Beginning Friday, visitors to downtown Salisbury can walk around with their alcoholic beverage of choice thanks to the execution of a new social district.
The Downtown Salisbury Social District (DSSD) becomes official Friday, July 1st, after months of preparation, discussion, merchant information sessions and final City Council approval.
A social district is designated area in which alcoholic beverages are allowed to be carried in open containers on the street.
Salisbury’s Social District follows the passing of the Bring Business Back to Downtown Bill by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission, which officials say aims to increase economic vitality in downtowns across North Carolina.
In the new social district, visitors will be able to buy an alcoholic beverage in a special DSSD cup from an ABC-permitted, participating business.
Participating businesses, including retailers that allow drinks into their stores, will feature a “Downtown Salisbury Social District” sticker at the door/window, according to a news release.
Officials say DSSD boundary signs will be posted along the route over the next few days.
A boundary map also is available on the Downtown Salisbury website, and accessed via the QR code on all social district signs.
Officials say drinks must be consumed within the social district and before entering any vehicle.
Visitors may stroll within the district Monday through Sunday between 12 p.m. and 12 a.m., and within Bell Tower Green Park, Monday through Sunday, as follows:
November 1st through March 1st: between 5 p.m. and park closing.
March 2nd through October 31st: between 6 p.m. and park closing.
Officials say alcoholic beverages may not be consumed or sold during and within the boundary of a public street festival, during a special event sponsored by the City of Salisbury, or within the boundary of Bell Tower Green Park when the event is permitted and held per city ordinance.
This does not prohibit the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages within Bell Tower Green Park pursuant to a properly licensed and permitted event, according to a news release.
Click here for more information on rules and regulations for The Downtown Salisbury Social District.
SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) – Joseph Heilig’s studio was the sidewalk.
Every day he sat on a bench in front of Fuller’s Market on South Main Street in Salisbury, working on his drawings and taking the time to speak with anyone who wanted a conversation.
On Monday night there were flowers placed on that bench and a hand-painted sign with angel wings carried the message “RIP Joe.” According to a friend, Joseph Heilig, 65, passed away at the hospital on Saturday night.
“So sorry to hear of his death! May he Rest In Peace!” Salisbury Mayor Karen Alexander posted on a WBTV social media page.ADVERTISEMENT
“He was a very talented man! So gifted! I always enjoyed stopping by & talking with Joe!” said Susan Beeker. “Rest In Peace Joseph Heilig!”
“Joe always had a kind word for me as I patrolled downtown,” wrote retired Salisbury Police Officer Lynn Foster. “Rest In Peace my friend. I will miss you.”
“Oh no!! I’m so shocked,” wrote another well-known local artist, Cherathee Hager. “Joe was one of those rare individuals who never met a stranger. He was beyond amazing as an artist and even more so as a kind soul. I have known him for years but we became close friends when I started painting storefront windows in Downtown Salisbury. I always welcomed his visits and enjoyed looking at his current artwork. There will always be a huge empty space in our little city and no one will be able to ever fill his big shoes. I certainly hope his family preserves his artwork and that our city finds a location to share it with everyone to enjoy for years to come. RIP my friend.”
In a WBTV story from several years ago, Heilig said he grew up in the Queensbridge housing project of Long Island City, N.Y. He attended art school in New York. Heilig moved to Salisbury, his mother’s hometown, in 1999. He’s been a familiar sight in downtown Salisbury for at least 10 years.
SALISBURY — The Cheerwine Festival had massive success this past weekend with one of the biggest crowds to date.
According to Nick Aceves, Salisbury’s Parks and Recreation director, the festival welcomed an estimated 60,000 crowd to the celebratory event of Salisbury’s original soft drink. This is the same estimated outcome of 2019’s festival.
The total is calculated using Jacobs rule of thumb, a crowd estimation strategy used by event coordinators to keep track of the number of visitors in a single gathering.
In 1967, Herbert Jacobs determined that the number of people in a gathering can be determined by multiplying area by density. In the Cheerwine Festival’s case, a dense crowd gives one individual an area of two and a half square feet. The city of Salisbury used this method with an area containing 100 estimated individuals to determine the total event attendance of the entire festival space.
The astounding variety of Cheerwine-themed foods seemed to bring the most favor of all the annual attendees. This year’s festival welcomed returning vendors and new ones for purchasing pleasures including baked goods, barbecue and drinks.
The following vendors released their approximate numbers of sales from Saturday:
Mean Mug, a local cafe in Downtown Salisbury, sold a total of 500 Cheerwine Frappuccinos at the truck and 300 at its storefront location.
