Friday, April 27, 2012

A Weekend of Farm Fun

This weekend is jam packed with farm activities... First of all, it is the 17th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association! The Farm Tour will feature over 40 local farms in Alamance, Orange, Person, Chatham and Durham counties, including 12 farms that regularly sell at the Durham Farmers' Market!

The Piedmont Farm Tour is the largest sustainable farm tour in the country.  It is a great way to learn more about where your food comes from and engage with the great things the farmers in our region are doing to improve the farm land and preserve natural resources.  The farm tour also acts as  great opportunity for relationship building between you and your farmers.

As a consumer, you buy your food from them at the Farmers' Market or through a CSA or off the shelves at Weaver Street, but this tour takes the level of trust between the farmer and the consumer to a new level.  You have the opportunity to see your food in the ground or in the pasture, which is something you will never have the opportunity to do with the food that you buy at a grocery store! 

The Farm Tour will run on Saturday and Sunday from 1-5pm, both days. Click here for more information about the Tour and the link to buy a button online.

Farms from DFM that are featured on the farm tour include: Sunset Ridge Buffalo Farm, Flat River Nursery, Pine Know Farm, Maple Spring Gardens, Four Leaf Farm, Ever Laughter Farm, Fickle Creek Farm, Chapel Hill Creamery, Benjamin Vineyards and Winery, Harlands Creek Farm, Beausol Gardens, Piedmont Biofarm and many more great farms in the area!

Sunday is also Durham Central Market's Family Farm Day at Elodie Farms in Rougemont! Dave Artigues, owner and cheese maker, will be giving tours of the farm and he will explain the farm operation. There will also be live music and food!

Fresh this Week....
VEGETABLES:  ARTICHOKES! SUMMER SQUASH! ZUCCHINI! Asparagus, Asian Greens (Pac Choi, Tatsoi, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Broccoli Raab, Chinese Cabbage, Cilantro, Collards, Greenhouse Grown Cucumbers, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Greenhouse Grown Green Beans, Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, New Potatoes, Onions, Rhubarb, Radishes, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms  (dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas,  Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens
FRUITS: Strawberries!
MEATS AND EGGS: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork, Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
FLOWERS & PLANTS:  Anemones, Icelandic Poppies, Dutch Iris, Snapdragons, Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
SPECIALTY ITEMS:  Pecans,  Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

*Produce availability depends on weather conditions

Durham to Host NBC 17 Today Show on May 8

Set the alarm for 4:00AM on Tuesday May 8th. Obviously it's early, but without that wake up you might miss some of the fun.

Fun? At 4:00? AM?


Starting at 4:30 AM (the extra half hour is for getting ready) on Tuesday May 8th, viewers tuning in to NBC-17 to see the local Today show, will get an eye full of Durham live from the CCB Plaza Downtown. The public is encouraged to be there. At 4:30.  Really.

Those truly motivated can come on down to the plaza anytime during the broadcast, according to Sam Poley, Director of Marketing and Communications at the Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau. "We know it will be hard for some folks to get out of bed, so we asked some local businesses to get up with us, too," he said.  

So far, Blue Coffee which is located across the street from the plaza where the taping will occur will open at 4:30 with coffee available until their normal operating hours commence, and Only Burger will have their truck on the scene with their Breakfast Burger and some other offerings targeted to the early riser. DCVB will use their social media channels as other businesses announce their intentions to serve the crowd, too. "Our objective is to make this something of a party," Poley added.

Using Downtown Durham as the backdrop, NBC 17 will broadcast live for their show as well as the breaks during the national broadcast that begins at 7 AM. "Let's just say there are some cool things in the works for this," Poley added.

This program of broadcasting live from places in the viewing area is a chance for the towns to highlight the people, the businesses, the food and the good news that flows out of communities every day. Anchor Phil Sanchez and meteorologist Bill Reh will be in the field as NBC-17 shares the stories that make each community distinct.

The series kicks off Monday May 7th from Fuquay-Varina and will be in Durham the following day. It’s a great chance to fall in love – for the first time or all over again – with some of the places that make living here so remarkable.

