December 2016

Page 1

DECEMBER 2016 | Your Community. Your Neighbors. Your Story.





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J-NOW GIFT GUIDE Where to find the perfect gift for your family and friends... in your community.



Three sisters all making a difference at Four Oaks Elementary School.



TEAM Volume 1, Number 1

A Shandy Communications, LLC publication



Publisher Randy Capps

There were little tykes and big trucks at this event, hosted every year by the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield.

General Manager Shanna Capps


Creative Consultant Ethan Capps

HALLOWEEN IN FOUR OAKS Recapping all the trick-or-treating fun in Four Oaks.

Creative Director Frank Spurlock













Editorial Consultant Mike Bollinger Interested in advertising? Send an email to or call 919-618-4405 Story idea or a photo to share? Send an email to or mail it to P.O. Box 58, Four Oaks, N.C., 27524 Johnson Now Magazine is a monthly publication of Shandy Communications, LLC for our Johnston County neighbors. No part of this magazine may be reproduced without written consent by the publisher. Advertisers take sole responsibility for the validity of their advertisement. ©2016 Johnston Now. All rights reserved.

December 2016 | 5


Welcome to a different kind of magazine For my friends in Four Oaks, this will be a twice-told tale. In May of last year, I wrote the first publisher column for the Four Oaks Journal. In it, I explained how Shanna, Ethan and I wound up in Johnston County and shared the vision behind what was then a brand-new venture.

That was the idea behind the Journal, and it’s a vision we’re bringing to Johnston Now.

Roughly 19 months later, it’s time to share that vision with the rest of Johnston County.

There’s not going to be crime stories. There are plenty of other places where you can get that. We’re not staffing the county commissioners’ meeting or reporting on any new city ordinances.

I wrote my first newspaper article in the Fall of 1993 as a senior in high school, covering the Marion (S.C.) Swamp Foxes.

Grab your local newspaper. They’re all over that stuff. We’re telling stories. Good ones. About you.

It was a big deal to me, and I was proud of it. I couldn’t wait to cover the next football game, and even though I was terrible, the sports editor helped me improve.

I wrote this when we launched the journal, and it’s true about this magazine, too:

As the years went by, I studied Journalism at Gardner-Webb University and made a career out of writing. I started in sports, but as my skills got sharper, I got “promoted” into news.

It’s about graduations, celebrations, baseball games and festivals.

For the better part of five years, I put a daily dose of crime and mayhem on the Fayetteville Observer’s website. And, somewhere along the line, I fell out of love with the business of modern media. Shanna, who’s been in media advertising almost as long as I’ve been on the editorial side, and I have both had enough of the doom and gloom.

Randy Capps

It’s about the moments worth remembering. It’s about perfect summer days or the fun and fellowship of Christmas. But above all, it’s about you. Want to see something in the magazine? Drop us a line at hello@ We hope you’ll share your stories with us. We can’t wait to hear from you.




OCTOBER 2016 | Your Community. Your Neighbors. Your Story. Your Community. JULY 2016 |


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2016 | Your Community. Your Neighbors.

Your Story.

Your Story.


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Four Oaks sisters share love of teaching, family By Randy Capps

FOUR OAKS — For the last six generations, Triple B Farms on Strickland’s Crossroads near Bentonville has been producing tobacco. In the last 15 years or so, another crop has sprung up — teachers, three of them, all working at Four Oaks Elementary. Three sisters, April Smith, Sara Johnson and Charley Belsly all took different roads to Four Oaks Elementary, but all of them started on the same family farm. April is the oldest, and when the three of them sat down to talk with a visitor at the school, she was quickly elected leader by her younger sisters. “It was something I always wanted to do,” she said. “I used to teach my teddy bears when I was little, and Sara was my student. She would do all the worksheets. I liked to be in charge. Of her. “It’s our calling in life. Teaching isn’t for everyone but it’s God’s plan for us. We teach so much more than curriculum. We lead by example, and hopefully, people see Jesus in us.” She’s been teaching first grade at FOES for 15 years now, but it almost didn’t turn out that way. “That’s not the route that I took, though,” she said. “I actually graduated from Campbell with a degree in Computer Information Systems and worked for a year. I hated it. Hated every minute of it. Then I went back to school to be a teacher.” Sara’s path to becoming a teacher was also a little curvy. “When I graduated high school, I was torn between nursing and teaching,” she said. “I really loved the medical stuff and science stuff, so I said, ‘I’m going to do nursing school.’ Hated it. I was a year away from finishing nursing school, sitting in class one day, and I was like ‘this is not what I want to do.’ “I thought about my kindergarten teacher, we’re not going to name names, but she didn’t leave the kind of impression that you want to remember. And I was sitting there thinking ‘what are people going to remember me as?’ A nurse who gives a shot, or a teacher? I felt like I could make more of an impact as a teacher. So, I had an early mid-life crisis and changed my career route. And here I am.” Charley, as the youngest daughter of Steve and Beverly Batten, never wanted to be anything but an educator. “When she (April) started teaching, I was in fifth grade,” she said. “So everything she brought home, I wanted to grade and I wanted to do — and I did it. I’ve always wanted to be a teacher, because it’s what I saw them doing. And I liked it.”

Submitted photo Left to right, April, Charley and Sara share a Coke and a smile. “But I came back here last year and I really like it. Sara and I were both teaching first grade last year, and that helped a lot. Even though she was all the way down the hall and I didn’t see her all the time, I could still go and she could help me. Now, she’s in kindergarten and I’m lost.” “I am too,” Sara chimed in. It doesn’t take long to realize that the sisters are close, and the passion they share for teaching is part of the bond holding them together. Even if the school is too spread out for them sometimes. “Our school is so big, though,” April said. “There are days when I don’t see them here. But if there’s ever an issue, something that’s a struggle … or someone has a student in trouble, the three of us talk about what we can do. That is a plus having both of them here.” Those chats extend beyond the school walls, too.

She was less sure about joining her two older sisters in Four Oaks, however.

“Even our mama says she has no clue what we’re talking about when we’re together,” Charley said. “And when we’re together, (teaching) is what we’re talking about.”

“The first two years, I taught at Micro-Pine Level,” she said. “Because I didn’t know if I wanted to be here with them. I’ve always been the little sister. When April started here, I was still in school, so everyone associates me as their little sister. I didn’t want to start my teaching as April and Sara’s little sister.

