Johnston/So. Wake County

VOL16ISS1 2017

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Page 33 of 53

THE ORIGINAL RELOCATION GUIDE—JOHNSTON/SOUTHERN WAKE COUNTIES NC | VOLUME 16—ISSUE 1 30 FUQUAY-VARINA Fuquay-Varina BY LYNNE BRANDON Fuquay-Varina will reach new heights on Memorial Day weekend as dozens of hot air balloons take flight at the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest, an event that pulled in more than 80,000 people in 2016. The town has come a long way from its days when its sole claim to fame was the Fuquay Mineral Spring. Visitors can still drink the "healing waters" from the Fuquay Mineral Spring, for which the town gets the first part of its name. Decades later it is the town itself that entices newcomers to visit and stay awhile and experience all that makes the town special – a vibrant and growing downtown, active community and unique festivals and events. The town is transforming itself with strategies aimed at historic preservation and mixed-use development, proving both new and old can successfully co-exist. In 2007, Fuquay-Varina participated in the North Carolina Main Street Program © to promote downtown revitalization within the context of historic preservation. In 2014, the town adopted its first economic development plan that included downtown initiatives geared towards recruiting mixed-use development and private sector investment to its downtown community. In a nod to the town's commitment to the arts, Fuquay-Varina is moving forward with building a $3.5 million Arts Center. The center dedicated to the visual and performing arts will include classrooms, dance studio, art gallery and a theatre. "The momentum in Downtown Fuquay-Varina is tremendous," stated Jim Seymour, Fuquay-Varina's economic development director in charge of downtown development. "Downtown business and property owners have a great sense of community entitlement and are our greatest supporters of creating future "live, work and play opportunities" throughout the downtown community." Fuquay-Varina's downtown is unique because it has two distinct downtown districts, a result of the town's of Fuquay Springs and Varina merging in 1963. Both districts encompass unique shops filled with hand- crafted décor, gourmet food, clothing stores and other retail. Grab coffee and scratch made breads and pastries at Stick Boy Bread to start the day. Fueled up, shoppers make their way to Shoppes on Main to browse more than 30 unique shops under one roof. At Mad Hatter, try on whimsical hats or stop by Rita's Décor and More for artisan crafted treasures. Eat at Mason Jar Tavern, the "People's Choice" award winning restaurant at the Savor foodie event. Newcomer Zeera Indian restaurant opened in March 2017, adding to the town's ethnic cuisine offerings. To cure a sweet tooth craving, locals head for cupcakes of all varieties at Cupcake Bite. "Having the opportunity to live and own a business in the small yet expanding community of Fuquay Varina has given me the chance to be a part of a wonderful experience," said Keri Zollo, owner/operator of Carolina Monogram in downtown Varina. "Watching the town grow from a small southern part of Wake County into one of the fastest-growing areas of the state has been nothing short of amazing." Beer is turning into big business in the small town. Try a craft beer in the establishment started in an airplane hangar at the Aviator Brewing Company. Drink a pint at the Fainting Goat Brewing Company and Lincoln Brewery while listening to live music. At The Mill, have it your way with eclectic drink choices from chai tea to craft beer and in between. Relax with an art stroll during "Art After Dark," a monthly event on the second Friday's (April to September). Art lovers gather in the spring for the "En Plein Air Paint- off," a two-day art competition ending with an auction of original works. Twenty community parks entice people outside. Get on running trails and tennis courts or try the town's 6,000-square-foot Splash Pad. Have a picnic at Fuquay Mineral Spring Park and enjoy nature's beauty. Golfers tee off at Bentwinds Golf & Country Club. Don't be surprised if you see the historic Fuquay Inn's innkeeper and owners John (the Mayor of Fuquay- Varina) and Patty Byrne walking around downtown and leading spontaneous historic walking tours! [] hot air balloons, the arts, gourmet food, and craft beer

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