Fall officially begins in a week. And I am excited because it’s my favorite season. I’m that guy, the one they’re talking about in those social media memes, the guy who likes “pumpkin-flavored-everything.”
But it’s not just the flavor of pumpkin or the smell of apples and cinnamon. It’s not the shortening of the days or the impending cool weather relief from the humid and hot summer days. It’s not even the golden glow that afternoons take on.
For me, fall is about all the stuff available to do with family and friends. Activities are abundant, and here in Robeson there’s no exception to that rule.
Later this week, Givens Performing Arts Center will kick off its season with “The Three Musketeers.” On Nov. 1, the Robeson County Arts Council will collaborate with the Carolina Civic Center to present Sweet Potato Pie as part of the annual Blues on the Blackwater series. Next month, the North Carolina American Indian singer Brooke Simpson, who leaped to popularity last year on the TV show “The Voice,” is performing at the Civic Center with local musical talents Lakota John and Layla Locklear opening.
Next month GPAC is presenting the Fayetteville Symphony Orchestra performing “The Music of John Williams,” a celebration of the music of the legendary film composer known for his movie themes such as “JAWS,” “Star Wars” and “Harry Potter” to name a few. Later next month is a special local treat as GPAC presents the original musical “Comte Dracula” by Mark Andersen, just in time for Halloween.
Fall is a great time for cultural and seasonal fun, too. The Robeson County Fair is Sept. 27 through Oct. 6. The fair is always a favorite of mine. Watching the sun go down over the Ferris wheel while smelling the myriad turkey legs, BBQ, cotton candy and candied apples is pleasure for which words can do no justice. Others may even want to stay for the entertainment and the rides.
Another favorite of mine is The Scotland County Highland Games, which are held on Oct. 6. I wish we still hosted The Highland Games in Robeson, but I don’t mind making the drive next door for this incredible event that boasts sheep dog competitions, sports and athletic contests, European food, music, dance and more. If you’ve never toured the John Blue House, then the Highland Games offer a bonus. Located on the grounds where the Games are held is the historic house and farm, available to the public for tours.
If you like corn mazes, one of the best in the area is in Clinton in Sampson County. Look online for information about Hubb’s Corn Maze. I’ve taken my kids there and spent an entire day taking hay rides, walking the mazes, eating food (that’s like a running theme here …) and searching for the perfect selection in their pumpkin patch. OK, so I took my kids … this was really a trip for the autumn lover in me. But my kids had fun too.
Arts and cultural events are not just fun. They can also bring additional revenue into our towns. The Americans for the Arts, a Washington-based nonprofit, has touted the economic benefits of the arts and culture for years. Their last study, in 2016, showed that in Robeson County arts and cultural nonprofits were responsible for generating $4 million a yeae. While I cannot account for all of it, it’s likely that my purchases of Pumpkin Spice Latte’s, fair food and tickets contributed to some of that revenue. But it’s great to know we have so much available to us right here in our area, and there’s no better time than autumn to get out and have some fun.
James Bass is the executive director of Givens Performing Arts Center at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He may be reached at [email protected]