“We don’t see each other every day,” Sara said. “Away from school, whenever we get together, school is all we talk about. Our mama and our husbands are like ‘y’all need to stop talking about school.’ But if one of us has a child who is in need, we all three pull together.

December 2016 | 7

Submitted photos Left, the sisters share a moment with their mother, Beverly. Right, Steve and Beverly pose with their daughters at Charley’s graduation. “There was one year where April and I had brothers, and they were in need at Christmas. So we helped buy them Christmas. Just little things like that, knowing that, when there’s a student in need, I can go to them, we can all pull together and help them out.”

“My husband is from Illinois, and the first time he came down here, the first question my daddy asked him was ‘do you ever plan on moving back,’” Charley said. “And his answer was no. If it was a yes, then we probably wouldn’t have been able to get married.

Their love of education can be traced back to their grandfather.

“Even when we go visit his family during the summer, I have to call home every single day. I have to talk to my mama. We were gone three weeks this past summer, and halfway through, I was ready to come home. I just don’t like being away.”

“Our grandpa, who passed away in 2011, we called him ‘Grandpa Toby,’” Sara said. “That’s why Toby-Caroline has his name. His name really is Charley, which is one of the reasons Charley has her name. Our daddy is Charley Steven, but people call him Steve. “School was not my thing growing up. (April) was the straight-A, perfect child. I was the middle child. I tell people I have half a halo and a tail. Growing up, the one thing that grandpa told us is that no one can take away your education. That is the only thing you have that can’t be taken away. “As I was struggling with nursing vs. teaching, that was something I kept thinking about. That is something I could do — help those kids have an education.” Each of the sisters has a family of their own. April and her husband, Kevin, have two children, AnnaKate and Kellen. Sara and her husband, Travis, also have a boy and a girl — Clayton and Toby-Caroline. Charley and her husband, Justin, are expecting their first child, who by the sound of things, is likely to be spoiled by everyone in sight. Normally, it would be tough for sisters and their families to stay close. It’s easier, though, when all three live on the same family farm where they grew up. “My husband’s from Meadow, and we were high school sweethearts,” April said. “And I told him that, if he wanted to marry me, he was moving down to Strickland’s Crossroads. Because I wasn’t going anywhere else. “I live the farthest from mama and daddy, but I can still see the top of their house from where I am. I live in the barnyard area. Charley’s building a house, and our backyards kinda meet in the field. Sara lives right next to mama and daddy. “It all stems back to our family and the roots and the heritage that we have here. I just feel like the roots they have established for us keep us from wanting to go anywhere else. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I don’t want to leave my family.” Charley has similar views on home and family.


Her sisters had to be in on the vacation — even in a small way. “They were driving, and we were on a group text message,” April said. “Charley would be like ‘we’re going through this state.’ We were all in the know on what was going on while she was traveling.” Sara shares her sisters’ vision, even if it took her a little longer to realize it. “I’m the one who was a little bit different,” she said. “When I was growing up, we were typical sisters, fussing and fighting. (April) grew up and decided she was going to be a teacher. I did not want to do that. I did not want to go to Campbell. I did not want to do anything she was doing, because I had done that my whole life. So, when I graduated from high school, I wanted to move as far away as I could go.” That turned out to be East Carolina in Greenville. “I got there, and I hated it,” she said. “I would have a class on Friday around lunchtime. I would come home Thursday night, get up Friday morning, drive back for to Greenville and drive back home after the class for the weekend. I would not leave Sunday night, I would leave early Monday morning. That’s how much I hated it. “I would call home and beg my daddy to let me come home. He said, ‘no. you wanted to do this, you’re doing it for a year.’ I told him I would go anywhere, as long as I could stay at home. I was the sister who, even if I went to (Johnston Community College), I was going to stay in a hotel in Smithfield. Because I was done being at home. So, I came back and went to JCC for a while. Then, I ended up at Campbell. Like my big sister. And I became a teacher. Like my big sister.” And now she shares a driveway with her parents. “I would not trade where I live for anything,” she said. “With the kids, they can get sick in the middle of the night, and my mama walks across the middle of the yard in her pajamas with her flashlight. It all comes back down to family.”

Benson vets Photo submitted by the Town of Benson

The Town of Benson hosted a Veteran’s Day parade and celebration on Saturday, Nov. 5. After the parade, there was a ceremony honoring the town’s veterans and a lunch


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December 2016 | 9

Four Oaks celebrates

The streets of Four Oaks were lined with trick-or-treaters on Halloween for the town’s observance of the holiday.


Photos by Four Oaks Area Chamber of Commerce | 11 December 2016

Smithfield-Selma Chamber of Commerce recognizes ‘Semester Superstar’ teachers Submitted by Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce

SELMA — The Education Committee of the Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce honored eight local elementary school teachers last month at its semi-annual “Semester Superstars Luncheon” at the Partnership for Children of Johnston County in Selma. These teachers were nominated by their principals and recognized as outstanding educators in the Smithfield-Selma area. Each teacher was given a plaque, a bag full of items from Chamber members and a check for $100. A similar luncheon will be held in the spring for outstanding middle and high school teachers. The program is presented by Walmart Supercenter and the Super 8/Sleep Inn Hotels in Smithfield. Other sponsors for this program include: Accentuate Staffing, Golden Corral, Johnston-Lee-Harnett Community Action, Dr. Dicky Parrish, Rick Childrey, Simple Twist, Wood Termite & Pest Control and Woody’s Computing Services. Pictured are the honorees: Left to right, Cindy Baker, Princeton Elementary; Shemika Banuelos, Wilson’s Mills Elementary; Kaitlyn Batten, Selma Elementary; Andrea Blaylock, Neuse Charter; Staci Conway, Pine Level Elementary; Deanna Fairclough, West Smithfield Elementary; Bryan Holley, South Smithfield Elementary and Mandy Yelverton, Micro Elementary.


