Friday, July 29, 2011

Durham Farmers' Market Weekly News

Tomorrow at Market
The forecast is saying that the temperature is likely to climb above 100 degrees tomorrow.  There will be ice water and cups available at the Market Info table.  There will also be some extra chairs and fans at the table for those that need to take a rest and cool down during Market shopping. 

Also tomorrow and next week, see (and maybe talk to) some Market volunteers who are working on a Summer Customer Survey designed to learn a little bit more about shoppers and get ideas for improving the Market in the future..

Fresh this Week....

Fruit:  FIGS! Table Grapes,  Watermelon, Cantelope, Peaches - freestone!, Blueberries,  Blackberries,  

Vegetables:    Arugula, Beans (green, yellow, Roma, filet, purple), Longbeans, Beets, Butterbeans, Cabbage, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards,  Cucumbers,  Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Garlic,  Herbs (Basil, Cilantro Oregano, Parsley, Dill, Chives, Mint),  Kale, Lambs Quarter, Leeks, Lettuce,  Okra, Onions, Pea Shoots, Peppers (sweet, hot, Padron), Potatoes, Purple Hull Peas, Salad Mix, Shallots, Swiss Chard,  Summer Squash,  Tomatillos, Tomatoes (red and green),  Zucchini

Flowers:  Agrostemma, Asiatic Lillies, Campanula, Dahlia, Gomphrena, Gladiolus, Lisianthus, Snap Dragon, Sunflowers, Tuber Rose, Zinnia

Meats: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork

And: Honey, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Yellow & White Cornmeal, Grits, Pecans, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods, Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool, Landscaping Plants

Crafts: Handmade Clothes & Jewelery, Baskets, Pottery, Photographs, Soaps and much more...

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Blogs...Lots of 'em!

One of humanity's great pursuits is authenticity of information.  How often do people consume information from and official source only to be somehow a bit dubious about its intent or genuineness?  Factually accurate data isn't necessarily hard to find - but the truth can often be a different matter.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau (DCVB) has long prided itself on factual accuracy.  Credibility is a distant vista without it, but can an official organization fully speak from the standpoint of every corner of the citizenry?  Simply put, no.  With that truth laid bare, the desire to pull back the curtain on the community's inner workings and thoughts never wavered, and a year ago, a solution was born.

The truth - as told by anyone who wishes to tell theirs - can be laid out in a blog.  The barrier to entry on this format is low, most are very simple to use and free.  DCVB decided to give amplification to those truths by consolidating local blogs into a central location.  To date, more than 470 are listed here on a page on the Durham News Service website. 

On this page, a blog itself, are blogs from all corners of the community on all subjects - everything from personal ruminations to hard-hitting reporting and informed opinion.  Perusal of this list gives a reader a strong sense of Durham from many angles - just the intent for which it was designed.

There are thousands more to add to this compilation. Take this article as an invitation to see sides of the community in which you live that to you might be foreign.  Share the resource with friends who are thinking of visiting, or media that might be interested in learning about Durham by listening to those who call it home.  It's quite a fascinating journey.

Of course, those interested in sharing their blog and not finding it linked can email to share the address.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TDA Board Members Announcement

Wib Gulley, former mayor, State Senator and current Triangle Transit Counsel, is the new chairman of the DCVB Tourism Development Authority.  Vice Chairman is Newman Aguiar of Newman Aguiar Consulting, and Deanna Crossman of King’s Daughters Inn is Secretary/Treasurer of the Authority. 

The TDA, governing authority for the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, is marking its 23rd year since being first appointed in 1988. DCVB, Durham’s marketing agency, was chartered by the North Carolina General Assembly as a provision for granting Durham County authority in 1986 to levy a visitor “room occupancy and tourism development tax.” The Authority was appointed according to terms in an Interlocal Agreement by the City Council and Board of County Commissioners. Each body appoints five members to seats with specific qualifications and jointly appoint another. 

DCVB is an independent agency under the North Carolina Local Government Budget & Fiscal Control Act and falls under the oversight of the North Carolina Local Government Commission.  Members of the Tourism Development Authority include:

Wib Gulley
Triangle Transit Authority
Citizens At-Large or Neighborhood Associations
Newman Aguiar
Newman Aguiar Consulting
Lodging-Limited Service
Deanna Crossman
The King’s Daughters Inn
City of Durham
Cora Cole-McFadden
Durham City Council
Durham County
Brenda Howerton
Board of County Commissioners
Lodging-Full Service Conference Center
Ron Hunter
Radisson Hotel Research Triangle Park
Food Service
Brian Lawson
B. Lawson Hospitality
Major Employer, University or Meeting Planner
Bill LeFevre
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
Lodging-Full Service Conference Center
Scott Selig
Duke University
Lodging-Limited Service
Mary Simpson
Four Points by Sheraton at Southpoint & University Inn
Visitor Features or Entertainment
Carl Webb
Greenfire Development
Shelly Green
President & Chief Executive Officer

Monday, July 25, 2011

Durham City Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Opposing State Marriage Amendment

Among the many things for which Durham, NC is known is being an open and accepting community, and a model of diversity.  In fact, there is no racial majority in Durham.  This diversity crosses all lines; nationality, creed, lifestyle, etc.  Durham is widely known as one of the most friendly places to live for people in the LGBT community, and it's something of which much of the community is quite proud.

Durham is also a place of people who tell it like it is - one such person is Pam Spaulding, an internationally recognized authoritative voice in the LGBT community.  See her post on why Durham is where great things happen...for everyone - and as of last week, even more so for those in search of marriage equality.

NC: Durham City Council Unanimously Passes Resolution Opposing State Marriage Amendment Pam's House Blend
Pam Spaulding

The Durham City Council unanimously passed a resolution today opposing a statewide referendum on a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Councilwoman Diane Catotti did not attend the meeting but sent an e-mail supporting the resolution, Councilman Eugene Brown said.
The resolution is intended to send a message to the Republican-controlled legislature that the city opposes a push for a 2012 referendum on an amendment to the constitution that reaffirms a state law banning same-sex marriage. It could possibly invalidate other recognitions of same-sex partnerships, such as the city's domestic partnership benefits and lead to litigation.
The comments so far have been supportive, save the usual "one man, one woman" bleating by one. Chapel Hill and Carrboro are also on the record opposing the amendment.
Too bad North Carolina's General Assembly is chock full of anti-gay @sshats, and worse, pols who don't really care one way or another but will use gays as a political football to score points with the low-info "Christian" base.
NOTE: In 2009, the Durham City Council passed a resolution (again, unanimously) in support of marriage equality. And I covered it live:

Duke Launches New Arts Portal

Those with feet on the ground in Durham know it is the place where great things happen.  Be it visual art, performance, food, or community, Durham plays host to a wide breadth of options to experience and get involved.

