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The Johnston County Visitors Bureau BLOG is published weekly with news and feature articles on visiting the county.

301 Endless Yard Sale Works to Add Participants in 5th Year

301 Endless Yard Sale Works to Add Participants in 5th Year

A variety of towns located along US 301 in the counties of Johnston, Halifax, Wilson, Nash, and Harnett are planning for this year's 5th Annual 301 Endless Yard Sale, taking place Friday and Saturday of June 16-17, 2017. Along the 100-mile stretch of highway, the communities join together with vendors offering deals, antiques, collectibles and more.

Organizers of the sale this year are focused on further community involvement up and down the sale to increase vendor and shopper attendance. Reports from townships and vendors who participated in last year's 301 Endless Yard Sale show that the event continues to grow. However, there are still sparse sections along the 100 plus mile event and town leaders are looking to change that. A trend organizers are hoping continues this year is the participation of non-profits and private residences. Local businesses aren’t the only ones who can capitalize on sale traffic by setting-up yard sales and vendor booth spots in their parking lots and on their lawns.

“Here in Johnston County businesses along 301 have been selling vendor spaces in their parking lots and having sidewalk sales for the last 4 years,” stated Ashby Brame, who works for the Johnston County Visitors Bureau and helps organize the sale. “Where we’ve seen the sale grow is that now schools, like South Johnston’s Booster Club, and churches have started opening their parking lots to vendors. In addition, residential stretches of country road outside the major towns that used to be blank now have more and more private residences working together with neighbors to offer very robust yard sales along 301.”

The planning of this event also continues to grow in scope as participation and attendance increases. Town managers, tourism representatives, health department officials, and employees with emergency services all remain an integral part of the planning process. In addition, this year organizers hope to work with NCDOT to set-up a system along the route to track increased car volume the weekend of the sale to get the most accurate count of how many people attend the 301 Endless Yard Sale.

Preparations are underway for welcoming tons of visitors who are invited to explore the country roads of Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston and Harnett Counties to look for that unique collectible along the 301 Endless Yard Sale. Towns are working on providing additional events and amenities for vendors and shoppers. Downtown Smithfield will be having a concert event Friday night the 16th. The Wilson Fairgrounds will be offering on-site spaces for vendors wishing to camp-out with their booth. Smaller towns like Micro, Lucama, Elm City, and Enfield hope to have an increased vendor showing this year.

It officially starts Friday, June 16th and runs through Saturday beginning at 7am and ending at 5pm daily. For more information on the event and contacts in each town's vendor locations, visit the official website, www.301endlessyardsale.com.

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Savory & Sweet Potato Recipes

Savory & Sweet Potato Recipes

Fall is for cool weather and warm comforting food, which means we've added more recipes to our on-going, online collection. This Fall we've found 4 sweet potato recipes and one butternut squash bonus recipe. Johnston County is one of the top county's in North Carolina for sweet potato production. We have a long history of trying to work sweet potatoes into everything from a traditional casserole to the breakfast and dessert tables. The unique flavor of sweet potatoes makes them an idyllic ingredient that can be utilized in both sweet and savory ways. The butternut squash recipe is a twist on a classic pasta carbonara dish. Serve a steaming bowl of it at your next dinner party to bring Fall flavor and carbolicious comfort food together.

If you would like a recommendation on how to get a hold of some delicious, locally-grown, Johnston County sweet potatoes, look no further than the Clayton Farm and Community Market. Their winter hours are every other Saturday from 10AM to 1PM and this Saturday the 29th there will be free Halloween fun for families. Click on a recipe below to give it a try and let us know how it went on our Johnston County Visitors Bureau Facebook page here. Happy Fall Ya'll!

Leftover Sweet Potato Casserole, Brie and Bacon Grilled Cheese

Sweet Potato Tots

Baked Sweet Potato Donuts with Dark Chocolate with Coconut

Sweet Potato Hash with Baked Eggs Recipe

Bonus: Butternut Squash Alfredo Pasta

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67th Annual Benson Mule Days® Celebration set for September 21-25

67th Annual Benson Mule Days® Celebration set for September 21-25

Last week we did a round-up of Fall festivals and activities coming to JoCo as the weather gets cooler. This week we'll be focusing in on one of those events that is just a few weeks away.

The town of Benson, North Carolina celebrates Benson Mule Days® the 4th Saturday of September each year. This year it will take place September 21st through the 25th.  Mule Days was also recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society this year as a September 2016 Top 20 Event. The festival is considered one of the largest festivals in North Carolina and will kick-off with a carnival, trolley rides, and concert Thursday night.

This festival, which draws approximately 50,000 people, is full of family fun and activities for everyone young and old. The weekend is packed with rodeos, a mule pulling contest, arts and crafts, vendors, street dances, carnival rides, camping, parades, bluegrass shows and more.

The parade alone attracts about 20,000 people and takes place Saturday, September 24th at 10:00a.m. The parade will feature bands, floats, antique tractors, and hundreds of horses, mules, and buggies. Following the parade visitors can make their way to the Singing Grove Park where a Bluegrass show is being presented.

Visit the arts and crafts vendors as well as food and commercial vendors.  It is always fun to walk into the local businesses which offer a variety of products in our area.  There are three rodeos, the first of which begins on Friday night followed by a Saturday night performance.  On Sunday there is a Youth Rodeo.

As a rural community, Benson, North Carolina has long been known for its farm heritage.  The trading of mules was one of the town’s main occupations. The memories and a love for tradition led Nowell Smith and Willis McLamb to discuss with Lewis Lawrence, the first manager of the newly formed Benson Chamber of Commerce, the possibility of setting aside a day to celebrate the mule. In 1950, the Benson Area Chamber of Commerce agreed to sponsor the first Mule Days. The festival continues to be a spectacle that garners international attention. Visitors come from as far away as Alaska, Germany, and California to see and also participate in Mule Days.

For a complete schedule of this 67-year-old event visit www.bensonmuledays.com, call (919) 894-3825, or e-mail the Benson Chamber at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Meet JoCo's 'Que Competition Master

Meet JoCo's 'Que Competition Master

In eastern North Carolina we like our barbeque simple. You could call us purist. Whole hog. Pulled. Splash of vinegar. But the great thing about barbeque is its tendency to be geographically dependent. If I say barbeque in Tennessee or in Texas or in Oklahoma, there's no telling what's gonna end up on my plate. It makes for some confusing moments, some great eatin', and some intense competitions.

Johnston County resident Jerry Stephenson Jr. knows all about intense competition, he enters about 17 to 24 KCBS competitions a year; for the un-indoctrinated that means the Kansas City Barbeque Society. The KCBS is the world's largest organization of barbeque and grilling enthusiasts to the tune of over 20,000 worldwide members. Jerry is one half of a winning barbeque cooking team called Redneck Scientific, the other half being his sister. They grew up on a farm in eastern NC and Jerry says he learned his 'que skills from watching others cook whole hogs, "I just watched and learned. Then I cooked pigs myself later in college for the fraternities, sororities, and the rugby team for extra spending money."