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Greater SmithfieldSelma Area Chamber hosts events Recently, the Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the Business Expo and Operation Thank You events. The Business Expo, which offered businesses and potential customers the chance to mingle, was held at the Johnston County Agricultural Center. Operation Thank You was designed for the chamber to show its appreciation to its members for another successful year. Photos submitted by Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce

December 2016 | 13


Submitted Photo

Massengill Family Christmas tradition By Beverly Massengill Gibson

FOUR OAKS — The Massengill Family has celebrated Christmas Eve in the same house for more than sixty years. When the tradition began, that house was the home of Herman and Ina Massengill, who were my paternal grandparents. All of their children and grandchildren would gather there on Christmas Eve. I have such fond memories of a house full of family and presents piled high under the Christmas tree. After the passing of my grandparents, my parents, James and Lois Massengill moved into the home and the tradition continued with their family. Some years ago, I asked my mother just how long Christmas Eve had been celebrated in that house. She said it was happening before she married my daddy in 1956. This tradition is a very special one to our family and nothing interferes with this “carved-in-stone” tradition. We are expecting to have 29 family members gathered around the tree with love in the Massengill home this Christmas Eve.


Ava Gardner Museum to unveil new exhibit, ‘Ava Living in London,’ in December Submitted by Johnston County Visitors Bureau

“‘Pandora’ (the film) got me outside these United States for the first time,” she said. “One trip abroad, honey, and I almost never looked back.” The exhibit will include publicity shots from her time filming there, video from those films and tableaus recreating iconic scenes from her life in London. Deanna Brandenberger, director of the Ava Gardner Museum, states that it will be an exhibit like never before seen at the museum. “In conjunction with receiving the honor of the Blue Plaque in London, we have decided to uniquely portray Ava’s life in London where she lived 32 years,” Brandenberger said. The exhibit opening coincides with plans to recognize Ava at multiple events in London. The English Heritage dedicated a London Blue Plaque to Ava Gardner at her last home, 34 Ennismore Garden, last month.

SMITHFIELD — The Ava Gardner Museum in Downtown Smithfield will unveil a new exhibit on Dec. 10. The museum has displays that change annually so that visitors to the museum can see new items from the vast collection of Ava’s clothes, costumes, photos, personal mementos, art, letters and props.

death in 1990.

This year’s exhibit will be called “Ava Living in London” and will highlight her life in London from the movies she filmed there to her time as a permanent resident starting in 1968 up to her

She stated multiple times that it reminded her very much of North Carolina. In Ava’s own words, traveling and living abroad had a profound effect on her life for the better.

The unveiling event will include a homage to a traditional English tea, sponsored by local business Grapes & Grounds, starting at 10 a.m. Though Ava is from Johnston County, she was also happy to call England home for many decades.

The British Film Institute honored Gardner at the London Film Festival during a screening of “Seven Days in May” in which she co-starred with Kirk Douglas, the BFI’s classical artist of the year. In addition, the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Clothworkers’ Centre houses 12 of Ava’s couture fashions that were donated by Ava and her family. Some of the pieces are slated to become part of the Balenciaga exhibit that will be put on display for the public next Spring. For more on The Ava Gardner Museum, located at 325 E. Market Street in Smithfield, visit the museum’s website,

December 2016 | 15

Christmas Gift Guide

Christmas is just around the corner, and although it's not the reason for the season, finding the perfect gift for that special someone can be nerve-racking. Luckily, we're here to help. We've searched the county for unique gift ideas, and put together a few suggestions for you. It’s not a complete list, mind you, but a small sample of the treasures waiting to be found inside Johnston County businesses. Merry Christmas from your friends at Johnston Now, and happy shopping! Randy, Shanna and Ethan Capps


BENSON Jenny’s Sweet Creations

Phone: 919-207-0381 Address: 211 E. Main St., Benson

Benson Dentistry

Web: Phone: 919-894-4195 Address: 405 S. Market St., Benson

After getting your fill of chocolate, candies and other Christmas staples, it’s important not to neglect your teeth and gums. After all, nothing spoils the Christmas spirit like an afternoon in the dentist’s chair. If January is a time for New Year’s resolutions for getting back into shape, December is a time to indulge that sweet tooth. The aroma of candies and cakes spills out the shop when you open the door, and it only gets better once you’re inside. A gift basket full of cakes, candies and cookies is sure to be a hit, and starting at $5, it won’t be one on your bank account. There are also Melissa and Doug toys in stock, along with a line of inspirational items — including coloring books and prayer journals.

Help your loved ones avoid that with a Phillips Sonicare Easy Clean electric toothbrush. The adult model is $59.95 while the kids’ version is $20 cheaper.

It’s made by Escapada, comes in everything from an extra-small to an extra-large and is only $78. There are plenty of other gift ideas in the store, too. On the wall to the left when you walk in are decorative clocks. They’re $59.99, and the different designs make decorating with them a breeze. The sea horse would look great in a beach house, while the fire truck would work in a little boy’s room. The most popular designs, the mixer and sewing machine, work well in kitchens and living rooms, respectively. A neat feature in this store is the gift registry, where people can choose the items they like best. Then, when you shop for them later, the guess work is gone. You can even get free gift wrapping. What could be better?

Just because it’s more practical than fun doesn’t mean it’s not a good gift.

CLAYTON Rejoyce!

Web: Phone: 919-553-GIFT (4438) Address: 408 E. Main St., Clayton

Sometimes, in the midst of Christmas shopping, you need to treat yourself. At Rejoyce! in downtown Clayton, you can pick up a little red dress for the party you’re planning to attend.

December 2016 | 17

Wine on Main

Web: Phone: 919-879-8520 Address: 459 E. Main St., Clayton

It’s hard to go wrong with the gift of wine (or beer). Wine on Main has a red room and a white room, with unique options all over the world. For the holidays, you can create a box or basket with wines, beers, candles and artisan bakery items. It’s even OK to shop down the street for gifts, come on over and add those items to the basket. Boxes start at $9.99, baskets at $15.99 and the contents are limited only by your imagination.

Clayton Chiropractic

Web: Phone: 919-553-BACK (2225) Address: 201 E. Main St., Clayton

Some gifts are beautiful. Others are timeless mementos to be cherished forever. But sometimes, the best gifts are ones that just make someone’s everyday life better. A Tri-Core cervical pillow ($50) encourages better sleeping posture, reduces stress on the head and neck and might even help with snoring. It’s hard to give a better gift than a good night’s sleep.

Three Little Birds

Web: Phone: 919-585-4648 Address: 400 E. Main St., Clayton

Wishes and Wands

Web: Phone: 919-820-1171 Address: Wherever dreams come true

Sometimes the holiday season can be a bit hectic. So much so, that the magic of the Christmas season can get lost in all the hustle and bustle. What if you could wave a wand and bring it back? With Wishes and Wands, you can. For $80, you can schedule a 30-minute visit from an elf (boy or girl) and rekindle the Christmas magic for the entire family. Santa’s little helper will bring a personalized letter from the big guy and a magic Christmas bell. There will be Christmas story time, candy canes and more fun and games. What better way could there be to jump start the holiday season?