The Old 97 Kettlecorn Company from Spencer sold a total of 900 bags of kettlecorn, 300 being its Cheerwine flavor.
Wowza BBQ, of Gold Hill, sold a total of 964 pounds of barbecue and 48 bottles of the signature Wowza sauce.
Que Viva Latin Street Grill, of Winston-Salem, sold 130-140 units of Cheerwine flan, each unit being cut into 24 pieces.
Abigail’s, a bakery in Downtown Salisbury, sold 18 dozen Cheerwine cupcakes, 38 dozen Cheerwine macarons, 14 dozen crispy rice treats and eight gallons of homemade Cheerwine ice cream.
New Sarum Brewery sold 400 cases of Cheerwine lager, each case holding 24 cans, 124 gallons of sour, 107 gallons of hazy IPA and 93 gallons of stout.
Hive & Co. sold out of its 30 custom-made Cheerwine Festival shirts. It also sold 56 Cheerwine jellies, 26 four ounce candles, 20 three ounce wax melts and 20 small candle tins.
Little Widdler, of Winston-Salem, sold eight coin banks, six wall-mounted bottle openers, 24 magnets, 3 photo stands and three N.C. outline signs, all based on Cheerwine. The business sold out of the bottle-openers and outlines.
Mambo Grill & Tapas sold out of its Cheerwine cheesecake empanadas, 270 Cuban sandwiches and 1,700 of its savory empanadas.
“We’re truly grateful for all the customers who supported the business,” Wowza BBQ co-owner Starla Daniel said. “We’re looking forward to coming back next year.”
Businesses felt called to honor the soft drink through their products.
“We’ve been pushing hard to represent Cheerwine the best we can since it does come from Salisbury,” said brewmaster and co-owner of New Sarum, Andy Maben. “I feel we did that. We were also set up for success since we had our physical brewery open along with our two tents.”
The vendors also gave praise to the festival staff who took care of their needs and helped with preparing them for the crowds.
“We were tickled, this was our first year,” said Suzy Bennett, co-owner of Little Widdler. “It was a great festival, the staff were helpful and notified us of the oncoming storm so we were able to batten down the hatches and plan accordingly to protect the merchandise.”
Eric Balseca, co-owner of Que Viva Latin Street Grill, also recognized the event organizers and staff, saying that they made sure the vendors were comfortable and taken care of through out the day.
Despite a passing afternoon storm, the event hit a record breaking economic impact of $1.85 million, a 20.9% increase from 2019’s numbers at $1.53 million. The total included sale profits from vendors, direct funding toward the festival and paid lodging through a submitted grant to the city for the music performers. Promoting the Cheerwine Festival goes through multifaceted marketing, using social media and digital advertising to play off of its own popularity and assets.
According to Rowan County Tourism Director James Meacham, this year’s Cheerwine Festival was an economic success, with 60% of the crowd Saturday including locals from inside the county while the other 35-40% of attendees came from out of town.
Overall tourism for the county has hit record levels as of May 2022, ahead of its status in 2019. Business travel has been the only low level as companies continue to use remote solutions for their practices, according to Meacham.
Despite an increase of gas prices, Meacham said there’s been no pull backs as of May 14 but the Tourism Development Authority is keeping a close eye on the effect it has on travels.
“Dining numbers may lessen with families choosing to stay home for meals,” said Meacham. “But as far as tourism, we’re staying cautiously optimistic since fall events bring in a lot of tourists to Rowan County.”
Nightly hotel rates rose from $119 to $120.44 Saturday. Meacham said 90% of commercial hotel rooms were occupied on the day of Cheerwine Festival, translating to 712 hotel rooms out of 793 in the County. Compared to 2019’s festival, the occupancy rate increased by 16.5%.
SALISBURY — James “Jim” Greene Jr. is well-acquainted with the pressures that come with municipal growth.
During a 15-year tenure with Concord that started in 1999, Greene supervised numerous city departments first as assistant manager for operations and then as deputy city manager. Serving as Raleigh’s assistant city manager for the past eight years, he guided the planning and development departments of one of the state’s fastest growing municipalities.
At both stops, Greene helped cities adjust to increasing populations.
Greene, a native of Lenoir, plans to put those experiences to work as he settles into his new position as chief administrative officer of Salisbury, a city he believes is poised for progress.
“(Growth) is coming,” Greene said. “So, we have to start focusing on our growth and developing that vision. What do we want this growth to look like and how are we going to be prepared?”