Jerry says that he loves the simplicity of the whole hog approach to barbeque, a man after my own heart, "Low and slow cooking over coals that are burned down from logs. The coals are shoveled into precise places to cook the hog perfectly." Although Jerry likes to tiptoe out of my simplicity circle, going one step above vinegar to put a little Texas Pete on his pulled pork sandwich. That, he says, is his favorite type of barbeque. Fair enough. Although the Oklahoma relatives on my mother's side politely disagree.

Going Whole Hog

But how does one go from being a barbeque enthusiast to a barbeque master? Well, you sign-up and then you hope for the best. Jerry started cooking competitions with homemade barrel smokers that he also sold. He eventually trademarked the name of the ovens to Redneck Convection Ovens or RCOs. The name of his team and business, Redneck Scientific, was derived from these homemade smokers. With the help of the RCOs Jerry won a top ten nod in ribs during his first KCBS competition. In the next competition Redneck Scientific got 2 top ten nods in pork and again in ribs. Jerry says he was hooked.

"I still remember the first Grand Championship we won in 2011 at Squealin' on the Square in Laurens, SC. We placed top ten in all 4 KCBS categories (chicken, ribs, pork butt, and beef brisket)." Though Jerry was raised on the whole hog life, he enters all categories when he cooks. And often wins at them. And he doesn't deviate from the process he has for cooking each type of barbeque, whether it's pulled pork or brisket.

"My competition starts on Wednesday night when I make sauces and rubs for that week’s competition. On Thursday night I trim all of our meats and load our trailer to leave the next day.  Typically, we like to arrive around noon on the day before a competition. Once we arrive, we have our meats inspected and then inject some of the meats. Around 10 pm that night, I light my smoker and go to bed.  I usually get up sometime between 2AM and 5AM and put my big meats on. My competition day then begins at 5AM with a schedule that I follow every single time."

Sorry folks, that's as detailed as you're gonna get. A magician never reveals his tricks. I can tell you that all of Redneck Scientific's meats are procured locally. But any good competitor knows that a certain amount of superstition goes into the process, "I wear the same Superman shirt that I wore at my first competition, but I'm not really superstitious beyond that. My sister is a whole other story."

The female 50% of Redneck Scientific maybe has some winning history behind the superstition. Jerry's sister, Roxanne Manley, uses the ancillary contests at the barbeque events to showcase her skills as well, beating out 350+ teams at last year's American Royal World Series of BBQ to win Side Dish Champion. You go girl!

Rounding out the Redneck Scientific team are Jerry's wife Liz Stephenson and their two daughters Elle and Fiona. They all travel together to competitions as far away as Las Vegas, Florida, and Pennsylvania. Redneck Scientific has been competing since 2011 and has had their name called in at least a top ten placement or higher over 200 times. That's a lot of wins, folks. Jerry creates his own sauces and cooks on Backwoods Smokers. The team is sponsored by Royal Oak Charcoal, BBQ Guru controllers, Oakridge BBQ rubs, Q Company Backwood Smokers, and Mojobricks.

Getting a Taste of Redneck Scientific

I know what you're thinking. How can I get my hands on some of this amazing barbeque? Well, I've helpfully posted up the Redneck Scientific schedule below. In addition, you can have them cater your next event. Yes, you can have Redneck Scientific personally feed up to 2,500 of your friends and family.

"We offer full service catering all over the Triangle area.  We have an established group of clients we feed each year.  We can cater for 25 or 2500+ people. Our catering menu can be found on our website. I’m also a 50% partner with a friend out of Charlotte and we vend up and down the East Coast at festivals.  Our vending company is called “The Redneck Bubba” after his BBQ team (BubbaJacks) and ours (Redneck Scientific) and you can find more information on that at www.RedneckBubba.com."

So, what is in the future for Jerry and his team? A restaurant perhaps? In Johnston County? He says that I, and everyone else, will have to wait and see, "I can't speak to a restaurant just yet, but the future of the competition team is my two little girls. They're already clambering to cook a meat or 2 in competition. Hopefully, they'll take over and I'll just get to watch like my Dad used to."

Well, if indeed a restaurant does happen I will be the first in line with a fork in my hand. In the meantime, Jerry has a ton of competitions lined up and a lot of cooking and winning to do this year still. While I would recommend a nice Double Barley or Deep River brew to go with your que', Jerry is ever the traditionalist, "I just think it goes really well with sweet tea." That's what I told my Oklahoma relatives about brisket and they almost made me sleep in the storm cellar. Just kiddin'.

Jerry is an eastern North Carolina traditionalist about another thing too, the bonds that keep him tied to barbeque and coming back to compete year after year, "Learning to cook whole hog at an early age left an appreciation in me for the unique taste of eastern NC pulled pork. But, more than that, it impressed upon me the camaraderie and fellowship that comes from standing around a pit."

Cheers to that and good luck this year!

Redneck Scientific Schedule

DC BBQ Battle  6/24 Washington, DC
Deep River Brewing vending 6/30 + 7/3
Festival of Discovery 7/8  Greenwood SC
Smoke in the Valley  7/22  Maggie Valley NC
Pigs and Pedals  8/5  Asheboro, NC
Sams Club Richmond VA  8/12
Sams Club Charleston SC  8/26
Low Country Fest 9/2 Charleston SC
Beak Week 9/9 Goldsboro NC
Tilley HD Bike Blues and BBQ  9/16 Salisbury NC
Butts and Beans  9/23  Newton NC
Squealin in the Square  9/30 Laurens SC
East Carolina BBQ Throwdown  10/7  Rocky Mount, NC
Smoking in the Foothills 10/14  Lenior NC
American Royal World Series of BBQ  10/28 Kansas City, MO
Hog Happenin  11/4  Shelby NC
World Food Championships  11/11 Orange Beach, AL

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Bringing Our Beer to You

Bringing Our Beer to You

Beer Here. Beer There. Beer Everywhere.

A few very wonderful circumstances come about to make NC Beer Month so amazing that it should bring a hop-filled tear to your eye. That's right, you cry beer. Or, at least, you should.

First, Spring has sprung people. Warm, sunshine hazy, blue sky breezy days turn in to deliciously cool evenings in which to sit outside on the patio of your favorite craft brewery from Murphy to Manteo sipping a cold one.

Second, North Carolina is one of the best states within which to enjoy an entire month dedicated to drinking and enjoying craft beer. There are over 160 breweries and brewpubs in this great state.

Third, brewers from these multitudes of breweries will be brewing special beers in large and small batch quantities in celebration of NC Beer Month. Just imagine, it's easy if you try, that somewhere there is a beer brewing that you've never tried and might never have again. It's waiting for you, maybe at a brewery you've never even been to. But, you can go and you can explore and you can taste it... during NC Beer Month.

