USMC Ball season is here: The more you know

USMC Ball Season is here and that said, we are under one month away from the 244th Birthday of the most elite fighting force in all of the lands, the United States Marine Corps. Within this piece are some tips, suggestions and last minute “the more you know, the better you,” are pointers.

The U.S. Marine Corps Birthday celebrates the history, memory of those who served before and rekindles the bond that unites all generations of Marines. It is a celebration of the profound respect for the Marine Corps traditions and reverence of the heritage that distinguishes the Corps of Marines.- Military Benefits

Each year, generally in October, the “Ermahgerd, I need a dress” crunch-time fest begins. As a proud and seasoned Marine wife, I totally get it. It’s only the biggest night of celebration of the entire year in our marine family lifestyle, right? It’s like prom to the infinite capacity of all adulting powers. Seriously, it’s not prom but it is a hardcore adult celebration.

Well, here’s a few things that I have learned and seen not go well over the years and a few duty stations. As well as there are a few things that I honestly don’t understand after all this time, why anyone cares or complains yet there have been a few moments that have made my head spin.

Let’s get down to it:

Alcohol- Drink responsibly. 

No spouse, nor any marine should show up to the ball  severely intoxicated and you should also refrain from leaving that way. Get dressed at the hotel nearby and decide to have a cocktail or two before heading over? Totally fine, if you are walking over, otherwise call Uber, Lyft or phone a sober buddy. If you are attempting to leave a venue to travel home, don’t forget to use your “Arrive Alive Card,” they’re there for a reason. I wouldn’t recommend it driving for obvious reasons of the law. I say this because in Greenville for example, there’s a hotel attached to the convention center and you can walk over. I always recommend staying as close to the venue as possible to be able to walk safely to and from if you plan to take this route of cocktails before cocktail hour. I understand this because let’s be super honest here, it is more fiscally responsible (cheaper) to consume responsibly the adult beverages of your choice at your hotel room than to purchase by the drink from the bar at the ball.

Another point to make here is, don’t blow your whole paycheck on the ball and spouses that includes you. Don’t overspend trying to impress other marines, spouses/girlfriends or superiors. The ball is one night and you will have to eat next week, put in gas, and if you have kids- their field trip, lunch money is still due, daycare fees and that grocery bill won’t pay itself. Don’t dig a financial hole right before the holiday’s to celebrate the biggest USMC holiday of them all. Be responsible financially and consumption of alcohol wise. I’ve witnessed younger marines show up pretty intoxicated, as well as spouses and completely wasted by the end of the ceremony because the quick and heavy consumption caught up to them. Your command will not be pleased and if you are one who is already on thin ice, this definitely is the time to be on your best representation of the corps.

Does the dress matter?

Oh you can bet your first born and a vital organ it does! Please, for the love of God, 7lb-4oz-21in long baby Jesus, and the peace of Buddha please do dress according to your spouses uniform requirements in any military function. Don’t show up to the birthday ball in arm with your marine in dress blues and you are in a club dress fit for a rump shaking contest, a sundress fit for a pig pickin’ and a pie baking contest, don’t wear your Sunday’s best- I know it’s modest and you only had the whole year to find a dress suitable for the one night a year your husband’s career of service is celebrated on earth and in heaven. (Sigh in sarcasm) Seriously, go get a floor length formal dress, it is the standard to accompany the dress blues uniform. It can be bridesmaid style, something inexpensive from Ross or TJMaxx, honestly, they have some really great finds and won’t rob the bank. Focus more on accessories to enhance a simple solid dress if you feel it isn’t “formal” enough. Male guest standard is to wear a suit and tie or a tuxedo.

Stella McCartney Sweetheart Neckline Gown
Stella McCartney Sweetheart Neckline Gown

Example of a simple and acceptable dress with nicely placed accessories is shown, a similar dress can be purchased on Amazon for an affordable price with two-day shipping for Prime members. Can’t afford a new dress, ask around to see if anyone has one you can borrow or rent from them and please do the right thing and return the dress in the condition you received it. You can also add a simple belt  with rhinestones or a satin band to a plain dress like this and make it appeal more to your taste.

Can I wear a formal that has patterns/print on it?

