We Dare You

Every spring I make a mental list of all the ways I want to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine during the summer months.

And every fall I seem to realize I didn’t check much, if anything, off my list. So here are four great ways to celebrate summertime in Cary while getting a bit of exercise, culture, entertainment and good food. Don’t let summer pass you by.

1. N.C. Symphony Summerfest Independence Day Concert at Koka Booth Amphitheatre

The N.C. Symphony Summerfest includes eight shows in the 2012 season, but the one concert that must make your family agenda is the Fourth of July.

Enjoy your midweek day off by bringing a blanket and picnic to Koka Booth Amphitheatre. Gates open at 3 p.m., and it’s best to arrive early and stake out a good spot. The Cary Town Band performs at 6, followed by the Symphony’s presentation of a range of patriotic favorites at 7:30.

“Great community atmosphere, fabulous music, bring your own fabulous food, and a terrific celebratory feel,” said Cary Magazine reader Sarah Martin. “What more could you ask?”
Did we mention it’s free?

2. Learn to Sail at Lake Crabtree (or at least rent a pedal boat)

Skydive, write a novel, sail around the world … those might be a little much to take on, but you can at least get a start on one of your lifetime bucket list items this summer.

Lake Crabtree County Park in Morrisville offers beginner sailing classes on the Sunfish, a popular single-handed boat, from mid-May through early August. Lessons run Monday through Wednesday evenings, and age and weight restrictions apply.

An intermediate class for those looking to further their skills will be held June 11-14 and July 9-12.

If sailing isn’t your thing, the park also rents canoes, kayaks, rowboats and pedal boats through September, so you can still enjoy some fun on the water.

See wakegov.com for registration information.

3. Try a New Veggie or Fruit

Cary has two farmers markets, and Apex, Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs each have one. They all offer North Carolina-grown produce, most from within about 100 miles of the market. Local farmers grow everything from traditional tomatoes and sweet potatoes to more adventurous crops and heirloom varietals.

Jennifer Snow, owner of Tiny Forest Productions Mushroom Farm in Cary, sells oyster mushrooms at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market. The highly nutritious mushroom is a rich source of proteins and essential amino acids, B vitamins and pro-vitamin D.

Jillian Mickens, who owns Open Door Farm with her husband, Ross, suggested a few offbeat items to add to your shopping list. Pick some up at the Cary Downtown Farmers Market, and look for recipes on opendoorfarmnc.com.

Ground Cherries – a fruit similar in appearance to tomatillos, golf ball size and covered in a paper-like hull. They are sweet and can be used on ice cream, pies, fruit salads or as a sweet snack.

Rose Blush Eggplants – pink and round, these tender veggies are great for stuffing.

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes – a beefsteak heirloom variety with a deep purple/red flesh and a complex flavor. “They are so tasty it’s hard to explain,” Mickens said.

Red Malabar Spinach – while not related to spinach, this veggie has a flavor similar to Swiss chard and can be used in salads or sautéed like spinach.

Cary Downtown Farmers Market
Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12.30 p.m., Tuesdays 3 to 6 p.m.
301 S. Academy Street

Western Wake Farmers’ Market
Saturdays 8 a.m. to noon, Tuesdays 3:30 to 6:30 p.m.
1225 Morrisville Carpenter Road

Growers Market of Fuquay-Varina
Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays 3 to 6 p.m.
Centennial Square, corner of N. Main Street and E. Academy Street

Holly Springs Farmers Market
Saturdays 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
128 S. Main St.

Apex Farmer’s Market
Saturdays 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
220 N. Salem St.

4. Run (or Walk) for a Good Cause

Whether you’re ready to hit the pavement now, or need the summer to train, the Triangle has a multitude of road races in the coming months to raise funds for a range of organizations.

June 23: Clare’s Run for a Reason – 5K race and 1 mile family fun walk, benefiting the Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood Program in memory of Clare Whitenack.

June 30: Raleigh’s Finest – 5K race and 1 mile fun run, benefiting the 200 Club of Wake County, which provides financial assistance of family members of public service members who lose their life in the line of duty, and the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

July 11: Triangle Triathlon – 750 meter swim, 17.5 mile bike and 5K run, benefiting the Cary YMCA We Build People Program, which provides financial assistance for YMCA programs.

July 14: Denny’s Challenge – 5K run/walk, benefiting the Melanoma Research Foundation.

July 21: Triangle Expressway Trot II – 5K run/walk (strollers welcome), benefiting Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

You can even double up your good deed by signing up as a SoleMate with Girls on the Run of the Triangle, which supports healthy habits and active lifestyles in girls ages 8 to 12. Register for a race of your choice, pledge to raise $200 in donations, and you’ll receive a T-shirt, inspirational emails and other perks. Learn more at gotrtriangle.org. See runningintheusa.com for information on specific races.

Challenge accepted? Check all four items off your list and you’re eligible to win a Cary Magazine prize package. Email us at editor@carymagazine.com and tell us about your experiences to enter.

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