International Women’s Day: A Celebration of the Feminine & Fierce!

March 7, 2019

womens day

I didn't know International Women’s Day (March 8th) was truly celebrated as a holiday until I lived in Italy. On what they call Festa della Donna, the whole country celebrates women. You’ll find bouquets of the little yellow mimosa flower, which blooms in early March, on nearly every street corner. Not only do men and boys buy them for all the women in their lives, but ladies also celebrate one another with cake, flowers, wine, and more. I was delighted the first time my Italian neighbors presented me with mimosas, and to this day, that holiday reminds me to celebrate all the strong women in my life.

In honor of both International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, I compiled an inspired list of events for "The Everywoman." What do I mean by that? Well, I never assume all females enjoy the same types of experiences. There are some women who enjoy getting dolled up, browsing boutiques, and sipping on wine. There are other women whose definition of fun is tasting brews and tackling races. Then there are the rest of us—women who fall into both categories—and we can’t be put in either box. Some days, we’re savoring the feminine. Other days, we’re seeking the fierce. With that in mind, here are my suggestions for how to celebrate our femininity and fierceness in Cumberland County this spring.

womens dayAnnie Oakley in gallery goes POP: Warhol Exhibit

Soak Up the Arts

If you’ve followed my blog for long, you know I’m constantly bragging on Cumberland County’s thriving arts scene. You don’t have to look hard at all to find stellar exhibits, plays, and more, and I’m highlighting just a few here.

You’ll discover both feminine and fierce icons on the walls of David McCune International Art Gallery right now, because Fayetteville is fortunate enough to be playing host to the gallery goes POP: Warhol exhibit. On my recent visit to this Methodist University gallery, I was simply enamored with Andy Warhol’s depictions of icons like Annie Oakley, Grace Kelly, Mammy, and Ingrid Bergman—just four of the 30 works brought here from two private collections. Lately, I’ve made it my mission to tell people how David McCune brings once-in-a-lifetime exhibits to Fayetteville, because I want more people to take advantage of the cultural experiences at our fingertips. Plan an arts-inspired day around this spectacular exhibit. (Ongoing thru April 12)

Our Arts & Entertainment District will play host to another Fayetteville Art and Wine Walk this month, inviting us to savor springtime in downtown. Over 15 shops and eateries are participating in this event, with each one offering a wine tasting and local artists’ works on display. Call up your best friends, sign up for one of two scheduled walks, and make this a girl’s night to remember in our charming downtown. (March 16)

Cape Fear Regional Theatre (CFRT) simply has been knocking it out of the park this season with their shows. Fellow bloggers and I recently relished CFRT’s production of the classic musical Annie, and I’m eagerly anticipating the rest of their season. Trumbo is currently on their stage, but I’m also intrigued by what I see coming up in April. The Cake is “a modern comedy that tackles a tasty subject while staying deliciously southern.” Knowing the caliber of CFRT productions, I expect this one to be excellent. Grab tickets to this intimate, yet hilarious, show for any of the 15 scheduled performances. (April 4-7, 10-14, 17-21)

Nobody here is celebrating the work of women in theater quite like Sweet Tea Shakespeare (STS) is with “The Honey Series.” Simply put, STS has made it their mission to tell stories by women, for women, and about women. This season’s “Honey” production is Maid Marian—a character you’re already familiar with, thanks to the English folklore tales about Robin Hood. This story, though, will be told from the perspective of Maid Marian herself, as she struggles to maintain the home-front during a long-term war. Every military spouse, to include myself, can identify with this reality all too well. Two different venues will be playing host to this show, with one to be announced and the other being the 1897 Poe House. Whichever one you choose to attend, take a “honey” with you to experience this feminine retelling of a classic. (April 25-28, May 2-5, May 9-12)

womens dayDirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom

Raise a Toast to the Ladies

We can certainly appreciate Wine Wednesdays, but let’s not overlook the fact more and more ladies are craft beer enthusiasts and even brewery stalkers. Or what about those women who relish pairing a good sippin’ whiskey with a fine cigar? Two popular places here are hosting ladies’ nights that will cover all these bases for you and your besties.