Well sure you can, but the question is to gauge off of is how would you feel if your photo in it ended up circulating the internet for weeks after the ball and years to come as to what not to wear? Does it compliment your marines dress blues? Seriously, the great photos don’t go viral, only the bad ones in a drama-filled society. Honestly, I’ve seen chevron satin and sequined, floor length gowns. I wore a Jovani zebra print gown one year myself but my husband approved and actually selected the dress. I would advise against some extreme prints and especially text printed. I know how much many of us Americans absolutely adore and love our 45th President Donald J. Trump but please don’t wear exhibit A to the lower left for example. Believe me, people will talk to you, maybe even take some instagood “usies” for Instagram and all the perks but you will be talked about, likely not in a positive way.

The 59th GRAMMY Awards - Arrivals
Photo Credit-GettyImages

What would be in line of the standard with print in mind? 

I know, kind of hard coming from the woman who just admitted to wearing zebra print to a birthday ball? Well it shouldn’t be. I will share that photo in this piece before it’s over.

Here’s an example of a gorgeous, A-line, print that accents the dress blues and wait for it, $99.00 on PromGirl.com

print 1
PromGirl.com $99.00

Now, I know, I know, we don’t all have the body type for that dress and it might not be available in your size. But the point is, we have placed so much stigma on the ball dress, whose wife did what, what marine made a pass at who and who got in trouble, I believe many have forgotten what it is about to begin with. This is a celebration of the establishment of the USMC in 1775, it is an honor, it is respect, a time of reflection on those who’ve paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, a time of building unity and comradery. These are not only sought amongst marines themselves, but in our community in general over the last 244-years of service amongst the most admired and revered branch in the world, the US Marine Corps. Lest we forget, it is a privilege to be a part of these events as well as this lifestyle, though we may not always realize it.

Amazon has this pretty floral print as well with great reviews, always read reviews.

Mean Girls aka Stepford Wives, this part is for you.

Instead of standing around with your noses turned up in the, “investment dress” you wear every 3rd year or the one you ordered from Rent the Runway to look snazzy for more money than you could have just bought a dress at a consignment shop that has also already been worn while you judge “Jr. Spouses” for showing a little leg or an exposed collarbone. Don’t get me wrong, absolutely nothing wrong with Rent the Runway, it’s the attitude described that is an issue. Someone call the paddy wagon if one of these uptight, self-righteous, scrutinizing Spanx lines showing or gawking in questioning is that a roll or is she pregnant, miserable trolls gone wild if they see a tattoo exposed women start with you. (Hope you got a chuckle, seriously, it isn’t this bad- it’s honestly a dying breed.) Moving on here, everyone has a different personality, everyone has their own style of fashion and it’s okay to show that through what you wear to the birthday ball. You do not have to be forced into a dress that is equivalent to someone’s mother-of-the-bride-dress. You can be sexy, feel confident and look respectful. Now grant it, no we don’t want any of your body parts escaping or anatomy questioned as it creeps out. Honestly, the bend test usually solves everything. If you can bend over and your entire bosom is visible, plops right out, that dress is probably not a wise selection. In short, if you bend over and your breasts or dairy air come out, stay home if you cannot find another dress. There’s no other way to put that nicely because mini-dresses are not birthday ball acceptable. Use common sense.

Tattoos/scars

You don’t need to cover your tattoos, it’s a part of you now. However, if it is something offensive that would go against USMC standards of conduct, I would suggest covering it. Of course if you would just like to, there’s a waterproof concealer on Amazon (Prime) for $24.99 that is great for covering scars and tattoos. As far as scars go, I believe they are proof something attacked and didn’t win so I wear my few scars proudly. If it is something that would make you more confident by covering, go for it. This event is about feeling your best and being your best.

Ceremony

The ceremony is the most important part of the ball, it is an intimate ceremony (I don’t mean time to make out with your marine) and unless you cannot stand at all, you stand for any portion instructed to stand, sit when told to be seated and remain quiet. This is not the time for laughing with your sister wife (spouse friend), fix each others dress straps or to fix each others hair. Wait until the ceremony is over and then go to the restroom. This usually lasts around an hour, the cake is cut, the reading of Gen. John A. Lejeune’s birthday message, speeches and the current Commandant’s birthday message over a large screen. You should be seated prior to the start of the ceremony, silence your phone, refrain from texting and please don’t scroll social media during the ceremony. Photography is permitted at some events but please check to make sure it is acceptable at your event this year. Just because it was okay last year, doesn’t mean it is this year. Then there’s dinner served, most times your marine picks your meals in advance, so you already know what you are having and is usually a three-course meal. Following dinner, the dancefloor is opened to get down. Once everyone has had their fill in uniform and fancy dresses, it’s time to change clothes and find a nearby establishment for the after-party if you wish or head home.