What a time to be alive. Am I right?

If you caught my last blog about NC Beer Month, you already know about the amazing beer-fueled events happening in Johnston County during the month of April. And if you didn't read my last blog, flag on the play, you can read it now by clicking here. Enjoy it with a cold one.

But, because I love Johnston County beer so much. Too much? No. I want to bring you, dear readers, even more ways to taste and experience the magic that is Deep River and Double Barley. Like any super popular, highly sought-after, and well distributed brewery (I'm not braggin') you can find Deep River and Double Barley outside of the county they call home. You may even be able to find them in the county you call home *mind blown*. Below you will find all the events that both breweries will be participating in for NC Beer Month across the state of North Carolina.

And remember to like our Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail Facebook page for updates on NC Beer Month and Johnston County craft beverages. Leave me messages about how much you like my blogs, or our JoCo breweries, or just craft beer in general. I'm not picky... except when it comes to my beer.

Double Barley

April 7th - Tap Takeover at Lowe's Foods in Pinehurst

April 8th - Tap Takeover at Back Street Pub in Beaufort

April 9th - 30th Anniversary Celebration for Weeping Radish Farm Brewing
                Tasting, Neighborhood Bottle Shop with live music from Abby Davis 3pm-6pm

April 10th - 4th Annual Bull City Food and Beer Experience in Durham
Abby's Amber Cans from Double Barley
April 12th -  Joint Tap Takeover with Nickelpoint at Town Hall Burger and Beer in Durham
                   Tasting at the Hilton Garden Inn on Miami Blvd. in Durham

April 15th - Tap Takeover at Growler Grlz in Durham
                  Beer Dinner at Beaufort Grocery in Beaufort

April 20th - Tasting at Lowes Foods on Strickland Road in Raleigh

April 21st - Tap Takeover at Lowes Foods on Tryon Road in Cary

April 23rd - Brewgaloo in Downtown Raleigh

April 26th - Tasting at Bull Craft Bottle Shop in Durham

April 27th - Tap Takeover at Ultimate Ales in Mooresville

Deep River

April 7th - 5pm-7pm Sams Quik Shop Tasting and Tap Takeover Event
                6pm Mellow Mushroom Tap Takeover in Cary
                7pm Baileys Chapel Hill Brewery of the Month Tap Takeover

April 8th - 12pm-2pm Harris Teeter @ Cameron Village Free Tasting
                4:30pm Tap takeover at Lowes Foods' Beer Den in Burlington

April 9th - 5pm Tap takeover at the Chapel Hill Lowes Foods

April 12th - 5pm Fresh Market Tasting in Cary
                  6pm-8pm Beer Dinner at the Carolina Ale House in Downtown RaleighDeep River on Tab at a Local Festival

April 13th - 5pm Charlie Goodnights: Laugh Local, Drink Local Event

April 14th - 5pm Tasting at Total Wine in Durham

April 15th - 5pm-8pm Raleigh Beer Garden Tax Relief Tap Takeover
                  6pm-8pm Tasting at Total Wine on Capital Blvd in Raleigh

April 17th - 3pm Tap Takeover at the Durham Hotel Roof Top Bar
                  12pm-5pm Food Truck Rodeo at Pharmacy Beverage in Cary

April 20th - 6pm Pint Night at Tyler's Taproom in Apex

April 21st - 5pm-7pm Tasting at Southern Season’s

April 22nd - 4pm-6pm Tasting at Harris Teeter Green Level Church
                   5pm-7pm Tap Takeover at Beer Dispensary in Apex
                   5pm-7pm Tap Takeover at Whole Foods in Durham

April 27th - 6pm-8pm Tap Takeover at T Mac in Cary

April 30th - 12pm-8pm Anniversary Party at Tyler's Tavern in Fuquay Varina
                  5pm-7pm Tasting at Bottle 501 in Durham

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First Class Racing Facility in the Land of Motorsports and Moonshine

First Class Racing Facility in the Land of Motorsports and Moonshine

Racing is just about as southern as sweet tea, mason jars, and Cheerwine.

And it's a sport that is authentically North Carolina - NASCAR racers will forever live in the shadow of those who raced moonshine across county lines under the watchful eye of the prohibition-era lawman. And racing is about to get a new home in Johnston County, NC. Built outside of Benson, GALOT Motorsports Park overlooks land renowned for its rural heritage and moonshine-making history. How appropriate then for the area to now also be home to a first class racing facility. Like the merging once again of two inexorable things that time has separated.

GALOT Motorsports Park was formally known as the Dunn-Benson Dragstrip. In August 2013 Mr. Earl Wells bought the facility with a simple mission in mind: to build a race track that racers could depend on and a first class facility that would maximize the race fan experience. As visitors to the park will discover when it opens officially this Spring, Mr. Wells certainly accomplished his mission.

 GALOT is a state-of-the-art facility designed with the race fan and racer in mind. The facility features stadium seating for 9,000 spectators, two LED video boards, an indoor concession and souvenir stand, along with two climate controlled tower suites," according to Charles Myers, the Media Relations Coordinator.

Racers will have the benefit of a climate controlled starting line, asphalt parking, a speed shop, and 70 R.V. electrical hook-ups. GALOT Motorsports Park is also certified as the flattest racing surface in the world, which will allow racers to obtain maximum performance.

True to the Racing Spirit of the Sport

The park is racing at its finest, but also at its purest. As a child I lived only a few miles from a motorsports park. Locals and visitors alike would flock to races on warm summer nights. Even from miles away I could stand in my backyard and see the white glow of the bright lights blotting out the lowest stars in the sky. I could hear the hum of powerful motors racing together to the finish line. For fans of the sport, racing is in the blood and it leads to a passion for other sorts of events. GALOT hopes to provide a variety of events to become a true entertainment complex.

According to Charles, GALOT also has a dedicated tractor pulling venue. In addition, the pit area of the track is paved, allowing GALOT to be used for a wide range of driving events. In it's opening year GALOT already looks to host multiple events starting in late March going throughout the rest of 2016.

They will host the NHRA Division 2 Lucas Oil Divisional, which will attract the best racers from all over the east coast. And if you are into fast, heads-up drag racing, GALOT Motorsports Park is scheduled to host the PDRA DragStock event where cars will accelerate from 0 to 250 mph in just 3.5 seconds.

Charles adds that, "if drag racing is not your 'cup of tea' then you might enjoy our Mule City 300 which happens to be the first NTPA Grand National Tractor Pull of the 2016 schedule." GALOT even plans to host an event this year where Monster Trucks take center stage!

Whether it's the noise of the crowd, the thrill of the speed, or the impressive horsepower, GALOT Motorsports Park aims to be your new go-to entertainment venue for an old southern tradition. Find out more information on their website and don't forget to check out the upcoming events calendar. And while you're in Johnston County for motorsports and moonshinecheck out all the other things we have to offer so that you can make your GALOT experience a weekend trip for the whole family.