“We live in a marvelous place. Taking our show on the road is a wonderful way to highlight the communities in this market,” News Director Andrea Parquet-Taylor said. “And we want to give people a chance to share their stories in fresh, appealing ways.”

This exposure is important for Durham. Downtown is in the midst of a massive revitalization and the use of a location in the heart of it is quite strategic, according to Poley. "NBC-17's broadcast area covers 23 counties all within a travel range that is vital to Durham as a visitor destination.  The potential audience for this is quite significant," he said. 

 "We're excited to work with NBC-17 to bring a glimpse of life in Durham to all those people for a morning - if they see what we've got going on here then we're hoping they'll begin to appreciate that Durham is the place where great things happen. We hope they'll want to pay us a visit and see what all the excitement and buzz are about."


"Depiction" is the second interactive installation by Parasol B to be selected by the Durham Storefront Project (DSP) in downtown Durham.

Formation 1 - by Parasol B
Organizers of the Spring Durham Storefront Project wanted to incorporate more performance elements into the installations. Parasol B interprets this in a way that makes the viewer the performer.

Starting at Scratch Bakery (111 Orange St.), viewers with smartphones can scan the painting (colorful and textural upon close inspection but still scannable), of a QR code that will show them a map of sites where they are directed to go and take photos, according to specific instructions. They can then submit their photos to a collection on the Parasol B website.

Thus, the viewers are the performers and the content beyond the initial painting is crowd-sourced/community-created.

QR codes are posted at each photo site for the functional purpose of submitting photos from the site as well as for marking the site for participants and curious passersby.
Viewers are encouraged to visit as many photo sites as possible and in the process, discover some visually interesting nooks and crannies of downtown Durham that may typically go unnoticed.

Parasol B states: “My current work strives to push traditional paint-on-canvas to become interactive and experiential beyond just using one’s eyes. New technologies, like QR code-reading smartphone apps, give me an opportunity to relate old and new mediums/media in an interesting well as to amuse myself.”

The installation will be active 24/7 Thursday, April 12, through May 20, 2012, encompassing both the Full Frame Documentary Festival and the Durham Arts Council Spring Art Walk.

To make the most of the experience, bring your smartphone and a friend.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

City of Durham Named a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business

The League of American Bicyclists has recognized the City of Durham as a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly Business. With the announcement of 67 new businesses this week, the City of Durham joins a group of more than 400 local businesses, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies across the United States that are transforming the American workplace.

“The City of Durham is at the forefront of a movement to make American businesses more competitive, sustainable, and attractive to the best and brightest employees,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. “An investment in bicycling enhances employee health, increases sustainability, and improves the bottom line.”

According to The League, by winning the silver level award, the City of Durham will now have access to a variety of free tools and technical assistance from the League to become even more bicycle-friendly.

“It is an honor to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly Business, and we look forward to more employees bicycling to work,” said City Transportation Department Director Mark Ahrendsen. “We encourage other businesses in Durham to make their sites bicycle friendly for their employees and customers.”

The City of Durham encourages bicycling by employees as an easy option for transportation by providing amenities such as bicycle racks, showers, and lockers, and incentives such as bike safety and maintenance classes. Currently there are about 20 employees who regularly bicycle to work. Several employees are “mixed-mode” commuters, who make part of their trip by bike and part by the Bull City ConnectorDurham Area Transit Authority or Triangle Transit buses.

According to Ahrendsen, when employees bike to work, the organization and the employee can experience the following benefits:

• Improved health of employees, potentially resulting in lower health insurance premiums.

• Reduced burden faced by the City to provide and maintain parking spaces for employees who drive to work.

• Increased employee productivity and decreased absenteeism due to a healthier workforce.

• Reduced air pollution and congestion on local and regional roadways due to a decrease in single-occupancy motor vehicle use.

