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The Herbert C. Young Community Center hosted 197 rising kindergarten and first graders for Safety Town 2019. This year’s attendance increased by 10 percent compared to attendance in 2018. Throughout the week, stories, games, songs and videos reinforced skills taught by special guests. Safety Town is a collaboration between Fire, Police, 911, Animal Control, Public Works, Parks and Recreation and other agencies across Cary. The goal of Safety Town is to educate young children about making safe choices, preventing accidents and reacting to emergencies, all in a safe and fun environment.
Despite predictions of a rainy day, an estimated 10,000 people gathered in Downtown Cary on Saturday, June 8, for the 2nd Annual Pimento Cheese Festival. Professional cheese carver Sarah Kaufmann traveled to Cary from San Diego to create a true work of art that featured many Cary landmarks. Southern Living magazine highlighted the event on its Facebook page which was commented on 1,500 times, shared 2,000 times and had 3,500 page interactions with emojis.
Cary hosted its Inaugural Juneteenth Celebration on June 15–16. Juneteenth commemorates the Union Army delivering the news on June 19, 1865 to African American slaves in Galveston, TX that the war was over, and slavery was abolished. Cary’s celebration included a Friday evening performance of Darrell Stover’s “Written on the Water,” and on Saturday, a procession to the Downtown Park. The 37th United States Colored Troop Reenactors highlighted the entertainment lineup which also included story tellers, gospel choirs, dancers and drummers. The event, prompted by citizen input, blossomed into a meaningful and memorable weekend.
The Cary Theater’s 2nd annual film festival was held June 19–23. Based on the theme of “Heroes,” this festival welcomed films from across the world, including Burkina Faso, Australia, and Spain. The festival partnered with national nonprofit, Teen Cancer America, to screen the documentary film, Cancer Rebellion (executive produced by Roger Daltrey of The Who) and hosted filmmaker Hernan Barangan. Four filmmaking workshops provided educational sessions for all experience levels. Special guests included Janet Scott Batchler and Lee Batchler, screenwriters of Batman Forever, who presented a screenwriting workshop and discussed the process of writing the film. Partnerships with downtown businesses provided several social opportunities for networking and meeting filmmakers and guests.
Cary citizens celebrated the 26th Spring Daze Arts & Crafts Festival on April 27 in Bond Park. The festival welcomed over 170 artists, 21 percent of whom were Cary residents, a seven percent increase from 2018. As part of the Earth Day celebration at Spring Daze, staff educated the public on environmental issues by setting up a brand-new waste station that provided guests the opportunity to learn more about what is compostable or recyclable. Attendees were also encouraged to ride a bike, walk, or carpool to reduce their carbon footprint and use the free water bottle refill station to reduce waste.
Booth Amphitheatre kicked off its 19th season in April with two popular food and drink festivals: Beer/Bacon and Great Grapes. Australian musician Tash Sultana and country icons Travis Tritt & Charlie Daniels began the national acts lineup in May, and Jason Isbell & Father John Misty continued the national acts in June. The North Carolina Symphony’s Summerfest played to large audiences with special highlights being the Ben Folds and the popular Broadway concert. Movies, the Josh Cellars Jazz Series, and local events including Cary-area high school’s Music and Arts Festival and the Triangle Wind Ensemble all helped showcase the Amphitheatre’s wide variety of events.
The 41st Annual Cary Road Race drew over 900 runners from all over North Carolina and states as far away as Arizona for the 5K and 5 mile races. An additional100 young runners participated in the Fun Run. Runners and spectators enjoyed food trucks, beer and live entertainment before, during, and after the runs. Over $4,500 in proceeds from the event went to the Play It Forward scholarship fund.