Ready, Set, GO!

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Johnston County Visitors Bureau Wins Awards at Tourism Leadership Conference

Johnston County Visitors Bureau Wins Awards at Tourism Leadership Conference

The Johnston County Visitors Bureau was recently honored with 2 awards, presented at the recent annual North Carolina Tourism Leadership Conference, held each year by the Destination Marketing Association of North Carolina. The JCVB won a Gold Destination Marketing Achievement Award in Advertising for their Girlfriends Getaway Print Advertising Campaign. In addition, they also won a Gold Destination Marketing Achievement Award in Online Communications for the Bureau's weekly blog.

Outlet shopping is by far the largest attraction for Smithfield/Johnston County with more than 7 million shopper choosing to visit, shop, spend the night, and it continues to be the driving force for economic development for the tourism industry in Smithfield.  The Girlfriends Getaway advertisingDMANC Awards 2015 promotes the packaging of this attraction with others in the Smithfield area to encourage female shoppers to turn a shopping trip into an experience. Hotels that up-sale the package are averaging 10 per weekend, and others are averaging 2-3 per weekend.  Room nights generated in the last 12 months estimated at approximately 748 with eight hotel partners.

The Johnston County Visitors Bureau's weekly blog posts present a unique medium for announcing important tourism-related events and news, as well as serving as a platform to tell the stories of Johnston County's people and places. The top blog posts of the year included the opening of Johnston County's first legal moonshine distillery, the opening of two new chef driven and farm-fresh restaurants, the announcement that a major county event would be growing, and the story of a local girl working to make it big with her music. In total, these four top-producing posts generated 18,787 views to the blog page on our website so far.

Donna Bailey-Taylor, President/CEO of the Johnston County Visitors Bureau, was also honored by the North Carolina Travel Industry Association (NCTIA) with the organization’s 2015 Public Service Award. NCTIA’ s Public Service Award is given to individuals and/or organizations for outstanding career contributions for the betterment, welfare, progress, recognition, promotion and development of the travel industry of North Carolina.  Previously known as the Bill Sharpe Award, the Public Service Award is awarded annually (since 1987) in honor of Bill Sharpe, the state’s first tourism director.

For more information on the N.C. Travel Industry Association and the Public Service Award, visit

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Buy a Bottle at Broadslab

Buy a Bottle at Broadslab


We have reached at least a temporary closing to our Meet the Makers. Broadslab Distillery is the last of the Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail locations to be discussed in this blog series. Broadslab's owner and master distiller Jeremy Norris is the last maker in Johnston County to fall under the craft beverage industry. However, that does not mean that Jeremy is the last maker I will have the privilege of sitting down with. It is my hope to extend the Meet the Makers series into other blogs, regarding artisans and artists throughout the county. So, stay tuned. Meanwhile, onward with boasting about Broadslab!

One For The Road

Craft distilling is a growing industry across North Carolina. And like wineries and breweries, distilleries not only boost the econoTasting at Broadslabmy through production and sells, but through drawing tourists to the state who are interested in tasting vodka, bourbon, gin, whiskey, and authentic southern moonshine. North Carolina has always been, shall we say, notorious for the illegal home brewing of such beverages, but distillers have been able to legally make it (with the proper permits) for years now. But, did you know, that distillers have not always been able to sell their own product on-site at the distillery until this month?

Benson-based Broadslab Distillery has been offering tours and tastings since March of this year. But, in order to buy the product, visitors to the property where Jeremy makes his "shine" would have to leave the farm and drive into Benson, to the nearest ABC store, to lay their hands on a full bottle of product. This year NC legislators voted to change that. For the first time in over 100 years, visitors to Broadslab can purchase a bottle of shine from Jeremy.  One bottle. Per person. Per year. For those visitors from states with more liberal alcohol laws this may sound restrictive. But for the members of the North Carolina Distillers Association it's a step in the right direction... and hopefully a singular step on a longer path to making our state a mecca for visitors looking to experience authentic southern liquor.  I invite you to visit and give Broadslab a try. You can now take one for the road! The tasting room is located right off I-95 in Benson, NC near the intersection of I-40 and I-95. This makes Broadslab convenient from the Triangle if you're looking for things to do in Raleigh or you want to expand your tour of Raleigh distilleries.

The Real Deal

Jeremy is what we would dub the "real deal", with a back story about growing up in a family of moonshiners in a community known for the trade.Broadslab Legacy Shine Gold Medal Unlike some distilleries in the state using moonshine stories as a marketing ploy, Jeremy is building a brand whose story has honest origins. Jeremy was raised by his grandfather, and helped him on the farm for many years as he ran a produce stand there at the house, now the tasting room.  His grandfather's heart and hands and spirit tended the land and his shine stills once dotted the landscape back before Jeremy was born.

The Broadslab recipes are the embodiment of a 5 generation legacy and were passed down by the great-great grandfathers on both sides of Jeremy’s family. One of them, William “Bill” McLamb, was active in the dawn of the moonshine trade and distilled smooth, sipping whiskey long before prohibition. But it was Jeremy’s grandfather, Leonard A. Wood, who eventually passed on the family recipe.

Once moonshine became legal in NC Jeremy saw the opportunity for his family to turn a lawless legacy into a labor of love operation. His grandfather Leonard finally agreed to share his knowledge, recipes, and oral shine history. And so they toiled together, perfecting the process and arguing between decades of tradition and modern techniques. As Jeremy’s mentor and personal advisor, Leonard was integral in building the Broadslab still, but passed away before opening. Since then, Jeremy has purchased land from his family to own the farm his grandfather loved so much.  Jeremy has roots in the land like many other Johnston County farmers. The distillery sits in the footprint of many of his stills on the family farm outside Benson, NC.

From Dirt to Bottle
Broadslab Legacy Reserve Shine Bronze Medal
As far as Jeremy knows, he is the only distillery in the state that is growing the grain, harvesting and processing it, and making it all with natural ingredients. If you're standing in the Broadslab tasting room, you're standing on the land that the corn in your whiskey was grown on. There will be no additives, artificial ingredients or syrups in Broadslab products.  Some are even considered organic for those foodies that seek out that designation. But, there are some other important "organic" ingredients to Broadslab Distillery's product that make it truly one of a kind. The hand-crafted love that goes into every step in the process is one ingredient. From "dirt to bottle", Jeremy is the engine behind the process putting that drink in your hand.

Jeremy's grandfather told him there are two kinds of shine, the shine you sale and the shine you drink.  Jeremy is making the shine you drink.  He has altered the methods his grandfather used to pour off the harsh chemicals that are in front of the "drinking shine", and he cuts off the still before the bitter taste at the bottom effects the product.  This "sweet spot" so to speak is the fine product Jeremy is producing. Jeremy has remarked more than once that his grandfather would get upset that Jeremy was "wasting" a portion of the product in order to craft a better taste. While Jeremy understood the practicality behind his grandfather's idea, he wanted his product to be a smooth as possible.

