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Cabarrus Magazine

Fair Week Sparks Discussion about Local 'Family Time' Opportunities in New 'Up Front' Episode

Sep 06, 2019 01:56PM ● By Jason Huddle
Pictured: Host Jason Huddle (Left) and Great Wolf Lodge General Manager, Angie Brown


Huddle: (00:00)
Welcome to Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine, sponsored by Atlantic Bay mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Events Center, CERTEC Automotive, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, Merle Norman cosmetics and Eadi's Salon and Your CBD Store of Concord. I'm your host Jason Huddle.

Huddle: (00:21)
Hey, welcome to another edition of Up Front with Cabarrus magazine. It is great to be back with you after a week break last week and this show I'm very excited about. We are talking about family time, we were talking about things to do in Cabarrus county because as you may or may not have seen, there are a few billboards around town. The Cabarrus county fair is in town and of course that's a no brainer as far as what to do with the family in the next week or so. But there are lots of other things to do as well and so we're going to talk about the fair at the end of the show and what the schedule is, things like that. But I really want to get into what are some things around Cabarrus county that are available for you to do and don't really cost. A lot of money or can just be some quality time with the kids or even just with each other as a couple.

Huddle: (01:17)
So we're going to get into that today. We are very excited to have Angie Brown from Great Wolf Lodge. Did you know that Great Wolf Lodge no longer requires you to be a guest to get passes to the waterpark? This is brand new. They're piloting this in the Concord store, so we're going to get into that and how that works. And also there's a place on Kerr street in Concord called Clearwater artist studios. This is a really cool place, like a really hip place to visit. And I want to talk to Sarah Gay, who is the general manager of the studios and let her tell you about that as well. Before we get into that though, it is shameless plug time.

Huddle: (02:01)
The new edition of Cabarrus Magazine is online and in stands for your enjoyment. And the theme this month is history lives. I am a huge history geek and I am so excited about this issue because of that. Uh, we talk about the renaissance festival which launches next month, uh, for its 24th season I think. I don't know. And then also the um, GI house in Kannapolis. If you haven't been there you need to go and Bost Grist Mill off of highway 200, kind of in between Concord and Locust. So we're excited to bring that to you. And I also want to mention that we have a new sponsor, if you didn't notice at the beginning of the show, Cabarrus Arena and Events center is now a sponsor of Up Front with Cabarrus Magazine. We are so pleased to have them. Everybody knows the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center is where the fair is. Obviously that's where you're probably going to be heading sometime in the next week and a half. But most don't realize that they have other facilities that are available for rent when it comes to family reunions or Quinceaneras or whatever the event may be. They have smaller meeting areas that you can rent out and they have their own caterer and everything. So if you have a family or corporate event that you're looking to find a place to have it, give Cabarrus Arena and Events center a call, they will take great care of you. I have no doubt. And that is today's shameless plug time.

Huddle: (03:31)
Stay tuned, when we come back, we'll be on location at Great Wolf Lodge to talk to Angie Brown about all the things that you can do with your family this Fall. And now here's a message from our new friends at Cabarrus Arena and Events Center. Stay tuned.

Commercials: (03:44)

Huddle: (03:44)
Welcome back to Upfront with Cabarrus Magazine. I am on location, at Great. Wolf Lodge with general manager, Angie Brown and uh, she has been gracious enough to give us a few minutes of her time even though she's in the middle of a $7 million renovation. So Angie, first of all tell us while we're talking about family time this week, I want to know about this renovation and what kind of improvements you guys are making.

Brown: (05:51)
Yeah, thank you Jason. We are really excited. Does it actually our 10 year anniversary year,

Huddle: (05:55)
That's incredible!

Brown: (05:57)
Yeah, so 10 years, 10 years of serving uh Cabarrus County, the families here and enjoying every minute of it. And we're really excited that we're giving a $7 million renovation. So we are completely redoing our guests room from carpet to artwork to light fixtures, the Sofa, bed, sofa sleepers, um, top to bottom, redoing them. We're going with a modern rustic theme. And also are we doing all of our corridors, our lobby. So it's about a nine week project and a very accelerated schedule. But we are certain it'll bring a lot more family fun in the future to all the guests staying with us.