40/42 AREA Soap and Coffee Hut

Web: Phone: 919-623-8933 Address: 5533 N.C. Hwy 42, Garner

You can pick up an ordinary gift basket anywhere. But, if you’re looking for something unique and stylish, this is the spot. For $49.99, you can pick up a handcrafted basket with a soy candle, Whispering Willows soap and bath salt, a Clayton zip code pillow and other home decor items. And we’re pretty sure you can get a Smithfield or Princeton zip code pillow if you need one.

There are plenty of handmade soaps and freshly brewed coffees to enjoy, but this is also a good spot to pick up some goodies for the discerning tea drinker. There’s a calming tea, made with chamomile, lavender and rose buds.


The “not headache” tea features peppermint, green tea and white willow bark while the muscle relief blend contains alfalfa, chamomile, hyssop, marshmallow root, ginger and raspberry leaf.

FOUR OAKS The Vine and Branch

Phone: 919-963-3000 Address: 303 North Main St., Four Oaks

life love trendy accessories. Fur key chains and bags are popular this year, and you can find both right here. The key chains are $15 and the bags are $39. There are plenty of other great gift ideas here, too.

It’s a one-stop shop for the teas, pots, steepers and anything else needed to start whipping up a fresh kettle.

Just Dog People

Web: Phone: 919-977-7822 Address: 91 Glen Road, Garner

Every Christmas list has at least one dog lover, and this is a great place to find something they’ll love. The Julius line of harnesses, usually found only online, are available in the store. With different sizes and colors, and an array of personalized tag options, they’re a great way to keep your fur baby safe, secure and stylish. Pricing varies by size and accessories.

Step inside The Vine and Branch this month, and you’ll feel the Christmas spirit wash over you. The shop’s specialty is flowers, which of course, make for a fine gift year-round. Shoppers can also find special decor items and plenty of other gift ideas for the would-be hosts and hostesses on your list.

Stanfield’s General Store

Web: Phone: 919-963-9607 Address: 105 North Main St., Four Oaks

Need help finding the perfect wreath, or even setting up a tree that will be the talk of the neighborhood? This is a good stop.

Southern Roots Boutique

Web: Phone: 919-963-3600 Address: 206 North Main St., Four Oaks

Of course, no pet store is complete without a wall full of chew toys. The Go Dog line, featuring Chew Guard technology, is so good that, if your dog tears it up in the first 30 days, they’ll send you another one free of charge. Prices range from $5.99 to $15.99.

Looking for something for the person that’s always on the run? Perhaps a Corkcicle is the way to go? It keeps cold things cold for nine hours and hot things hot for three. They come in various colors and sizes, and both tumblers and canteens come in at around $30.

Step back in time inside Stanfield’s General Store, where you can find anything from Ashe County cheeses to home and garden supplies. You can pick up a gift basket, filled past the brim with anything from Aviator beer, Case knives and hot sauces for the guys and wood crafts, ornaments and unique soaps. Baskets start at $25, and come in a range of shapes and sizes. Have a bottle of coke and browse for a spell.

Monogramming is available for an additional fee. The fashion-forward ladies in your

December 2016 | 19



Kenly 95 Petro

Meadow Lights

Web: Phone: 919-284-5121 Address: I-95, Exit 106, Kenly

Web: Phone: 919-669-5969 Address: 4546 Godwin Lake Rd., Benson

Boutique and take a look at store full of precious outfits for those special children in your life. There are also Babiators (sunglasses), wish bracelets and Munch Mitts (for teething). Fair warning — the line of dresses from Funtasia Too ($22 and up) might be too adorable to keep under the tree until Christmas morning. They’ll even take care of the gift wrapping for you.

SELMA Rudy Theatre If you’ve ever spent anytime traveling on I-95 or I-40, you know all about the goodies that can be found at truck stops. While drivers use them for a place to get a bite to eat or take a shower, everyone else prowls the aisles for the latest tech gear and other gadgets. For the creative shopper, the Kenly 95 Petro can be a place to help you find a gift that will be the talk of the living room on Christmas morning. The Bug-A-Salt is available here, and as the name cleverly implies, it’s a gun that let’s you fire salt at those pesky house flies. Pour a little salt in the top, cock it and take out your frustrations on unsuspecting house flies. Pricing starts at $46.99, but remember not to point it at people. Looking for something a little less active? A few steps away you can find 1:16 replicas of John Deere tractors for the collector in your life.

Meadow Lights can be a good place to pick up Christmas candy, but only if you don’t wait too long. The selection is awesome when it opens for the season around Thanksgiving, but there will be tumbleweeds blowing through the aisles closer to Christmas Eve. We can’t recommend an evening out there enough. Snap pictures with Santa, ride the carousel and take the train through the best collection of Christmas lights around. It’s a night of wonder for all ages, and it’s a must-do each Christmas season.

PINE LEVEL Posh Kids Boutique

Web: PoshKidsBoutiquePineLevelNC Phone: 919-351-0077 Address: 213 N. Peedin Ave., Pine Level

Made by Broder and Ertl, there are models for the 7930, T6701 and 855D tractors, starting at $31.99.

A couple of tickets to “The American Music Jubilee,” hosted by the Rudy Theatre, is another gift best given early. Our friends at the Johnston County Visitors Bureau describe it as “an evening of southern hospitality, great American music, and side-splitting comedy that will delight audiences of every age.” Sounds like a winner. Tickets are $23.50 for children and $28.50 for adults, so why not take a break from shopping and get a dose of Christmas spirit! Look for a $2 discount code on page 30!

Sometimes, you find a gift so perfect that you have to give it early. That might happen if you stop by Posh Kids


Web: Phone: 919-202-9927 Address: 300 N. Raiford St., Selma

SMITHFIELD Ava Gardner Museum

Web: Phone: 919-934-5830 Address: 325 East Market St., Smithfield

Jewelry is the gold standard (no pun intended) of Christmas gifts. Guys, it’s tough to go wrong in a good jewelry store. At Evans Jewelers, you can pick up some fine Italian jewelry, handmade with sterling silver and 18-karat yellow gold. This line starts at $275. Another option is some Vietri dinnerware in their “Old St. Nick” pattern. It’s also Italian, but the company who makes it has its roots in Eastern North Carolina. Pieces start at $17.

