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US: Smithfield, NC – Eat Like Pigs at Smithfield’s Ham and Yam Country Festival

Downtown Smithfield is the place to be on Saturday, May 5th for the much anticipated 34th annual Ham & Yam Festival,  which occupies several blocks and attracts thousands of people.FredDeesHam

With pig races, inflatables, vendors, entertainment, and ham and yam foods, it’s a fun day for the entire family.  Craft and commercial vendors line the streets, food vendors offer a variety of fair foods and menu items featuring country ham and sweet potatoes, and local bands and dance groups perform on the festival’s three stages throughout the day.

Ham&YamPigRacesThe festival features a barbecue cook-off, rubber duck race, 5k,  a petting zoo and the always popular “What’s That Yam Thing?” contest; where children are encouraged to play with their food by turning sweet potatoes into works of art.  As well as the Sweet Potato Pie Eating Contest where 10 participants will eat like pigs, competing to be the fastest person to eat their sweet potato pie without using their hands.Mikayla-SPCheesecakePie

Get to Smithfield and enjoy the Ham & Yam Festival,  packed with delicious homemade ham biscuits, barbeque pork, and sweet potato pie.

Location: Neuse River Amphitheatre, 200 S. Front Street, Smithfield, NC 27577
Date: Sat,  May 5, 2018
Time: 9am – 9pm
Tel: 919-934-0887
hamandyam.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: johnstoncountync.org

US: Dillon, SC – Stop and Stretch Your Legs in Dillon

If you’re getting stiff from all that driving or the kids are just suffering from cabin fever from being in the car for so long, here is your perfect solution. The City of Dillon’s Wellness Center is approximately half way between New York and Miami. Why not stop and workout the kinks of travel or walk off that lunch while enjoy their facility. IMG_0456

You are welcome to use (for FREE) the 1/2 mile lighted outdoor walking path outside the complex , which is open 24/7 and dogs on a leash are always welcome.

You can buy a day pass for a mere $5 to go inside and use the city of Dillon’s 40,000 sq ft indoor sport and fitness complex that includes state-of-the-art cardiovascular equipment, weight machines, a free weights room and an aerobics & dance room. At the indoor sports complex you can let the kids play basketball, volleyball, or compete in a game of  ping pong.IMG_0460

In addition they have a gym, dry sauna, locker rooms/showers, lounge, wireless internet, cable TV and trained staff.  not Take a break and take advantage of this very inviting and clean gymnasium and fitness center.

Location: 1647 Commerce Dr, Dillon, South Carolina
Hours: Mon – Fri 5:30am – 8:30pm , Sat 8am – 5pm , Sun 2 – 5pm
Tel: 843-774-5115
cityofdillonsc.us/residents/wellness_center.php
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: cityofdillonsc.us

US: Alexandria, VA – Dance into the Night at a Silent Disco

Start the year off right with Torpedo Factory Art Center’s The Late Shift: Brand New Day, a spirited celebration of art, music, and dance.

Warm up with an indoor art market, live performances, and pop-up activities throughout the building. The evening will also feature artist demonstrations in the Grand Hall, DIY art making, a welcome reception for the winter Post-Graduate Resident, Lyric Prince, and a Brand New Day selfie station.

Silent Disco 2017-12-20_11-56-57The main attraction is the Silent Disco. Dance into the night during the silent disco with the City of Alexandria’s Mobile Art Lab.  All of the music is played through headphones, rather than a sound system. Dancers can swap back and forth between three DJs to choose which music they want to dance to. Their headphones change color based on which music they’re listening to.  Join in the friendly competition and see how many people’s headsets are set to the same color.

Location: Torpedo Factory Art Center, 105 N. Union St., Alexandria, VA 22314
Date: Fri, Jan 19, 2018
Time: 7pm – 10pm
Tel: 703-746-4570
torpedofactory.org/event/the-late-shift-brand-new-day
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitalexandriava.com

US: Benson, NC – A Celebration For Farmer’s Best Friend – the Mule

The small town of Benson, North Carolina, with a population of around 3500, will swell to approximately 30,000 come September 21-24, 2017 when the 68th Annual Benson Mule Days Celebration, which honors the farmer’s best friend, the mule, is Benson Mule Days 2017-09-13_12-54-40sponsored by the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce.