And Now, Award-Winningb2ap3_thumbnail_Apple-Shine-Medal.jpg

The hand-crafted glass of Broadslab shine or rum you sip on in the tasting room doesn't just have your basic white lightening ingredients in it. It has the weight of a war between the lawful and the lawless. The sense of secrecy as hands toiled to distill in the dead of night or run boxes up the river under cover of darkness. The smell of wild southern nights, gun smoke, and pure grain alcohol. The taste of sizzling lightening tempered by time and passion into a smooth and robust drink.

If you don't believe me, believe the judges at the Blue Ridge Spirit Competition this year. Jeremy took home Gold for his Legacy Shine, Silver for his Apple Shine, and Bronze for his  Reserve Legacy Shine. Congrats to Jeremy and Broadslab! 

Visit Broadslab Distillery for the shine and you certainly won't be disappointed.  But stick around for the stories and you'll find yourself perched on the barstool long after the shot glass in your hand runs dry. The tasting room is open Thursday through Saturday, starting at 12N, with tours, tasting, and shot glass for $12.00. Find out more at -- www.broadslabdistillery.com.

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Growing a Grape Legacy and Fermenting a Future

Growing a Grape Legacy and Fermenting a Future

If you have been following the Meet the Makers blog series, then you'll know that I have endeavored to sit down with Johnston County's great makers in some of the fastest growing industries in the state - craft beverages. Beer, wine, and liquor production by small sized and often family-owned companies account for billions of dollars in tax revenue for North Carolina. It's also an excellent reason to visit the Ole North State. And many visitors and locals alike trek to Raleigh wineries and other regions of the state to experience the venticulture we have here. If you haven't been reading Meet the Makers, then Welcome. You can find the previous two blog posts here and here regarding craft brewing in JoCo. Today however, we turn to winemaking.

“Accept what life offers you and try to drink from every cup. All wines should be tasted; some should only be sipped, but with others, drink the whole bottle.” ― Paulo Coelho

In my humble opinion there is no more beautiful time to visit a winery than October. October means warm sunshine and cool breezy afternoons. At Hinnant Family Vineyards in Pine Level, NC October signals the end of harvest, when the literal fruits of a year's labor can be divested of their green, leafy vines. These grapes are ready to move forward towards their full potential, becoming grown-up bottles of delicious Hinnant wine.

On one such beautiful Fall day I sat down with the man who has for almost 5 decades had a hand in getting grapes from field to bottle. Bob Hinnant was just 6 years old when the first grape vines were planted on Hinnant Vineyards. His father and his father's siblings sold grapes wholesale to grocery stores and wineries. Bob helped out whenever he could, watching his father cultivate plants from a few acres to what is now a sprawling 100 acre vineyard. In his spare time first his father and then Bob took up making homemade wine with the muscadine grapes they grew.


Not All Vineyards Are Wineries - But They Could Be

"It wasn't until about 12 years ago that we started making wine with a true commercial interest. I saw smaller vineyards with successful wineries and I thought we could do it," Bob admits they started small though with just 1,800 cases of wine produced in 2001. There's 12 bottles in a case to help you with the math. But since that time Bob has grown the winery into a 30,000 cases per year production.

Bob says it's not just Hinnant that's growing, it's the wine industry in NC as a whole, "when we started we were the 16th winery in the state. Now North Carolina has almost 200 wineries." That's a lot of wine and a lot of competition, but Hinnant has met and exceeded expectation. In 2014 alone they took home the Muscadine Cup from the State Fair. But even more impressive they took home Best in Show that year. It's impressive because their muscadine wine beat out all other categories and varietals to win that award. There is a prevailing assumption among the wine community that sweet wines are somehow classed down from traditional, dry, old-world tasting red wines. It's something that Bob is working to change and visitors to Hinnant love the variety of wines available.

Hinnant Bottles

"We grow Muscadine, but we also grow Concord and Blanc Du Bois. We bring in a small amount of other grape varietals from other places, that we can't grow here, in order to blend and alter taste profiles." If you're not a wine connoisseur, allow me to translate for Bob. The varietal of the grape, more than almost anything else, affects the taste of the wine. Growing climate affects what sort of varietals will flourish in a given region. Hinnant grows a lot of grapes, but uses other grape sources and the fermenting process to draw flavor profiles out in their wines. If you like sweet white wine, Hinnant has a wine for you. If you like dry red wine, Hinnant has a wine for you also.

Hinnant didn't take home any State Fair awards this year but Bob thinks that next year is going to be another winning year, "The harvest this year still isn't over, it's been longer than usual. It rained and rained and then it dried up. That means the grapes can sit on the vine and soak up water before harvest. The wines we make out of these grapes will be promising."

But like the grapes on the vine, Bob is about to pull a disappearing act, "I'm gonna take off soon. Harvest has been crazy around here and I've been present every day for months." Don't worry, he's coming back. I think.


Technology Versus Tradition

I asked Bob what's changed over the decades aside from the work load. How does a family-owned winery move from home fermentation to commercial winemaking? He says that capacity doesn't matter, temperature does, "In order to make really good fruity wines you need to control your fermentation temperature. It doesn't matter if it's a 5 gallon bucket or a 500 gallon tank. In that regard technology has made winemaking easier than it's ever been. A large part of making good quality wine is about filtering and about cold stabilization. There are machines for that now. In the old days people would ferment and age wine in caves, or bury it in the ground to keep it cold."

I wanted to know what was over the horizon for Hinnant or for the wine industry, "we're really working on re-branding our labels to make them look distinct on the shelf. We have moved into bottling with Stelvin screw caps instead of cork. That's something that the industry as a whole is moving towards. We also have 2 private label wines right now we're making exclusively for Walmart. That partnership has potential to take-off. I hope down the road to begin making brandy, sherry, fortified wines, and grappa."

That sounds amazing, but some of those drinks would require a distilling permit due to the alcohol volume. I was told that it's in the works. Exciting. In the meantime, you can enjoy a glass of Hinnant wine on the wrap-around front porch of the tasting room. Or pick-your-own grapes. I followed Bob out to the vineyard so I could see the unique double wire system they use to grow their vines. It's called the Geneva Double Curtain and it splits the branches of the plant so that the vines creep along two running wires and not one. This increases grape production by about 40% more fruit per acre.

With my head stuck up in the middle of a grapevine between two pieces of wire and with a leaf in my hair, I could certainly see what Bob was talking about. The particular grape vine plant I was standing in was massive, with large and ripe red grapes. With the sun shining down and the hint of fall chill to come in the air I honestly wanted to stand in the Hinnant vineyard until the sun went down. I highly recommend doing the pick-your-own and sticking your head in a grape vine... that's how you find the best grapes.

Bob's son is too young yet to show any true interest in maybe one day being the next Hinnant to run the vineyard. But there are many harvests left yet before Bob is ready to step down. Bob's hope, and certainly my hope as a Johnston County native, is that Hinnant Family Vineyards continues to grow and prosper. Much like the grapes growing on the vine every year, only time will tell.

