Johnston/So. Wake County

VOL15ISS1 2016

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE—JOHNSTON/SOUTHERN WAKE COUNTIES NC | VOLUmE 15—ISSUE 1 30 fuquay-varina Fuquay-Varina by alyssa lafaro Fuquay-Varina ofers "a dash more." Last year, this small North Carolina town asked thousands of people for feedback about the place. The consensus: the hyphen speaks for itself. And since only a handful of cities across the United States blend together two distinct names using a dash, the town decided to make it a part of its new brand. The "dash more" theme is found all over this community of approximately 23,655 people. In the last fve years, for example, Fuquay-Varina's downtown storefront vacancy rate has reduced dramatically and more than $9 million has been invested into growth thanks to revitalization eforts. Today, it boasts a fully accredited North Carolina Main Street Program — an initiative developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation that "promotes downtown revitalization within the context of historic preservation." In the last few years alone, downtown Fuquay-Varina has experienced a boom in new brick-and-mortar businesses. These include two embroidery shops (Something You and Carolina Monogram & Company), an upscale meat and seafood shop (Hook & Cleaver Market), a forist (Linda's Florist), a ftness and health facility (Original Strength), and a brewery (Fainting Goat Brewing Company), to name a few. This business-friendly community is also fast-growing, as 25 residential development projects are currently underway. In fact, the town's population has more than doubled in the last decade, is slated to have approximately 10,000 more residents by 2020, and is currently considered the Triangle's fastest-growing population. Other ongoing projects include a public service facility — which will bring together the Public Works Department with additional ofces for the town's police, fre, and information technology departments — and a community center featuring a 700-square-foot teaching kitchen. Industry continues to develop here as well, specifcally in areas of the life sciences, aerospace and defense technologies, interactive digital media, advanced medical technologies, and green technologies. Fidelity Bank, Bob Barker Company, Patriot State Bank, Southbend, Apex Instruments, and InServe Corporation all have corporate headquarters there as well. Plus, it's only 15 miles southwest of Raleigh and a 35-minute drive from Research Triangle Park, so residents can easily pursue careers in additional industries like healthcare and education. The town's not short on things to do, either. Spring kicks of with the annual Easter Egg Hunt in South Park, where more than 12,000 candy- and toy- flled eggs await the searching eyes of children 10 and under. Later that day, residents and their children head downtown for the Candy Hop, a trick-or-treat event where Main and Broad Street merchants hand out sweet treats. Each Memorial Day weekend, more than 60,000 people fock to Fuquay-Varina for its WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival, which features more than 30 balloon pilots and teams from around the nation to honor fallen military heroes and those currently serving the country. Just one week after that in June, the community gathers again for Celebrate Fuquay-Varina — a festival bursting with live entertainment, children and youth activities, classic cars, and fantastic food. Celebrate Fuquay-Varina also houses a "festival within a festival" known as the Celebration of Arts. Hosted by the Fuquay-Varina Downtown Revitalization group, the event gathers more than 90 arts and crafts vendors from all over the Southeast to showcase paintings, handmade crafts, and "one-of-a-kind museum pieces." The town's passion for art continues throughout the year through multiple events like Art After Dark — a monthly art walk on the second Friday of each month — the En Plein Air Paint-Of, and at a handful of local galleries showcasing the work of both native and national artisans. The arts are such a large focus in Fuquay-Varina, in fact, that last spring, the town purchased the 20th-century Stars Theatre with the goal to transform it into the Fuquay-Varina Arts Center. Current residents hope the $2 million, two-year project will act as an anchor for the arts district and add "a dash more" to the list of things that already make Fuquay-Varina so special. [] revitalized, growing, community spirit

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