Durham's accolades are so numerous that there's a website devoted to them, and the destination continually shows up in articles lauding its quality of life, food and art.  That said, Duke felt a need to highlight not only the community's offerings, but also the university's involvement and enabling of some of the features.  To wit, this site was born.

"The arts scenes at Duke and across Durham have both blossomed over the past several years. Members of the Duke community are deeply involved in Durham concerts, shows, classes and other arts activities. Duke Performances and others at Duke are holding events at venues across town. We developed this site to highlight how this artistic synergy is benefiting both sides," said David Jarmul, Associate Vice President of News and Communications at Duke.

"Duke has certainly helped to pave the way to some great enhancements that make Durham a continually growing visitor destination," said Shelly Green, President and CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.  "This site gives students a great starting point in exploring Durham by providing a type of lens or filter through which they can become introduced."

The site will be used in a variety of ways by Duke, primarily as a way to inform prospects that Duke is part of a significant community of cultural offerings on par with many larger places, and that the university plays a significant role in forming the cultural experience options in Durham.

Durham Receives Honor for Alternative Transportation Options for Employees

The City of Durham was recently recognized for outstanding alternative transportation efforts at the Annual Triangle Commuter Awards event held by the area GoTriangle Transportation Demand Management Coordination Program.

The City of Durham received commuting honors for its efforts to promote alternative transportation among its employees, which includes free transit service on the Durham Area Transit Authority (DATA) and the Bull City Connector as well as bike racks, compressed work weeks, and teleworking. Durham was also recognized for having the highest percentage of employees participating in the SmartCommute Challenge for an entity with 2,000 to 4,999 employees.

Two Durham residents also received the Golden Spokes Award as champions of bicycle commuting and leaders in the cycling community. Scott Carter, chair of the Durham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Commission (BPAC), averages more than 4,000 bike miles per year riding from his home in southern Durham to IBM. Jack Warman, a former member of BPAC, commutes daily from Durham to Morrisville and is involved in several efforts to strengthen the bicycle community in Durham, such as writing for the website.

The Golden Mode Awards recognize transportation initiatives that contribute to local efforts to reduce emissions, traffic congestion, and single occupancy.

Durham is a community with many alternative transportation options, biking alternatives; Downtown Durham rates very highly on the site, with some areas being rated as a "Walker's Paradise."

Hirsch Family Foundation Awards $300,000 Grant to East Durham Children's Initiative

Education is a big deal in Durham, NC and has been for a long time.  Public schools here have taken a variety of innovative approaches to education and learning, and the results are evident.  Another of Durham's programs has now gotten a massive financial support that will help propel it forward for the next three years.

East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), a “cradle to career” program modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, announced today that it has received a grant of $100,000 per year for the next three years from the Hirsch Family Foundation. This support is unrestricted and will be used for a variety of purposes that will help further develop the EDCI model. The Hirsch Family Foundation is a private foundation based in Dallas, Texas, that supports novel social service organizations in hopes of strengthening local communities.

“East Durham Children’s Initiative is very gratified for the significant support given by the Hirsch Family Foundation,” said Barker French, co-chair East Durham Children’s Initiative. "The Foundation believes the cradle to college and/or career model developed by EDCI will transform the lives of children in East Durham, and EDCI is committed to helping Durham’s children succeed.”

“The Hirsch Family Foundation is impressed by EDCI’s ability to forge collaboration between Durham’s various non-profit organizations in order to more effectively help the families of Durham. We believe EDCI has the potential to create lasting, generational change, and we hope that our donation, in conjunction with that of the Oak Foundation, will help it grow and reach its potential in the coming years. We are honored to be involved."

Friday, July 22, 2011

(re)Discover Durham with Scvngr

With the profusion of social media applications on the market today, and a slew more coming down the pike, it's hard for the end user to make decisions about which ones to use, what they do and how they can be beneficial.  As a destination marketing organization, the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau is similarly burdened (as all businesses are) to ascertain which applications offer the most end user value for their customers.

After considerable searching through a multitude of mobile applications, DCVB decided on moving forward with Scvngr.  That name's not a typo, it's the word "scavenger" without vowels, and it's a mobile gaming application that actually has strong value for those visiting places with which they are unfamiliar, or for those rediscovering places with which they have become overly familiar.  Let's face it, few can be tourists in the places they live.  The application also has a social component that is enjoyable to use as it allows users to share their experiences with others on social media, and in some instances, win status or prizes.

Scvngr opens the door to discovering places by having users complete challenges.  The challenges usually fall into three categories: answers, photos and scans.  These are as simple as they sound - answer a question, take a picture or scan a QR code.  Doing so typically requires some interaction beyond simply arriving at a place - good challenges require the user to discover the place at which the challenge is taking place.  Challenges are often bundled together to make treks.  For an organization like DCVB, treks equal tours or itineraries with information delivered as each challenge is completed.

DCVB is currently building a series of treks that will open the door to Durham on a few different topics and which should be enlightening to both residents and visitors.  Once complete, those will be announced, but for the mean time, DCVB has a few bits up on the application for folks to begin playing with this service.  All folks need is a web-enabled smart phone to play, and the Scvngr application.  Here's a tutorial on how to use the application, as well.

So, visitor or resident, Scvngr awaits.  Feedback on this tool can be emailed.

Co-op Advertising Opportunities

Among the many ways the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau does its job is to create opportunities for local stakeholders to be able to market themselves to potential visitors in ways that otherwise might be unattainable.