Selected for the position in April, Greene’s first day on the job was Monday. He assumes the role from Brian Hiatt, a former Concord city manager who had been serving in an interim capacity since Lane Bailey retired at the end of 2021. Hiatt will continue to work with the city in an advisory role until the end of June to see through the fiscal year 2022-23 budget he helped assemble.
As city manager, Greene will lead more than 400 full- and part-time employees, direct development and prepare and present the city’s annual budget. Greene said one of his top priorities is to carry out council’s vision for balanced growth that maintains Salisbury’s “special character” while also ensuring progress doesn’t leave parts of the community behind.
“The other thing I heard loud and clear from council was wanting to make sure that as we grow that this is a Salisbury for all,” he said. “That there are opportunities for all to pursue here in Salisbury and that, as a community and a local government, that we welcome everyone and help everyone pursue these opportunities.
An equitable approach to economic development, Greene said, will be critical to achieving that goal.
“We have to look for inclusive economic development opportunities,” he said. “So, when we’re recruiting industry and working on economic development, making sure that it’s diverse, that it provides opportunities for everyone in the community and there’s economic development throughout the community, not just in one area.”
The city, Greene said, also needs to plan for transportation infrastructure that works for everyone.
“Certainly transportation and traffic are always concerns about growth,” he said. “We need growth that is focused on walkability and neighborhoods.”
Greene said he wants to develop a strategic five-year plan to work in concert with the city’s Forward 2040 framework, a comprehensive plan for the next 20 years that is being developed.
Increased development will no doubt have an effect on city utilities such as water and sewer, Greene said. As of May 12, the city has issued 648 water/sewer tap permits, which puts it on pace to exceed the 687 permits issued in fiscal year 2020-21.
“We’ve got an excellent utilities department, but with the growth that we’re seeing, we need to look at our plans and make sure our infrastructure is able to support the growth that is coming,” Greene said. “Especially on the wastewater site, and this was talked about at the council retreat, is looking at opportunities to expand our treatment capacity so that we will be in a good position to handle this growth.”
As Salisbury naturally expands, Greene said he wants to ensure downtown remains vibrant.
“The downtown is like the core of the apple and if the core is rotten, the whole apple is rotten,” Greene said. “It impacts the whole community.”
With residential and commercial expansion comes an increased demand for public services like fire and police protection. Keeping those departments and others staffed is one of the most pressing issues facing Salisbury, Greene said.
In the coming weeks, the city expects to receive the results of a compensation and benefits study being conducted by Cary-based Management and Personnel Services Group. In the budget recommended to council Tuesday night, Hiatt called for establishing a $1.1 million compensation “bucket” within the Human Resources department to implement changes based on the study’s results.
Beyond competitive compensation and benefits, Greene said he wants to make sure employees feel valued and have pathways toward career advancement within Salisbury.
“Bottom line: we want Salisbury to be the employer of choice,” Greene said. “We want the talented folks in this region to see that there are a lot of exciting opportunities here at the city of Salisbury and encourage them to join.”
The city’s staff is one reason why Greene was willing to leave Raleigh.
“We have a great team here and that was one of the things that really attracted me to this position,” Greene said. “The employees here are known the be creative, dedicated and hardworking and I wanted to be a part of this team.”
Greene plans on meeting with plenty of city employees over the coming days. He plans to connect with community members as well.
“I’m trying to be a sponge over the next couple of weeks.”
CONTACT: Alissa Redmond Owner – South Main Book Company W: 704-630-9788; c: 704-630-9788 firstname.lastname@example.org www.southmainbookcompany.com
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Books with diverse content (including, but not limited to, LGBTQIA, people of color, gender diversity, people with disabilities, and ethnic, cultural, and religious minorities) are generally overrepresented among banned and challenged books; in 2015, 9 of the 10 most challenged books fell into this category.
To bring awareness to a growing nationwide trend, and to raise funds for the Rowan County Literacy Council, South Main Book Company will host a “read-out” featuring Banned Books on Saturday May 28 at 1pm, and we invite you to participate!
WHAT IS A READ-OUT?
A continuous public reading of a single or multiple banned books.
WHAT WOULD I HAVE TO DO?
Select your favorite Banned Book; either bring your own copy or borrow one of ours; and read it aloud for a few minutes.
WHAT IF I WANT TO PARTICIPATE, BUT I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO READ?
Yes! By entering our raffle – through a $5 donation towards the Rowan County Literacy Council – you will receive a chance to win a bundle of challenging books right off our shelf!
WHAT IS THE ROWAN COUNTY LITERACY COUNCIL?