Be yourself.

You don’t have to fake it to make it at the ball. There are spouses/significant others just like you there and there will be those who are polar opposite and that is okay. Remember when your spouse introduces you to people to say, good evening sir/ma’am as a reflection of respect to command.  If the zebra print or floral print dress is you, go for it. Just remember, you are always a reflection of your marine and if he/she is happy with your dress, you should be too. Shoes wise, if you can wear high heels, wear them, if you cannot, don’t. Wear nice, clean dress shoes that will complement your attire, stiletto’s are not required. When we look good, we feel good and so do our marines. Want to find the best dress for your body type? I got ‘cha covered.

wedding_dress_to_suit_body_shape_oomphelicious-wordpress-com
Photo Credit: Oomphelicious WordPress

Hair/Makeup. 

No need in spending hundreds of dollars on hair coloring, styling, clip-in or bonded extensions if it is not something you already do or have planned to do. Most spouses like their hair and make-up to look nice but trust me, you can do it yourself with a good YouTube tutorial if you aren’t very skilled or call up your friend who is and go for it. Not confident in your YouTube University skill set? No worries. An alternative to salon costs is Miller-Motte College’s Cosmetology Clinic, you can get a full head of highlights for $35 if you want color, acrylic nails for $20 and brow tinting for $5. There are several options for makeup around town if you just want to go that route. (Several MUA’s  recommended on Camp Lejeune Spouses FB group.)

Hair don’t’s

Steer from dying your hair hot pink before the ball to stand out or jumping into a rainbow mohawk for the cause. Colored hair can be done tastefully and I personally am a big fan but save it for after the ball if it is something like this mohawk below. I think you can catch my drift here.

rainbow mohawk
Photo Credit: Ebay

Bring on the beautiful plums, shades of reds, auburns, bold blondes, colored highlights to accent tastefully to your liking. Most of all ladies and gentlemen, remember, “Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself.” -Coco Chanel. Even with all of these “standards,” you can still be yourself.

As long as you feel confident, your husband approves and he gives you that eye in the dress– you know the hanky-panky eye, wear the dress and be one of the many reasons he is proud on this joyous occasion. In case no one has told you yet, “If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes, they will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.” – Marines Hymn. That verse alone is reason to be your best self.

For more information, I suggest taking on one of the L.I.N.K.S classes that can help better understand the standards and how to navigate through this lifestyle more easily visit MCCS New River LINKS.

Oh, and about that Jovani Zebra Print dress, check it out below. JOVANI I gave the dress away 3-years-ago. Speaking of which, I have a number of gowns to get rid of ranging size 6-14 and if interested in seeing them, send an email or comment on one of the social media posts, they’ll be free, paying it forward so please do the same.

 

 