Bull City Connector Launches Art Walk "Scan"venger Hunt

Residents and visitors interested in earning a few BUCK$ while experiencing the creative energy of local artists, arts organizations, and downtown businesses should mark their calendars for the first-ever Bull City Connector Art Walk “Scan”venger Hunt from Friday, April 27 to Sunday, April 29, 2012.

The Bull City Connector is partnering with Bull City BUCK$ and the Durham Arts Council for a new and fun way residents and visitors to experience local art and all that downtown Durham has to offer. Participants will earn Bull City BUCK$ during the Bull City Connector Art Walk “Scan”venger Hunt that are redeemable for goods and services at partnering downtown businesses.

Here's how “Scan”venger Hunt works:

• Sign up for Bull City BUCK$ online or download the smart phone application.

• Download the "Scan"venger Hunt Art Walk Guide on the Bull City Connector's website or pick up the guide beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 28 at the Durham Arts Council, 120 Morris St., Durham.

• Use the Bull City BUCK$ application to scan the QR Code at each Art Walk site or bonus “Scan”venger Hunt locations on the Bull City Connector and along the route.

According to Jesica Averhart, market and events manager for the Bull City BUCK$ program, “Scan”venger Hunt participants who use the Bull City Connector frequently can earn over $250 BUCK$ during this weekend-long event. “We are excited about our partnership with the Bull City Connector and the Durham Arts Council. There are several bonus locations along the Bull City Connector route that give participants additional opportunities to earn BUCK$, such as Duke’s East Campus, the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, and a few businesses on Ninth Street.”

The “Scan”venger Hunt will kick-off with a free event sponsored by the Bull City Connector Advisory Council at Beyú Caffé, 335 W. Main St., on Friday, April 27 at 5 p.m. Participants are encouraged to take the Bull City Connector to the kick-off party to sign up for Bull City BUCK$ and start earning while enjoying live music by The Black Experience.

Free “Scan”venger Hunt After Parties will also be hosted by the Bull City Connector Advisory Council at the following locations:

The Pinhook, 117 W. Main St., on Saturday, April 28 at 5 p.m. featuring live music by The Wigg Report, Beloved Binge, and All Electronic.

Bull City Burger and Brewery, 107 E. Parrish St., Sunday, April 29 at 5 p.m. featuring Tubby Ridge with award-winning swing-grass music and joined by celebrated guitarist Justin Johnston.

For more information on the Bull City Connector Art Walk “Scan”venger Hunt or service information, visit the Bull City Connector website, “like” the Bull City Connector on Facebook, or “follow” the Bull City Connector on Twitter. Click the link for more information about the Durham Art Walk.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Redesign the Durham Bulls' Blue Monster Wall

Durham has a monster.  It's not a scary monster at all. It's blue.  It's got a fresh coat of paint.  It's also a wall, and it needs to be redesigned.

The Durham Bulls have announced a contest to redesign the famed Blue Monster Outfield Wall at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park.  The 32-foot-high wall in left field was completely refurbished in the off-season and now sports a clean coat of navy blue paint.  Beginning today, Bulls fans will have the opportunity to submit their own designs for the wall’s artwork via the team’s Facebook page.  Fans will then be able to vote for selected finalists, with the winning design becoming the inspiration for the Blue Monster’s new look.

Since being built in 1995, the DBAP’s Blue Monster has been adorned with several different paint jobs, ranging from the words “The Blue Monster” to a pair of menacing eyes on the wall.  Before the 2012 season, the outfield wall was deconstructed and rebuilt with a new weatherproof wood surface and a fresh coat of paint.  The “clean” paint job (see attached photo) will be presented to fans as a finalist in the design contest.

When visiting the Bulls’ Facebook page, fans can click on the “Design the Monster” tab which will take them directly to the contest.  A blank template of the Blue Monster (attached) will be available to print and download, and fans are encouraged to use the template to create their design before submitting it as a .jpg file.  Only designs that utilize the white areas of the template will be considered; any submissions that contain alterations to existing signage will not be considered as finalist material.  Submissions will be accepted through May 2.  The best concepts will then be put to a fan vote.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Annual Tribute Luncheon Tomorrow

Durham's Annual Tribute Luncheon is a celebration of an aspect of Durham's unique sense of place and Durham has a lot to celebrate. There are 400 people expected to attend tomorrow at Bay 7 - the event is completely sold out.