Rowan County Literacy Council (RCLC) is dedicated to improving the lives of adults, youth and families by enhancing literacy and life skills, with the belief that a literate community prospers. RCLC provides instruction to Rowan County residents of all ages. As a non-profit organization, the Council’s primary focus is free and confidential, one-to-one tutoring by trained volunteer tutors. Learn more about RCLC here: https://www.rcliteracy.org/
SALISBURY — A downtown Realtor is giving “window shopping” a new meaning.
The Jayne Helms Group with Re/Max Leading Edge has installed an interactive touchscreen on its window pane at 108 N. Main St. that allows customers to sift through available homes and properties in and around Rowan County — all while standing on the sidewalk in Salisbury.
“It’s kind of a unique thing,” Helms said.
Helms said the touch-screen displays are popular in Europe and are starting to catch on in the States. She had never really heard of the device until she was approached by Premier Media Solutions, a company with offices in the United States and United Kingdom. The company installed the screen, which looks like a gigantic iPhone, a few months ago. The screen is available 24/7 for home buyers who want to do some home searching while the office itself is closed.
The screen may be somewhat of a novelty, but Helms said it’s an effective tool for home buyers or sellers. With a live feed of properties from both the Charlotte and Triad multiple listing services, the window gives customers the opportunity to scroll through dozens, if not hundreds, of homes currently on the market.
If a customer finds a property they’re interested in, they can submit an inquiry directly on the device. The inquiry is immediately forwarded to Helms’ office for follow up. Or, Helms said, interested customers can just pop into the office to ask about a property.
“It’s really been a great tool for us to get people to come in off the street,” Helms said.
And acting fast pays off in today’s real estate landscape, according to Helms.
“I put a house on the market two weeks ago and I got 16 offers in two days,” Helms said.
The demand for homes, she said, is being driven by low inventory and relatively low interest rates.
“I’ve been doing this almost 20 years and we’ve never had such low inventory and high demand,” Helms said. “It’s really good. There’s never been a better time to sell a house than there is now. It’s hard to find one, but it’s a great time to sell.”
With mortgage rates projected to increase in the future, Helms said the home-buying frenzy could cool soon. No matter the market, buyers can search for their next home with a few taps of their fingers using the interactive touchscreen at Helms’ office.
SALISBURY — The landscape of college sports was remade last year when the National Collegiate Athletic Association altered its rules to allow players to make money by leveraging their status as well-known athletes.
With the new Name, Image and Likeness rules — commonly referred to by the acronym NIL — athletes can now monetize their personal brands to a greater degree without fear of penalty from the NCAA. Since the floodgates were opened, players have wasted no time taking advantage of the new rules, or lack thereof. University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young was said to have secured nearly seven figures in NIL deals even before he won the Heisman trophy in December.
A local athlete and his barber have decided to take part as well.
“I went to go get my haircut one day and we were having a conversation about NIL deals and he asked me if I wanted to do one with him,” Gaither said.
King, who goes by Smilezthabarber, will cut Gaither’s hair for free, provide him with gear featuring his branding and send him college care packages once he’s settled into his dorm room in Pembroke. King has a line of sweatshirts, shirts and hats that bear his logo and barber name. All Gaither has to do is represent King’s Smilezthabarber branding whenever he can.
“It’s to show people where he’s from and that I’m his barber when he comes home,” King said.
King has been cutting Gaither’s hair long before he was a 6-foot-1, 215-pound star linebacker for the Hornets.
“I’ve seen the transformation from him being little in elementary and middle school to being the size he is now,” King said.
Last year, Gaither had 92 tackles with 14 for loss for the Hornets during the team’s campaign to repeat as state champs. He also scored touchdowns on a blocked punt and a fumble return.
After the football season ended, Gaither found even more success on the mat. Grappling with competitors who outweighed him by almost 70 pounds, Gaither pinned several foes en route to winning the 2A State Wrestling Championship. This spring, Gaither has put his talents to use on the track and field team. Along with running the 200-meter dash and 4 x 100 meter relay, he threw discus and competed in shot put.
He won’t be wrestling or running track for UNC Pembroke, but Gaither does plan on making an impact on the gridiron. Gaither chose the Braves over a few other North Carolina schools who showed interest, including Catawba and Winston-Salem State.
“I was looking for a place that felt like home,” Gaither said. “I felt like the coaches (at UNC Pembroke) made it feel like home. The players, I liked their energy. Plus I want to major in business and they have a good business program.”
When Gaither reports for training camp in August, he’ll arrive with his partnership with King in hand. The deal might not be as lucrative as some of the others being cut by college football’s most famous players, but it’s still a chance for Gaither to take advantage of his status as an elite athlete.