The signature celebration for the 40th anniversary of Cary’s greenways was held on June 1, National Trails Day, at Bond Park. It was a beautiful day at the park, and the event was well attended. Approximately 100 riders traveled the White Oak Creek Greenway to the American Tobacco Trail while other attendees participated in a Walk N’ Roll around the park. UNC Rex sponsored the event and hosted a booth along with artist Autumn Copeland, from whom the Town has commissioned three greenways paintings as part of the 40th anniversary celebration. Greenway Committee members and volunteers from across the organization staffed the event. Cary will continue to celebrate this important anniversary throughout the year with rides and walks each month. In November, a special event will be scheduled to celebrate the very first greenway built in Cary.
More than 10,000 youth will participate in 675 full and half day camps, workshops, classes, and clinics through 11,485 hours of activities. The 2019 Summer Camps employed more than 151 counselors, instructors, support staff and 37 contract instructors. Additionally, 28 rising 10–12th graders were selected as junior counselors to take on responsible volunteer roles within the camps. More than 76 hours of training were made available to the staff. Building on last year’s Camp College staff training initiative and Cary’s efforts around increasing the awareness of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and creating a Community of Care, two new courses were offered on Child Abuse Awareness and Unconscious Bias and Gender Awareness. As part of an initiative to be trauma-aware, trainings and experiences are focused on creating safe and respectful camp experiences that encourage positive relationships. We are collecting feedback that reflects how these efforts are building resilience in participants and staff.
A collaborative effort between the Cary Citizen and the Town of Cary, this western Cary festival took place on May 4. This was the fourth Fest in the West and the third year to be located at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Entertainment for approximately 7,000 festival-goers included live music, games, contests, artisans, beer garden, kid’s activities and cultural dance exhibitions. Cary staff were on site to provide information on municipal services and construction projects in the area. Sixteen businesses from the area provided sponsorships, and 35 food trucks applied for the 10 available spaces.
Sporting events for area high schools were hosted in Cary during the 4th Quarter.
- Clash of the Carolinas. For the third year in a row, Cary hosted the Clash of the Carolinas on Saturday, June 29 on Koka Booth Field at WakeMed Soccer Park. This event, staged every summer since 2007, is the only interstate all-star prep soccer event of its kind nationally and recognizes 72 graduated seniors and eight coaches.
- Town of Cary Local High School Baseball Series. Cary staff members work with local high schools to offer home games on Coleman Field at USA Baseball National Training Complex. This year’s matchups included Panther Creek vs. Cary, Apex vs. Middle Creek and Athens Drive vs. Panther Creek. Two games were played under the lights and served as “Senior Day” for the participating teams.
- National High School Invitational. The 8th annual USA Baseball National High School Invitational, presented by the Greater Raleigh Sports Alliance and the Town of Cary, brought 16 of the top high school teams in the nation to Cary to play 30 games in four days. The event had over $1 million in economic impact on the community.
- NCHSAA Lacrosse State Championship Games. Cary hosted the NCHSAA Lacrosse State championship games at WakeMed Soccer Park for the tenth consecutive year. Teams from across North Carolina competed for state championships. The Weddington Warriors won the 4A Men’s championship; Cardinal Gibbons won the Women’s championship.
- NCHSAA 1A and 2A Men’s Tennis Championships. Cary Tennis Park hosted the 2019 singles and doubles championships. This tennis event brings men’s high school tennis teams from across North Carolina to Cary for two days of competitive tennis.
Cary Tennis Park hosted the ACC Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships for the 14th time; for the first time, the newly-installed Playsight cameras were used to live stream all matches. The event is always well attended as many alumni and tennis enthusiasts come to cheer on their favorite ACC teams. While much of the tournament took place under sunny skies, rain on Friday morning forced play inside – the first time a college match was played on the new covered courts at Cary Tennis Park.
Cary hosted the NC BMX Series at Sk8-Cary on April 6, the only internationally sanctioned Olympic-points earning Freestyle BMX event in the USA for 2019. BMX Freestyle will be featured in the Olympics for the first time in 2020. The Cary event attracted 39 Elite and 27 Amateur competitors from 12 countries. Over 320 spectators watched the best BMX athletes in the world compete in the largest action sports event ever hosted in the Triangle.