Dirtbag Ales Brewery & Taproom (DBA) can brag on the fact they employ Cumberland County’s only female brew-master, Hope Demetris. Naturally, many of their events are geared toward women who appreciate craft beer, and they’re celebrating International Women’s Day in style. I recently participated in their women’s-only brewing class, led by Hope. Now DBA will be releasing the beer we made, a Pomegranate Saison, at Ladies Night. Additionally, Hope will be tapping a cask-conditioned ale (“firkin”) that happens to contain edible glitter (say what?!?). Allison’s Latino Food Truck and Authentique Café will be onsite and feeding everyone well. Just gather the gals and bring some feminine hygiene products (to be donated to a local charity) in order to be entered in the raffle. (March 8)

As if we need more of a reason to love Anstead’s Tobacco Company—“Fayetteville’s Premier Tobacconist”—they’re hosting their own Ladies Night and offering a little bit of everything. A representative from Rocky Patel Premium Cigars will be onsite to hand out some of their fine stogies. Ladies may also indulge in a Jameson Whiskey tasting, wine tasting, hors d’ouevres, sweet treats, and more. Grab your tickets now to what is guaranteed to be a sold-out event. (March 14)

Bonus: Continue the International Women’s Day celebration at DBA on March 9th to experience one of the Triangle’s hottest food trucks, Hot Chix Hotcakes and Chicken, and to try your hand at axe-throwing with that hot chick from Axes & X’s.

womens dayHockey Fights Cancer (PC: Fayetteville Marksmen)

Cheer on Our Home Teams

Where are my sporty girls at? You know, the ones who defy the stereotype that only guys love sports? Because we have a few good reasons to cheer on Fayetteville’s home teams this season.

No, there are no women on our beloved hockey team, the Fayetteville Marksmen, but their Hockey Fights Cancer Weekend offers fans a chance to take a stand against cancer this Friday (International Women’s Day) and Saturday. The Marksmen will be donning special “Fight Cancer” purple jerseys as they take to the ice at the Crown Coliseum. Speaking of ice, the ice itself has been painted with messages of hope and inspiration for those who have battled or are battling cancer. Some of the proceeds from these special events will go straight to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and the American Cancer Society. Be sure to stick around after the games for the purple jersey auction and raffle. (March 8 & 9)

Nothing says “fierce” quite like our roller derby gals do! And Saturday just so happens to be the first Fayetteville Roller Derby Home Game of the season at the Crown Arena. First, the Rogue All-Stars will take on the Dominion Derby Girls in an action-packed bout. Then the Fayetteville Roller Derby (FRD) Wreckers will go up against the FRD Ritzy Rollers, and things might get a little dirty as these two arch rivals battle it out. Can’t make it to the March 9th home opener? Two more springtime games are scheduled at the Crown for April 13th and May 18th. So go rogue for our fierce All-Stars and cheer them on to victory! (March 9)

Learn About Our History Makers

Not only is Friday International Women’s Day, but March is Women’s History Month. There’s never a shortage of opportunities to learn about Cumberland County’s history, which predates the Revolutionary War, and this month is all about the women who made history here.

Cumberland County Headquarters Library is where some of our most fascinating history lectures take place, and the Museum of the Cape Fear will be providing “a one-woman show” there this weekend. If you attend “Hoop Skirts and Gunpowder: A Woman of the Fayetteville Arsenal,” in the library's Pate Room, you’ll be learning about all the jobs women performed in the Civil War. Listen as one woman recounts what it was like to leave her domestic life behind and go work in the Fayetteville Arsenal, making ammunition. (March 10)

Yet another great program is being offered at the Headquarters Library in March, and this one will speak more broadly on “Famous & Infamous Women of North Carolina.” Storyteller Randell Jones—editor of Scoundrels, Rogues, and Heroes of the Old North State by Dr. H.G. Jones—will be sharing “surprising, true tales of fascinating and notorious women of North Carolina.” Don’t miss this free lesson on the contributions of some of North Carolina’s finest! (March 26)

womens dayDerby Day (PC: Cape Fear Botanical Garden)

Get Dolled Up

Aren’t you so relieved when it’s time to pack away your winter wardrobe? I’m dreaming of warmer days already, and I’ve spied a few good reasons to pull out those spring dresses and classy attire. Plan on getting dolled up for these special events.

You’ll find several of Cumberland County’s most popular (and chic) boutiques at one big event this spring, and that’s Spring into Fashion: A Charitable Fashion Show. Lallier Event Design and Dressed + Blessed are collaborating on this elegant show, to be held at downtown’s Studio 215. The show will feature clothes from Fabulous Finds Boutique, Cornerstone Design Co., Epiphany Boutique, Off the Racks Boutique, WhiteGold Boutique, and more. Purchase your ticket now to ensure a discount and a swag bag. (March 14)

No event is more quintessentially southern than the Kentucky Derby! Luckily, you don’t even have to travel out of state to join in the revelry happening at two different venues here. Cape Fear Botanical Garden is hosting their second Derby Day, and May couldn’t be a more perfect time to experience our botanical oasis in all its springtime glory. Both men and women are encouraged to get decked out in their best derby attire for the Dapper Dan Contest and Derby Hat Contest. You’ll be served southern-inspired appetizers and desserts, as well as mint juleps and other beverages, while enjoying lawn games and “The Fastest Two Minutes in Sports.” Treat yourself to this delightfully southern experience at our most scenic nature haven! (May 4)

