This weekend: Branch out

It’s a great weekend for a run — or to climb a tree.


The sun and warmth may be late in arriving, but it’s getting to Wilmington just in time for this weekend’s Azalea Festival. And that’s especially good news if you’re a runner and like to participate in one of the festival’s keynote events, the Azalea Festival 5K/10K/Fun Walk on Saturday.

The races start at 8 a.m. from the Mayfaire Town Center in Wilmington, with proceeds benefitting the Cape Fear Volunteer Center Big Buddy Program, which pairs at-risk kids with adult role models. It’s a good course for an early season PR, btw.

Logistics: Saturday, April 5, 8 a.m. (race day registration is from 7-7:30 a.m.), Mayfaire Town Center, Wilmington. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 74 with a chance of thunderstorms.

Photo courtesy Charlotte Arborists Association


Tree climbing: it’s something you likely did as a kid, something you likely did a lot. In fact, if you search the recesses of your childhood memory banks, no doubt some of the most vivid memories of growing up involve being stuck high in a tree wondering, How did I get this high up? And perhaps more importantly, How will I get back down?

Then you hit 12 and you never climbed a tree again. Unless you’re a member of the Charlotte Arborists Association, which this weekend hosts its 2014 Tree Climbing Competition at Freedom Park in Charlotte. The three-day event starts Friday, includes professional competition, and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. there’s a free Family Fun Climb, in which experienced tree climbers will show you the ropes (and hang tight to them should you slip).

Logistics: Competition Saturday and Sunday, April 5-6, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Family Fun Climb Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Freedom Park in Charlotte. More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 74, fog.

Photo courtesy Black Mountain News


There are a lot of 5Ks out there, so it takes a little something extra to grab our attention. Saturday’s Black Mountain Greenway Challenge 5K/10K has two somethings extra. One, it starts and ends at a brewery, Pisgah Brewing in Black Mountain. And two, it raises money and awareness in the Black Mountain Greenways Commission’s quest to build more greenways.

And, frankly, there’s a third plus: it’s in Black Mountain, a great gateway to the Pisgah community that’s just off I-40 and quick to get to, for a mountain town, from much of the state.

Logistics: Saturday, April 5, 2 p.m., Pisgah Brewing, Black Mountain. $27 for the 5K, $30 for the 10K. More info: or 828.775.9251.

Saturday forecast: High of 65, partly sunny.

photo courtesy Black Mountain News

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below.

Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).


Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar



Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.


Great Outdoor Provision Co.
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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