“It feels good to have one already before I even have one up (at UNC Pembroke),” Gaither said. “Maybe I’ll attract more.”
For King, the deal is a way to get his name out there as Gaither will be promoting his brand on social media and spreading the word to his friends and fellow athletes.
It’s also a way for King, who ran track at Livingstone, to help local athletes.
“I was looking at it as a chance to give back,” King said.
SALISBURY — Saturday marked the official return of Salisbury’s Cheerwine Festival for the first in-person event in two years.
Attendees flocked to town for food, activities and live music to celebrate. Families from Pennsylvania to Florida were among those who made their way to Salisbury to take part.
“Seeing everyone together after the toll of COVID really makes me happy,” said visitor Shannon Alfaro who traveled from Lincolnton with her husband, Ralph. “This is our first year coming to the festival, we love Cheerwine, but they don’t have all the slushies and snow cones like here.”
It wasn’t just iced treats offered in the food trucks and vendors. More than 30 dining options were available along Main and Innes streets, where whiffs of grilled meat and baked goods surfaced, many featuring Cheerwine as the main flavor. Blended frappucinnos from Mean Mug, baked goods from Abigail’s, beer from New Sarum and the unique Cheerwine kettlecorn were just some of the ways to enjoy the beverage at the event.
New Sarum had sold 600 of the much-talked-about Cheerwine Lagers by 2 p.m.
“Grabbing some Cheerwine ice cream or a slushie is the perfect treat with this hot weather,” said Joy Ritchie-Harper, a fifth generation member of the founding family of Cheerwine and marketing director at Carolina Beverage. “It’s so amazing to see everyone together again. We’re very excited to share the love of Cheerwine for another year and I’m looking forward to the tradition continuing.”
The festival became a collaboration with the city of Salisbury after the 100th birthday celebration in 2017. The city would handle the logistics and Carolina Beverage took care of the advertising.
In addition to merchandise, Carolina Beverage has contributed to the Rowan Museum for an exhibit all about the favored drink. As of 2 p.m. on Saturday, over 1,200 people made their way through the hallway decked in signs and merchandise from the Cheerwine archives.
“It’s almost overwhelming having so many people come through for the exhibit,” said Aaron Kepley, director of the Rowan Museum. “But I’m glad they’re here. We sold out of our merchandise at 1:30.”
Kepley continued with the story as the line of attendees wrapped around the museum. This was the first time the exhibit was displayed in the hallway instead of a room at the end of the museum. Vintage signs and cases of bottled Cheerwine were just a few of the special items. Along F&M Bank’s trolley tour, families could experience the history of the iconic drink.
The Rowan Museum wasn’t the only place selling out of merchandise. Meredith Mills’ contest-winning design was sold out at all the booths by 1 p.m. The design was also up for preorders on cheerwine.com for festival-goers to grab before Saturday’s event.
Just outside the Rowan County Courthouse, the Lauren Light Trio kicked off the live concerts with original songs including “I Got You” and musical favorites by Marshmello and Elle King. Later in the day, Tsunami Wave Riders, 9daytrip, Ayron Jones and Spin Doctors were to take the stage during the free event.
The Fisher Street Stage also featured local artists until 5 p.m., including Lee Knox, Jessica Yates, Cassandra Wright, CJ Peters and Birds of a Feather.
You can visit cheerwinefest.com for all details on the event.
SALISBURY, N.C. — The Cheerwine Festival will be welcoming tens of thousands to downtown Salisbury to celebrate the Carolina classic soft drink Saturday, May 21.
Festival-goers will be able to enjoy live entertainment from local, regional and national musical act with the Spin Doctors taking center stage at 8:30pm. Nearly 40 vendors from across the Carolinas will offer dishes, many featuring Cheerwine, including bacon on a stick, tacos, kettle corn, sno-cones, barbecue and more. The Cheerwine Festival Beer Gardens will host 10 local breweries. Select vendors, including New Sarum Brewing and Cabarrus Brewing Company, will serve Cheerwine-infused craft beer.
F&M Bank Kids Zone, which includes activities and entertainment for children.
Local arts and crafts, including unique Cheerwine merchandise, from over 45 vendors.
F&M Bank Trolley Tours through historic downtown Salisbury, featuring a number of interesting Cheerwine sites.
Cheerwine historical exhibit at the Rowan Museum.
Relaxation Station on E. Fisher St., which features Troutman rocking chairs, a second beer garden and performances from local buskers.
WCCB Rising’s Lauren McDonald, Nicole Madden, and Joe Duncan will even be emceeing the fest on Saturday. Admission is free with gates opening at noon. The festival will go through 10pm rain, or shine.