Huddle: (06:31)
So it's a nine week project. What week are we on now?

Brown: (06:34)
We are in week two.

Huddle: (06:35)
Week two.

Brown: (06:36)

Huddle: (06:37)
So just about the time or just about Christmas time, you guys will be about done right.

Brown: (06:41)
Actually by the end of October we can hopefully be complete.

Huddle: (06:44)
Alright, awesome. Yeah. Great. Well we are looking forward to coming by and taking some pictures and showing people through the magazines website what kind of improvements have been made. So you guys are doing that. But like I said, we are talking about family time. We're trying to think about some things that families can do together this fall around Cabarrus County. And I remember when my boys were younger, even though we weren't staying at the resort, there were still tons of things to do. We actually came up and did some Magi Quests and where we got the wands and we spent two days over a weekend going and doing all the quests. I think we beat the dragon and the whole nine. Right?

Brown: (07:21)
So when you became a master magi.

Huddle: (07:23)
Apparently we did. I don't know. They got the medals. Anyway, so I wanted to come and talk to you because there isn't the requirement to stay at the resort in order to enjoy some of the parks, amenities. So -

Brown: (07:37)
Yeah, there's lots of family fun that guests can have. Of course we love for our guests to come and stay with us. Our locals find it a great staycation. They only drive a few minutes and then they get to go right into vacation time. Right. For some families, maybe they just don't have the time allotment to be able to do that. Um, and we want to make sure that we can serve all the families that want to find family fun at. Great Wolf. So as you mentioned, yes, there's magic requests, which is our live interactive video game. Anyone can come and do that. You just purchase a wand and then get it activated and then you can have a couple of days of play that you can enjoy that. Also we are currently piloting and selling day waterpark passes, so we just, you have to book them ahead of time on the website at and you have to book them the night before because they're based on availability. So if we are really high capacity we may not have any or very few available and at different price points so they're not available every day.

Huddle: (08:33)
This is something that wasn't available before. What prompted you guys to do this?

Brown: (08:38)
We just recognized that not all families had the time commitment to necessarily get away for 48 hours, 72 hours. And so we wanted all families, regardless of what their schedule was or their availability, to have that opportunity to really enjoy Great Wolf Lodge. It's a family.

Huddle: (08:53)
And you guys always say it doesn't matter. The weather is outside is always 82 degrees.

Brown: (08:58)
84 degrees.

Huddle: (08:59)
Sorry, I messed that up. 84 degrees and wonderful weather inside the park. Okay, so we've covered um, the waterpark day passes and the magic quest. What are some other things that families can come and enjoy if they not necessarily staying at the resort?

Brown: (09:14)
Well, we have northern lights arcade, which is our huge a hundred game arcade that families can enjoy. We have 10 Paw Ally, which is a miniature bowling alley that kids really enjoy. We actually just added a few months ago laser tag. So that's been a huge hit with our guests. So-

Huddle: (09:29)
I challenge you.

Brown: (09:30)
Uh, okay. Well, um, when we open up at five o'clock, let's go.

Huddle: (09:34)

Brown: (09:36)
We also just this past spring added build the bear, so you can do your own, build a bear. Um, you can either make a Great Wolf character or we have a lot of, some other cute build a bear characters too that you can create and make your new best friend and dress and all those fun things.

Huddle: (09:50)
That's great. So there are lots to do at the park and there are also lots of deals for if you do want to stay at the resort. If uh, if you just check out, I know I've seen Groupons. I know I've seen um, different promotions throughout the year where you know, sometimes it's more expensive to stay here than others, just like any other resort. But um, I know that people can, can go and look for that. Where can they book a room if they want to go

Brown: (10:16)
The best deals, always going to be at So go there, you'll be able to see all of our current promotions. You'll be able to book your room right there. Um, you also, when you book your room, you can add on a paw pass, a pup pass, a wolf pass. Those are also value added packages that if you're not a guest, an overnight guests, but you wanted to come in and enjoy some of the activities we just talked about. You can bundle a bunch of those fun activities such as magi quest and build a bear in the arcade. And 10 paw alley, laser tag XD theater and you can bundle it and then have over 20% savings.

