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Have Fun and Feel Good: Six Great Events that Support Your Community

Story By Hilary Brady

Some may consider Brunswick County quaint and quiet, but one thing is for sure: there’s no lack of parties in this place. What makes our area different from big cities, aside from the beautiful beaches, friendly people, clean air, scrumptious Southern food and — well, you get the point — are the types of events that pop up on calendars around town.

Sure, we have our galas with ball gowns and big limos, but we also have a wealth of relaxed golf outings, country shindigs and wine tastings. Our events may not feature the President of the United States or Donald Trump, but we attract fun country music stars and fabulous baseball greats to the towns of Brunswick County.

So strap on your diamonds, but don’t forget the denim. Dust off the golf clubs and prepare the Nikes. Here’s a listing of our favorite events taking place this spring in this special place that we call home.

What do all these events have in common, regardless of location and dress code? The causes that these events support are all wonderful. There’s no shortage of charitable folks living in Southern Brunswick County, that’s for certain.

What: Ocean Isle Museum Foundation Wine Fest
Benefits: Ocean Isle Museum Foundation
When: April 28
The Ocean Isle Museum Foundation, which encompasses both the Museum of Coastal Carolina and Ingram Planetarium, has been enriching the coastal Carolina community for two decades. The two facilities provide educational programs for both the public and local school students through activities and exhibits in order to offer a “broader understanding of our earth, our solar system, and our universe.”

What’s most attractive about the museum and the planetarium, however, is that they please all parties — parents are happy with the education instilled in their children, and children are happy with the fact that learning doesn’t feel like learning. With programs like touch tank feedings, beach walks and bird walks, sky theatre shows and laser light shows, guests benefit greatly while also having a blast.

To celebrate 20 years of natural science and environmental education, the Foundation will hold a Wine Fest on April 28 from 6:30 to 9:30 pm at the Museum of Coastal Carolina in Ocean Isle Beach. Proceeds from the Wine Fest will be used to refurbish the Museum of Coastal Carolina, which celebrated its 20th anniversary last year, and Ingram Planetarium, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

The Wine Fest will feature 16 different wines provided by the Yadkin Valley Wine Growers Association. Located in the Piedmont area of North Carolina, the Yadkin Valley is rapidly gaining a reputation for its high-quality grapes and award-winning wines. In addition to an interesting variety of wines, tasty treats will be provided by Sharky’s, Sunset Beach Deli and Causeway Gourmet.

The event will also feature live and silent auctions. The live auction, with auctioneer Ernie Perry of Perry’s Emporium Charlotte, will offer several unique items for bidding, including a signed and framed sea turtle giclée print by artist Guy Harvey, a weeklong stay in a Grand Cayman condo, an authentic Civil War musket, a private French and Low Country cooking class for 10 to 20 guests with Chef Eric Masson from The Brentwood Restaurant and Wine Bistro, and more.

Event organizers expect to draw more than 300 guests to the black tie-optional event.

“It should be a fun night of friends and neighbors sipping wonderful Yadkin Valley wines, tasting yummy treats prepared by local restaurants, and, best of all, supporting two great local attractions: the Museum of Coastal Carolina and Ingram Planetarium,” says Deb Boyce, who works in membership services for the Museum and Planetarium.

Tickets cost $50 per person and are on sale now at the following locations: the Museum of Coastal Carolina, Ingram Planetarium, Victoria’s Ragpatch (Ocean Isle location only), Brunswick Business Center and Sunset River Marketplace. Individual and corporate sponsorships ranging from $125 to $5,000 are available.

For more information about the event or becoming a sponsor, contact Deb Boyce at (910) 579-1016 or visit www.museumplanetarium.org .
What: Girls on the Run Race
Benefits: Girls on the Run and STRIDE
When: April 28
Visit Ocean Isle Beach on April 28 and you’ll see mobs of children running through the streets. Safely, of course, and for a great cause.

Girls on the Run of Coastal Carolina is a program of the Wilmington Family YMCA that encompasses a ten-county area including Brunswick County. The nonprofit, after-school program is designed for girls in third to eighth grades, with a mission to “educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.”