Durham's attributes are well covered by media, but this annual event is about digging deeper into understanding and appreciating how the place became that which it is.  This year's theme is Great Families Make Great Things Happen.

Years past have seen chefs, architects and civic leaders honored. This year the McKissick, Rand and Teer families will be honored for the contributions that generations of their families have made to Durham. Their roles in developing Durham—particularly as a visitor destination—have been long-lasting and significant, and are ongoing.

The McKissick Family
A family of social change makers, the McKissicks’ contribution to the advancement of race relations is renowned throughout the South and the country. The late Floyd McKissick, Sr., an attorney and professor of Law at NC Central University, and his late wife, Evelyn, were instrumental in the integration of Durham Public Schools. Their children, Andree and Joycelyn, were among the first African-American children to be integrated into the schools.  
While each family member can boast a long list of notable contributions to the community, their collective impact on the civil rights movement and the lives of untold African-American families is tremendous. Evelyn, a well-known advocate for children’s well-being and development, began what eventually became the model for government program Head Start, providing grants to ensure that economically disadvantaged children are being looked after by agencies engaged in their welfare.  
The current generation of McKissicks—like those before them—leads very public lives. Notably, Floyd Jr. holds an elected seat in the NC Senate, and Charmaine McKissick-Melton is deeply involved with the Pauli Murray Project and historic preservation in Durham. The work of this family is felt every day across the country, in all of its corners.
The Rand Family
A family of entrepreneurs, the Rands began their legacy in the Durham Coca-Cola Bottling Company over a century ago. William Kenan Rand, Jr. succeeded his father, a Coca-Cola bottler for 55 years, in 1961 and became the president of the company. In 1960, the Rand family developed Northgate Shopping Center, now one of the few remaining family owned and operated regional malls in the country. They also started Classic Food Services as a division of Durham Coca-Cola Bottling; it is one of Durham’s caterers capable of very large scale events, and offers contract services, as well. 
The Rand family’s remarkable contributions to the community include service in the development of a number of local projects, including the NC Museum of Life & Science and Durham County General Hospital, now known as Durham Regional. They are ardent supporters of the arts with the board room of the Durham Arts Council named for the family.  The family has proven itself again and again as strong advocates for Durham’s parks, greenways, and appearance with, among other things, continued investment in the appearance and functionality of Northgate Mall.
The Teer Family
A family of economic developers, the Teer family’s construction business has a strong history in Durham and the region. The Nello L. Teer Company is now one of the nation’s largest construction companies, and has made significant cosmetic and infrastructural contributions to Durham’s development for over a century. The Teer family was involved in the development of NC’s Blue Ridge Parkways as well as the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the Radisson Hotel RTP, and Blue Cross-Blue Shield’s iconic building. Sarah P. Duke Gardens at Duke University and many university buildings would not exist were it not for the Teer family involvement. 
The family’s impact on the Bull City is far more than face value. The Teers have been deeply involved in the community as activists, advisors, and advocates. Avid arts supporters, the Durham Performing Arts Center’s main stage is named in the Teer family’s honor. Durham arguably would not look, or feel, the same today without the efforts of the Teer family. Beyond physical structures, the family has also diligently built Durham from the inside, too, with a rich and distinguished past of public service roles from the school board to the city council, as well as roles in many Durham community organizations.
The luncheon is always an event to remember and would not be possible without the generosity of its sponsors and those who attend.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Durham Farmers' Market and SEEDS Get Composting

Happy Earth Day weekend! This Earth Day, the Durham Farmers' Market is kicking off an exciting new program. In coordination with SEEDS, the Market will be be a collection point for kitchen scraps for compost creation! The garden coordinators at SEEDS have been talking about really beefing up their compost production to feed and enrich the soil in their garden. The Market shoppers will be a wonderful source for ingredients to build their compost piles! Every week, you take fresh vegetables and foods that are full of nutrients home from the Market. Even when most of the nutrients are consumed, there are always some pieces left over - like leaves, stems and eggshells. If you don't have a compost pile or worm bin of your own for recycling those leftovers and would like to divert them from the landfill, now you can!