If you’re up on your Johnston County history, then you know all about Ava Gardner. Why not add a little stardust to your Christmas list and pick up a 2017 calendar?

From aviators to wraparounds, there’s sure to be a frame and style that suits them best. You can even get prescription lenses, so they’ll look good and see better.

Prices start at $180, but these are topof-the-line, designer sunglasses that are sure to be a big hit.

ZEBULON Carolina Mudcats

Web: Phone: 919-269-2287 Address: 1501 N.C. Hwy 39, Zebulon

It’s a collection of photographs from her time spent in London. Want to learn more? Check out the story about the new exhibit in at the museum in this issue.

Official team gear is always a solid gift choice for the sports fan on your list. Stop by the front office (home plate side of the stadium) and grab your Mudcats’ gear at the team store (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Don’t want to make the drive? Shop online and have your favorite Muddy-inspired item shipped right to your door.

Haines Vision Care

Web: Phone: 919-934-2020 Address: 1317 N. Brightleaf Blvd., Suite D, Smithfield

Evans Jewelers

Web: Phone: 919-938-2929 Address: 320 E. Market St., Smithfield

If you know someone whose future is so bright they have to wear shades, maybe a new pair of Maui Jim’s or Costa sunglasses is the way to go.

December 2016 | 21

Junior Women’s League of Smithfield hosts ‘Touch-A-Truck’ event Submitted by the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield Last month, the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield (JWL) and Sysco Raleigh presented the first annual Touch-A-Truck fundraiser to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Johnston County. Touch-A-Truck was a huge hit with kids of all ages. Big rigs, emergency vehicles, construction equipment and all the other big machines that make kids say “whoa” were on display in Downtown Smithfield. “Touch-A-Truck represents what the Junior Women’s League is all about — promoting happy, healthy families in our community,” said Brooke Navarro, Touch-A-Truck committee chair. Children had the opportunity to climb in and explore vehicles from local emergency responder agencies and businesses while talking to equipment professionals and learning about these machines and their role in the community. Families enjoyed face painting, bounce houses, guest appearances and more in the True Joy Landscaping Playland. Nine food trucks were on site in the Sysco Raleigh Food Pavilion to provide guests many savory options for lunch. About 2,000 people attended the event in Downtown Smithfield, which raised a significant


Photos submitted by Sarah Edwards The JWL Touch-A-Truck committee: Front row, left to right, Sarah Edwards, Dana Satterfield, Meredith Vaughn, Carol Anne Oakes and Susan Culbreth. Back row: Dana Peterson, Jena Andrews, Megan Lee, Hanna Keel, Brooke Navarro, Jessica Davis and Meredith Fordham. amount of money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Johnston County. “The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield’s Touch-A-Truck event was an enjoyable experience for all who attended,” JWL president

Jessica Davis said. “In addition to providing fun for families, it benefits an outstanding organization right here in Johnston County. JWL is grateful for the support of so many individuals and local businesses that made this event possible.

About the Junior Women’s League of Smithfield The Junior Women’s League of Smithfield is a nonprofit organization with the mission to promote volunteerism, develop the potential of women and improve the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. JWL’s impact has been significant. In its inaugural year (February to June, 2016) the JWL presented $10,000 in community donations and completed more than 942 hours of community service. Members continue to volunteer and raise money benefiting six community partnership organizations.

Meadow School goes pink fighting for a cure Submitted by Johnston County Schools

Students at Meadow School joined together to raise breast cancer awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society during the month of October. The Meadow Indian cheerleaders sold pink ribbons for $5, raising a total of $500 for the American Cancer Society. Those who purchased the ribbons wrote the names of cancer survivors and people who lost a battle to cancer on them. The ribbons were then displayed on a large wooden pink ribbon at the school. Students and staff held a “pink out” to show their support for breast cancer awareness on Oct. 20. Student athletes on the volleyball and soccer teams wore pink uniforms at their games against Benson Middle on Oct. 19. The football team and cheerleaders also wore pink uniforms when the school hosted Selma Middle School on Oct. 20. Pictured in front of the ribbon display are: Back row, left to right, Coach Allison Crumpler, Kelsey Lancaster, Talika Smith, Mary Michael Wood, Claire Massengill and coach Samantha Pykus. Front row: Riley Johnson, Ashtyn Wade, Jocie Lee, Kealey Wade, Mary Scott Rhodes and Gracie Moore.

December 2016 | 23


Time To Put ‘Christ’ Back In Christmas (But Not The Way You Think) I LOVE Christmas. There’s the gifts … and Christmas dinner … and Christmas Eve Dinner … and Christmas leftovers … Oh, and time with family!

I think He is bothered by racial and economic injustice. I think He wants your local church to be a group of people to whom anyone, regardless of their story, can find a family.

(Please note: those are NOT in order of importance!)

Jesus said this in Matthew 15:8-9 (NIV): “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.’”

Then there’s the annual controversy over using “Happy Holidays” or “Merry X-Mas” instead of Merry Christmas. You’ll see the battles raging all over social media and in the comment section of news articles, and occasionally you’ll have the person who is committed to making a point respond, very pointedly, “Merry Christmas!” to the greeter at Walmart who says “Happy Holidays.” Because that really changes people’s minds. As a pastor, I understand the argument from the “Merry Christmas” crowd, and it basically goes like this: “Jesus is the reason for the season!” To which I would respond “Yes and Amen!” On the other hand, is saying “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays” or “Merry X-Mas” really going to put Christ back in Christmas? Is that even what Jesus would have wanted? Personally, I don’t think Jesus is going to make a big deal over whether you use “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Holidays” or “Merry X-Mas” in your conversation. But I think He is greatly concerned over how you treat people. I think He cares about whether you are are serving the under-served in our community.