The Girls on the Run program draws community volunteers, teachers and parents together to coach girls over a ten-week period, with a goal to “inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.” At the end of the ten-week program, the girls participate in a 5K race together.

As a result of the popularity of the girls-only Girls on the Run program, STRIDE was developed for boys in the spring of 2010. Girls on the Run of Coastal Carolina and STRIDE are funded entirely by donations, fees, grants and sponsorships of events like the upcoming April 28 race.

Naber Dodge and the South Brunswick Islands Rotary Club, along with other area Rotary clubs, will be major sponsors of the April 28 race. Organizers anticipate almost 150 girls and 30 boys in Brunswick County schools to participate.

For more information about — or how to support — the Girls on

the Run and STRIDE programs, visit www.nckidsrun.org .

What: Diamonds and Denim Charity Ball
Benefits: Brunswick County’s Lower Cape Fear Hospice
When: May 3
Hosted by the Brunswick Sheriff’s Charitable Foundation, the inaugural Diamonds and Denim Charity Ball will be held on May 3 at the St. James Community Center. The event will raise funds to support Brunswick County’s Lower Cape Fear Hospice Closer to Home campaign.

“The Sheriff’s Foundation was started this past January by Sheriff Ingram because he wanted to create an annual fund-raising event that would support a different local nonprofit each year,” explains Sheriff’s Foundation chair Monique Stenquist. “He wanted to make sure that all of the money raised will stay in Brunswick County, so we created our own foundation to do just that.”

When asked why the foundation chose Hospice as the beneficiary for the inaugural event, Stenquist explains the desire to help complete a project that is so critical to the community.

“We felt it was important to support the Hospice Closer to Home campaign because we wanted to help complete that project,” says Stenquist. “You see, there is no Hospice facility in Brunswick County. People in need of their services have to travel to New Hanover County. There’s just such a dire need to get this Hospice house built and functioning here, so we decided to support them with our event. In the fall, we’ll take applications and pick a different nonprofit for the second annual event.”

The Closer to Home campaign is an effort by the Brunswick County Lower Cape Fear Hospice to raise funds needed to build its third hospice care center. Construction of the seven-bed facility located off of Old Ocean Highway in Bolivia is anticipated to be complete by June 2012.

The Western-themed Diamonds and Denim Charity Ball will feature a social hour with hors d’oeuvres, beer and wine; a full sit-down dinner of surf and turf by Coastal Catering; live music by 2010 Carolina Music Awards Country Artist of the Year Madonna Nash; dancing; a live auction with items like diamonds and designer jeans, a weeklong rental at a lakefront estate near Lake Lure and a round of golf at St. James Plantation, among other items; and a 50/50 raffle. Tickets cost $125 per person and, due to limited space in the Community Center, are only available to the first 240 guests.

“We purposely chose the Diamonds and Denim theme because it will set us apart from other events,” says Stenquist. “I’ve been involved in many events and they’re all black tie-optional. I said to the Sheriff, ‘That’s not you, that’s not us.’ We wanted to reach out to the people who don’t want to do black tie. I had heard about a Diamonds and Denim event in St. Louis and I said, ‘If I ever do an event in Brunswick County, that’s what it will be!’

“So, we’re not a big band, black-tie party. Guys can wear their jeans and women can wear their bling. Think country music awards — people wearing Plus it’s a theme that’s just so much more fitting for the Sheriff.”

For more information about this event, visit www.sheriffscharity.com

or call (910) 253-0922. Cowboy boots, and comfortable, but fun, clothes. Madonna Nash, who is originally from Wilmington, will be playing country-western music.

What: FORE! KIDZ Golf Tournament
Benefits: Local and international charities of the South Brunswick Islands Rotary
When: May 19
The South Brunswick Islands (SBI) Rotary Club will host its 18th annual FORE! KIDZ golf tournament at Tiger’s Eye in Ocean Ridge Plantation on May 19. Last year’s tournament helped the SBI Rotary to raise more than $25,000 to support several nonprofit programs.

