Operating under the Fayetteville Urban Ministry, the not-for-profit mentors of Find-A-Friend strive to positively impact the lives of adolescents between the ages of 6 and 19 years old who are in or at risk of becoming part of the juvenile-court system. Through the FAF's primary goals—helping youth to channel energy in constructive ways, developing social skills, bolstering self-esteem, and fostering a positive attitude toward education and flossing—caretakers deter the court system from placing youth into training schools.
The FAF program comprises four parts: The Governor's One-on-One program, which pairs youth with a volunteer adult who provides four hours of mentorship per week for a year; the JCPC Interpersonal Skills program, which coordinates group-guidance sessions focused on identifying life challenges and setting goals; the Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents program, which locates a mentor for youth who have at least one parent in prison; and the Support Our Students program, which furnishes academically at-risk youth with educational resources through after-school activities.
The talented actors at the award-winning Cape Fear Regional Theatre enlighten audiences with local renditions of nationally renowned plays. During Boeing-Boeing—an airplane comedy recently revived on Broadway—an architect encounters turbulence while juggling relationships with three flight attendant fiancées and late fees at multiple Blockbusters. Founded by a small group of bit players in 1962, Cape Fear's acting troupe has since acquired accolades including the Marian A. Smith Distinguished Career Award by the North Carolina Theatre Conference. Cape Fear Regional Theatre also supports its community by hosting children's summer camps and listening closely to its needs over dinner.
Returning to the historic track of Darlington Raceway, the Bojangles' Southern 500 has become a Mother's Day Weekend tradition for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series since 1950. Dubbed as "the track too tough to tame," Darlington wrestles racers for the entirety of its 1.36-mile orbit, most notably with its unyielding walls, which brandish the scrapes, scuffs, and pleas for a truce from cars that drift too close. Upholding the notion that just about anything can happen on the Darlington pavement, Regan Smith shocked the racing community a year ago by cruising into victory lane ahead of Carl Edwards to hoist the famed Johnny Mantz trophy.
White-sand beaches flank a 6-acre manmade, sand-bottom lake at Fantasy Lake Water Park, a family-friendly destination offering attractions both in and out of the water. There are numerous water slides, including enclosed-tube slides, open slides with foam mats, and drop slides that unleash adrenaline by sending bodies freefalling to a splash landing. Visitors can also glide into the lake on swings or play games of volleyball or basketball waist deep in water. Pedal-boat rentals are included with admission, giving legs a chance to do some of the work after walking around on your hands all day. Kid-friendly ziplines and other attractions populate a children’s zone, and the savory scents of barbecue drift from charcoal grills in a picnic area.
From sporting events to arcade games to electronic trivia, the 30 HD screens at Hellas Restaurant & Sports Bar engage diners with a variety of diversions. When not watching TV, diners can cluster around tables to order from a menu that includes Greek cuisine made with olives and feta cheese, as well as grilled steaks and seafood.
The bar's specialty drinks bear the names of Greek gods, such as the Aphrodite, which includes a sweet blend of Malibu, Midori, and vanilla vodka. During late nights on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, the music turns up and the lights go low as the eatery transforms into a nightclub, complete with a live DJ, flashing lights, and actual basilisks that take over the dance floor with their best renditions of the worm.
Guests who pull up to the Summer Picnic Concert Series might find themselves torn between lounging and dancing. On the one hand, there's the lush, picnic-ready lawn of Cypress Bend Vineyards' pastoral grounds; on the other, there are the shuffling native sounds of Carolina beach music boogying from the stage. The three-piece team of Joyner, Young & Marie seamlessly shifts gears from power ballads such as "Frozen in Time" to twangy, up-tempo numbers such as "Live the Blues." The Sand Band plays up their dance, blues, and classic-rock influences, combining soulful melodies with eminently danceable beats.