Starting tomorrow, there will be a brightly colored, lidded collection bin near the bull shaped bike rack and the Grace Garden at the northwest corner of the Market. There will be signs about composting and what items are accepted.  Composting is a wonderfully green activity - it keeps excess waste out of the landfill and it is an easy way to recycle nutrients that are left over from our food.  And the compost ingredients that you bring to the Market will be transported from the Market to the SEEDS garden by BIKE!  Yes, by bike!  Chris Russo, a community member and volunteer, has fashioned a trailer to hitch to his bike and will be picking up the compost every week and taking it over to SEEDS!

Items accepted for composting include:
All Food - including vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, tea leaves and eggshells.
Soiled Napkins & Paper towels, etc
NO: Dairy, Meat or Fish

Fresh this Week....
Vegetables:  SUGAR SNAP PEAS, NEW POTATOES, BABY SUMMER SQUASH! Asparagus, Asian Greens (Pac Choi, Tatsoi, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Broccoli Raab, Chinese Cabbage, Cilantro, Collards, Greenhouse Grown Cucumbers, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Greenhouse Grown Green Beans, Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Rhubarb, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms  (dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens,
Meats:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork.  Look for whole cuts, sausages, hot dogs, jerky, liver pate and more!
Flowers & Plants:  Anemones, Icelandic Poppies, Ranunculus, Dutch Iris,
Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
And: Honey, Pecans, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Cornmeal, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods - Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
Crafts: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions

Friday, April 13, 2012

Durham Farmers' Market Now Open for Wednesday Market

The Durham Farmers' Market farmers have been hard a work this week. At least two nights have presented temperatures which have hovered right around freezing. While it didn't get quite that cold in town, further away from the city there were colder temperatures. Because the spring has been so mild thus far the farmers' crops have grown fast and early. When a cold snap like this hits, they have to work hard to protect their tender plants from the cold - some use row cover and some wet down their fields as a way to protect from frost. April 15th is the typical "last frost date" in the area, so it would be very unlikely to see anymore frosts until the fall. Forecasts call for hot and dry weather next week. A big change from this week! Even though it has been cold, it looks like there will be lots of strawberries at Market this weekend.

Tomorrow morning, there will be a brand new Chef in the Market. Chef Christy Quirk from Bull Street Market and Gourmet will be joining the Market around 10am for her first demo. Quirk has decided to highlight asparagus in her demo this weekend. Like everything, this spring, asparagus came in on the early side. It has been plentiful and delicious this year. Christy will teach another delicious way to cook with it. We'll have recipes available while she's holding her demo; look for her our on the Market lawn under the blue tent!

Also, the WEDNESDAY MARKET OPENS THIS WEEK!!! Wednesday Market means market goers can get strawberries twice a week. This year, the Market will introduce 4 great new vendors who will be selling on Wednesdays this year.

Chicken Bridge Bakery, Rob & Monica Segovia-Welsh - Chicken Bridge makes artisan, hearth baked breads in their wood-fired oven using locally milled organic flour.

Farmer's Daughter, April McGregor - "a farm-driven artisan food business". April specialized in pickles, preserves and baked goods using local ingredients.

Farm 42, Alie & Ryan Peterson - Farm 42 is located in Hillsborough and Ryan and Alie specialize in growing fruits and vegetables using natural and sustainable methods.

Melina's Fresh Pasta, Carmella Alvaro - Fresh Pasta! Including filled pasta, fresh pasta, gnocchi, sauces and ready to bake meals.