To say “Merry Christmas” to someone in the store and yet refuse to serve the broken and hurting, refuse to invest in our community, refuse to reach across racial and economic lines and refuse to let them in our churches so they can hear about Jesus does more to take Christ out of Christmas than any decision by Walmart or Starbucks. To put Christ back in Christmas has nothing to do with the words coming from our lips, and everything to do with the attitude in our heart. And a heart that belongs to Jesus will always overflow into reaching out to the broken, the hurting, the under-served, and the people that are far from God in our community. So yes, let’s put Christ back in Christmas. But may we do it by having dinner with someone of a different skin color. By finding a family that can’t have Christmas and giving them a Christmas out of what we’ve been blessed with. By finding a single mom and seeing what you can do to help her out. By finding that person who doesn’t “look pretty” and inviting them to your church’s Christmas event — and offering them a ride there.

That’s what “Christ” in Christmas looks like, because that’s what the heart of Jesus looks like. Sacrificial. Unconditional. Just like what He displayed in dying on the cross for our sins so we could come back to God. And He calls His followers to mirror that love to the rest of the world.

By the way: I believe if Jesus followers began to do that, then we WOULD see the phrase “Merry Christmas” come back, because people would be attracted to Jesus by our actions. It’s our actions that would give us a platform for our message about Jesus and give people an opportunity to follow Jesus…and as they realized that following Jesus was not just about going to heaven but bringing heaven to earth, they would begin to show Jesus to the world as well, and it would keep progressing like a snowball because that type of love in action is incredibly, irresistibly attractive. And THAT is how you put Christ back in Christmas. Dillon Schupp is the Lead Pastor of LifeSpring Church in Smithfield. You can find out more about LifeSpring at and connect with Dillon on social media @ dillonschupp on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

If your pastor wants to write a devotional, contact us at 24 | JOHNSTON NOW

Dillon Schupp

Shanna Says

Meet the marketing side of J-Now My name is Shanna, and I love to work. I realize that sounds like a sales pitch in an interview, but it really is true.

I enjoyed working so much that I quit college during my freshman year so that I could get a “real” job. And, I did.

Don’t get me wrong, I also value time with my family, watching brainless television and playing video games. But there’s something about a productive day that gives me pure joy.

I landed a job in advertising at a newspaper in 1998, and I’ve been in that field, in some capacity, ever since.

As an elementary school child, I remember going door to door selling wrapping paper or candy bars to neighbors. I wanted to win the award for the highest seller in my class, or better yet, in the whole school. When I turned 14, I begged the local ice cream shop to hire me, even though I wasn’t legally old enough to be on a payroll. I promised to be the best sundae maker they had, and I loved every minute of my after-school shift. By high school, I juggled two or three jobs at any given time. I worked for a local radio station, worked as a cashier at a grocery store and was a waitress at my favorite restaurant.

Tell us what you think!

Through advertising, I found that my true professional passion is helping businesses grow. I feel my adrenaline pumping when talking to a business owner about increasing customers and promoting their brand. Over the years, I finished college and worked for a few large media companies. I held fancy titles that looked great on a resume, but reached a level where I no longer touched the heart of businesses. My days were filled with policies, managing staff and meeting corporate goals. That’s what led me here, to writing a column in a magazine that only promotes the positive side of our community. A magazine that celebrates the hard work of the businesses and shines a light on the people behind the brands.

Randy (who you met on page 6) and I started this publication because we believe that those stories tell the tales of our everyday heroes. And, our magazine offers Shanna Capps businesses the chance to talk about their mission and gain new customers through advertising. That’s where I come in. I’m overjoyed to share this magazine with each person reading, but I’m just as excited to share our advertisers with you. The businesses represented in J-Now are quality, local organizations, and I ask that you consider being their next customer. It’s because of their support that we can provide a new edition for you to enjoy each month. Shop local, and have a very, Merry Christmas!

/JohnstonNow @JohnstonNow | 919-980-5522


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BUSINESS PROFILE – White Swan Bar - B - Q

Photo by Randy Capps Linwood Parker serves up some barbecue at GALOT Motorsports Park.

White Swan Bar-B-Q: A taste of Johnston County heritage SMITHFIELD — It’s before 8 a.m. on a Tuesday morning, when most people are getting ready for breakfast. But when a reporter arrives at White Swan Bar-B-Q on Highway 301 and walks into the cook room, preparations for hundreds of lunches and dinners yet to come are well underway.

Claudio, Penny McCartan and Jarvis are working inside, pulling pork. They’re wearing gloves, coats and hats, as is the reporter — as state guidelines require — as they prepare barbecue for their own White Swan location and the five others in Eastern North Carolina. The shoulders were cooked overnight, with


Claudio looking out for them. Soon, the meat will be in bags and on its way to Pine Level, Wilson’s Mills, Benson, Dunn and Atlantic Beach.

Thousands of pounds of barbecue and coleslaw leave this building every week, doing its part to build on a legacy more than 86 years in the making.

History lesson In 1930, the building was a two-story restaurant and motel run by Percy and Jimmie Flowers. Twenty years later, Cleveland Holley bought the property and built a barbecue pit.

Mr. Cleveland Holley

A visitor standing in front of White Swan today can see the different shades of brick that mark the size of the original stand, compared to the add-ons that came later, built next to what is now the cook room. Holley ran the stand and motel and lived on site until his death in 1977. His three sisters inherited the property, and one of them, Lola Belle Stanley, and her husband William, ran the property until 1988. Linwood Parker helped them with their books, and in partnership with J.D. Heath, bought the property in September of that year. Heath died in 1994, leaving Parker in business with Heath’s widow, Katie. In 1995, White Swan sold its first franchise license in Princeton. Three years later, he and Katie divided the property. Katie took the mobile home park across the highway, while Parker became the sole owner of the current site.

Family affair Parker’s daughter, Lisa, is the Chief Operational Officer. His other daughter, Elizabeth, is a teacher, but handles the company’s human resources. His grandson, Jordan, helps with deliveries. “It’s a family operation all the way down the line,” Parker said. Of the five satellite locations, only the Dunn restaurant doesn’t have a direct tie back to the Smithfield location and the extended White Swan family. In fact, Tony Hamilton, who now owns the Pine Level location, ran the Smithfield restaurant from 1988 to 1990. Even the recipe, which is largely unchanged from the original, has been passed down from generation to generation. Holley’s chief cook, Raymond Massengill, created the recipe in 1950 and worked at the restaurant until he died in 1990. Parker shared a memory of the two of them working together, just months before his passing. “We had a snow the day before Christmas Eve, and Raymond and I were making barbecue,” he said. “It was snowing, and he said, ‘man, we’re probably never going to do this again.’ And I said, ‘no, I doubt we’ll ever be making barbecue in the snow again for Christmas Eve.’” Massengill trained Billy Miller to cook the barbecue, who later trained Chris Vanier, Parker’s former son-in-law. Vanier, in turn, trained Claudio. There aren’t many others who know the recipe.