This festival is filled with family fun and activities for everyone young and old. The weekend is packed with rodeos, a mule pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, street dances, carnival rides, camping, parades, bluegrass shows and more.

Friday, visitors can enjoy many events including the Mule Competitions held in the Chamber Park and Arena. They will see mule coon jumping, a mule race, Best of Show and many other events.  If you haven’t seen a mule competition this is a must see for the whole family.Benson_Mule_Days

Saturday is a big day at Benson Mule Days as thousands of spectators grapple for a place to sit or stand to observe the one of the biggest parades in North Carolina. Bands, floats, Shriner units, classic cars, antique tractors, unique entries, beauty queens, and hundreds of horses, mules, buggies, wagons make their way down Main Street of Benson beginning at 10am.

There are three rodeos of which the first begins on Friday night followed by a Saturday night and Sunday afternoon performance. A new event this year are Mule Day Dances. After the rodeos on Friday and Saturday nights, kick up your heels at the Chamber Park.Benson_Mule_Days_ Horses3

Get a complete schedule of events- here

Location: Various – see schedule
Date: Sept 21-24, 2017
Hours: Various – see schedule
Tel: 919-894-3825
bensonmuledays.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: johnstoncountync.org

US: Providence, RI – Five Days of Dance, Storytelling, Music and Theater at Providence’s Fringe Fest

Providence’s 4th annual Fringe Festival, FRINGEPVD 2017 – will be held July 24-29, 2017 and it has grown rapidly since it started.

The Providence Fringe Festival (FRINGEPVD) is open to anyone who wants to produce their own show. For some artists, it’s a once-a-year opportunity to create a show and for others it can be an opportunity to try something new.

This year more than three hundred individual theatre, music, dance, multi-media, and performing artists  will be brought together for five nights in traditional and non-traditional performance venues throughout the Providence area.

Founded in 2014 by The Wilbury Theatre Group, the festival offers affordable tickets for outside-the-box performances that run from 40-60 minutes. Some are Free, while other tickets are $5 or $10 and can be purchased at the door. Audiences are encouraged to take full advantage of the variety of performing and visual artists participating in the fringe and attend performances that you wouldn’t normally attend, see things you wouldn’t otherwise see. Keep an open mind, have fun and check out multiple shows each night. Hringe Festival Profile2017-07-19_13-34-22

Downtown venues include AS220 Black Box Theater, Aurora, Big Nazo Satellite Space, The Dean Hotel, Mathewson Street Black Box Theater, and the RISD Museum and more. Eleven venues in total. fringepvd.org/venues.html

Location: The Wilbury Theatre Group, 393 Broad Street, Providence, RI 02907 and various other venues
Dates: July 24 – July 29, 2017
Times: 6pm – 11pm
Tel: 401-400-7100
fringepvd.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: goprovidence.com

US: Fayetteville, NC – Secret Outlet For Bargain Athletic Wear

Young girls love the Soffe line of casual athletic wear, but there’s apparel for everyone else here too. Soffe is an all-American lifestyle activewear brand that makes sizes for the entire family including; toddlers, girls, juveniles, youth, juniors, women, and men including big and tall. 

In solid colors, there’s varsity pants, jackets, hoodies, t-shirts, sweatshirts, running shorts, windbreakers, cheerleading clothing, ranger shorts and more.

IMG_2864It’s an  outlet store, so pricing can go from $1 pieces of clothing piled in giant cardboard boxes to $29.99 on the racks. If you’re  lucky you might arrive when they’ve opened the back warehouse room to the public. Then men, women and children might score their well-made clothing for the amazing price of $1-$3. Sandra loaded up the last time that she was there.IMG_2869

The Soffe juniors’ line has been strong in the brand’s cheer-leading apparel but has expanded to include  yoga, dance and running. Be sure to check out their performance wear, which features technical fabrics.