Along with these new additions, look for Wednesday Market regulars too! The Market expects to have over 25 vendors each week with a wide variety of good - fruits, vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, flowers, baked goods, preserves, crafts and more! Every Tuesday the Durahm Farmers' Market sends out a newsletter with info about what will be at the Wednesday Market. If you would like your email address added to the Wednesday Market list, request it by emailing

Fresh this Week....
Vegetables: Asparagus, Asian Greens (Pac Choi, Tatsoi, Mizuna), Arugula, Beets, Broccoli Raab, Cabbage (Red & Green), Chinese Cabbage, Cilantro, Collards, Greenhouse Grown Cucumbers, Dried Herbs, Frisee, Fennel, Green Onions, Green Garlic, Greenhouse Grown Green Beans, Gourds, Mustard Greens, Kale, Lettuce, Leeks, Onions, Rhubarb, Radishes, Rutabega, Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms (dried), Sweet Potatoes, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens,
Meats: Beef, Bison, Chicken, Goat/Chevon, Lamb, Pork. Look for whole cuts, sausages, hot dogs, jerky, liver pate and more!
Flowers & Plants: Tulips, Anemones, Icelandic Poppies, Ranunculus, Dutch Iris,
Vegetable & Herb Seedlings, Landscaping Plants, House Plants
And: Honey, Pecans, Chicken and Duck Eggs, Flour, Cornmeal, Fresh and Aged Goats and Cows Milk Cheeses, Baked Goods - Pies, Breads, Cookies, Pastries, Gluten Free Items, etc; Pasta, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
Crafts: Pottery, Jewelry, Stained Glass Art, Handmade Baskets, Gourd Birdhouses, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Soaps, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

First Annual Bull City Spokenword Festival

Many festivals make their homes in Durham. Those celebrating modern dance, the blues, and documentary film
are just some of the offerings here. Now, Durham can add spokenword to the mix.

Spokenword is the art of performance poetry. It is where the poems written on the page are given life on stage. The art form has become a staple in communities across the country. Many venues are opening their doors for spokenword events. Poetry slam in growing in support and reach. In Durham, there is a vibrant spokenword community that reflects the strength of the scene across North Carolina. This festival celebrates the artform and showcases the talent of today's spokenword artists.

The First Annual Bull City Spokenword Festival will be Saturday, May 5th at Hayti Heritage Center. The festival will be hosted by Dasan Ahanu with workshops facilitated by Ed Mabrey and Sacrificial Poets.

Noon - 2pm
Writing and Performance Workshop (youth and adult)

2pm - 4pm
Youth Poetry Slam w/ Sacrificial Poets

8pm - 11pm
Group Piece Invitational Poetry Slam

For more info and to purchase tickets visit the Bull City Slam website.  Visit Durham's Community Event Calendar for everything going on in the place where great things happen.

Durham's History Has A New Home

The Museum of Durham History (MoDH) has signed a multi-year lease with the City of Durham for the former Downtown Durham Bus Transfer Station to serve as the Museum’s first home.

Located at 521 West Morgan Street, the 1,600-square foot building has been newly named the Durham History Hub. Long-range plans are for the Hub to provide an overview of Durham’s lively past and be a jumping off point for further exploration at various heritage sites. The History Hub’s background and preliminary renderings are found on the Museum’s website.

“Right now, Durham lacks a place where people can get the big picture of our community’s unique past, a place that puts current issues in context and helps guide our future,” said Lew Myers, chairman of the Museum’s board of directors. “We see the Hub having a very positive impact on tourism, downtown redevelopment and hometown pride.”

Immediate plans call for a phased-in basic upfit followed later by finishing the space and completing the design, fabrication and installation of exhibits. “We’re aggressively pursuing corporate, government and foundation grants as well as individual donations,” added Myers. “We have a solid start, but there’s a lot to be done in the funding area. That’s why we’re phasing in our use of the building gradually and concentrating right now on programs and events for our outside space and on services online. We plan to bring permanent staff on board soon to be housed at the Hub.”

When fully operational, the Hub will offer exhibits and installations that engage visitors in topics important to Durham’s development.  Tobacco, textiles, civil rights, higher education, entrepreneurship, and the arts are among potential exhibit areas in the years ahead.

