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Top 30 North Carolina tourist attractions

The Triangle once again dominates the list of North Carolina’s most visited historic tourist attractions in 2016.  You don’t want to miss these!

In the top 30, four attractions are in Raleigh, with one each in Durham and Chapel Hill.

The top tourist attraction, for the third year in a row, is in Raleigh. The Biltmore in Asheville had long been at the top since the list began 13 years ago, but is no longer counted among the popular attractions because it stopped reporting attendance totals.

See:   https://www.bizjournals.com/triangle/news/2017/03/07/top-30-north-carolina-tourist-attractions.html     for the slideshow.

The list is compiled by Carolina Publishing & Associates.

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Where to see fireworks and celebrate the 4th of July in the Triangle

Happy Independence Day to everyone!

Nearly every town in the Triangle will have a Fourth of July celebration either over the weekend or next week. From Raleigh’s big downtown celebration – The ‘Works – to Durham fireworks at the Bulls game and Cary’s celebration with the N.C. Symphony, here’s your guide to fireworks, festivals and parades across Wake, Durham, Orange, Johnston and Chatham counties.

July 4

Apex – The annual Olde Fashioned Fourth of July runs 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a Parade of Wheels at noon, which children 12 and under can take part in. Other activities include inflatables, karaoke and face painting. Pets are not allowed. Info: apexnc.org/532/Olde-Fashioned-Fourth-of-July.

Benson ––Benson’s July 4th Celebration takes place at Benson Singing Grove (400 E. Main St.) 5:30-9:30 p.m. There will be food, games, entertainment, live music, a raffle and fireworks. Info: 919-894-5117.

Brier Creek – The Show Us Your Stripes Block Party will take place 7 to 9 p.m. at the Brier Creek Commons Clock Tower Plaza, featuring games, bounce houses and face painting. Fireworks will start after dark. Info: shopbriercreekcommons.com/events.

Carrboro – The activities will commence at 9:30 a.m. on Weaver Street Market Lawn. A parade from Weaver Street Market to Town Hall will start at 10:50 a.m. There will be live music, a costume contest, inflatables, sack races, a water-balloon toss and bingo for seniors. Info: carrbororec.org/DocumentCenter/View/2750.

Cary – From 3 to 10 p.m., the town will have its celebration in Koka Booth Amphitheatre. There will be watermelon eating contests, a Ferris wheel, a scavenger hunt and music by the N.C. Symphony and the Cary Town Band. Fireworks will start after the symphony’s 7:30 p.m. performance. The event is free, save for some of the amusement rides and pub tables. Pets, hula hoops and weapons are prohibited. Info: boothamphitheatre.com.

Chapel Hill – Fireworks will start at 9:30 p.m. in Kenan Memorial Stadium on UNC’s campus. Gates open at 7 p.m. and other festivities include a watermelon eating contest, face painting, stiltwalkers and food trucks. The suggested donation to help offset costs is $1 for an individual and $5 for a family. No outside food or drink is allowed. Info: bit.ly/2seqxfb.

Cleveland – Celebrate Cleveland starts at 9 a.m. at 9046 Cleveland Road (JCC Cleveland Campus).

Clayton – Catch food vendors, raffles, basketball competitions, cornhole and inflatables at Municipal Park (325 McCullers Drive) starting at 4 p.m. Fireworks will start after dark. Live music, inflatables and rides will continue after the fireworks. Info: bit.ly/2tbFC5n.

Durham – Durham’s Independence Day Celebration, sponsored by Durham Parks and Recreation and the Durham Bulls, includes baseball, fireworks, food and fun. Fireworks happen after the game, and tickets to the game are strongly encouraged, as the gates will open during the 7th inning for general admission based on availability. Tailgating, alcohol in parking decks and watching from parking decks are prohibited. Areas where the game can be viewed outside the ballpark are Tobacco Road Sports Cafe, the grassy area behind Diamond 3, Ponysaurus and Burt’s Bees, outside of the North Deck. Info: durhamnc.gov/1008/Independence-Day-Celebration.

Additionally, the Children’s Independence Day Parade at Durham Central Park starts at 9:30 a.m. (prep), followed by fire truck tours and free popsicles. Info: bit.ly/2tN4ga6.

Kenly – The celebration starts at 8 p.m. at Kenly 95 Petro (923 Johnston Parkway). Info: 919-284-2116.

Knightdale – The band Chairman of the Board will headline the celebration, and there will be food trucks. The event begins at 5 p.m., with shuttles to the Knightdale Station Park beginning at 4. Fireworks start at 9:15 in Knightdale Station Park. Info: knightdalestation.com.

Pine Level – The celebration runs 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at Sam Godwin Recreation Park (U.S. 70-A). Info: 919-965-2284.

Raleigh – The ‘Works will have festivities from noon to 10 p.m. on Fayetteville Street and at Red Head Amphitheater. Fireworks will start around 9:30. Contests include patriotic pooch, watermelon seed spitting, ice cream eating and a hot dog eating. There will be a beer garden and live music including The Connells and DJ Dousro. Info: raleighconvention.com/works.

Selma – The 14th Annual All-American Festival takes place at Historic Selma Union Depot (500 Railroad St.) 5-10 p.m. Info: 919-975-1411.

Zebulon – There will be fireworks after the Carolina Mudcats game at Five County Stadium. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with the game starting at 7. A ticket is required for the game and fireworks. Tickets start at $10. Info: carolinamudcats.com.

July 5

Holly Springs – From 5 to 9:30 p.m. at Jefferson L. Sugg Farm at Bass Lake Park, there will be patriotic festivities including fireworks at 9:15, face painting, live music and inflatables. Friendly pets on leashes are welcome. Bringing fireworks, including sparklers, is prohibited. Info: hollyspringsnc.us/358/July-5th.

USA Today names Cary’s Bond Brothers best new brewery

Several thousand new breweries opened nationwide in the last three years. Bond Brothers Beer Co. in downtown Cary is the best one of them all, according to a new poll from USA Today.

“We’re super-excited,” said Whit Baker, the brewmaster and co-owner. “ I’m so glad that people like us.”

A panel of craft beer experts picked what they said were the 20 best new breweries – defined as breweries that opened in 2014, 2015 or 2016 – so even being named to the list initially showed some insider credibility.

Then people could go online and vote for their favorite. Bond Brothers whipped up community support and beat out breweries from cities like Atlanta, Chicago and the craft beer mecca of Portland, Ore.

See the full list here.

Brothers Jay and Jeremy Bond own the brewery along with Baker and Andy Schnitzer. And although the brewery has only been open for about a year, they had years of experience homebrewing before they decided to turn their hobby into a business.

“We knew we had a good, solid product,” Jay Bond said Friday, after their win was announced. “We did years and years of (homebrewing). We had done festivals, won awards and given away lots and lots of beer over the years.”

They don’t have to give it away anymore. The brewery at 202 E. Cedar St. in downtown Cary is often crowded.  In fact, Bond said, people who show up in the next few days might find a more limited selection than usual since the brewery has been unexpectedly busy.  “We’re actually quite low on beer at the moment,” he said. “We’ve had some really good weekends lately.”

But there’s already lots of new beer brewing for a festival April 1 at the brewery, which Bond Brothers has been planning for a while. Now it’ll turn into a celebration for this new accolade, too.

There will be special beer releases and a show by Durham folk rockers The Mountain Goats. The party will last from noon to 11 p.m. and the Mountain Goats will take the stage at 5 p.m.

BY WILL DORAN, newobserver.com