Huddle: (10:49)
Awesome. Great. Angie Brown, general manager of Great Wolf Lodge. Thanks for taking some time out with us today.

Brown: (10:54)
Thank you so much Jason.

Huddle: (10:56)
Stay tuned. We'll be back after these messages from our sponsors.

Commercials: (11:01)

Huddle: (11:01)
Welcome back to this episode of up front with Cabarrus magazine. I am now at the Clearwater artists studios in Concord. If you've ever driven down Kerr street and you've passed where the old water treatment plan is, you've seen the transformation that has happened over the past few years and this old water treatment plan has been turned into an art gallery, artists, studios. There's all kinds of things happening, maybe even farmer's markets and all kinds of things in the future as well. And I'm sitting here with the director, Sarah Gay of Clearwater artist studios, and she is here to talk to us about what there is to do if I'm a general member of the public, what there is to do if I dropped by the studio. So first of all, Sarah, thanks for coming onto the program today.

Huddle: (13:31)
Oh, you're welcome. Thank you for having me, Jason.

Huddle: (13:34)
Uh, so tell us if I am a member of the public and we'll get into what all is at the studios and the history and all that, we'll get into that in a second. But if I am a general member of the public, uh, and I dropped by the studios, what can I expect to see or find?

Huddle: (13:47)
Okay. So on a daily basis we try to keep the door open. As long as I'm in the office, um, often the artists will open the door as well. So you can expect to find two to four artists during the day and another whole roster of them in the evening working. They're usually happy to talk to members of the general public. We do have a gallery and we have shows up in the gallery at all times. So sometimes it's a show of the member artists or the tenant artist's work. A lot of times it's a guest artist that will recruit from within the community. And our goal with the guest artist shows has been specifically to showcase artists in the community who are doing great work that may not otherwise have found a venue. So there's always art to look at. Now, uh, as far as other things to do, we have been working on that. Um, we're working on getting classes going and uh, ramping up a bit of our programming that way. We are about to bring in the art guild as one of our tenants and they have a whole history already of activities and they're actually holding an artists demo this coming Sunday on November eighth, so that will be free and open to the public. In our lower level group. We hold artists talks and opening receptions for every show that we do. And one of the other neat things that we have for members of the community is we'll rent out our space at really great rates. So we've had several events here that are private, some that are actually public. Uh, we've had five or six weddings and two more on the roster for this fall. Two more wedding clients coming in this evening to see the space. We've had birthday parties, we've had corporate meetings, we've had all kinds of various events. Uh, later this month we're going to be having the Chamber of Commerce bringing their young professionals group into reception. So those are some of the more organized things that we have that ask for activities, things for kids to do. We have gotten a lot of calls from people you know, wandering about that, but we're not quite there yet. But that is a goal.

Huddle: (15:37)
So what you're telling me is if you are a lover of art or just Kinda want to hang out in a cool environment, this is the place to be.

Huddle: (15:48)
Well, we also have a lot of local artists who will come here and they kind of get this glow on their face. And so, you know, even people who aren't artists come here and get the glow in their faces. It's, um, it's got a certain energy here and that comes of having working artists doing what they do and selling their work. And, um, we jury in our tenant artists and we want to know that they're very serious about their artwork. So most of them are here to make it, if not a career. Then I definitely, um, working, uh, pursuit.

Huddle: (16:16)
Before we turned on the mic, you gave me, uh, the nickel tour of the facility.

Huddle: (16:22)
The nickel and dime -

Huddle: (16:22)
Yes, I actually got 25 cents worth.

Gay: (16:25)
I'm pretty sure it was a dollar,

Huddle: (16:29)
But when I was, I was struck by as the diversity of art. It's not just paintings, it's not just pottery, but you have that, you have glasswork, you have woodworking, you have welding, there's all kinds of things that you can see in the studio. Now let's get a little bit into how the studio works. You basically lease out individual studios to artists. Correct?