“But we’re not going to be the ‘don’t touch’ kind of museum that relies solely on artifacts,” explained co-director Katie Spencer. “Our focus is people, and we’ll tell Durham’s story through the words and experiences of this community. Several of our early events will be ‘pop-up’ museums where residents can share a family heirloom for a day. And we’ll run a ‘Then and Now’ photo project that visually documents how Durham has changed. From day one, this will be a community museum full of the very human side of history.”

In the next few months, the Hub will be gathering ideas from residents, recruiting volunteers, hosting some community events and taking part in activities such as the Spring Art Walk, Centerfest and Third Fridays. Directions for self-guided downtown walking tours will soon be found at the Hub.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Durham Hosts Historic Parrish Street Forum Grand Opening April 12

History buffs should take note of a unique opportunity to celebrate Durham’s Historic Black Wall Street and modern-day renaissance with the grand opening of the Historic Parrish Street Forum.

On Thursday, April 12, 2012, at noon, the City of Durham Office of Economic and Workforce Development and the Parrish Street Advocacy Group will gather to officially open the newly renovated space, located at 108 W. Parrish St. Light refreshments will be served and attendees for this event are encouraged to park in the Chapel Hill Street Garage and Lot, located at 326 E. Chapel Hill St. 

The new space was designed to help commemorate the “Black Wall Street” era and the legacy of Black entrepreneurship in Durham; provide an additional venue for meeting space and cultural arts events; create more walking traffic along Parrish Street; and be a catalyst for more retail purchasing and businesses locating on Parrish Street.

Speakers at the grand opening include Parrish Street Advocacy Group Chairman Chuck Watts; Mayor William V. “BillR 21; Bell; N.C. House Representative Larry D. Hall; N.C. Institute of Minority Economic Development President Andrea Harris; N.C. Mutual Life Insurance Company President and CEO James Speed; Pauli Murray Project Director Barbara Lau; and Office of Economic and Workforce Development Director Kevin Dick.

The forum is 3,251 total square feet and can accommodate up to 49 people. The new space can provide banquet and conference tables, chairs, a kitchenette, a presentation screen, and ceiling-mounted projector as well as a podium and microphone. Community organizations, groups, or individuals interested in renting the space should visit the Parrish Street Forum website for details and contact information.

25th Annual Bull Durham Blues Festival Back Home at the DAP

The St. Joseph's Historic Foundation, Inc. in Durham is pleased to announce the 25th Annual Bull Durham Blues Festival will return to the Durham Athletic Park (DAP) on September 7 & 8, 2012.

After moves around the city to other locations, the festival's return to the DAP is exciting news, said Janella Sellars, Interim Executive Director. "It is time for the festival to come home.  Community members regularly share their wonderful experiences at the DAP, noting the good food, music, dancing through the night and the camaraderie they have come to look forward to every year at the Blues Festival.  Many have children who've grown up attending the festival at the DAP.  It's a family-friendly environment that the community has come to love and cherish as it is now interwoven into the fabric that is Durham," she said.

The festival has sought a permanent location since the renovation of the DAP in 2008-09, and in past years, has been held at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park, Durham Performing Arts Center and Durham Central Park. Despite the numerous changes of locations, Sellars says the community has continued to support the festival with letters, emails, phone calls and news articles.  They want to see the festival strengthen and continue its status as one of the top Blues Festivals in the country, she said.

While this year's Blues Festival continues its tradition of harp blowing, guitar strumming, down home blues, it also promises something for the entire family, including a KidsZone with interactive entertainment for youngster, and a Marketplace where blues lovers can indulge in an eclectic mix of regional and international foods for the soul, arts and crafts by NC artists, and a variety of unique specialty items.

The artists' line-up will be announced in the coming weeks.  Special discounted Pre-Sale Tickets will be available June 1-30, with advance tickets going on sale July 1st. Blues lovers are invited to bring their blankets, but to help preserve the field, lawn chairs will not be allowed. The festival goers can enjoy the fun on the infield or in the grandstand, rain or shine!!  Gates open at 5 p.m. and show ends at 11 p.m.