Their outstanding quality stems from their roots as a distributor to the military. This line is tough, durable and dependable, and it is designed to channel America’s original athlete: the soldier.

There’s another location in Smithfield at Exit IMG_287095 next door to JR,
49F Dr M.L.K. Jr. Way, Selma, NC 27576
919- 965-0062

Location: Soffe Outlet Store, 1005 Dunn Rd, Fayetteville 28312
Hours: Fayetteville: Mon – Sat 9:30 – 5:30, Sun – closed
Smithfield: Mon – Sat 10 – 6, Sun 12 – 6
Tel: 910-483-1776
soffe.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitfayettevillenc.com

US: Savannah, GA – Celebrate the Fourth of July on a Fireworks Cruise

Celebrate our nation’s independence with Savannah Riverboat Cruises’ special Fireworks Cruise on Tuesday, July 4, 2017. Relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of a city founded in 1733.Savannah River Cruise 4th of July Boat

During the one-and-a-half hour cruise, guests can dance to the music of the riverboat DJ spinning their favorite tunes and see a spectacular waterfront fireworks display. Each riverboat has two climate-controlled decks for comfort and an outdoor deck for viewing. A cash bar and snack bar will be available during the cruise.

Boarding starts at 8:30pm, sailing begins at 9 pm and the riverboat returns at 10:30 p.m. For more information about the Fourth of July Fireworks Cruise, call the Savannah Riverboat Cruises at (912) 232-6404 or click here to visit their website.

Location: Savannah Riverboat Cruises, 9 East River Street, Savannah, GA 31412
Date: Tues, July 4, 2017
Hours: 9pm -10:30pm (Boarding at 8:30pm)
Tel:  912-232-6404      
savannahriverboat.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: savannah.com

US: Del Ray, VA – Livin’ Good in the ‘Hood – Well Ray Festival

Decided it’s time to start looking and feeling better then this event is for you. On June 24, 2017, in Del Ray, Virginia (a neighborhood in Alexandria) “where Main Street still exists”, it’s the 4th Annual Well Ray Festival –  a community-wide effort to highlight resources for living healthily and happily. MAjr-0279

Browse health and lifestyle inspired tents, take free exercise classes, and enjoy therapeutic massages, acupuncture, physical therapy consultations, chiropractic adjustments, nutritional counseling and blood pressure screenings. Check out wellness-inspired fashion from local fitness clothing designers, jewelers, and boutiques.MAjr-0230

You will find the outdoor celebration of health and wellness at the following locations: the open field across from Mind the Mat Pilates & Yoga, the 2200 block of Mount Vernon Avenue will have Fitness Demos and classes (2213 Mt. Vernon Avenue), the Del Ray Farmer’s Market for Cooking and healthy bites and the adjacent parking lot beside it (behind United Bank 2401 Mt. Vernon Avenue) and then the Mt. Vernon Recreation Center (2701 Commonwealth Avenue) for vendors, exhibitors, wellness presentations and more.MAjr-0305

Win prizes and make sure to bring your mat and be prepared to move.  Enjoy free yoga, Pilates, CrossFit, Spin, Barre and dance classes led by fitness, health, and wellness experts. So much fun and the whole family can get involved in a healthy lifestyle.

Last year’s SCHEDULE OF EVENTS:

8:15AM Outdoor Yoga with Mind the Mat
9:45AM Pilates Boot Camp with Mind the Mat
10:45AM CrossFit OldTown Kids Field Day (Sheriff’s Department vs. Fire Department Tug-o-War)
11:45AM Outdoor Yoga with Mind the Mat
12:30PM Swet Ride/Barre Tech/TRUE Circuit 
1:30PM Stretch Class with Running Brooke
1:45PM Goal and Vision Setting with lululemon

THIRD FLOOR KIDS YOGA AND DANCE:
11-11:20AM/11:30-11:50AM/12:00-12:20PM Dance with TippiToes
12:30PM-2:00PM Yoga with YoKids

And lots of delicious and nutritious FOOD!  

