suffering from psychological and emotional injuries.

Location: Paradise Acres, 1965 John McMillan Rd, Hope Mills, NC 28348
(Exit 41 off the I-95)
Date: Nov. 5th, 2016
Time: 10 am to 6 pm
Tel: 910-633-4735
worldwidehollerinfestival.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants and Attractions: visitfayettevillenc.com

South Africa: Visiting Robben Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Adele Shapiro – March 2012.

As a child I used to visit Robben Island with my grandmother. Her son, my uncle, was a warder in the prison services there. The name “Robben”, despite sounding very English – is in fact the Dutch for “Seal” – and the name derives from the extensive seal colony that was found on the Island by the first Dutch settlers.

We would go to the Cape Town docks and from there, take a boat ride to the island, where we would spend the day with family. I was vaguely aware that there were bad people on the island, and that it was a prison…. but little did I know then of the role it was to play in South Africa’s later history. Years passed and now as an adrobben1ult, I found myself revisiting the place where “the bad people” were kept, only now I realized that some were not so bad after all.

I bought a ticket for the tour some days before the trip, (advisable, as they fill up quickly) and took time out to examine the display at the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

There were many photographs of the political dissidents, the calls for boycotts, the anti-apartheid marches and there was also a prison cell that had been reconstructed for the purposes of the exhibit. I strongly recommend a visit to this exhibit before going to the island as it helps to contextualize the experience.

The trip began, as in times of old, with a boat ride from Cape Town docks, but this time instead of my uncle meeting us, we had a pleasant tour guide who told us jokes on our bus trip, whilst pointing out various sights on the island. Our bus was parked under a sign that said: “Welcome. We serve with pride.” I wondered if that sign had been there when Robben Island had been a prison as it was so sharply incongruous to the environment. I hoped not.

robben2Robben Island has had a long history. First as a lighthouse to warn ships of the VOC, the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie), of the rocks that surround the island. But since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of (mainly) political prisoners. The island was also used at various times as an animal quarantine station, a home for slaves, a leper colony, a hospital for the mentally ill and as a prison for French Vichy prisoners of war.

First we saw the Leper Graveyard and then house where Robert Sobukwe (Founder of the Pan Africanist Congress) had been kept separate from the other political dissidents.

It seems that Robert Sobukwe had special status in the prison. He was kept in solitary confinement at all times, but allowed certain privileges including access to books, being permitted to study, being permitted to wear civilian clothes, and being permitted bread. His children were allowed to visit him and they had their own bedroom in his “house”. Robert Sobukwe was convicted of incitement for demonstrating against and defying the Pass Laws, and in particular, for his connection to the PAC demonstration (although he was not present) which became known as the Sharpeville Massacre.

The notorious Pass Laws required black people to carry a pass book at all times when outside their compounds or designated areas, and were designed to limit severely the movements of the non-white population. This legislation was one of the dominant features of the country’s apartheid system.

Sobukwe was sentenced to three years in prison. After serving his sentence, he was moved to Robben Island for internment, as a new law called the General Law Amendment Act had been passed, which permitted his imprisonment to be renewed annually at the discretion of the Minister of Justice. This procedure became known as the “Sobukwe clause” and Robert Sobukwe was the only person whose imprisonment was extended under this clause. Imagine how special one has to be in order for parliament to pass a law just for you!

We also learned from our tour guide that the American politician and Pastor, Andrew Young, had fostered Sobukwe’s children in the USA, while Sobukwe had been in prison.

Our tour continued to the lime quarry where the political prisoners had worked. At the entrance to the quarry we saw a small cairn, and learned its history. In February 1995, (the landmark change of government was in 1994), about one thousand former political prisoners gathered again on Robben Island, but this time as free men, and to mark the occasion, each one placed a small stone from the quarry in a pile, making a small memorial to their years of hardship and struggle.

As we continued on our bus ride, we were shown a church, a hospital, a school and a mosque, and realized that far beyond our expectations, the island had supported a whole community. We duly arrived at the prison and tumbled out of the bus for our tour of “the real thing”. We were excited and filled with high spirits and I wondered for a moment where my heart would have been had I not been a tourist.

