Raleigh resident Ira Planer has been hosting live music events for several years, on a stage he constructed in his backyard. Now, he’s the driving force behind NC Hops and Roots Fest at Shakori Hills, the 72-acre farmland preserve and community arts center situated between Pittsboro and Siler City in the heart of Chatham County, North Carolina.
Planer gravitated towards Chatham county as the home for the festival, drawn by a wealth of talent he found at the Wednesday evening open mic events at City Tap, as well as the strong sense of community that permeates Pittsboro. Inspired by a desire to share how much the North Carolina Piedmont offers its citizens, the NC Hops and Roots Fest endeavors to bring people together to enjoy live music (this year from ten performers/bands), food from NC farms as prepared by local chefs, along side beverages from NC breweries and wine makers. All that in a pastoral, family-friendly environment, making an optimal Triangle staycation option this Memorial Day weekend. The fest opens at noon this Saturday, May 26th.
If you attended last year’s fest, you’ll find some new additions this time around. Once again local farmers from Coon Rock Farm, Celebrity Dairy and Okfuskee farm, will be present to talk with attendees about their farm products and CSA options (some farms may be selling products too). This year, farms will be paired with restaurants featuring the farm’s products in their dishes. Angelina’s Kitchen will be serving a falafel pita using Screech Owl Farm tomatoes, cucumber and parsley, Lilly Den Farm chicken gyro wrap, and slow-roasted beef in pita bread. The pita bread is made with Lindley Mill flour. Steve the Butcher, from Village Market in North Raleigh, will prepare beef brisket sandwiches and burgers using Rare Earth Farms beef. Look for the Baguettaboutit food truck and Sola Coffee Cafe serving Counter Culture coffee, too.
Raleigh’s LoneRider Brewery will be joining Fullsteam, Carolina Brewery (also offering a food menu) and Foothills Brewery in the beer garden. Wineries Benjamin Vineyards and Silk Hope Winery will join Starrlight Mead and the Moncure wine shop Unwined. Look for pairing recommendations and workshops from both the wine and beer vendors.
Kids will have opportunities to practice their hula hoop skills, have their faces painted, and enjoy other activities, such as the education/information booths from Carolina Tiger Rescue, The Abundance Foundation and NC Blues in the School, the later being the music education program that will benefit from the proceeds of the NC Hops and Roots Fest.
What else might you need to know? Tickets will be $20 at the gate, on the day of the festival (kids 15 and under enter for free) and campers are welcome to camp for free Saturday night (making the event even more like a local vacation). Attendees should bring cash to purchase food and beverages. Also remember your camp chairs and picnic blankets to make yourself comfortable in the field. Don’t forget the sunscreen too – so far the weather forecast is looking sunny. Finally, you might want to consider bringing a cooler to take home any farm purchases.
Looking over the fest’s farms, food and beverage “roots”, from Winston-Salem in the western piedmont and Zebulon to the east, we really are lucky to live in the heart of abundance here in North Carolina. And we’re lucky to live among people who enable these important connections between our farmers, local businesses and local artists. A local feast, indeed.