To that end, DCVB makes deals with media for advertising space that is subdivided into smaller pieces to make it more affordable for local businesses to participate and get exposure.  Most recently, such ads have appeared in Our State magazine.  Our State is one of the most highly circulated and read publications on the subject of North Carolina. Since NC is the sixth busiest state in the union for visitation, and since many Durham visitors come from within a 300 mile radius, this publication is a great avenue for businesses to get their messages out to potential customers.

Spring is a strong visitation season for Durham, and DCVB has arranged for co-ops in Our State in February, March and April of 2012, and these spaces are being sold now.  "The value for local stakeholders is undeniable," said Sam Poley, DCVB's Director of Marketing and Communications.  "Advertising in Our State is simply unattainable for many local businesses unless it is broken down in the way we have been able to negotiate.  The opportunity we've created here is absolutely something for which businesses need to budget."

Those interested in participating in these co-op ads, or who have suggestions for other publications in which to have co-op ads, are encouraged to email Sam Poley.

What's Hot at the Durham Farmers' Market

Tomorrow will undoubtedly be one of the year's hottest days at Durham Farmers' Market.  In spite of the heat, the Market will be full of sweet, juicy cantaloupes, watermelons and tomatoes.  These 3 crops always thrive during the hottest days of summer.  The variety and abundance of melons and tomatoes will last through early to mid-August. So get them while they are here and while it's hot!

Voting for the America's Favorite Farmers' Market Contest is ongoing through August 31, 2011. Show your community spirit and vote for the Durham Farmers' Market here.

Fresh this Week

Fruit: Table Grapes, Figs, Watermelon, Cantelope, Peaches, Blueberries and Blackberries
Vegetables:  Field tomatoes, Long Beans,  Arugula, Beans, Beets, Butterbeans, Cabbage, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards,  Cucumbers,  Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Garlic, Basil, Cilantro Oregano, Parsley, Dill, Chives, Mint,  Kale, Lambs Quarter, Leeks, Lettuce,  Okra, Onions, Pea Shoots, Peppers, Potatoes, Purple Hull Peas, Salad Mix, Shallots, Swiss Chard,  Summer Squash,  Tomatillos, Tomatoes, and  Zucchini

Flowers:  Agrostemma, Asiatic Lillies, Campanula, Dahlia, Gomphrena, Gladiolus, Lisianthus, Snap Dragon, Sunflowers, Tuber Rose and Zinnia

Meats: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb and Pork

And: Honey, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Yellow & White Cornmeal, Grits, Pecans, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods, Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool and Landscaping Plants

Crafts: Handmade Clothes & Jewelery, Baskets, Pottery, Photographs, Soaps and much more...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Durham Bulls Set Triple-A Home Run Record, Blast Rochester 18-3

Well, our hometown team, the Durham Bulls have done it again.  Not only are they the subject of the most popular sports movie of all time and the most popular Triple-A Baseball team in the world, but now they broke a record - so what if it was one of their own.

Dan Johnson went 5-for-6 with one of Durham's Triple-A record seven homers, as the Bulls won 18-3 at Rochester to complete a successful 7-3 road trip. 

Johnson doubled in the first of four first inning runs off Andy Baldwin (5-8).  Russ Canzler then followed that two-base hit with the start of the home-run barrage.  Canzler belted a three-run homer to center, his 12th of the year, for a 4-0 lead.

Durham, which had not hit more than three homers in a game this year, hit four in the second inning to chase Baldwin.  Number eight and nine hitters John Matulia and J.J. Furmaniak went deep back-to-back to start the inning.  Later in the frame Johnson and Daniel Mayora hit two-run shots to make it 10-0.

Nevin Ashley became the sixth different Bull to homer in the fourth inning.  His three-run blast to right-center made it 13-0 and tied Durham's single-game Triple-A record, set on two prior occasions.

Matulia would eventually cap the scoring and set the mark by launching an 0-2 pitch from Dusty Hughes into the right field bullpen in the eight, capping the scoring in the 18-3 victory.  Durham collected 20 hits, setting season highs for hits and runs.

Jim Paduch (1-0) benefited from the run support and went seven innings in his Bulls debut.  Marquise Fleming finished up. 

Durham (55-43) is a season-best 12 games over .500 after the lopsided win and a 7-3 road trip.  Durham heads home in first place in the South Division and begins a 10-game home stand on Friday against Toledo. 

The question is, will there be any seats left for what is bound to be some great baseball? 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Durham a Mecca for Summer League Basketball

There's no denying it, Durham is intensely passionate about its basketball. Durham's Duke University boasts one of the strongest basketball programs in the county, one of the best revered coaches in college sports and  a stadium full of Crazies.  So, what's a rabid hoops fan to do in the off season? Join the sell-out crowds at North Carolina Central University's McLendon-McDougald Gymnasium for the S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-AM.

The Pro-AM is a NCAA certified summer hoops league with a rapidly growing fan-base among athletes and fans alike. The Pro-AM blends professional athletes and collegiate players with local high school all-stars to make up the teams. For the first time in the league's four year history, the 2011 season also features women's teams. 

The Pro-Am has drawn a healthy number of NBA players in years past but with the NBA lockout in full effect, more NBA stars are making their way to the Bull City. This year, the Pro-Am boasts participation from NBA stars John Wall, Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Powell, Chris Wilcox, Rasheed Wallace, Kyrie Irving and Jawad Williams and college stars including Seth Curry,  Mason Plumlee, Harrison Barnes, Austin Rivers, John Henson, CJ Leslie, Lorenzo Brown and countless others.

The league brings current celebrities and next year's possible draft picks under one roof while also encouraging grassroots mentoring among the athletes. Professional athletes who have a connection to the community come back to mentor local college players who in turn mentor and motivate area high school athletes.

Basketball fans are encouraged to show up early in order to ensure a seat in the 3,056 person capacity McLendon-McDougald gymnasium. Look to the 2011 S.J.G. Greater NC Pro-Am schedule for upcoming games; if you're a Crazy in need of a fix, look here for Duke Highlights.

Durham Public Schools Releases Preliminary ABCs Test Results

Durham Public Schools demonstrated a marked improvement in student performance according to preliminary testing data released earlier today. The preliminary scores are the result of the 2010-2011 North Carolina End-of-Grade and End-of-Course assessments.