To experience all the Beer, Wine, and Shine that Johnston County has to offer. Try the Beer, Wine, and Shine Trail!

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Menacing, Melodious, Masterful

Menacing, Melodious, Masterful

Celebrate the timeless nature of classical music. Be thrilled by the haunting sounds of the season. Explore the collections of masterful composers. The 4th Annual Clayton Piano Festival will regale audiences with a week of expertly themed concerts starting on October 30th and going through November 7th.

Hometown classical musician, Jonathan Levin, started the festival in 2010 to give back to the community where he was raised. "As many may know, I grew up in the Clayton area and it was here that my musical education began as well," stated Levin. "Clayton Piano Festival (CPF) is my way of giving back to a community which gave much to me and to share my love and enthusiasm for great music with as many people as possible."

“Taking high art off of the top shelf” has been the mission of Clayton Piano Festival for the past four years as it has presented fun, family-oriented outreach shows, innovative classes for local music students and accessible, festive concert performances by world renowned guest artists from all across the globe throughout the Clayton area and beyond.

The festival returns this fall with another stellar line up of concerts in partnership with the Historic Wagner House to promote an intimate atmosphere where audiences can experience world class performances up close and personal.  “It’s almost like having a live concert in your own living room”, says Levin.  “There’s no need to know anything about the music before coming or to worry about uptight concert etiquette.  People will have fun and enjoy amazing music, guided through the experience by performers who are as communicative with their performances as they are presenting the music to new audiences.  The idea is for those who aren’t classical enthusiasts to be able to discover something incredible they weren’t sure they would enjoy, and for those who are, to be able to listen with a fresh perspective.” 

This season starts off with a special Halloween party and concert on October 30th called Night of the Living Composers.  The event includes dinner, the concert and a dessert reception afterwards.  Jonathan Levin will treat listeners to a rousing collection CPF Evening 1of some of the most horrible works for the piano, in the best sense of the word of course!   The program includes famous numbers CPF Evening 2 featured in horror movies and other pieces which have themes associated with menace in some way.  Come dressed for the occasion and participate in a costume contest to win free tickets to the concert on November 5th.

On Sunday afternoon, November 1st, Professor at Baylor University and expert on Spanish music, Dr. Paul Sanchez presents an evocative and thrilling collection of works from two of the most influential Spanish composers, Isaac Albeniz and Enrique Granados.   The only American pianist to be invited to study in Spain with the legendary Alicia de Larrocha, Paul will guide the audience through the rich and colorful music of this country.  The concert, called In the Gardens of Spain, explores the dances, tangos, folk influence and traditional melodies that make up the unique Spanish flavor.  

On Thursday November 5th, Russian-born pianist and producer/broadcaster, Yana Reznik presents an evening of Russian favorites titled, From Russia with Love.  The concert includes an exhilarating collection of works which everyone knows and loves like selections from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite and famous preludes by Sergei Rachmaninoff.  You may choose to come early and have a full, wholesome Russian-style CPF Evening 3dinner, or just come later for the concert, which will again be followed by a dessert reception.
CPF Evening 4
The closing concert of the 2015 season is titled Beethoven and Why the Piano Matters, which will be held at Hopper Piano Company in Raleigh. Noted author, teacher, and broadcaster David Dubal hosts this unique look at the life and works of Ludwig van Beethoven through live performances of his piano music featuring the dynamic pianism of Russian born guest artist Michael Bulychev-Okser.  The program explores famous sonatas of his early middle and late periods, highlighting the evolution of his style, which was so inextricably linked to the composers' own life and inner journey.  Audiences will see how this titan rocked the music world, leaving an indelible mark on the history of music and the piano – a force of influence that is still felt strongly today.  

The Clayton Piano Festival is supported by grants, donations, and tickets sales. Ticket prices vary between performances and both a senior and child ticket price will be offered, with package deals as well including the three Wagner House performances. More information and to purchase tickets, visit www.claytonpianofestival.org.

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Horseless Carriages to Take a Tour of Johnston County

Horseless Carriages to Take a Tour of Johnston County

Did you know that next week is officially Horseless Carriage Club Week in Johnston County?


Well, now you do. An official proclamation from the county was issued in congruence with the first visit to the area by the North Carolina Regional Group of the Horseless Carriage Club of America. This touring antique car club actually includes members from all over the southeast who meet annually for a summer driving tour through a selected host city. 

Horseless Carriage

Johnston County is happy to be hosting antique automotive enthusiast to our area, which is rich in heritage and hospitality. I, of course, had questions about this unique event. What is a horseless carriage? What is a tour? 

The first thing I learned is that the Horseless Carriage Club of America has 70 regional groups across the world. In the North Carolina Regional Group there are members from within the state and also places like Virginia, Georgia, and Florida. The biggest event in the club is the yearly tour, going on its 64th year, and it has never been hosted in eastern NC until now. Members meet at the host location, often bringing their cars in trailers, and then spend the next few days driving the antique cars around caravan style while enjoying the local points of interest.How old are these things? I sat down with Selma native, tour host, and 5-year member Tommy Fitzgerald. He was happy to answer all my questions and also, theoretically, teach me how to drive a Model-T.

Must Be 100 Years Old to Join... Sorta

I was fascinated to find that only a very specific type of car can claim membership in the club. Cars manufactured prior to 1928 are allowed, though a lot of the cars driving around Johnston County next week will be over 100 years old. We’re talking about cars that were made by hand pre-assembly line era (RIP Henry Ford). That is where the term horseless carriage comes from. The very first cars looked like carriages without horses hitched to them. As Tommy Fitzgerald put it, “very few cars on the road today, and not in museums, represent the infancy of the automobile industry.”

The responsibility of preserving this era of human ingenuity instills horseless carriage owners with a sense of purpose. Club members own these cars for the driving and the enjoyment, but mostly they do it to help preserve an important piece of history. “It is for posterity,” says Fitzgerald, “in the club we say that you might have the title and the bill of sale, but you never really own the car. The car belongs to history.”

And there will be cars on this tour that you have never seen before and will likely never see again, even a car with a steam-powered engine. Over 75 cars and around 200 people have signed-up. Drivers range in age from late twenties to over eighty. Fitzgerald explained that most drivers but cars in working condition, already restored. Some die-hards with the knack for it like to buy and fix up automobiles themselves.

Horseless Carriage 2

Gentlemen (and Ladies) Start Your Engines

I wanted to know about the ability of these cars to perform on modern streets and at considerable distances. I learned something new again. Legally, a car must only be equipped with the safety features it came with. So, if you drive your 2015 Ford Escape without doors, seatbelts, or airbags… that’s illegal. Driving a 1918 Ford Model-T lacking some of the same features is perfectly legal because the car was not manufactured with those features in the first place. As for performance, Fitzgerald assures me these cars are all in perfect working condition. The average touring day finds the group traveling 100-125 miles, though routes tend to traverse secondary roads and not major highways.