Location: Along Mount Vernon Avenue, Del Ray, VA
Date: Sat, June 24, 2017
Time: 9am – 1pm
Tel: 703-683-2228
wellraydelray.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitalexandriava.com

US: New Haven, CT – International Festival of Arts & Ideas

What do you get when you assemble authors, scientists, and leading innovators alongside outstanding artists? The International Festival of Arts & Ideas – a 15-day festival of performing arts, lectures; dynamic public programs to captivate, entertain, and motivate a diversity of communities.Arts & Ideas2017-05-05_16-12-09

Each June, the Festival takes over the theaters, open spaces, and courtyards of New Haven, Connecticut with performances and dialogues that tickle the senses, engage the mind, and inspire the soul. More than 80% of festival programs are completely free to the public, including events that feature some of the most influential jazz, classical, dance, and theater artists of our time.

Dancers Arts & Ideas 2017-05-05_16-16-33This year will feature an array of world-premiere theater performances, internationally renowned musicians, modern dance, circus theater, weighty discussions on contemporary issues, food and bicycle tours. Be empowered through the rhythms of BLACK GIRL: Linguistic Play, healed through the communal music of (Be)longing, and surprised by international premieres from China, cutting-edge, retro-tech experiences of Manual Cinema, and LEO’s gravity defying theatrics.  In addition, more than a dozen new performances and experiences in ALTAR’d Spaces surrounding the New Haven Green, the Big Read, The Wailers and Rusted Root… the line up is bounteous!

Photo Credits:New Haven Green – Judy Sirota, Pop Up Fair – Haven Anderson

Location: Town Green and various venues throughout the city
Downtown New Haven, CT 06510
Dates: June 3- 24, 2017
Hours: Various
Tel: 203-498-1212
artidea.org/festival
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitnewhaven.com

US: Newburyport, MA – Reptiles, Comedy Juggler, Flash Mob, Drumming and Art at Newburyport’s 2-Day Fest

Celebrate the season at historic Newburyport Spring Festival, a tradition upheld for over 30 years on Memorial Day Weekend.  Enjoy great live music, art, fine crafts, activities for kids, and food from Newburyport’s outstanding restaurants at this 2-day FREE festival featuring entertainment for the whole family -rain or shine. Springfest Group SittingDSC_0022

Sunday -Entertainment
10:30am-11:15am in Market Square -Bryson Lang – Comedy Juggler – audiences will see a family-friendly show and an energetic personality performing inventive and clever routines that mix comedy, audience participation, ball spinning, flying sombreros, ball bouncing, fire-juggling, well-crafted timing, huge spinning bouncing rings, giant Beach Balls, improv, and a few surprises.Springfest Crafters 71

10am, 12pm, and 2pm -Theater in the Open – Flash Mob on Inn Street

Live Music
1pm – 4pm  Live Music in Market Square 617 Band – Covering your favorite party and dance hits!

11pm, 1pm, 3pm – 30 min sets on Inn Street – Zach Field Drum Studio

Art
“Emerging at Any Age” – A group of Newburyport’s finest senior artists from just starting out to artists that have had long careers in art. Gallery will be on Pleasant Street.

Monday Entertainment
Kids Entertainment from 10:30-11:30am in Market Square – Reptile Show
Come and meet some of the friendliest reptiles in New England. Brought to you by Zoo Creatures/New England Reptile, they will teach you about some most impressive animals. From giant snakes to prehistoric lizards, you can learn, touch, hold and hug.

Live Music in Market Square
Eagle in the Attic – Newburyport band performing Springfest Bridge Band 14

Location: Downtown Newburyport, Market Square, Newburyport, MA 01950
Date: Sun  May 28 – Mon May 29, 2017
Hours: 10am – 5pm
Tel: 978-462-6680
newburyport.com/events-in-newburyport/
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: newburyportchamber.org