Editor’s Note: My marine is approaching 20-years of active duty service and this is our last birthday celebration with him in active service. It is a bittersweet time in our lives, the USMC has taught us both as well as our children so much through travels, learning resiliency through deployments, and being open to building in communities we wouldn’t be in long enough to unpack all the boxes. We have made friends who are around the globe and we have memories to last infinite lifetimes. I pray that the stigma and negative attitudes amongst spouses continues to cease and the future communities here and abroad learn to embrace each other just as we are. We are all uniquely, individually made just as God intended us to be. Trust me, if your marine (God-forbid) is called off to serve in war suddenly, you won’t care what the next spouse has on as those buses pull away and your children are screaming in tears for daddy, while you wipe your own tears or hold them back. In those moments, you will only care about who can help you maintain life, you will unite and you will understand what this community truly is about. So I hope in some way, this opinion piece helps you in some way, if nothing but a laugh or two. I am a former MCBH LINKS Mentor, FRA and MOPS teacher. I am thankful for those “Seasoned Spouses” who embraced me on our first round at Camp Lejeune and changed my prior perspective on military wives. Heather, Danielle 1 & 2 (D1 & D2), and Paula, you were inspiration for me to be the spouse I have matured into and the spouse I am today though now I have retired early as a FRA but volunteering nonetheless in the community. Hea, thanks for being there since the day we met and never being “that officers wife”, you were always approachable, accessible and a darn good hurricane shelter even after 10-years. Blessed to have you as a friend forever. Lady Phantoms what was that? My tribe, the women that completed my soul in this journey. From First Friday’s to garages after (love you April), to being lost on hikes in the native lands of Oahu with failing limbs to zip lining fearlessly hundreds of feet in the air, having each other’s backs on and off the field. We were a life team and K-Bay’s 1st sweethearts, never forget it! Ju-Not a Jew, Ash-sweets, Nelly, Jen, Hutch, DQ, Kell, Reesa, Britt, Jos’… you all know who you are, even unnamed. Here’s to 20 in 2020, it’s not the end, just a new chapter beginning. Take care of the Corps and it will take care of you.  Lastly, to my husband, thank you for inviting me on this journey of life and service .-M. Oakley, Reporter & Blogger 

If you enjoyed this, give it a like or leave a comment, don’t forget- sharing is caring.

Ocean City Jazz Festival Celebrates Its 10th Anniversary

History, superb music and the beach come
together as the award-winning Ocean City Jazz Festival marks its 10th anniversary with
a bang. The slogan of the festival is “Jazz with a Higher Purpose” and the gala weekend
is slated for July 4-7, 2019.

The annual award-winning Ocean City Jazz Festival has music to whet the appetite and a destination that seals the deal.

NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, NC, May 10, 2019 − History, superb music and the beach come
together as the award-winning Ocean City Jazz Festival marks its 10th anniversary with
a bang. The slogan of the festival is “Jazz with a Higher Purpose” and the gala weekend
is slated for July 4-7, 2019.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hosted by the nonprofit Ocean City Beach Citizens Council, the festival, boasts an
incredible lineup of talent that caters to both jazz purists and lovers of contemporary
jazz. This year’s artists include Jazmin Ghent, the John Brown Little Big Band, the Sax
Pack (featuring Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole and Marcus Anderson), Selina Albright, the
Ocean City All-Star Band (featuring Cyrus Chestnut, Mark Whitfield, Derrick Gardner
and John Brown), Gail Jhonson, Adam Hawley (with special guest Kat Hawley featuring
Marcus Anderson) and the John Brown Quintet featuring Alvin Atkinson.

oceancityjazzfestival2019-brochure FINALoceancityjazzfestival2019-brochure FINAL

The festival kicks off with a beer and wine tasting on July 4, from 5-7 p.m. followed by a
special evening of music featuring guitarist John Dillard. On July 5, 2019, Secretary of
the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resource, Susi Hamilton will
greet attendees as the festival celebrates the Come Hear NC music initiative.
This year, the festival has added a brunch and gospel concert on Sunday July 7 featuring Richard Dawkins and the John Brown Quintet with special guests Cyrus Chestnut and Tamisha Waden, and a nonprofit workshop facilitated by Saad& Shaw – Comprehensive Fund Development Services on Friday and Saturday mornings.

The festival began in 2009, when the Ocean City Community celebrated its 60th
anniversary with entertainment by a Fayetteville, N.C. jazz saxophonist and his
accompanist on the porch of the Community Center. All in attendance, both visitors and
residents, enjoyed the celebration, launching the annual Ocean City Jazz Festival as a vehicle to promote and celebrate the history of the Ocean City Community. Proceeds are used for community preservation; promotion of the history of the Ocean City Community and it significance to the State; to foster music education by underwriting jazz workshops; mentoring programs with master musicians for local students; and underwriting of festival costs.

artist-collage-flyer-print

The Festival has grown annually in attendance and features nationally recognized jazz
artists making it a perfect summer venue and destination. A variety of ticket packages
are available for the festival, with shuttles running from Jacksonville and Wilmington. A
full event travel package is also being offered. In January, the festival won “Best Sponsorship Package” in the state from the North Carolina Association of Festivals and Events.

For tickets, and additional information visit http://www.oceancityjazzfest.com.