Superintendent Becoats reported that the district made significant strides in its efforts to become a top performing school district. The district’s graduation rate is now 74%, an increase of 4% from 2009-10. In addition, more middle students are demonstrating proficiency in Algebra, bringing the total rate to 92%. The number of “low performing schools” declined from 5 to 2, a 60% reduction. In the “Elementary South” area, 100% of schools met expected or high growth. In the “Elementary North,” area, 79% of the schools met expected or high growth.

Twenty six schools recorded an overall gain in their composite scores. Improvements can be attributed in part to recent initiatives implemented by the district such as job-embedded literacy coaching. In addition, the Assessment for Learning Framework and intensive support from the Design for Accelerated Progress model provided principals and teachers with the tools needed to foster academic progress.

“I am pleased to see that our overall district scores have moved in a positive direction,” said Superintendent Eric Becoats. “However, my expectations and my energies will continue to be focused on higher levels of proficiency. Our strategic plan is providing the foundation to increase academic achievement.”

Other highlights of the report include:

  • 88% of elementary and middle schools met either “expected growth” or “high growth”.
  • 3 schools were recognized as Schools of Distinction (Pearsontown Elementary, City of Medicine Academy and Durham School of the Arts).
  • 26 schools made positive gains on their preliminary proficiency composites – this includes 15 elementary, 5 middle and 6 high schools.
  • 9 schools exceeded a 5 point gain in proficiency – one of those (Spring Valley Elementary) exceeded a 10 point gain.
  • 8 schools moved up 1 tier while 1 school moved up 2 tiers according to the Design for Accelerated Progress model.
  • 5 schools produced a composite of 80% or higher: Pearsontown Elementary, Durham School of the Arts, JD Clement Early College, City of Medicine Academy and Middle College.
  • Our small high schools had tremendous graduation rates: City of Medicine Academy = 97%, JD Clement Early College = 95%, Hillside New Tech = 100%, Middle College = 96%, Southern School of Engineering = 90%.
  • Grades 3-8 showed modest gains in proficiency from the previous year. Reading proficiency went up .8% and math went up 1.8% while science dropped .1%. The overall composite for grades 3-8 went up .4%.
  • Grades 9-12 showed an overall composite gain of .2%. EOCs demonstrating gains include Algebra I, Civics & Economics and Physical Science. EOCs demonstrating decreases include Algebra II, Biology, English I and US History.
“While these scores indicate progress, we still have more work to do,” said Becoats.  “We need to focus more efforts on reading proficiency in grades 3 through 8.”

Friday, July 15, 2011

Triangle Regional Film Commission Accesses Reel-Scout's Reel-Crew System

Durham has a long history with the movies - it goes back decades.  The most popular sports movie of all-time, Bull Durham, was filmed here, and still today Durham is the backdrop for feature films and commercials.  One of Hollywood's best-known producers, Thom Mount, is a Durham native.

Consequently, Durham and the surrounding communities have a proper film office run by the Triangle Regional Film Commission, TRFC, which works with the film industry to encourage production in this area.

To make the area more accessible to outside production crews unfamiliar with locations, TRFC uses an industry standard database called Reel Scout, which makes site selection much easier.  A special service of this database is the Reel-Crew system.  The Reel-Crew system catalogs crew, support services, and talent in the Triangle Region all viewable through the TRFC search website and through the NC Film Office website for statewide and nationwide coverage. 

Any entries made through the NC Film Office Reel-Crew platform relating to the Triangle will automatically be placed within the regional database users only need to register one time here.  Reel-Crew allows users to add up to three website links, upload a resume and list affiliations, as well as elect work status and see available positions.

Once a user's Reel-Crew registration has been completed and approved by the Triangle Regional Film Commission, their profile will be active and viewable to the public.  At any time, users can log to update their account.  Questions about the new platform should be directed here.

The Spirit Of Bob Fowler

 Durham blogger and President Emeritus of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau shares his thoughts on integrity and authenticity as embodied by Durham's gourmet food markets of past and present...

The Spirit of Bob Fowler

The original founder of Fowlers would be proud of Jennings Brody.  From a family of traditional grocers, he founded Fowlers in its former downtown location at the far southwest end of Brightleaf Square, two blocks from where it has been reborn in Peabody Place under another name today.  Bob Fowler displayed a genius feel for how to make a store gourmet while keeping it genuine, authentic and inviting to everyone.

I feel fortunate to have visited with him many times during my former life as a community/destination market executive.  Listening to him helped me more rapidly gain a feel for what makes Durham, North Carolina so unique, a sense that far too many in that field fail to grasp as they approach communities as generic “plug and play.”

After Fowlers sold and moved to a new location, it lost its way and failed.  Resurrected as Parker & Otis by Ms. Brody, the store exhibits the authentic feel and sense of Bob’s original store as though he was still perched in the “crows nest” office from which he kept a close eye on what mattered to his customers.
The sense of how to mix the old and the new as Jennings does cannot be mimicked by those without it, even if as she was, they are tutored in Foster’s Market by one of the best.

People in communities with a strong sense of place such as Durham are sensitive to the difference between knock-offs and the real thing.

In the words of Scott Russell Sanders from his essay about what makes a place real, “what all of us long for, I suspect, is to love the places in which we live and live in places worthy of love…we hunger for integrity and authenticity.”

Fortunately, people from or drawn to Durham know exactly what he means and have found such a place.

Durham County Strategic Planning Resident Survey

What will Durham County look like 5, 10 or 50 years?  What current and emerging issues need to be considered now as the community strives to be an even better place to live, work, learn, play and grow?

These are just some of the visioning questions being asked during Durham County’s Strategic Planning Process, and the public is encouraged to provide answers.  The process culminates in early 2012 with Strategic Plan adoption by the Board of County Commissioners. 

Between now and then, the Board of County Commissioners, citizens, county employees and countless stakeholders will be working to shape a plan that will help guide Durham County forward in the years to come.  The community's input is considered vital and can be provided by filling out a brief resident survey.  Opinions, thoughts and comments will be used in the strategic planning process.

Questions about the survey or the strategic planning process can be sent here, and more information about Durham County’s strategic planning process can be found here.

Lettuce Talk with Durham Farmers' Market

This week, let's talk lettuce.  Lettuce is available year round at the Durham Farmers' Market, but it isn't the first vegetable that comes to mind during the middle of July.