Photo by Randy Capps Claudio sorts through freshly cooked barbecue. “I keep that locked up,” he said. “Very few people know exactly what’s in it. We’re proud of the history of White Swan. And we’re proud that we’ve been a part of (Johnston County’s) history, cooking a product the same way for 68 years. It hasn’t changed much, but we’ve refined it to make sure it’s nutritious, good tasting and safe. We’ll stack up our product against anybody.”

going to have you up sometime in Harpers Ferry (West Virginia). Will you come?’ And I said, ‘yeah, we’ll come.’

Outside the county

A part of the community

While the restaurant business is popular enough, White Swan spreads its blend of Eastern North Carolina barbecue through catering. White Swan caters all over the county, across the state, down into South Carolina and up and down the eastern seaboard. Pictures line the walls of Parker’s office of politicians for whom he’s served barbecue and chicken. Folks like Jesse Helms, Lauch Faircloth and Elizabeth Dole, just to name a few. “Barbecue is part of our political heritage,” he said. “Back before they had consultants, the internet and advertising, they had barbecues. Everybody went to the barbecues for political rallies.” Much of the catering business starts from a customer’s trip to the restaurant. “We have a family that’s eaten with us for the last 15 years when they come down to Charleston or Myrtle Beach for their summer vacations,” Parker said. “They always said, ‘we’re

“Their son got married in June, and we went up and cooked the hog on site. Fried the chicken on site. Made the hushpuppies on site. We brought the slaw and potato salad with us. It was great. We were up there three days.” In a world that’s ever changing, White Swan is a constant. The building is a little bigger, but the food and the atmosphere is much as it was in the 1950s. “It’s the biggest thing in the world,” Parker said of White Swan’s place in the community. “We are a part of and a centerpiece of the community, and we understand the importance of that. It really makes us feel good that, on a holiday, like Memorial Day or Easter, people come back home for whatever, and they pull up at White Swan at 7 o’clock on a Friday night. They’ll say, ‘I just got into town, and this is the first place I had to come.’ “There’s not many places left that you can go back to that were here when you were a child. They can come right back to the place they used to go with their grandparents … and come get a barbecue sandwich and a Pepsi Cola. They can do the same thing they did 50 years ago, and that’s part of the charm and part of the joy of operating something like this.”

December 2016 | 27

Photo by Randy Capps Claudio, Penny and Jarvis pull the pork from the shoulders. It’s a responsibility that Parker takes very seriously. “We never actually think that we own the restaurant,” he said. “Because the public owns it. We’re just the individuals that are in possession of it at the time. It is part of the heritage of this county. “BBQ is the first kind of restaurant that most people of the Baby Boomer generation experienced. We didn’t have a lot of McDonald’s and Hardee’s, so the Baby Boom generation went to barbecue restaurants. That was the first restaurant people went to. BBQ is part of our heritage. That’s why you have debates about who has the best.”

East vs. West When asked his opinion on the Eastern vs. Western barbecue argument, Parker weighed in — tongue planted firmly in cheek. “BBQ is a regional American cuisine,” he said. “It was developed in Eastern North Carolina, perfected at the White Swan. But, when people went west back in the day, they had to go by foot or by oxcart, or in covered wagons. When they got out there, there was nothing to cook but Piney Wood Rooters, hogs that root for acorns, making their meat green. “So, all they had to cook were those rooters and they had forgotten the recipe, so to cover up the fact that they didn’t know what they were doing,


they put ketchup on it.”

Going forward

Apparently, he tells a version of the same story as relates to South Carolina barbecue, changing the ingredient from ketchup to mustard.

Parker is almost 69, but has no immediate plans to stop either his accounting work or the restaurant business.

The real stuff, as any Eastern barbecue lover will tell you, is made with vinegar.

“I’m going to work until I die,” he said. “I understand that I won’t be here forever. Until I pass, I’m going to be here with my family operating the restaurant because I enjoy it.

A nod to the staff As any restaurant owner will attest, having good people on whom they can rely is critical to running a successful eatery. “The two most important things in the restaurant are these,” he said. “No. 1 is the customer. No. 2 is the staff, because they come in contact with the customers every day. It’s all about those two. Penny is the production manager and pitmaster, and she’s picked up a lot of my mother’s recipes and does the cooking. Most of the people on our staff have worked with me for at least five years, and some have worked with us for more than 10 years. “They all know what to do. When I get here in the morning, I know the restaurant is going to be ready to go. I’ve got a family that cleans up every night. I don’t ever worry about whether they’re there. They come every night, and in the morning, it looks like it’s brand new. From the cleaning up, to the preparation of the barbecue, to the handling of the customers, we’ve got topnotch people all the way through.”

“I want to be helpful to my daughters and grandchildren as they prepare to step out on their own. If they choose to be in the barbecue business, I want it to be something they can carry on and understand what it’s about.” His brother, David, owns the motel next door to the restaurant. He plans to retire in a year or so, and when that happens, there will be more fishing on both of their agendas. “I’m going to change some things, because there are a lot of streams that I have not fished in Eastern North Carolina,” he said. “And fishing’s more fun when you’re with someone else. “I enjoy seeing things move forward. But I enjoy greatly the things that brought it to where it’s at, and being part of it is good. Everybody has ups and downs in their life, but the truth of it is I’ve had a good life. And I thank the Lord everyday for that.” As caretaker of a Johnston County institution, it’s a good life that’s been shared with thousands of people — one bite at a time.

Every Wednesday, 10:30 a.m.

Story Time James Bryan Creech Library, Four Oaks. Come out for story time at the library each Wednesday morning. For more information, call 919-963-6013.

Thursday, Dec. 1, 5:30-9 p.m.

Christmas Village and Tree Lighting Downtown Clayton Mark the date for the 2016 Christmas Village and Tree Lighting on your calendar! You won’t want to miss it.

Thursday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m. Kenly Christmas Parade Don’t miss the annual Christmas parade in Kenly. For more information, call 919-284-5510.

Thursday, Dec. 1, 5:30-9 p.m. Smithfield Christmas Tree Lighting Third and Market Streets, Smithfield The town will be lighting up the holiday season, with the lighting of the Christmas Tree, located right in front of the library. There will be hot chocolate, entertainment, and a special visitor from the north pole.