About the Historic Ocean City Community
After World War II, Edgar Yow, an enterprising white Wilmington attorney and former
mayor purchased six miles of beach property on Topsail Island. As mayor, Yow was
acquainted with many members of the black community and realized that in the Jim
Crow era there was a need for beachfront recreational opportunities for African Americans.

Yow, call upon Dr. Samuel Gray and later Wade Chestnut and his siblings Betram,
Robert and Louise Chestnut. Gray and the Chestnuts purchased several tracts of land
from Yow and formed an inter-racial corporation, Ocean City Developers. Ocean City
Beach was established in 1949 and is the first community in the state that African
Americans could purchase oceanfront property.

Performance from the Ocean City Jazz Festival Website:

Humphrey Farm is turning up the excitement for Independence Day weekend

Humphrey Farm and Emerald Owl Productions are partnered up for an Independence Day Celebration that will light up your holiday weekend with a splash, foam, food, family fun and lights!

Two Crystal Coast businesses are joining forces to bring professional entertainment to the local area on Saturday, July 6th.

Humphrey Farm in Hubert, NC, is partnering with Emerald Owl Productions from Emerald Isle, NC to host a wonderfully unique experience that is not only fun but interactive for people of all ages.

In the past year, the local entertainment company has taken the laser and light glow party brand from the east to west coast, UNC-Chapel Hill, as far north as Pittsburgh, PA and even to Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA. They will be providing the entertainment on the 4th of July in Ocracoke, NC.

Cathy Lassiter, Principal of Rosewood Middle School in Goldsboro, NC describes her experience with this party, “It’s like a nightclub I can take my kids, my grandmother, and my best friend to all at the same time… and we’d all have a blast together!”
Admission to this event is $7.00 per person and includes:

  • Laser Light Glow Party, Professional Lasers, UV Lighting & Sound
  • Music from Today’s hits & All Decades
  • Interactive Games & Activities
  • Foam Party
  • Entrance to Humphrey Farm- Complete with Beer Barn, Food Trucks, and other
  • Market Vendors on site.
  • Opportunity to enter a “Splash Zone” including being sprayed with water, glow in the dark paint, glow in the dark foam & slime.

You will get DRENCHED in the Splash Zone!

There are also family packages available for a discounted rate.

img_4553
Photo Courtesy of Emerald Owl Productions

Barbara Humphrey-Garrett, manager of Humphrey Farm, alongside Michael Meyer, Emerald Owl Productions Director said the idea came to them when they realized there would be no Independence Day Celebration in Swansboro this year. With the high overhead of professional production, the event must sell 400 advanced tickets so grab yours now through a secure online purchase through http://www.humphreyfarmnc.com or at the farm. In the event the baseline of ticket sales is not met to move forward, tickets purchased will be refunded.

Meeting the demand for ticket sales should not be an issue; it is undoubtedly worth every cent and honestly a very fair price.

THE ONSLOW BEAT EXPERIENCE
The Onslow Beat went out to Humphrey Farm for Emerald Isle Productions first debut event on the farm last Saturday, and it was a full family affair that was enjoyed by all. This was an event I took my husband and kids to get a full effect to convey the feedback from them to the public. We all know children are brutally honest with matters of satisfaction.

Our son, age 7, we had to tell him to eat and get hydrated beyond what water he’d gulped down likely in the splash zone area. Gross, I know, but he’s “all boy.” He didn’t want to leave and told us on the drive home, “that was a blast. I wish we could go to that farm every weekend!”

Our daughter, age 11, and not a huge water fan, really enjoyed herself as well. She was between the foam pit and the splash pad for water play, just as all of the other kids. She said the foam was the best and she hoped at that point, next time they’d do slime as mentioned over the loudspeakers. Then she came for a mega Jenga game and demanded mom play with her. There are games set up around the yard of the farm under open covered barns with tables. (View the video below)

My husband and I ended up feeling like we had a little date night with childcare on site. We played a game under the covered area, took a stroll around the yard together, and checked out the vendors. We further went on to enjoy a bite to eat and back to the picnic table area to talk and enjoy the mere fact that at that moment we had sheer peace in parenting, winning with a date night we didn’t even expect since the idea was solely to take the kids for their enjoyment and I could work. Can you say, “WINNING!”?