“The focus of our club’s fundraising continues to be the youth of our local community as well as international communities around the world,” says SBI Rotary president Mary Ellen Good. “Locally, we have a fully endowed scholarship at Brunswick Community College and we also extend scholarships to graduates of West Brunswick High School for academics and marching band. Each year we give a dictionary to third-grade students and we promote good citizenship through our Citizenship Awards for elementary school students. We also support Girls on the Run, a program for building self-esteem among young girls. These are just a few of the community programs we support through funds raised each year at our FORE! KIDZ Golf Tournament.”

SBI Rotary is seeking sponsors and golfers for this year’s tournament. Entry fees and most sponsorship levels include greens and cart fees for four, a full breakfast buffet, hot lunch, beverages (nonalcoholic) on the course, one ticket for a door prize drawing, a golfer’s goody bag, driving range balls and a 2012 FORE! KIDZ Golf Tournament souvenir.

The tournament will feature three flights of play with a payout to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place teams in each flight. There will also be prizes for numerous on-the-course skills challenges.

Golfers should plan to arrive well before the 9 am shotgun start in order to enjoy the free breakfast buffet (at 7:30 am) and practice at the driving range. The breakfast buffet and driving range balls are included in the entry fee.

Golfers may apply only as a complete foursome for an entry fee of $500 (per foursome). All of the net proceeds will benefit the local, regional and international charitable programs of the SBI Rotary.

For more information about the 2012 FORE! KIDZ Golf Tournament, visit www.sbirotary.org , email Lin Kelly at lin@linkelly.com or call (910) 393-7194.

What: Future Generations Golf Tournament
Benefits: The First Tee of Brunswick County
When: June 2
The First Tee of Brunswick County (TFTBC) is a not-for-profit organization that utilizes the game of golf to “impact, influence and inspire” children throughout Brunswick County. The group has found a creative way to captivate youth through educational programs that “build character and citizenship, instill life-enhancing values, and promote healthy choices”, and has been successful in doing so for more than seven years.

A major fund-raiser for the organization, the Future Generations Tournament has been recognized as the biggest golf tournament in the area. Now in its second year, the event will be held on June 2 at St. James Plantation, and event organizers anticipate just as much success as the inaugural event.

“It’s the biggest tourney around,” says Wayne Moody, this year’s event chairman. “And it’s for a great cause.”

All four of the acclaimed St. James courses will be in play: The Reserve, The Members, The Players and The Founders clubs. The tournament format is Captain’s Choice with registration beginning at 8:30 am and a shotgun start at 10 am. The team entry fee of $380 will include cart and green fees, a box lunch, cocktail hour with complimentary beer and wine as well as dinner and entertainment for guest foursomes. Only team reservations will be accepted.

The tournament will also feature live and silent auctions, a raffle, autographed memorabilia and gift certificates for golf, area restaurants, stores and businesses. A Hole-in-One Contest on each course will feature four tickets to the 2013 Masters Tournament (Tuesday’s round) with limo service to and from Brunswick County and admission to the hospitality suite.

All of the net proceeds from the tournament will go to TFTBC for its year-round programming, which reaches nearly 7,000 Brunswick County children.

Dalton Gore, a graduate of The First Tee of Brunswick County, explains what the program has meant to him. “The First Tee changed my life,” Dalton says. “What I learned from the Life Skills and Nine Core Values along with the caliber of the coaching was awesome. The First Tee paved the way for me to play in their national tournament at Pebble Beach and helped me earn a full golf scholarship to Mt. Olive College. I can’t imagine where I’d be without The First Tee.”

“This tournament raises the resources we need to impact the lives of thousands of Brunswick County youth,” notes Carol Petrea, co-founder of TFTBC along with her husband, Rusty. “Through our programming, we teach character development and life skills and provide leadership training through the medium of golf. We’re all about nurturing the future generations of our youngsters and helping them to become model citizens as well as the community leaders of tomorrow.”

Registration for the tournament will be on a first come, first served basis. To register a foursome, prospective players should visit the Future Generations Tournament website at www.thefirstteebrunswickcounty.org . On the site, registrants can use a credit card on PayPal or pay by check.

For more information about this event, contact TFTBC at (910) 754-5288.

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