If spending a relaxing day at the brewery is more your brand of fun, then you’ll want to don your best hat and join the Kentucky Derby Watch Party at Dirtbag Ales’ brand-new brewery and entertainment complex, conveniently located off I-95. Dirtbag’s soon-to-open onsite restaurant, Napkins, will be serving up Derby-inspired appetizers, while champagne, a mint julep-style sangria, and DBA’s signature craft brews will be available for purchase. Your whole crew will also appreciate the variety of onsite food trucks, kids’ games, a hat contest, music, and live-streaming of the 145th Run for the Roses. Get ready to cheer on Maximus Mischief, Mucho Gusto, War of Will, and the rest of the contenders as they race to win it all! (May 4)

Bonus: Put on your fanciest hat and gloves and celebrate Mother’s Day with an elegant Mother Daughter Tea at The Belmont Village on May 11th.

Stop and Smell the Roses

Right outside my office window, I can take in the lovely sight of our dogwood and Bradford pear trees in bloom. Pretty soon, wildflowers will dot the landscape of the Sandhills, and gardeners will be looking for any excuse to get their hands dirty. Meanwhile, for our nature lovers and green thumbs, here are a couple of ways to welcome spring to Cumberland County.

I consider J. Bayard Clark Park to be an outdoor haven amid the city, and several scheduled events there offer nature lovers the chance to welcome spring to the Cape Fear River Valley. Just one of those opportunities is a guided Wildflower Walk through the woods. For a short time period, spring ephemerals (wildflowers with a brief life cycle) will make an appearance at Clark Park. Register beforehand for this free event so you don’t miss out on this delightful experience. (March 14)

Every year the Cumberland County Master Gardener Spring Gardening Symposium brings together green thumbs (and those who aspire to be) for a full day of educational workshops, guest speakers, and lunch. The Ramada Plaza is hosting the event this year, and the guest speaker line-up includes “the Indiana Jones of horticulture,” Tony Avent, as well as the nationally renowned speaker and columnist, Carol Reese. Purchase your ticket by March 9th to ensure a three-course lunch is included. (March 23)

womens dayWomen on the Wall (PC: Triangle Rock Club)

Push Your Limits

I think I’ve covered just about every possibility for some seriously good times with your best pals. However, there’s still one more area I want to highlight, and that’s a few of the recreational opportunities we offer women looking to really push their limits.

Ever been rock climbing? You don’t have to tackle a mountain to experience this thrilling form of recreation here. One of our indoor rock-climbing facilities, Triangle Rock Club (TRC), is a fantastic destination for both novices and experienced climbers to practice their skills. Even better, TRC regularly hosts Women on the Wall meet-ups, providing an all-female, supportive environment. Arrive early to the meet-up, if you’re a first-timer, so you can receive special instructions on belaying. (March 14 & 28)

It’s run season here, and just one of about 25 runs/walks taking place this spring is the 4th Annual She Power Half. This free, group run for women is not a traditional organized race, but more of a meet-up designed to motivate women to hit the pavement together. You’ll still want to register for this free event. Then plan to meet your running partners in the parking lot of Westwood Shopping Center to start your morning of straight “she power”! (April 20)

After you’ve completed the She Power Half, you’ll want to stretch out those muscles and celebrate. Take the crew over to Dirtbag Ales (DBA) for some She Power Yoga & Beer, where “the empowerment continues.” A one-hour yoga session, led by Hayat Yoga Shala’s “Boss Babe,” and one beer come with your ticket. End this perfect day at DBA by rewarding yourself for all your hard work with Allison’s Latino Food Truck and their tasty tacos! (April 20)

Every year, women gather at Camp Freedom, in the Town of Falcon, and prove they’re just as much outdoor sports enthusiasts as men.  Thanks to the Sandhills Chapter NWTF (National Wild Turkey Federation), the 6th Annual Women in the Outdoors event will be offering ladies a variety of hands-on experiences, such as fishing, shooting, canoeing, tomahawk throwing, and more. Talk about “she power”! Sign up before March 10th to take advantage of the early-bird registration discount. (May 18)

Bonus: Pull out the yoga mat on May 18th for the two-day Fayetteville Yoga Festival with Hayat Yoga Shala, when you’ll be learning about yoga, wellness, holistic health, and more (venue TBA).

I've made a lot of memories with female friends on adventures exactly like the ones I shared above, and I recently dished on several in "A Year of Firsts with Go Fayetteville." My Fayetteville friends are just as diverse as that list. They’re veterans, artists, CEO’s, stay-at-home moms, athletes, small business owners, and straight “boss babes.” We’re multi-faceted in our interests and desires, often defying the stereotypes. After writing this blog, I must tell you, I’m proud to live in a community that acknowledges women’s differences and offers them such a diverse range of things to do. If International Women’s Day is good for nothing else, I hope it inspires you to celebrate the Feminine and Fierce Everywoman that is you. Here’s to Festa Della Donna!

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