There is corn-hole set up for kids and adults, horseshoes and more games for good competitive fun with family and friends. There was a mega connect four game that a young toddler was playing with an older sibling. Music of all genres filled the air, new school and old school from the DJ. Some farm-goers took the crowd on with karaoke performances between selections.

There was BBQ sold on site from Sm’Oaked BBQ, serving beef brisket, pork spare ribs with coleslaw and beans as sides, packed in with a slice of bread to go with. Now let me tell you all, I generally don’t like most BBQ in any restaurant or on any food truck, I’m just not impressed usually. However, let me tell you, this was the most tender brisket I have had from a vendor here in the eastern North Carolina region, a perfect smoked flavor, and seasonings, highly impressive. On the other hand of it, I wasn’t a fan of the sides, and that’s only me being me- a native Western NC Girl through and through. Generally, I am not too fond of any BBQ vendors side items; they’re often store-bought, lack the touch of southern seasoning to take you anywhere near granny’s house in your mind. They offer sauces and salt and pepper packets on the side in plastic ware so you can apply yourself. I still give them 4/5 stars just for the brisket, excellent pricing, generous portions, and a great customer service experience.


Around the farm, there’s a variety of market shops to patronize, fresh goods, vegetables, Amish bread, crafts, free wine tastings and of course wine to purchase if you like. There was the best strawberry lemonade I’ve tasted in all of Onslow County perfectly blended, not too sour, not too sweet and I could taste the berries. Seriously, there should be an award for that.

img_4552
Photo Courtesy of Humphrey Farm

Oh my heavens, the funnel cakes! I’ll let you look and judge for yourself. There’s plenty of landscape to run the pounds off on if you overindulge.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

You cannot go wrong with a visit to Humphrey Farm whether its with friends, alone, with colleagues or with family.

Get out there and explore Onslow and Eastern NC, Humphrey Farm is a great place to start, and you don’t even have to pay for parking!

 

 

 

 

 

Hard hitting performers at Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern

Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, four Marine veteran, songwriters will be sharing their songs and the stories behind them at Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern. It is open to the public with free admission, 18 years-old and up. This is an awesome opportunity to see some amazing, established and rising talent .

A big part of this night is the back story of the key players.

Nick Nichols is a retired Marine veteran of 25 years. After retiring Nick became the owner of Nick’s Blacksheep Tavern. Nick has become one of the most prominent facilitators of the music scene in Eastern, NC. Although, music is a major part of what Nick searches out on his weekend rides through the area, Nick has established a community of artist, venue owners, fans of life, and people looking for a guaranteed great time. Nick is far more than just a promoter. He has given back to the area that he calls home, organizing multiple events throughout the years benefiting the people, the area, and the life of Coastal Carolina. Nick has gathered four songwriters who have been connected via military service.

Nick Nichols

Mike Corrado, an active duty Marine and Iraq veteran has been a well known name in Eastern, NC for quite a while. From the heights of national radio airplay to performing with Toby Kieth at the Country Music Awards, Mike continues to perform, amaze and support the local area, performing recently for support efforts from Hurricane Florence. Mike has released several albums, videos, all to which have received national attention.

Mike Corrado

Anderson Elswick, an active duty Marine and veteran of Freedom Sentinel, is a fast rising voice in country music. With a traditional, soulful sound, and a social media presence that has garnered over 150 thousand views, Anderson has earned the opportunities to open for David Allan Coe and Shenandoah, as well as playing in the famous Talladega Raceway infield. A Kentucky man raised with a sense of community, Anderson has recently performed locally in support of Hurricane Florence relief efforts. Anderson has just released an acoustic EP, The Big Rock Sessions.

Anderson Elswick

JP Guhns is an active duty Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan . Although in the first year of attacking a life long dream, JP has worked his way to being a finalist in the 2017 USAA Mission: Music competition, opening for Pat Cooper, and sharing his original music in cities like New Orleans and Nashville. JP performed at this years Oktoberfest and continues to play locally with his band. JP is set to release his first EP, in the spring of 2019, through Grunt Tunes Records.

