Johnston/So. Wake County

VOL16ISS1 2017

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THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE—JOHNSTON/SOUTHERN WAKE COUNTIES NC | VOLUME 16—ISSUE 1 24 SMITHFIELD/SELMA Smithfield/Selma BY LYNNE BRANDON Thelma and Louise have nothing on Smithfield and Selma. The story doesn't end well for the two renegades but that's not the case for the two sister cities. For one city 2017 will be a yearlong party. The lines might seem to blur as to where one starts and the other ends, but each has its own personality and Johnston County flavor. This is the year in which Selma will toot its horn every month during a yearlong party to celebrate its 150th birthday. To savor the moment, take your time and travel by Amtrak with daily service to Selma. In the months ahead, Selma's centennial fete will revive some old-time events (the "Melon, Tomato, and Better Baby Fair") and a chili and barbecue cook-off while educating visitors with an architectural scavenger hunt, as well as walking tours to learn about the town's railroad history and past. While in town for the centennial festivities make sure to make the pilgrimage to the 301 Endless Yard Sale in June. The town crowned "the antique shopping capitol of North Carolina" is the perfect venue for the event that doubles as an adventurous road trip. The yard sale is organized by the five counties along the 100 plus mile route: Halifax, Nash, Wilson, Johnston and Harnett. Thousands of shoppers and more than 500 vendors show up every year to sell or buy antiques, collectibles, DIY finds, up-cycled furniture, and other items. The "Great American Country" television show has filmed the sale from multiple counties, also called "Endless Yard Sale." After a day of antique shopping, stay overnight to visit the American Music Jubilee Branson-style variety show at Rudy Theater. The show changes four times a year offering '50s rock-n-roll to classic and contemporary country to spectacular gospel. Smithfield is Johnston County's oldest town, formed in 1777. The town's name conjures up a visual of the famous ham by the same name and a legendary museum. The annual "Ham and Yam Festival" held in May highlights Johnston County agriculture. The town's signature event was selected as a Southeast Tourism Society "Top 20 Festival & Event" winner (May 2017). The rubber duck race and the "What's That Yam Thing?" contest are must-see. Johnston County Hams, founded in Smithfield, have been featured in publications such as Esquire and Southern Living. Men's Journal has named them among their "100 Best Things to Eat in America." For hot dogs it's Carolina Packer, called "the last major hot dog maker in North Carolina." The Bright Leaf hot dog is the original Southern red hot dog of North Carolina. For those who like it hot try the "Red Hot," the shorter thicker style hot dog with a touch of heat. Smithfield's downtown promotes local eateries and businesses such as SoDoSoPa and Grapes and Grounds. At SoDoSoPa, edgy chefs make traditional dishes with a twist with smoked meats as a focus. Instead of a crab cake, try the famous Hog Cakes made with pulled pork. The name is a throwback to cult television show, "South Park" in which it is a gentrified district - South of Downtown South Park. The owners of Grapes & Grounds, a coffee and wine cafe, are having a moment. Patrick Yauch and his wife picked Smithfield to locate their business because of the people and small town charm. "Smithfield is unique in that it is the county seat and the courthouse is directly across the street," said Yauch. "Several hundred people a day come into Smithfield and it is a good place to do business." Try a glass of wine from an extensive wine list or for a caffeine fix try a caramel frappuccino. Support for local businesses extends to a favorite museum. The community pays tribute to movie legend and hometown girl, Ava Gardner, with changing exhibits at the house-turned-museum. The Ava Gardner Museum (6,400 square feet) 2017 exhibit is "Ava Living in London." To celebrate Selma's centennial birthday go to for a full list of events. For help planning a visit to Smithfield, go to and [] eclectic eateries, one big yard sale, a big birthday party

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