Thursday, Dec. 1, 7 p.m. Pure Flix Comedy All Stars, with SINBAD The Clayton Center You are invited to attend the taping of a brand new stand up showcase television program with Sinbad, as he hosts 12 of the funniest clean comedians headlining in America today. You will recognize many of these Comedy All Stars from “The Tonight Show,” “The Late Show,” “Saturday Night Live,” HBO, Showtime, MTV and many other network programs. Tickets are $25, and you can call the Box Office at 919-553-1737 for more information.

Friday, Dec. 2, 5 p.m. Swim with Santa Smithfield Recreation and Aquatics Center Santa and his elves are ditching their coats to come take a dip in the pool before the big night. Come and get those last minute requests in. Cookies and Milk for everyone! Call 919-934-2116 for more.

Friday, Dec. 2, 5 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 11 a.m.

Benson Christmas Tree Lighting and Parade Don’t miss the town’s “Christmas on Main” celebration. Businesses will be open on Main Street, and there will be entertainment at Benton Square at 6 p.m. The tree lighting is at 6:40, with the parade to follow. After the parade, there will be visits with Santa in front of Jenny’s Sweet Creations and more entertainment at the corner of Market and Main streets,

Four Oaks Christmas Parade Don’t miss Four Oaks’ annual Christmas parade! For more information on the parade, call 919-963-4004 or email

Saturday, Dec. 3, 9:30 a.m. - 3 p.m

Sunday, Dec. 4

Cleveland High School Band’s Third-Annual Holiday Bazaar Cleveland High School, Clayton Check out art, handmade crafts, baked goods, Christmas decorations, band merchandise and much more. All proceeds will go toward the band. For more, visit holiday-bazaar.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. A Civil War Christmas Bentonville Battlefield Come celebrate a Civil War Christmas during this Holiday Open House event. Costumed interpreters will decorate the kitchen in festive themes using natural materials such as holly, magnolia, fruits, & popcorn strands. Visitors can enjoy cookies and cider while listening to period music. For more details, call 910-594-0789.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 10 a.m. A Walk through the Exhibit Room Howell Woods This is a guided tour through the Howell Woods museum. Get to know our favorite critters by attending this special program where they will discuss animal names, habitat, diet, and personalities. Also, there is the celebrity star “Elvis” who loves to meet new guests! Cost is $10 per family, and registration is requested. For more information, call 919-938-0115.

Saturday, Dec. 3, 1 p.m. Princeton Christmas Parade Don’t miss Princeton’s annual Christmas parade!

Wilson’s Mills Christmas Parade Check out the annual parade in Wilson’s Mills.

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 5:30 p.m. Candlelight Tour Tobacco Farm Life Museum, Selma Celebrate the season with a special candlelight tour of the buildings and grounds and learn more about winter on the farm and holiday traditions. Enjoy refreshments and family-friendly craft activities while listening to songs of the season and do a little holiday shopping in the gift shop, stocked with local and handmade goods. Admission is $5, and for more information, call 919-284-3431.

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 7 p.m. Selma Christmas Parade Here’s the perfect way to begin the holiday season and create a fun family and friends tradition. Join as Selma presents the Christmas parade, lighting up the night sky with twinkling lights.

Thursday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. Smithfield Christmas Parade Come out and enjoy the Smithfield Christmas Parade. For more, log on to

Saturday, Dec. 10, 3 p.m. Clayton Christmas Parade Check out the Clayton Christmas Parade, sponsored by The Rotary Club of Clayton.

December 2016 | 29

Saturday, Dec. 10, 4 p.m.

Sunday, Dec. 11, 3 p.m.

Saturday, Dec. 17, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Micro Christmas Parade & Tree Lighting Be a part of the town’s parade and tree lighting. For more details, call 919-901-1737.

Pine Level Christmas Parade Be a part of the town’s annual Christmas parade.

Johnston County Chorale Holiday Concert The Clayton Center Celebrate the holidays with the Johnston County Chorale’s annual Christmas concert. This year’s program is entitled “Underneath the Tree.” Tickets are $15, and for more information, call the Box Office at 919-553-1737.

Saturday, Dec. 10, 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. “Home for the Holidays” Johnston Community College Paul A. Johnston Auditorium, College Road, Smithfield The CMS presents ‘Home For The Holidays’ featuring the Carolina Music ShowCase band & singers, Sandy Millard and David Johnson. Tickets are $15 in advance and $17.50 at the door. For more details, call 919-209-2099.

Saturday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m. We’ve Only Just Begun: Carpenters Remembered The Clayton Center This show is the definitive celebration of “The Carpenters’” songbook and an intimate behindthe-scenes portrait of one of the most successful recording acts of all time. Led by Michelle Berting Brett and accompanied by a live, seven-piece Nashville band directed by Harry Sharpe, the show re-creates “The Carpenters’” original sound. Tickets are $35, and for more information, call the Box Office at 919-553-1737.

Monday, Dec. 12, 6:30 p.m. Pajama Story Time Mary Duncan Public Library, Benson Put on your PJ’s and bring your young one in for story time. For more information, call 919-894-3724.

Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30-9 a.m. Chamber Coffee Connections Smithfield-Selma Chamber Outlet Center Drive, Selma This is a structured networking event that takes the guesswork out of networking. Each month, attendees will have the opportunity to introduce themselves and their business to the entire group. Each session will include relevant business topics that will be discussed in small groups. For more information, call 919-934-9166.

Friday, Dec. 16, 6-9 p.m.

Wednesday, Dec. 21, 8 p.m. Christmas with The Embers The Rudy Theater, Selma Enjoy this holiday show with The Embers, featuring Frosty, Rudolph and much more. Tickets are $22.50, and for more information, call 919-202-9927.

Saturday, Dec. 31, 9 p.m. Remembering the Legends The Rudy Theater, Selma Bring in the New Year with a three-hour show starring Diane Bailey and Eddie Miles with special guest Dayle Eason. There will also be party favors at midnight. Tickets are $35, and for more information, call 919-202-9927.

Free Carriage Rides With Santa Third and Market streets, Smithfield Don’t miss the chance to take a carriage ride with Santa! For more, call 919-934-0887.

Add your organization’s events to the community calendar at or email us at For the full community calendar with hundreds of area events, visit

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