Summer Festivals and Sunflowers, Cowboy Cocktails in Boot Glasses, Book Harvest Ribbon-Cutting

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SUMMER FESTIVALS. Looking for a fun road trip destination this summer? Check out one of the many summer festivals happening around North Carolina. Just pick one and go! Our roundup guides you to where they are and when they take place. This weekend, check out the North Carolina Blackberry Festival in Lenoir or the Canteloupe Festival in Ridgeway. 

NEW PET PLACE. Veterinary Emergency Group opened its newest hospital at 2030 Kildaire Farm Road in Cary on Thursday, July 13 with a ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m., followed by an official opening at noon. The pet emergency hospital is open 24 hours a day and allows pet parents to stay with their pet during all phases of treatment. The Cary location is the emergency care chain’s 52nd.

FOR JAZZ LOVERS. The Legacy of Jazz concert series presents “The Prince of Cool” at the Cary Theater on Sunday, August 6 at 3 p.m. The tribute to Chet Baker features the trumpet and vocals of Benny Benack III and The Christian Tamburr Trio. Tickets are available online

SUNFLOWER SMILES. Sunflowers at the Dorotha Dix Park sunflower field started blooming this week. The field, which is free to visit and open seven days a week from dawn until dusk, includes hills, so be prepared to walk on uneven surfaces. For weekday parking, use the gravel lot off Hunt Drive and the parking lot near the Magnolia Room (1800 Umstead Drive). Visitors may use any lot on weeknights and weekends. 

TOP RATED. CNBC’s 2023 America’s Top States for Business survey has selected North Carolina as the top state for business for the second consecutive year. The state ranks No. 1 in workforce, the most important category in this year’s study. Educated workers flock to the Tar Heel State for both jobs and worker training programs. North Carolina also boasts the third–best economy with solid growth, stable state finances and a healthy housing market. 

SHOP LOCAL. With the summer in full swing, ShopNC reminds visitors that July is Independent Retailer Month. According to the Census Bureau and Small Business Administration, independent retailers employ 51% of the U.S. workforce. North Carolina’s shop local experience offers attentive staff members, as well as hospitality and specialty products in every region of the state. 

OYSTER FEST. The Durham hotel is hosting its second annual Oyster Fest from 5–10 p.m. Thursday, July 13–Saturday, July 15, 5–10 p.m. Visit the Roof for oysters and cocktails while watching oyster–shucking demonstrations with Locals Seafood. Guests can speak with the professionals at N.C. Oyster Trail about North Carolina’s aquaculture. The Roof will host local musicians each night from 7:30–9:30 p.m. Learn more about our state’s aquaculture industry here

MUSIC MOVIES. The Retro Rocks! Film Series comes to the Carolina Theatre of Durham on Sunday, July 16. The film series will run one Sunday a month through December. The six films in the series are “Purple Rain,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “The Wiz,” “Pink Floyd: The Wall,” “Say Anything” and “The Last Waltz.”

COWBOY COCKTAILS. PBR Cary has introduced new specialty cocktails exclusively served in a PBR Cary souvenir boot, and guests can take the boot home with them after they finish their drink. The new cocktails being served in the boot include Tennessee Lemonade, Cactus Cooler, Firecracker and Sex in the Desert. Learn more about PBR Cary here.

DINING OUT. Restaurateur Giorgios Bakatsias will open NIKOS in downtown Durham’s Brightleaf Square on Wednesday, July 19. The restaurant, previously known as Nikos Greek Taverna, was originally owned by Bakatsias more than 20 years ago. NIKOS will offer authentic Greek dishes and additional cuisines of Aegean and Middle Eastern influences. Located at 905 West Main Street, the restaurant will offer seating for 70 guests.

Jujube, located at 1201 Raleigh Road in Chapel Hill, is celebrating its 18th anniversary with a four–course wine dinner on Wednesday, July 19 at 6:30 p.m. The evening is a collaboration with Queen of Wines and will feature a menu of Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. Reservations and tickets are available through OpenTable under “Experiences.”

Unscripted Durham’s outdoor restaurant, The Patio, has added a brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. The menu offers a twist on traditional southern classics, including chicken and waffles, and a fried green tomato BLT. The signature Patio Brekky Sammy is made with bacon, cheddar cheese and a fried egg. Signature cocktails are also available.

HALLMARK HOLIDAY CRUISE. The Hallmark Channel is bringing its fans a holiday at sea November 5–9, 2024. Guests can indulge in a four-day dream vacation from Miami to Nassau, Bahamas, on the Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise. The cruise will set sail with Hallmark stars and unique yuletide experiences. Presale signups are underway online.

STORYTIME. Book Harvest will unveil its brand new—and Durham’s first—Storywalk at Edison Johnson Recreation Center Friday, July 14, at 4:30 p.m., during a ribbon-cutting event. Attendees are invited to walk the short trail and read the story along the way. Treats will be provided and guests will receive a brand new copy of the book “What Do You Do with a Tail Like This?” The center is located at 500 W. Murray Avenue in Durham.

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTIONS. Activate Good, a nonprofit committed to promoting volunteerism and civic involvement in the community, has launched the Youth Volunteer Corps for kids ages 11–18. Previously branded as Teens Change the World, the group is part of a national network of youth service programs that hosts team-based projects to foster youth engagement and a lifetime love of service.

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