Lettuce is primarily a cool season crop. The Market is filled with lettuce in the spring and fall. As the weather warms, many varieties of lettuce, start to bolt or go to seed.  When lettuce plants bolt, the leaves get tough, bitter and milky.  As this  happens, many farmers decide to focus on other summer crops, but a number of our farmers have figured out how to grow lettuce as the temperatures rise above 80 degrees.

Here are several factors farmers keep in mind as they grow lettuce in the summer: 

Water.  Lettuce plants are made up of 95% water, so it is important to keep the lettuce plants well watered as the heat rises.

Shade.  In the spring and fall, lettuce thrives in a sunny spot in the garden.  But, in the summer, direct, intense sunlight can quickly burn and dry up the tender lettuce leaves.  So, farmers grow these plants in the shade.  Some use trees or other tall plants to do the shading.  Others use shade cloth to make sure that the plants stay shaded from the strong summer sun.

Variety.  Plant varieties are always a big consideration for farmers with any type of vegetable.  To successfully grow lettuce in the summer time, farmers choose heat tolerant varieties.  These  have been bred to thrive in summer heat.  These varieties stay sweet and don't bolt as quickly as varieties that are suited for cooler temperatures.

Harvesting Temperature.  To ensure that lettuce can make the journey from the field to the Market to your table, farmers take great care to harvest their lettuce at the coolest times of the day (early morning).  It is also important that they get the field heat out of them.  This is done by plunging the lettuce into cool water and quickly moving it to a cooler so that it remains cool and crisp for you at the Market.

Fresh this Week
Fruit: Table Grapes, Figs, Watermelon, Cantelope, Peaches, Blueberries,  Blackberries
Vegetables:  Field tomatoes, Long Beans,  Arugula, Beans (green, yellow, Roma, filet, purple), Beets, Butterbeans, Cabbage, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards,  Cucumbers,  Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Garlic,  Herbs (Basil, Cilantro Oregano, Parsley, Dill, Chives, Mint),  Kale, Lambs Quarter, Leeks, Lettuce,  Okra, Onions, Pea Shoots, Peppers (sweet, hot, Padron), Potatoes, Purple Hull Peas, Salad Mix, Shallots, Swiss Chard,  Summer Squash,  Tomatillos, Tomatoes (red and green),  Zucchini

Flowers:  Agrostemma, Asiatic Lillies, Campanula, Dahlia, Delphiniums, Lisianthus, Snap Dragon, Sunflowers, Zinnia

Meats: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork

And: Honey, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Yellow & White Cornmeal, Grits, Pecans, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods, Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool, Landscaping Plants

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Fun Times with the Kids in the Bull City

Durham has a lot to offer those that live, work and visit here.  It is a town with incredible diversity in population, cuisine, and activity, and there are many ways to enjoy the place where great things happen.

Here is a list of some of the options for those visiting Durham with children tow.  Durham's official visitor website has all the information available on things to do for all types of visitor.  Be sure to visit the site as plans to come to Durham take shape.

So, on to the specifics...

Free family activities
Durham Farmers’ MarketLocated in Durham Central Park, the Market offers "The Durham Home Fries" a weekly kids-only cooking series throughout the summer.
Music on the LawnHosted by American Tobacco, this family friendly music series runs throughout the summer and features some of music’s most beloved Back Porch Music acts.
Third Friday Art WalkFree gallery crawl with live music and other performances throughout Durham the third Friday of each month.
Movies in the ParkDurham Central Park hosts a free outdoors, summer film series; the screen hangs from the Farmers’ Market Pavilion. Attendees are encouraged to bring chairs and blankets. Shows start at dark. 

Summer activities for families:
Lemur Center - Research and study center housing 260 prosimian primates, the largest population of lemurs outside of their native Madagascar. Guided walking tour & inside viewing of nocturnal prosimians with unique sound experience by appointment only.
Museum of Life & Science - Preserved natural setting home to black bears, red wolves, and lemurs. Natural observation areas, 750-foot boardwalk, outdoor microscopes, and field cameras look into this dynamic natural landscape, its wildlife, plant life, and supporting habitats. Included with admission to the Museum of Life and Science.
Wheel’s Family Fun Park - 8 1/2 acre park full of family fun. Attractions include roller skating, go-karts, mini-golf, play gym, batting cages and more.
Durham Bulls Athletic Park - The Durham Bulls are the Triple-A Baseball affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays. The team plays 144 games per season, 72 at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, overlooking historic Downtown Durham and designed by the architects of Camden Yards.
The Scrap Exchange - Among the Scrap Exchange's offerings are kid-friendly workshops and parties. The creative reuse center promotes creativity, environmental awareness, and community through reuse.

Favorite family parks:
Rock Quarry Park – Home to three picnic facilities, a playground, a large rec center, soccer fields, a spray ground, eight tennis courts, and a baseball field.
Durham Central ParkArts-themed, community-focused, municipal park in downtown Durham.
West Point on the Eno – Located along the Eno River, the park features a reconstructed 1778 working grist mill with cornmeal for sale, the historic McCown-Mangum House dating to the mid-1800s, the Hugh Mangum Museum of Photography, hiking trails, and amphitheater.
Eno River State ParkEnjoy bird-watching, canoeing/rafting, fishing, hiking, and picnic shelters within 3,900 acres of secluded wilderness along the banks of the Eno River.
American Tobacco Trail - 12 miles of trails from Downtown Durham to NC Hwy 54, then from Massey Chapel Rd to Durham/Chatham County line - perfect for bicycling, hiking, walking, and running.
Duke Forrest - 7,060-acre teaching and research forest of Duke University with a variety of ecosystems represented. Preserved for research and recreation since the 1930s. Hiking, biking, horseback riding, fishing, and picnics permitted.
City Parks and State Parks - Durham boasts more than 60 city parks and state parks.

For additional information, see the Community Event Calendar for a list of all upcoming family-friendly events in the place where great things happen.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Communities – Unpretentious or Narcissistic

Durham blogger and President Emeritus of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau shares his thoughts on the Durham's core traits and values...

"Communities - Unpretentious or Narcissistic"
Bull City Mutterings
Reyn Bowman

“Unpretentious” has been distilled by experts as one of Durham, North Carolina’s core traits and values as a community and scientifically confirmed among both internal and external audiences.

