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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Drivers. Start Your Engines. The NASCAR Hall of Fame


Fast cars, intense rivalries and turbulent crashes – that’s NASCAR. However; I learned during our trip to the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, NC there is far more beyond that which makes NASCAR so interesting and popular.

NASCAR began when bootleggers in the south attempted to run from the law as they distributed alcohol during prohibition, faster cars meant less jail time. The NASCAR Hall of Fame shows an exciting 13 minute movie at the High Octane Theater on the jumbo screen that explains the history of NASCAR that fueled the nation’s appetite for speed. 

Each person received a hard card which gave us an all-access pass to explore the NASCAR Hall of Fame. We customized our card with the car, driver and helmet at one of the many interactive exhibits. The pit crew area was the kids’ favorite. They pretended to fill the cars with gas, change the lug nuts, and explored the inside of a NASCAR trailer. S especially liked Glory Road where all the cars are displayed, she enjoyed stepping up onto the extremely banked race track. 

My favorite part of the museum was exploring the marvels of engineering that have contributed to the cars’ speed and safety. The exhibit of crashes left me speechless as we learned that the drivers had survived the wrecks. Many exhibits showed the engineering and safety precautions that keep the drivers alive – from car mechanics, to suits, to helmets – and how it has all evolved over the years. 

My step-dad, Brian, who is a huge NASCAR fan joined us, and his favorite part was the simulator ride where we got to race against each other. The kids had to ride on our laps because of height limitations. I was glad it wasn’t a ride that could make you sick with motion, it was more like an interactive video game, and was a lot of fun. At the end of the race we got a printout of where we placed – I placed dead last. Apparently driving a minivan is not akin to driving a NASCAR car! Brian also enjoyed the Hall of Honor that paid tribute to drivers and innovators in NASCAR. 

Parking was easy in the parking garage next to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. The entire facility is new and beautiful and offers easy access for strollers. Admission is $19.95 for adults and $12.95 for kids 5-12. Kids under 5 are free. The simulator was $5 per ride, or $14 for an all day pass.  They have a concession area with food and drink if the little ones get hungry, and it’s located right next to Buffalo Wild Wings.

Want to experience the NASCAR Hall of Fame with your family? Enter our contest and win a 4 pack of tickets to the NASCAR Hall of fame! Contest runs 5/18/13 at midnight – 5/26/13 at midnight. The winner will be emailed and announced in the comments below this blog.
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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Fort Mill Strawberry Festival


This week's weather hasn't been the normal Carolina Blue skies, but that didn't seem to put a damper on the festivities at the annual South Carolina Strawberry Festival in Fort Mill, SC. Things were hopping when we arrived despite the looming dark clouds. They had vendors for local businesses showcasing their wares, any fried food you could imagine, music, rides and of course - strawberries (even fried strawberries!). Unfortunately we missed the strawberry shortcake eating contest - something my skinny hubby could have given many of the contestants a run for their money at, but caught several musical acts on the two stages. My favorite part was the funnel cake covered in real strawberries that the local girl's softball team was selling as a fundraiser.





The parking was either at the high school with transportation by a bus or parking in a field with about a half mile trek to the park. We opted for the walk, which I didn't mind, but we had the moby to carry E in which made navigating the bumpy grounds much easier.  I saw many strollers but the parents seemed to struggle as they pushed them around the festival - it's wasn't flat and was still damp from all the rain.

The festival is held at Walter Y. Elisha park, so the kids had a large playground to entertain themselves on as they took in the sights. Friday night they offered a $15 ticket for unlimited rides for kids, and there were several events leading up to the festival including a golf tournament, a strawberry pageant for Teen, Miss and Mrs contestants and a strawberry pick and flick (pick-your-own strawberries and a movie).

Overall, I'm not a lover of fair-like-festivals. That's just me. If you like fairs, festivals and strawberries, well then this is your ticket - and apparently it's many people's ticket because they broke the 2012 attendance record with over 55,000 attending this year.