If you have a desire to see any of these fascinating and historical cars for yourself, the club will be doing at least 2 public displays. One next Monday the 20th at Deacon Jones from around 5:30PM to 8PM. Another at Holt’s Lake Bar-B-Que on Wednesday the 22nd around lunchtime.

Thank you to Tommy Fitzgerald and his wife Donna for bringing this amazing event to Johnston County. I would like to wish you and the rest of the Horseless Carriage Club members a fun and safe tour. 


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Rebekah Todd Talks Benson, Bands, and Being an Independent Artist

Rebekah Todd Talks Benson, Bands, and Being an Independent Artist

Rebekah Todd Talks Benson, Bands, and Being an Independent Artist

~ As I move through the dim atmosphere of the bar I look around at the sparse crowd of early arrivals - it's barely 9:30PM - I know who I am looking for but not sure if I'll know when I find her. Some people look different in person than what you image from promo pictures and YouTube videos. But, as I look to my right and find Rebekah Todd sitting at a booth with her band I am pleased to find that she looks exactly as you imagine her. The long cotton fringe sleeveless vest and the brown wool felt panama-esque hat on her head make her look like the love child of Stevie Nicks and Patti Smith. Appropriate given her musical chops.

Though many musicians can seem or actually are aloof, Rebekah is instantly warm and friendly while introducing me to her band and making me feel welcome in their circle. She's in the quiet lull between set-up and show-time for her Raleigh concert at Tir Na Nog. The noise of the bar fades to the background while we chat about music, muses, and Johnston County. For those of you not in the know, Rebekah Todd is from Benson, NC where she grew-up, in her own words, weird, "I was constantly trying to find ways to channel this creative energy I had." She admits that she had a few close friends but often preferred being alone with her latest project - painting, knitting, and papermaking to name a few. She recalls a funny story of using her mom's kitchen blenders in order to shred paper, adding water to make pulp, "she found me and her kitchen in a mess and was not any less mad when I simply explained that I was making my own paper".

It was this level of intense creativity that lead Rebekah to song-writing. She had been singing her whole life and writing music felt like an extension of that. It was her father who suggested a musical instrument, "he had a really good point," she says, "about having to rely on others to make the music, having to find a band or a partner. If I could play an instrument then I could be a singular act if I wanted to, it would lend me flexibility and autonomy. So he bought me a guitar." She was 16 at the time and her Dad's intuition paid off. By the time she went to college at East Carolina University she was able to make extra money playing gigs at local businesses - just her and her guitar.

Musical Influence - a Little Bit of Rock and a Little Bit of Soul

While having an amazing repertoire of original songs - more on that in a minute - Rebekah's live shows include an impressive collection of covers. Songs like Superstition, and Rhiannon which is a tie for her favorite cover (the other favorite being The Thrill is Gone). I asked what sort of music had an early influence on her own sound, "classic rock, my Dad listened to a lot of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. I also love soul, like Aretha Franklin, so my own style is sort of a blend of rock, soul, and folk.

I ask her about her newest album Roots Bury Deep, out February of last year, and how writing is going for the next album, "I wish I could be like those artists who are disciplined enough to write an hour every day, but I have to wait until I really feel it. That might mean going days without anything and then spending hours writing when the right feeling and inspiration comes over me."

What was her favorite song off the last album? "Wishing Well is very meaningful to me even though it isn't the most popular on the album." I make a mental note to give it another few listens. You should too. The sultry tones of Rebekah's voice that make covers like Rhiannon feel so right in her capable hands elevates the haunting lyrics of Wishing Well and takes the song to a whole new level.

I asked about a manager and she just shakes her head, "I do it all on my own." This seems dubious to me, with my miniscule knowledge of the music industry. How do you know what to do and who to talk to and how to negotiate things? That's my true technical talk right there. She just laughs, "I taught myself.  When I started I was just working for tips and now I've done 100 gigs this year alone - it's only July! I've learned how to self-manage and the terrain that goes along with that." Rebekah has in fact turned herself into a booking agent as a side job. It evolved out of her knowledge in self-booking; she had so many gigs coming in that she was having to pass them up and she had the thought to start booking them for other artists and friends (and getting a small portion of the cut, as booking agents do). Truly entrepreneurial. But, then, that's the new music business... sports isn't the only industry moving slowly towards a free agent model. A lot of artists do it all on their own. Her latest album was financially supported by fans and sponsors through Kickstarter. Kickstarter is a website that allows artists and other individuals to raise money for social campaigns or creative endeavors.

On the Road, Take the Stage

Rebekah Todd is often a lone act, just her and her guitar, but she switches it up a lot. As a group act she is Rebekah Todd and The Odyssey - her band. However she is currently touring with The Oblations, a band out of Chapel Hill, making them Rebekah Todd and TRebekah Toddhe Oblations. She confided in me her dream celebrity collaboration would be Neil Young. This just makes me want to ask her to sing Heart of Gold. But instead I ask her if she has anything else she wants to tell me about her music, "I think I'm going to switch my guitar out for electric soon, go less acoustic. I'm ready to be edgy, add more rock to my soul." That sounds like something I'm ready to hear.

I ask her if she gets back to Benson these days with all the touring and what she loves about it. Her answer is wonderfully honest, "If you had asked me this question 5 or 6 years ago I would have had a different answer, but what I like most now about my hometown is the comfort of returning to the familiar. Benson never changes, not where it counts, and it's nice to be able to come back to that."

I ask her what place or business she misses the most, "it's crazy, but, El Charro. I cannot get chicken quesadillas like that anywhere else."

The deliciousness of Johnston County's unique Latino restaurant options seems like as good a topic as any to end on. This further confirms my growing notion by this point that not only is Rebekah Todd one heck of a musician, but a funny, kind, southern soul. If you haven't given this JoCo talent a try, please do. You can listen to all her music here, catch her video performances here, and get info about her latest tour dates here. Rebekah plays festivals and events in Johnston County from time to time - for a full list of events visit www.johnstoncountyevents.com.

Thanks for taking the time Rebekah, you rock!

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Jewel's Formals - An Accessory to Confidence

Jewel's Formals - An Accessory to Confidence

Jewel's Formals - An Accessory to Confidence

For as long as I can remember, Jewel's has been a beacon of cloth and color on the corner of Market and Third in downtown Smithfield.  Through rain and sun and snow, the dazzling dresses in the window stand out to pedestrians and motorists like brightly wrapped presents. And without telling my age, the length of my memory is about how long this sophisticated shop has been around. Jewel's Formals has been in the formal business for 25 years. And they dress each client with a confidence born from over two decades of experience.
dress rackGuarding over the racks of dresses, a canvas mounted on a wall towards the back of the shop says, "without question the most important thing a girl wears is her confidence". With the same thought, Kim Johnson, owner of Jewel's, would tell you that it is not their service, their dresses, or their hard work that make a dress shine brighter than the rest, it is the woman wearing it. A winning dress does not create beauty, it enhances it.