Far more than any physical attributes, personality traits such as these are by far the most emblematic of a community’s distinctive character.

Some outsiders have trouble rationalizing Durham’s unpretentiousness with its unheard of 17 to 1 community pride ratio among residents, or the fact that among non-residents it scores the highest positive image compared to similarly sized or larger communities in North Carolina based on scientific surveys.

They probably mistake unpretentiousness as weakness just as many people do humility, and just as they may also mistake the boosterish façade of some communities as a reflection of pride or image.

The following description of humility is useful for two reasons.  It comes from another blog by David Brooks and paraphrases comments made by Dr. June Tangney of George Mason University during a panel discussion at the recent convention of the Association for Psychological Science.

"Humility is better seen as the opposite of narcissism. The narcissist has a damaged sense of self and is consequently self-centered a great deal of the time, reacting in defensive ways to ego threat. 
The humble person has an accurate and durable sense of self and can see the relationship between the self and the larger world."

Not only does that summary provide a good understanding of humility but it describes why so many narcissistic communities can be so over-reaching and then when unmasked, so defensive, dismissive and condescending.

Just as Durham is unpretentious by nature, other communities can also be narcissistic by nature.  The role of community/destination marketing executives as stewards for protecting and defending a community’s identity against the overreaching and condescension of others is made all the more difficult especially if the news media based in those communities are complicit in this narcissism.

It takes “grit: the perseverance and passion for long-term goals” to stand up for a community in the face of these reactions from another and still nurture and sustain inter-community working relationships and partnerships.  But just remember that any true partnership is founded on mutual respect.

It is also extremely important in the face of a narcissistic reactions by other communities to resist, without fail, any temptation to retaliate in a way that is zero-sum or win-lose. It helps to keep in mind that a narcissistic community reacts with dismissiveness and hostility because deep down it has an almost temporal insecurity.

There will always be individuals in otherwise narcissistic communities who, while they may not know how to overcome that overall trait there, have a more realistic, durable and humble sense of their community and are willing to work together to counterbalance its narcissism.

If you live and work in a community that is inherently unpretentious and humble, not just a “wannabe”, then these explanations are resonating.  If you read this far but are dismissive, then you’re probably part of the problem…and so is your community.

If you didn’t realize that defending and protecting a community’s identity is the most basic and elemental aspect of community marketing, now you do.

Startup Stampede 2.0

One of Durham's many well-ingrained brand values is entrepreneurialism.  It is not surprising then, that Durham has achieved national recognition as a place for new businesses start-ups. 

A variety of incubators and accelerators have cropped up in Durham to help those nascent companies get going...Launchbox, Joystick Labs, Bull City Forward and American Underground, to name a few. 

Then in April, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Durham Inc. hosted the "Bull City Start Up Stampede" where 15 entrepreneurs were selected through a competitive process to come to Durham for 60 days to work on their business idea. 

The offer came with free office space, wi-fi, a community of peers to work with and a chance to learn from some of the most successful start-up founders in Durham.  The event worked so well, a second Stampede is in the planning stages for September of 2011. 

This time around the community has a chance to engage and actually pick one of the companies that get to participate. For a minimum support commitment, contributors get to vote on the 20 finalists. The top vote-getter gets an automatic invitation into the fall Stampede. It’s a very "Durham" way involve the entire community in supporting future entrepreneurial success stories and attracting top talent to the Bull City.

As a matter of fact, the company helping the stampede garner additional support is Ripple, a local Durham start-up that markets itself as a "A better way to fund and support entrepreneurs."   What's really cool about that is Ripple just happens to be one of the 15 companies chosen to participate in the first stampede, proving indeed, that what goes around comes around.

 Click here to participate in the effort.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Durham CVB Completes Successful International Accreditation Renewal

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau was one of 10 destination marketing organizations (DMO) in the country to receive its accreditation renewal from the independent, Washington D.C.-based Destination Marketing Accreditation Program (DMAP).  This  achievement distinguishes DCVB as a bureau performing at the highest standards and best practices in destination marketing and management.

DCVB was the first DMO in North Carolina and among the first 2 dozen in North America to receive its accreditation in 2007.  Since that time, DMOs in Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Raleigh, and most recently Asheville, have obtained accreditation.   DCVB received an unprecedented 11 exemplary citations in its original application and an additional exemplary citation in its renewal.  This brings the number of areas considered where DCVB is considered a model bureau worthy of imitation to a total of 12 areas.   

Since first achieving accreditation, DCVB President & CEO Shelly Green was elected to serve on the international Board of Directors for DMAP.  She is currently Vice Chairman and will move to Chairman in 2012.

Friday, July 8, 2011

6th Annual Tomato Tasting at Durham Farmers Market

Saturday, July 9 marks Durham Farmers' Market's 6th Annual TOMATO TASTING. Local chef and restauranteur, Shane Ingram, will be host the event for the 5th consecutive year. This year, there will be over 40 varieties of tomatoes to taste.  All of the tomatoes are grown by the farmers at the Market.  There will be heirloom varieties, hybrid varieties and cherry and grape tomatoes. Each variety has a different flavor - different acidity, sweetness, texture and color - colors will range from red to orange to yellow to green to purple to pink and even include some black varieties and white varieties. 

The tasting will be held under tents on the lawn and this year; the market has devised a new system to keep the tasting line moving faster. Ingram will be chopping tomatoes, talking about the different varieties and cooking up a few tomato based dishes to try along with the tomatoes. 

Tomatoes for Tasting:
Sweet Treats - A large, pink cherry tomato.
Green Zebra - A small yellow and green tomato that was developed in 1985 and featured at Alice Waters Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse.
Black Zebra - A cross between a green zebra and a black tomato.
Paul Robeson - A Russian heirloom tomato that is a black beefsteak type tomato with dark green shoulders.  This variety was named after Paul Robeson, an African American opera singer and civil rights activist who was well respected in the Soviet Union.
Radiator Charlie's Mortgage Lifter - A large, pink heirloom that weighs between 1-3 pounds and has a meaty texture.  This variety was developed in the 1930s by MC Byles, a radiator repairman, who cross-bred the 4 larges tomatoes in his garden and with the profits from his successful cross was able to pay off his $6000 mortgage.
Celebrity - A hybrid tomato variety that is uniformly red and round and generally weighs about a half pound.  It is heralded for being disease resistant and not cracking.  It is a very good tomato to grow!
Black Prince - A small, round, black tomato that is known as a "true Siberian tomato".  It was introduced from Irkutsk, Russia and is said to have great health benefits and a tasty flavor.
Sunsugar - An orange cherry tomato.  It is very similar in looks to Sungold tomatoes (which will also be available for tasting!) and it is similarly sweet.