JP Guhns

Matt Bowlin, is a Marine veteran and one of Eastern Carolina’s own. Known throughout the area for his music, his art, and his bigger then life personality, what can’t be left out is his support for the local scene and community. Matt has committed his life to sharing with people a positive energy through acting, writing and performing . A former TV actor , Matt can be found at any moment fundraising for a local school, picking a tune for a friendly crowd , or infusing a vibe into a piece of art. Matt has released several songs on all social media platforms.

Matt Bowlin

Sometimes things just fall in place, and the opportunity to see four gifted songwriters, with a mile long list of life moments, perform under one roof, is one of those times you shouldn’t miss.

Contributing credits: JP Guhns

Halloween Safety Tips Onslow County 2018

The Onslow County Sheriff Hans Miller released in a press release today, 2018 Halloween safety tips and hours for 10/31/18.

HALLOWEEN SAFETY TIPS 2018

From Sheriff Hans Miller:

On Wednesday, October 31, 2018 between the hours of 5:00-pm – 8:30pm, our streets will be scattered with little ghosts, goblins, and witches trick-or-treating this Halloween. “Halloween should be filled with surprise and enjoyment, and following some common-sense practices can keep events safer and more fun,” said Sheriff Miller of Onslow County.

The Sheriff reminds all Onslow County residents to follow these safety tips:
Motorists:
• Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
• Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs.
• Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
• At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
Parents:
• Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
• Check the sex offender registry at http://www.ncdoj.gov when planning your child’s trick-or-treat route. You can view maps that pinpoint registered offenders’ addresses in your neighborhood and sign up to get email alerts when an offender moves nearby.
• Plan and discuss the route trick-or-treaters intend to follow. Know the names of older children’s companions.
• Make sure older kids trick-or-treat in a group.
• Instruct your children to travel only in familiar areas and along an established route.
• Teach your children to stop only at houses or apartment buildings that are well-lit and never to enter a stranger’s home.
• Establish a return time.
• Tell your youngsters not to eat any treats until they return home.
• Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
• All children need to know their home telephone number and how to call 9-1-1 in case of emergency.
• Pin a slip of paper with the child’s name, address, and telephone number inside a pocket in case the youngster gets separated from the group.

Costume Design:
• Only fire-retardant materials should be used for costumes.
• Costumes should be loose so warm clothes can be worn underneath.
• Costumes should not be so long that they are a tripping hazard.
• Make sure that shoes fit well to prevent trips and falls.
• If children are allowed out after dark, outfits should be made with light colored materials. Strips of reflective tape should be used to make children visible.

Face Design:
• Do not use masks as they can obstruct a child’s vision. Use facial make-up instead.
• When buying special Halloween makeup, check for packages containing ingredients that are labeled “Made with U.S. Approved Color Additives,” “Laboratory Tested,” “Meets Federal Standards for Cosmetics,” or “Non-Toxic.” Follow manufacturer’s instruction for application.
• If masks are worn, they should have nose and mouth openings and large eye holes.

Accessories:
• Knives, swords, and other accessories should be made from cardboard or flexible materials. Do not allow children to carry sharp objects.
• Bags or sacks carried by youngsters should be light-colored or trimmed with reflective tape if children are allowed out after dark.
• Carrying flashlights with fresh batteries will help children see better and be seen more clearly.

While Trick-or-Treating:
• Do not enter homes or apartments without adult supervision.
• Walk; do not run, from house to house. Do not cross yards and lawns where unseen objects or the uneven terrain can present tripping hazards.
• Walk on sidewalks, not in the street.
• Walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic, if there are no sidewalks.

Treats:
• Give children an early meal before going out.
• Insist that treats be brought home for inspection before anything is eaten.
• Wash fruit and slice it into small pieces.
• Throw away any candy that is unwrapped or partially wrapped or has a strange odor, color, or texture.

Homeowners/Decorations:
• Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from landings and doorsteps where costumes could brush against the flame.
• Remove obstacles from lawns, steps, and porches when expecting trick-or-treaters.
• Keep candles and Jack O’ Lanterns away from curtains, decorations, and other combustibles that could catch fire.
• Do not leave your house unattended.

“Halloween is a fun time in Onslow County,” Sheriff Miller concluded, “but let’s make it a safe time as well. The major dangers are not from witches or spirits but rather from falls and pedestrian/car crashes.”
Sheriff Hans Miller states that trick-or-treat times will be between the hours of 5:00-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 31, 2018. He encourages everyone to have fun but be safe!