But Jewel's certainly has winning dresses, or just perhaps winning clients. For the last 2 years in a row, but not for the first time, Jewel's has dressed both Miss North Carolina and Miss Teen North Carolina. In fact, a staggering estimated 30 girls in this year's Miss North Carolina pageant wore a Jewel's dress in the competition, out of 79 contestants. In addition, out of the top 5 Miss Teen North Carolina contestants, 4 of them were wearing a Jewel's dress in the competition.

The Crown(ed) Jewel

What exactly does this mean? Well, it means that Jewel's is a great place to purchase dresses for pageantry. In fact, it is a large part of their business. The second being prom. However, it does not mean that the particular Jewel's dress worn for the state pageants will also be worn in the Miss America competition. Kim explains that at the national level girls are provided with dress options from pre-selected pageant sponsors. So, Miss North Carolina 2015, Kate Peacock, will not be wearing her winning Jewel's dress at the Miss America Pageant. But, she may be wearing Jewel's attire to appearances and other functions.

What is important to remember though is that the girl chooses the dress. She selects the shop, the designer, the cut, and the color. Jewel's has a huge pageant business because an overwhelming number of contestants choose to purchase their dress at Jewel's. They have a reputation for fashion. A reputation that precedes them. Well-earned over time. And with time comes knowledge of the dress industry and the pageant industry.

Formal and Formidable

Jewel's carries around 25 designer labels at any given time, purchased from different fashion markets twice a kate peacockyear. The shop purchases upcoming fall fashion in the spring and upcoming spring fashion in the fall. Pageant season runs all year long with preliminaries starting in August and competitions running through May. A contestant could come into the shop at any time of the year looking for "the" dress. Though Jewel's is not a bridal boutique, they do offer prom, homecoming, military balls, and tuxedo rental expertise.

As for pageant knowledge, I learned that Miss North Carolina contestants often go with a safer, more conservative dress - nothing too revealing - and teen contestants have historically stayed away from the colors black and red. However, Kim acknowledged that there is proof in the winner's circle that this un-written rule seems to be shifting.

You can benefit from all this knowledge, plus professional and friendly service at Jewel's. Even if you aren't in the market for a pageant dress, Jewel's will make you feel like a beauty queen for any occasion. And while Kim insists that it isn't the dress that makes the girl, a Jewel's dress does certainly make the perfect accessory to any girl's confidence. Just ask future Miss America (we hope) Kate Peacock!

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Endless Yard Sale Show Comes to Hwy 301

Endless Yard Sale Show Comes to Hwy 301

Endless Yard Sale Show Comes to Hwy 301

We swear that when we named our event the 301 Endless Yard Sale we did not know there was an amazing  television show dedicated to bringing yard sale loving contestants to some of the nation's biggest and best yard sales. Or that the show was called Endless Yard Sale. But, serendipity is strange like that, and Endless Yard Sale will be coming to, well, our 301 Endless Yard Sale, June 19-20, 2015.

What does that mean for you as a local or a visitor, a vendor or a buyer? It means you just might have a chance to be on TV... the Great American Country channel to be exact. We have packed some great information into this blog, including who to contact if you want to be a contestant and some of the possible items the show is looking to buy on their 301 adventure. If you're going to be at the 301 Endless Yard Sale this year and you are an antique collector then we suggest you bring your "A" game!  

We've also included a helpful map of Hwy 301 as it goes through 100 miles of treasure hunting from Roanoke Rapids to Dunn. The map starts at the most northern vendor and ends at the most southern vendor (so far). It also maps each vendor area we currently know about and it will be updated as we know more information.

Do You Live for Yard Sales? Would You Like to Be on TV?

Do you have an eye for antiques and vintage treasures? Can you bargain and deal like a pro? You could be the next Endless Yard Sale winner! Our House Media is currently casting Picking Teams for Great American County's competition series Endless Yard Sale. If you're interested in being on the show then they want to hear from you. Contact Lauren Hugh at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 416-551-1032 ext. 260.

Do You Have Interesting and Unusual Yard Sale Items?

Endless Yard Sale is also looking for interesting and unusual antiques and collectibles. Below is a list of some of the things they are looking for.

- Old Toys: Cast Iron, Tin Windup
- Old Signs
- Old Neon Signs
- Military Items
- Pedal Cars
- Antique Guns
- Coin-Operated Machines
- Folk Art
- Motorcycles
- Juke Boxes
- Old Movie Posters
- Cast Iron
- Early Furniture
- Pottery
- Radios: Transistors/Tabletop
- Bicycles
- Advertising Items
- Pottery
- Western/ Equestrian Gear
- Taxidermy
- Vending Machines: Coke, Candy, Gumball
- Musical Instruments
- Sports Collectibles
- 60’s, 70’s & 80’s TV Merchandise
- Vintage Diner Items

- Duck Decoys
- Pinball Machines
- Telephones
- Circus & Carnival Memorabilia
- Election Memorabilia
- Musical Instruments
- Civil War Antiques
- NASA Memorabilia
- Rugs
- Advertising Items
- Cookie Jars
- Antique Casino/ Gaming Equipment
- Antique Clocks
- Taxidermy Animals
- Early Board Games
- Old Photographs - Crocks
- Hawaiian/ Tiki Collectibles
- Old Bar Equipment
- Oil Paintings
- Gas Pumps
- Police Officer Collectibles
- Old Dolls
- Firefighter Collectibles
- Wood Carvings
- Soda Fountain Dispensers


















Due North or Due South? It's Up to You.

As we mentioned at the top, this map includes each vendor area we currently know about and it will be updated as more information comes in. However, keep in mind that we cannot know every participating house and business. Therefore, this map and the locations are meant as a guide and not a definitive listing of what you'll find along the 301 Endless Yard Sale route.

301 Endless Yard Sale Map
For up-to-date information visit the website, www.301endlessyardsale.com, and follow us on Facebook.




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Beer Wine & Shine Trail

beer wine and shine trail logo

Travel around the county to four award-winning wineries, two breweries and get a taste of brandy along the way!  Receive a Free $30 coupon book when you complete the trail.


Meeting Planners

meeting venue with presentation screen

Johnston County offers conveniently located and affordable conference facilities for meetings, reunions, and unique destination weddings sites.  Why not select a historic home or horse farm for your next event?


Group Tour Operators

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Groups have discovered exits along I-40 and I-95 for outlet shopping, music theatre, museums and heritage sites.  Call today for custom itinerary planning.


Hotel Packages

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We have created several special hotel packages including a Girlfriends Getaway for outlet shopping, we know you need a break and great deals on shoes!  Click here to book your getaway today.


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Check out what other travelers say about Johnston County, North Carolina on TripAdvisor. TripAdvisor
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