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LEGO® Brick Sculptures Create Works of Art

Inspired by nature and built from nearly half-a-million LEGO pieces, Nature Connects LEGO Brick Sculptures will be installed at the Cape Fear Botanical Garden from September 2016 through January 2017.  Larger-than-life sculptures such as a tiger swallowtail butterfly, an 8 foot hummingbird and a 7 foot rose will be installed in related areas of the 77-acre Garden.  For nearly a decade, artist Sean Kinney has been turning ordinary LEGO bricks into works of art.  Sean was the first of now only 13 LEGO Certified Professionals worldwide. His work has been featured in major media from theNew York Times to BBC News. A self-described “professional kid,” Sean uses his LEGO bricks to create things that connect to the larger world. www.CapeFearBG.org

Military Friendship Leads to Brewing Partnership

While working as an army medic on the night shift at a military hospital, Dirtbag’s brew master Vernardo “Tito” Simmons-Valenzuela made a bargain with a fellow medic. Tito promised free beer for life in exchange for a homebrew kit the friend received for his wedding. That’s when Tito started his path to becoming a brewer. Partner Eric Whealton, a nurse who worked the same shift, attended Tito’s tasting sessions. After lots of stovetop brewing, Tito began to brew professionally.

In December 2015, Dirtbag Ales opened their Tap Room in Hope Mills.  The taproom boasts a handcrafted bar hand-made stools and artsy recycled accessories.   Tito brews many specialty beers, including pairing and IPA with sauvignon blank-soaked oak chips and orange blossom honey, and a holiday porter with vanilla, cinnamon and honey.  His blood-orange kolsch is at the heart of the Dirtbag lineup. www.DirtbagAles.com

Salvaged Remnants: Task Force Ranger and the Battle of Mogadishu

Through the end of 2016, The Airborne & Special Operations Museum in downtown Fayetteville hostsSalvaged Remnants: Task Force Ranger and the Battle of Mogadishu.  The multi-year exhibit won the prestigious John Wesley Powell Prize for exemplary works of history.

As seen on  60 Minutes,the exhibit commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Battle of Mogadishu, poularly called “Black Hawk Down.”  Curated by museum staff, the display includes not only includes 95 artifacts from the battle, it also conveys the personal experience of the veterans and analyzes the media’s influence on public perception. www.Asomf.org


Places To Stay

2502 Gillespie Street