The annual Bull Durham Blues Festival, produced by St. Joseph's Historic Foundation, Inc., has been successfully presented since 1988. It is nationally recognized as one of the premier blues festivals in the country and has been honored with the "Keeping the Blues Alive Award" by The Blues Foundation in Memphis, TN.  The festival has become one of North Carolina's largest celebrations of the blues, recognizing Durham's rich musical heritage as an important center of Carolina and Piedmont Blues. 

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Durham's Image Remains Strong

As Durham's official marketing agency, DCVB is responsible for marketing Durham as a destination.  It's an enjoyable task, in large part because Durham is doing so well as a travel destination.  Despite a tough economy, Durham's visitation grew to 7 million people last year.

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In marketing, image is crucial; and that image is typically based on both perception and reality.  Without personal experience or knowledge, consumers often rely on word of mouth to shape their opinions.  But marketers can't rely on word of mouth to measure their community's image.  That must be done through scientific public opinion polls, generalizable to the whole population.

Seventeen years ago it was documented that visitors to Durham were getting negative information from the people with whom they interacted.  Public opinion polls showed that at that time, most of the negativity came from residents of nearby communities who worked in Durham.   This information was critical to unwrapping Durham’s image problem because uniquely, 2 out of every 3 jobs held in Durham is filled by a commuter…someone who lives outside Durham and drives in to work each day.

Fast forward to 2012.  In a recently conducted survey of Wake and Orange County residents, Durham's image climbed to its highest level in the nearly 20 years since measurement commenced.

As this chart shows, more than 76% of Wake County residents and just under 90% of Orange County residents have a positive image of Durham.  Compared to the 12% and 17% positive ratings from 1993, this is quite a change.

Even more astounding is the way Durham's negative image has plummeted.  In 1993, 65% of Wake County residents had a negative image of Durham with 63% of Orange County residents feeling the same.

Results from the survey are continuing to be analyzed, so stay tuned for more information coming out in the coming weeks.

The Carolina Pork Experiment Comes to Durham

There are some self evident truths and unalienable rights in this country, just read the Declaration of Independence.  There are a few more here in Durham that weren't covered by the Declaration, too. First, Durham and great food are synonymous - ask anyone who knows anything about food. Second, pork is delicious - period. Third, people in Durham have the right to eat delicious pork - absolutely. So then the upcoming Carolina Pork Experiment in Durham is really just a logical extension of the rights of any American, right?


On the heels of a successful 5-city tour in 2011, The Food Experiments, is rolling in to Durham as part of its 16-city National Tour sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery. The fourth stop on the tour is The Carolina Pork Experiment on April 15, 2012 at Motorco Music Hall in Durham, NC from noon - 3pm.

Since its inception, the Food Experiments has consistently sold out events - Durham should be no exception. The Experiment will have around 25 local amateur chefs who have prepared a unique creation incorporating the food theme: pork. Samples will be served to the 350 food enthusiasts in attendance as well as culinary superstar judges. This year’s Pork Experiment’s judges consist of a high profile line-up including Johanna Kramer the DurhamFoodie, Chef Walter Royal of The Angus Barn Steakhouse in Raleigh, and DJ Kitty Kinnin, host of many food-centric radio shows on 100.7 The River.

Winners compete for prizes fit for a chef: bakeware, cookware, knives, cash and that which cannot be purchased: culinary glory!  Everyone in attendance will have an opportunity to choose which “cheftestant” will gain bragging rights. That is, until the National Championship on December 16. The winner from each city’s Experiment will be flown to Brooklyn courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery to compete with the best of the best to become The Food Experiments’ 2012 reigning champion. It'd be nice for that title to come back to Durham, no?

Those interested in competing can sign up here, and those interested in attending can buy tickets here.  A pair of tickets to the event are being given away on Durham's official Facebook page.  The winner will be chosen on Wednesday.  Visit the page to learn more.