Autumn with Topsail festival final day Sunday, October 21st

Autumn with Topsail is always a fun time to be had on the beautiful Topsail Island. Live bands, dancing, libations, food trucks, juried arts and crafts, indoor and outdoor kids activities, and the famous Kiwanis pancake breakfasts!

The festival started in 1988 featuring a juried Artists’ and Crafts court with over 100 regional artists with work on display for sell.

This is definitely a great FUN adventure to go explore the gems of  Topsail Island such as the Missiles and More Museum where this grand event is held. Funds raised at this event support the Historical Society of Topsail Island and the museum. The Historic Assembly Building suffered some major damages from Hurricane Florence so the funds raised will greatly benefit keeping history alive and well on Topsail. The funds generally go to the maintanence, presevation and upkeep of the historic Assembly Building and the Missiles and More Museum.

The Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast at the Historic Assembly Building for the final day of the festival will be Sunday morning from 8am-10am.

You can enjoy live musical entertainment from the Band of Oz this afternoon from 1pm-4pm, a variety of delicious food, beer, wine and lots of inflatables, crafts for children and much more!

Check out the band here on Youtube:

Admission is $5 for the day for the general public, Children 11 and under are FREE as well as ACTIVE DUTY military members with a valid ID.

Concerned about parking needs? No problem! There’s a FREE Shuttle Service that’s provided from select, various parking areas in Topsail Beach that take you to the festival grounds.

AWT (Autumn with Topsail) festival prohibits pets from entry unless they are licensed service dogs.

For more details on AWT before you make your way over to Topsail Island visit: topsailhistoricalsociety.org or missilesandmoremuseum.org

This week in Onslow.

Moving to Onslow County can be quite the shift for many people and families, especially military affiliated. Depending on where you’re from or previously stationed at, you might have been surrounded by a plethora of activities, amusement parks within a 100 mile radius, a mall with more than 60 retailers listed including the booth vendors, and maybe a good selection of night life options beyond a bar and a live band or DJ.

So, I am putting together a little compilation of the events coming up in Jacksonville, NC or surrounding areas.

I’m undecided on doing this weekly, biweekly or monthly. But we shall see, I have to check my schedules and merge to one.

Anyhow, let’s start the explorer mode! Will update through the week as more events, activities are discovered. So be sure to check back in. Also, if you know an event not listed, send it in an email, will gladly add it to the list.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018, 6:30pm-8pm Topsail Night Run Great way to be active and social. Enjoy!

Community Children’s Carnival: 3rd annual Community Children’s Carnival by the Guardian Ad Litem program. Friday, April 20th 6p-9p. 421 Court Street, Jacksonville NC. Riverwalk Park is event location. Vendors, food, games, live entertainment.

Duck’s Piano Dual battle of the keys! Best customer participation wins a $75 gift card.

Thursday Trivia at Doc’s Trivia night’s at Doc’s in Holly Ridge.

Earth Day Hike at Hammocks Beach Swansboro, NC. Binoculars suggested because the park has a limited supply. 1pm-2pm.

Spring Fling Onslow County Farmers Market. April 21, 2018, 8:30a-1:30p. Kid friendly, Family oriented, food, fun, and crafts.

Eastern Carolina Lantern Festival April 21, 2018 3pm-6pm, Carteret County Speedway 501 Whitehouse Fork Road, Swansboro, NC. Tethered lanterns lit up in Community togetherness in memory of loved ones lost to disease, those fighting addictions or illness, honoring one you love going through hard times. There’s a fundraiser for “Bridge the Gap” that is to help with children with disabilities, there’ll be food, therapeutic dance, face painting, music, entertainment and lots of love.

Mother Earth River Paddle Kinston, NC 10am-3pm Guided tour with the brewery down the river exploring history and education in an Earth Day celebration.

Save a Life. Emerald isle CPR. April 21, 2018 9am-1pm

Earth Day Conservationist Event April 21, 2018 FREE event and open to the public.

Arrrgh Maties! Pirate Festival in Swansboro. April 21, 2018 10am-3pm in Swansboro Historic District.

Barrel Racing at Valentine’s Farms, Dunn, NC watch or ride. Details on the link.