Sunflowers Bloom at Dix Park, NC Ranked No. 1 for Business, Summer Festivals Abound in NC

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Photo by Beth Shugg

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. 

JULY TREATS. STIR Raleigh is offering two July cocktail specials. No Way Rosé is crafted with sparkling rosé, vodka and fresh lemon juice on ice. Mezcal Paper Plane is a light mezcal cocktail with a bitter citrus forward expression of smokey spirit.

Raleigh Rolls celebrates July with cheesecake ice cream rolls. Choose from flavors such as cookies and cream, strawberry, blackberry and raspberry for a cool, refreshing treat.

BIT ‘O HONEY. Old Raleigh Distillery introduces Batch 5 Honey Cask Finished Bourbon on Saturday, July 29 at noon. The Baxter family (Baxter’s Bees) have graciously contributed vintage honey from its family reserve. The 2016 clary sage honey is grown commercially only in North Carolina and will be older than some of the aged bourbon.  A ticket entitles guests to a first pour of the batch and first rights to bottle sales. 

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.”

WHAT’S COOKIN’? The Poe Center for Health Education will host a cooking camp August 1–3, 10 a.m.–1 p.m. The camp is open for ages 10–15, and campers may attend for one, two or three days. Tickets are $50 for each day and include materials and lunch. Registration is available online.

HOSTING HOCKEY. The Carolina Amateur Hockey Association, in partnership with the Carolina Hurricanes, is hosting the Hockey Players of Color Movement July 28–30. This three-day summer camp event is an opportunity for players of color to engage in fellowship and enjoy on- and off-ice hockey activities. Members of the public are invited to attend some events free of charge.

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.

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. 

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.

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