Durham, Where Great Developments Happen

More than a dozen facilities, restaurants and exhibits are slated to open in Durham before the year's end. This makes for an exciting follow up to a year that saw Durham grow by two breweries, two music venues, a multitude of restaurants, and improvements to the transportation sector including the addition of the Bull City Connector and the renovation of RDU’s Terminal 2.

2011 Visitor Related Projects

Durham Convention Center - The 44,000-square-foot facility is currently undergoing $6.1 in major renovations to offer planners and attendees with a state-of-the-art center beginning in Fall, 2011.

Carolina Theatre- $1.8 million renovations to the 85-year old theatre include new carpeting, plaster repairs and painting, new doors and windows, and the opening of six private boxes in Fletcher Hall. The theatre closed on June 13 and will reopen in October, 2011.

Amtrak - Durham county is slated for expanded service. A new commuter rail service is projected to operate 18 round trips daily to Wake County. The heaviest service would be in the morning and evening rush hour; round trip tickets will be $12.

The Leaf – Public structure, whose shape resembles a leaf, will have seven steel columns and a series of wooden fins that will hang from several steel ribs that connect the columns. The $30,000 structure will be located near the Liberty Arts Pavilion in Durham Central Park and will provide an artistic shaded seating area as well as a stage for performances.
History Beneath Our Feet - A new searchable resource created by the Museum of Durham History that helps users discover the origins of Durham's street and school names with a focus on the Downtown Durham Historic District and the Hayti/Fayetteville Street corridor. Through lively stories and images, the site engages visitors in the very human side of Durham's compelling history.

The Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau tracks new developments and maintains a database online as a public resource, click here to see more of them.

Bimbe Cultural Arts Festival Wins National Recognition

Durham Parks and Recreation has been selected as a recipient of the prestigious 2011 Dorothy Mullen Arts and Humanities Award for the success of the Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival, a community-wide celebration of African and African American culture, history and traditions. Awarded by the National Recreation & Park Association (NRPA), the Dorothy Mullen Arts and Humanities program honors the most innovative and effective arts and humanities programs across the nation. The Bimbé Cultural Arts Festival has been a signature event in Durham since 1969.

Accolades, rankings and other interesting tidbits are posted daily in Where Great Things Happen. Sign up to receive these updates as they happen, or in a daily digest by visiting here and clicking "Get DNS - Where Great Things Happen delivered by email" or by subscribing through your web-based reader.

Bull Durham Blues Festival Meets Durham Central Park

The 24th season of the Bull Durham Blues Festival will be unlike any other. Every year the Festival brings national recognition to the home of the "Piedmont Blues" and is considered an important piece of the local tapestry. As a special thank you to the community that has supported the annual Blues Festival, St. Joseph's Historic Foundation has made this year's event free to the public.

In direct response to feedback from Festival supporters, the Bull Durham Blues Festival will return to an outdoor setting: namely, Durham Central Park. The St. Joseph's Historic Foundation has partnered with the city and Durham Central Park  to present the Bull Durham Blues Festival on September 10 from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Through the years, Festival goers have shared the richness of the blues heritage and experienced an event well-suited for families, friends and Blues lovers of all ages. Lawn chairs are encouraged for maximum enjoyment of this distinctly Durham event.

 24th Annual Bull Durham Blues Festival
Saturday, September 10, 2011
6pm-12 Midnight (gates open at 5pm)

Shop Local for Durham's Sake

In a time when most cities continue to suffer from the economic downturn, Durham businesses continue to grow at an enviable pace. One way to ensure that this trend in economic growth continues is to shop local.

The "shop local" mantra is far more than a message of community boosterism. A number of researchers in recent years have taken a look at the impact of keeping money circulating in the local economy. One study by the Michigan State University Center for Community and Economic Development found that for every $100 spent at a local business, $73 stayed in the local economy as compared to $43 when the purchase was made at a non-local store. Even modest changes in consumer spending can have substantial impact on local economies.

Durham is home to a number of one-of-a-kind boutiques and shops stocked with unique finds and local products. These shops keep Durham different and contribute dramatically to Durham's unique sense of place.  Sustain-a-Bull Durham's Shop Independent Durham Week continues through the weekend. The following is one Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau staffer's contribution to the local economy.

The following items were found within a mile radius of Downtown Durham for under $50:

1. Hello!Lucky Wrapping Paper, Parker & Otis
2. Handmade Gift Tag, Magpie Boutique
3. Assorted Nifty Buttons, Parker & Otis
4. NC Made Toffee, Parker & Otis
5. Mandarin Shea Butter Soap, Parker & Otis
6. Matchbook Post-it Notes, Parker & Otis
7. TokyoMilk Honeycomb Parfum, Magpie Boutique
8. Hand-pressed Durham Notecard, Shed Letterpress
9. Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Lip Balm, various retail locations

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Durham Arts Council Announces Plans to Expand CenterFest Arts Festival for 2012

North Carolina’s Longest Running Outdoor Arts Festival Will Expand to be Major Draw for Southeast Region

Durham Arts Council, producer and presenter of CenterFest Arts Festival for 37 years, announced today its plans to dramatically expand and re-envision CenterFest, the longest running outdoor arts festival in North Carolina.  DAC is working with key community partners in this effort including the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, Downtown Durham Inc., the City of Durham’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development and Cultural Advisory Board, Fox 50, the Herald-Sun, Durham Coca-Cola Bottling, Co., TROSA, Carolina Theatre and other partners, and will involve the business community, creative community, and individuals in planning during the months ahead.  DAC and its key partners will “rest” the festival for 2011 in order to launch a 1 year Visioning/Production Process for the 2012 expanded arts and entertainment festival format.