Gay: (16:54)

Huddle: (16:54)
And then they work on their work and they sell it here as well as in other places. Is that pretty, pretty accurate? All right. And then also the Wood Turner's associations,

Gay: (17:05)
Piedmont Wood turners association, yes that's a local club.

Huddle: (17:07)
So you can check them out at the fair going on this week. They're out there, but they have a huge studio here as well as just so many different kinds of artists. You also have some award winning artists here. I just met with Gordon C James and spent a few minutes with him. He is an award winning children's book illustrator. And so I got to go in and kind of see some stuff that he's working on for some books and it's just, it really incredible the energy that is here.

Gay: (17:36)
Thank you.

Huddle: (17:36)
Um, and the way that - one of the things we talked about on the tour was how cool it is that Concord has taken these old dilapidated, forgotten buildings and turned them into something really cool.

Gay: (17:48)
Yeah, and is a lot, uh, to do with the foresight and the vision of the people in our planning department. This is a city owned building. I am in the planning department. I'm probably the only arts professional in the city, but you know, 15 years ago, Steve Osborne, who's now the director of our planning department, saw the potential in these buildings, approached the local neighborhood, which is, this is a Gibson village neighborhood, which was a mill town for Gibson mill and Gibson Mills a hop, skip and a jump. You know, so a lot of the energy you're seeing in Gibson mill with the entrepreneurship and that building being renovated is echoed here. And, uh, it was the Gibson mill residents that actually said to the planning department back in 2002, 2003, they would like to see an artist's village here in this building rather than see it get torn down. So Kudos to the neighborhood because that is a level of vision that a lot of cities don't attain. You know, a lot of times they tear down their whole buildings and, and then they'll wish it was there.

Huddle: (18:42)
Sure. Yeah. Real quick before I let you go, there are some events coming up.

Gay: (18:47)
There are a few. Yeah, we've been a little bit quiet over the summer because we actually just finished a, a whole new phase of construction and so some of the events coming up are organized by the art guild, which we'll be taking one of the studios in that new phase of construction in our lower level. The Cabarrus Art Guild has been around for over 40 years. A lot of people might be familiar with their work with the schools and also, um, they have an exhibit space over in Gibson Mill. So their home will now be here. They run free artists demos that are open to anybody, a member or not. And one of those will be happening this coming Sunday. As I mentioned, we are getting ready to start up our guests artists series again and we have a fabulous guest artist show for um, November. So November, December the gallery will hold the paintings of Dr Wanda Jenkins, who was a longtime obstetrician here in Concord. Um, and whose father worked for the Cannon Mills. So she's, she's been in Cabarrus a long time and started painting in her retirement and she's got dozens of paintings that are really, really kinda cool explorations of color, so adventures and colors, name and her show. So we'll have her artists talk and reception. Um, every second Saturday of the month we have, uh, an open studios, so a lot of the artists will come here and that's a great time to come and meet them. The exception this year is October. We are moving that to the third Saturday because we're actually working with the Gibson Village Community Association to organize the second annual fall festival and they're bringing in some cool performers, aerial trapeze and dance artists. Um, some musicians, uh, we hope to have the woodturners with a lot of displays in sales of their woodturning work. The artists will be here with open studios and in October we will have a display of um, neighborhood residents, photography of this community. And that is due to a project being run by the president of the Community Association called a photo voice. So their reception will be that Saturday, October 19th, also. Um, so those are just a few of the events that are kicking off our fall ramp up back to having lots of programming after a pretty quiet summer.

Huddle: (20:53)
Sure. Sarah Gay, thank you so much for spending a few minutes with us today. And you can also look for a small feature about Clearwater studios in the October issue of Cabarrus Magazine coming up next month. So make sure you keep an eye out for that. Uh, for more information, where can they go?