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Inside we found grey walls. It was cool at midday; it was clear that at midnight it would be very cold. The communal cells were large and each had a bathroom attached.

Here we met our prison tour guide, Derrick Basson, a former political prisoner who served time on Robben Island for sabotage.

Derrick was very patient, humble and remarkably, not bitter. He answered all the insensitive questions calmly and without anger. In addition he explained the grading of the prisoners by race and also the diets that varied due to the racial classification of each prisoner. One of the curious facts he told us was that black prisoners were not given bread. As they were Africans their “natural” food was considered to be maize meal. The mixed race prisoners were allowed bread as they were considered to be more western or European and less African. The black Africans were also not allowed jam or syrup. I suppose you do not need jam if you have no bread.

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Then I remembered that Robert Sobukwe, in spite of being black, was allowed to have bread, and it struck me that this must have been because he had been a university professor, and since this is a very “European” and non-tribal job, maybe he was considered eligible to receive bread.

Derrick further explained how prisoners slept on mats on the floor and how 5 blankets had not been enough to keep them warm at night. I suddenly remembered an interview with a former Alcatraz inmate who spoke of the extreme cold and of how prisoners had learned to sleep with only their elbows and knees touching the floor, hands locked behind the head. I became very grateful for my duvet.

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We were told that in the beginning the political prisoners had been kept with the ordinary criminals, but later on, they were, thankfully, given their own “wing” and kept together. They came to call this place “The University” as they learned many things from each other and many of them also obtained degrees while in prison.

Derrick then took us to a yard where the prisoners had chopped rocks and turned them into stones, day after day in the sun. They were told that these rocks were used for roads built on the island, but no one seemed to know if this was true or not.

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We were then taken to Nelson Mandela’s cell. Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, as well as the co-founder and leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), Umkhonto we Sizwe or “Spear of the Nation”. He was arrested in 1962 and convicted of sabotage, (amongst other charges), after he admitted to manufacturing explosives and acts of public violence, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela served 27 years in prison, 18 of these on Robben Island. After his release, he served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

My very first impression was of how small the cell was. No, not small, tiny. And then I thought that at least he could stand up and lie down in it, but not much more than that. At least it was larger than the dreadful box that I had heard was used in China. But there was no toilet. Just a metal bucket with a lid. At least a lid. And no tap, so no water. And if you are thirsty during the night, what should you do? And of course there was no electrical socket and no radio nor TV. And all I could think of was 27 years. TWENTY SEVEN YEARS! There was no door handle on the inside. The door was only operational from the outside, not unlike a cage. I remembered that Nelson Mandela had once remarked that the hardest and most traumatic experience he endured whilst on Robben Island for all those years was that he never ever saw, or even heard, a child. Can you imagine that? Now he insists on being photographed with children, whenever possible.

robben10And then it was all over. We walked out to the yard, Derrick took us to the exit, and we said our goodbyes.I felt an odd mixture of elation and depression. Very happy that I had been to a UNESCO World Heritage Site of such importance, happier still that it was no longer a prison, and most happy that I was leaving. Yet also depressed and ashamed because of the suffering this place represented.

Duly subdued, we gratefully returned to our boat to ponder our feelings of inspiration and shock, enjoy the beautiful sunset cruise back to Cape Town, and watch a school of dolphins at play in the sea.

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Remember when planning a visit to Robben Island, that the tours don’t always run on time. There was no snack bar on the boat. Our boat was 1 hour late in leaving Cape Town harbour and then we were rushed through our tour, which was a pity as there was too little time for questions.

A suggestion would be to make no appointments after the visit as the timing can vary, and also, take a snack pack. A sun hat and sun block are also good ideas.

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Ferries depart (supposedly) at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm, weather permitting, from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Tickets costs are R230 for adults and R120 for children (U/18). Telephone: +27 (0)21 413 4200
Fax: +27 (0)21 419 1057