This weekend: A festive farewell to summer

It’s the last weekend of summer (the season officially cedes to fall next Wednesday). Give it a fitting sendoff in Wilmington by tubing 900 (or maybe 1,000) feet through downtown; by  celebrating the Catawba River at Lake James State Park; or by checking out the last in cool outdoor gear in Asheville.


WP.CoastSo here’s a thing that’s happening around the country and comes to Wilmington Sunday: Slide the City. Basically, it’s a 900-foot (or 1,000-foot, depending upon who’s doing the promoting) Slip ’N Slide-type thing that runs through the streets of town. Pay $10, get an inner tube, carom down a watery plastic run. Pay more, get more rides. Starts at the Red Cross Street and runs from North 3rd Street to North Water Street.

Logistics: Sunday, Sept. 20, noon-6 p.m., $10 for one ride, multiride and all-day passes available. More info here.

Sunday forecast: High of 87 and sunny.

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Looking ahead: Maze Craze 5K, a 5K run through a maze blazed in a field of sorghum, Saturday, Sept. 26. More info here.

Lake James (photo courtesy
Lake James (photo courtesy


One of the many great things about Lake James State Park is that it’s somewhat conveniently located to most of the state, situated as it is just off I-40 between Morganton and Marion.

That’s especially good this weekend as Lake James celebrates the 12th Annual Catawba RiverFest Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Enjoy live music, food, educational exhibits, a live raptor release at about 10:30 a.m., nature hikes and paddling.

Logistics: Saturday, Sept. 20, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Lake James State Park, Nebo. Free. More information here.

Saturday forecast: High of 90 and sunny.

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Looking ahead: Campout for Take A Child Outside Week, Chimney Rock State Park, Saturday, Sept. 26. More info here.


Gear.ScramblerDemo Day!

We keep an eye out for these, for the opportunity to go out and try the latest equipment and see if it really is the equipment that’s holding us back. Alas … .

Sunday, Highland Brewing Co. is the site of Diamond Brand Outdoors demo day: come try out ENO Hammocks, tents, backpacks, outdoor footwear and more. Live bands, food trucks, outdoor gear from variety of vendors for purchase. And did we mention its at Highland Brewing?

Logistics: Sunday, Sept. 20, 2-6 p.m., Highland Brewing, 12 Old Charlotte Highway, Asheville. More info here.

Sunday forecast: Sunny, 90.

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Looking ahead: Family Hiking Day Celebration, Sept. 26, Fontana Village Resort in Graham County. Guided hikes, nature activities and crafts, educational presentations. Free. More info: 828.498.2211.

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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 coastal 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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