Speaker 8: (21:12)
We have a very active website. It's got a lot of photographs. That's at Clearwater artists, plural dot com and I do say that cause if you don't put the s on the end of artists, you'll get an artist in Florida, Tampa area. I think so Also we are on Facebook and Instagram and we often tie in with the city's Facebook posts because they, you know, we are in the city. So, um, those are all good places to look. I can always answer the phone. I'm happy to answer questions on email and we have a great about us page on that website as well. Um, so yeah, we welcome people to stop in and call me with questions.

Huddle: (21:51)
Absolutely. If you're driving down Kerr street and have a few minutes stop on by and you will not regret it. Uh, just like your artists, we have some bills to pay so I've got to cut to commercial. But uh, thank you again Sarah for spending some time with us today.

Gay: (22:04)
Thank you so much for coming in.

Huddle: (22:05)
We'll be back in just a moment.

Commercials: (22:06)

Huddle: (23:33)
Welcome back to this final segment of our episode. I hope you've enjoyed us talking about family time and have gotten some valuable information. Of course. Thanks to Angie Brown and Sarah Gay being on the program today. I had hoped to have somebody on from the fair as it is opening up on September 6th which, as this episode is being released, is tomorrow night and it looked like we were close like I was talking to them, but those people are pretty busy right now and it was really hard to coordinate schedules so we were not able to make that happen but all the same. I wanted to go over some things about the fair this year that you may or may not be aware of as we get ready for the fair season. The fair opens. September 6th as I mentioned, it goes through the 14th here are your hours, Monday through Thursday, four to 10:00 PM Fridays, four to 11:00 PM Saturday one to 11:00 PM and Sunday one to 10:00 PM so keep that in mind when you're planning your schedules.

Huddle: (24:35)
If you are looking to save a few dollars, there are a few specials going on during fair week. First of all on the seventh there is free gate entry for everyone from one to 2:00 PM only, so you have to get in the gate before 2:00 PM in order to take advantage of that. On the eighth it's canned food drive day. So with four cans of food per adult between one and 3:00 PM you can get in to the gate for free. On the ninth it's discount night. That means you can get $20 wristbands, it's $5 off normal price, $3 gain admission for kids and $5 gate admission for adults. The 10th is family fun night and that's fitting for what we've been talking about today. $4 for everybody and on the 12th at Senior's night, 55 and over, get free admission from four to 6:00 PM of course there are other promotions and things going on.

Huddle: (25:29)
You can always check out for more info. Some of the entertainment this year - you know my favorite ever since I was a little boy was Robinson's racing pigs. I could never get enough of pigs racing for an Oreo. I just loved that and those guys are going to be back. There's also great things like rustic and flame blacksmithing. There's of course the petting zoo that will be there, the butterfly encounter, Rockstar Karaoke, which you may find me at. Come and get me. If you see me at the fair, drag me over. Let's do some karaoke together. We'll have a blast. And then the Ninja experience. Of course, everybody has been watching American Ninja Warrior on TV this summer. You can check out the Ninja experience at the fair this year, so make sure on top of all the rides and games and absolutely horrible for you, but great tasting, food, you take in some of the entertainment as well. I have had a great time with you over the last half hour. I hope you have to. Please make sure you tune in next week when we'll be talking about foster care. We're going to switch gears a little bit. You know, foster care is something that kind of has a bad stigma. Uh, it really shouldn't because there's a desperate need for foster parents, not only in Cabarrus County, but you know, across the country. We're going to be talking to some people that are intimately involved with helping foster parents, advocating for the kids. We're also going to have a conversation with the Department of Social Services and get their take on this growing problem of the need for foster care in Cabarrus County. It's going to be a great show, so make sure you tune in next week. Of course, I want to thank our sponsors, Atlantic Bay mortgage, Cabarrus Arena and Event center, CERTEC Automotive, Code Ninjas, Concord Downtown Development Corporation, Family Wealth Partners, Merle Norman Cosmetics and Eadi's Salon, and Your CBD store of Concord. Please remember to always support those that support us. I've been your host Jason Huddle until next week. Have a great time at the fair!

Episode 26: Family Time!

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