Durham Arts Council (DAC) was the first major arts organization to come downtown in the 1970’s to nurture and grow the arts community and DAC’s CenterFest was the first major arts event for Durham.  Durham’s recent Creative Vitality Index score indicates Durham has grown to be a top creative community in the U.S.   DAC has been growing and improving and expanding audiences for all of its programs and services and now is the strategic time to revitalize and grow CenterFest into a national caliber signature event for Durham. 

“We envision building a major arts and entertainment festival that will draw amazing crowds to Durham to experience our revitalized, creative, welcoming city,” said Sherry DeVries, Executive Director of the Durham Arts Council.  City Councilman, Mike Woodard, also Vice President of Programs, Policy and Planning of the DAC Board of Trustees states  “Durham Arts Council’s CenterFest started as the ‘Street Arts’ festival in 1973 when the DAC was the only major arts organization in town. It has been a signature festival of Durham for many years.  Today, we have a large arts and creative community, with much credit to DAC for nurturing arts organizations and artists for 57 years.  We want to showcase our thriving arts and creative scene in new and bigger ways in an expanded festival.”

Proposed features of an expanded CenterFest – Festival of Arts, Music, Food and Creativity (working title) include expanded visual arts, enticing “Edible Arts” - culinary arts components, exciting entertainment district and stages and the addition of entertainment in other venues throughout the weekend; Saturday evening music party; beer garden/brewery showcase; NC wineries showcase; hands-on creative arts; arts and fine craft demonstrations; and showcases for design, gaming and technology arts. 

“Durham deserves the hottest, most exciting festival we can produce,” said Casey Steinbacher, President & CEO of the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, and Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE).  “To make this expansion happen, we will need strong partners, and additional resources and support from the community.  The Chamber stands ready to help DAC make that happen.  Arts festivals are incredibly important for a community both in economic impact, tourism, and to showcase its best creative assets.”

“Durham and CenterFest are ready for this next step.  Durham already ranks among top U.S. cities on the Creative Vitality Index, and the expanded festival will help build tourism and economic impact for Durham,” said Shelly Green, President & CEO of the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Bill Kalkhof, President & CEO of Downtown Durham, Inc. states   "DDI applauds the Arts Council and it's partners to take the time to plan a new signature event that will be unique to our community & region.  DDI is pleased to be a partner in this exciting effort."

In the 2011 interim in lieu of CenterFest in September, Durham Arts Council will provide artists and the community a larger Durham Art Walk event on November 19th and 20th – a weekend that will also feature GRAND OPENING EVENTS for the Durham Convention Center, Carolina Theatre of Durham, and Durham Arts Council buildings following completion of major renovations to all three facilities

Friday, July 1, 2011

Celebrate Independence Day With Durham Farmers' Market

With Independence Day upon us, Durham Farmers' Market urges the community to celebrate with foods from small, independent family farms and business. In order to be successful, local, independent farmers are dependent on those of us who have chosen to eat local and fresh food.  So, in a sense, we are interdependent on one another.  Our local food system in North Carolina is strong for two reasons: first, there are wonderful, hardworking farmers and second, there is a strong, supportive community of eaters who buy local products. One could not exist without the other.

And please, remember to vote in the America's Favorite Farmers' Market Contest. Show your Durham love and appreciation for independent farmers by voting HERE.

Fresh this Week
Fruit:  Melons, Peaches, Blueberries, Dewberries, Blackberries, Rasperries
Vegetables:  Field tomatoes, Arugula, Beans (green, yellow, Roma, filet, purple), Beets, Carrots, Chinese Cabbage, Cabbage, Cherry Tomatoes, Corn, Collards,  Cucumbers,  Dandelion Greens, Eggplant, Garlic,  Green Onions, Herbs (Basil, Cilantro Oregano, Parsley, Dill, Chives, Mint),  Kale, Lambs Quarter, Leeks, Lettuce,  Okra, Onions, Pea Shoots, Peppers (sweet, hot, Padron), Potatoes, Salad Mix, Shallots, Swiss Chard,  Summer Squash,  Tomatillos, Tomatoes (red and green),  Zucchini
Flowers:  Agrostemma, Asiatic Lillies, Campanula, Dahlia, Delphiniums, Lisianthus, Snap Dragon, Sunflowers, Zinnia
Meats:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork
And:  Honey, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Yellow & White Cornmeal, Grits, Pecans, Wines, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods, Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Handmade Chocolates, Wool, Landscaping Plants and Vegetable Transplants
Crafts:  Handmade Clothes & Jewelery, Baskets, Pottery, Photographs, Soaps and much more...

‘Tar Heels and Textiles’ for 2nd Saturday series at Bennett Place State Historic Site

Tar Heel soldiers in Civil War dress along with civilians in period garb will be portrayed by living historians at the July 9 program of 2nd Saturdays at Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham. 

The free “Tar Heels and Textiles” program from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. will demonstrate period techniques of weaving, sewing, carding of sheep’s wool, and related activities. The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources is presenting the gas-tank-get-away 2nd Saturday events at its 37 state historic sites and museums statewide.

The yard will be filled with exhibits and living history demonstrations about the 19th-century textile industry.  Presentations will show how the North Carolina industry ramped up dramatically during the Civil War to meet demand and equip soldiers. Creative artists will show and sell related pieces of art. 

One of the speakers for the program will be from the Textile Heritage Museum in Glencoe.

In April 1865, the Bennett Farm was the site of the largest surrender of the American Civil War.  Gen. Joseph E. Johnston and Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman met at the Bennett farmhouse to negotiate a solution to America’s most tragic war. The surrender ended fighting in North and South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, allowing 89,270 exhausted Confederates to return home. The mission of Bennett Place is to preserve and interpret the history of the largest surrender and the lives of yeomen farmers such as the Bennetts.

Bennett Place is located in west Durham and can be reached from Raleigh by taking I-40 West to the Durham Freeway (Hwy. 147), exiting on to Hillsborough Road, then following the brown historic site signs, or from Greensboro by taking I-85 East and continuing to Exit 170 on to Hillsborough Road, then following the brown historic site signs.
For further information contact Bennett Place at 919-383-4345, e-mail or go to the Website.  Also follow N.C. State Historic Sites during the 150th Anniversary of the American Civil War Website.