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#TwinCityConnections: Rachael Lough (+The Dixie Classic Fair!)

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1)   What’s your name? Where are you from?

Rachael Lough and I’m from Tampa, Fl.

2)      What do you do for work? 

I’m the “Event Sales and Sponsorship Coordinator/ Senior Community Educator” which is just the fancy city way of saying the Marketing manager for the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds and Dixie Classic Fair. My passion is getting to know people and tell stories, my position allows me to do that constantly. The fairgrounds has over 100 events throughout the year including the fair and it’s my job to get people excited about the events and tell them why it should matter, which is pretty neat.

3)      Why do you live and work in WS? 

Simply put, the people of Winston. My husband (then fiancé) got a full ride to Wake Forest for grad school and it was always the plan for him to return to Tampa after graduation.  Throughout his time at Wake I fell in love with Winston. The best way I’ve heard it described is “the biggest small town you’ll ever love” and it’s so true.

4)      What do you love most about WS?

The people of Winston genuinely care for one another and you can feel it. The city itself is filled with so much fascinating history but has become new with the surge of innovation and the excitement of being in town for such an exciting time is infectious.

5)    Talk about the fair! Give us all the info. 


I’m definitely biased but the Dixie Classic Fair is my absolute favorite time of year in Winston. The fair is truly a celebration of our community. We have outstanding agriculture features, thrilling rides, delicious food, amazing competitive entries, enthralling shows and so much more. The fair has local wine tasting each night, local artist, and not to mention all the local livestock and agriculture in the barns there is something for everyone. The Dixie Classic Fair is special, it gives you a sense of home when you walk through the gates. The Fair is more than just Giant Donuts and fun rides, it is a showcase of how great our community is. This year the theme for the fair is “Your Beacon to Fun” but it should really be “Your Beacon to Savings”. This year when guest enter our gates they will want to make sure their Bluetooth and location settings are turned on, we will be using a new beacon technology to send special deals like Free Amish Donuts or Free unlimited Ride Wristbands to people’s phones. It will definitely be exciting!

More info about the fair HERE

WS Fashion Week

(Shared with permission of The Winston Cup Museum, from their post)

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Winston-Salem Fashion Week (WSFW) may be one of the best-kept secrets in this town. But if Nikita Wallace and Winston Cup Museum owner, Christy Spencer have anything to do with it – it won’t for long.

It is coming up on the fourth year for this fun event that showcases up and coming designers looking for exposure and a break in the competitive fashion industry. This year, for the first time, all 13 designers are North Carolinians. Wallace even has a waiting list of designers wanting to exhibit if anyone drops out.

How WSFW got its start

Wallace had the opportunity to move and work in the fashion industry in New York City. Over time, she landed a job with a company that worked with new/emerging designers looking to get exposure for their brand, get their garments in retail outlets and have them showcased during fashion week. This experience taught Wallace about what emerging designers needed to give their careers a jump start.

In 2007, Wallace moved to Winston-Salem and put her career in the industry on hold to focus on raising her children. Eventually, she went back to school at Salem College where she encountered the fashion talent of many young students at the school. This inspired her to put her industry knowledge to use and create the first Winston-Salem Fashion Week in 2015. 

Winston-Salem fashion weekThe selection process

Although Wallace currently works part-time in the food industry, the annual Fashion Week event is her focus. It takes working with a team throughout the entire year for the event to fully come together. The process starts with Wallace doing a social media post in a couple of places to create a casting call for designers at the beginning of the year. Interested designers who respond submit portfolios and are interviewed, with Wallace having final decision on who is selected. Once she has her group of designers, she and the WSFW Management Team start planning the event starts planning the event with each of them and their design style in mind.

The event – September 21-30

Fashion week is actually more than just a one-day event. It truly is a week of activity. The weekend before the main fashion show, Wallace and her team hold an opening night event, similar to how they do it New York before fashion week. This year, the Winston Cup Museum is going to be the venue for the Opening Night Reception, which is free to the public. Attendees can meet the designers, who will all be on hand, and get a sneak peek at some of the fashion from models.

“I had driven past the museum so many times and wondered what the space was like, thinking it was just a garage or place where racecars were stored. I think the backdrop of the cars and memorabilia will give a different vibe to what fashion is all about,” shared Wallace.

How Christy Spencer got involved

“I love the idea of tapping into unknown and local designers and local artists and allowing them an outlet to showcase their talent. When I met Nikita over coffee last year, I was already excited to hear about WSFW. However, meeting her in person put my enthusiasm through the roof, as she is so vibrant and passionate about the mission for WSFW.  You can’t help but get excited right along with her!   

Nikita and I were introduced by a mutual friend, Mackenzie Cates-Allen, who is the brainchild and President of the Winston-Salem Ambassadors – which is another organization I have a passion for myself. Mackenzie told me that she had met someone that I needed to meet – and the rest is history.

The museum is the perfect place to have the Opening Night Reception because it’s really where Fashion Art meets Car Art! My husband, Will Spencer (car enthusiast and museum owner), has always stood by his belief that cars are mobile art. The museum is a fun place to host any event so having amazing clothing and fabulous people all gathered to celebrate creativity and fashion under the museum roof is going to be a serious fun event. We can’t wait!”

Winston-Salem fashion weekAmong the local businesses that will be providing refreshments for the Opening Night Reception are Dewey’s Bakery and Foothills Brewing. Based on past attendance, Wallace expects over 300 people to mix and mingle on opening night. Candidate for US Congress and Winston-Salem Councilwoman, DD Adams, will be giving the welcome address.

On Thursday of Fashion Week, Wallace will be featured at Venture Cafe Winston-Salem. This free discussion will cover the impact fashion is having on the economic system as well as the sustainability of fashion in the community.

The actual fashion show occurs the weekend following opening night. Attendees to the two-day runway show will be treated to fashion from our North Carolina up and coming designers.

“It’s such a busy, fun, whirlwind weekend, “said Wallace. “We have over 350 people attend each day of the runway show.”

Fashion Week has proven to be instrumental in boosting the careers of the young designers who participate. Wallace shared that one designer from a previous show moved to New York and was featured in Vogue Italia and is presently dressing celebrities. Others have gone on to fashion weeks in cities, such as Charleston and have expanded their business as a result of the exposure.

“In the end, this event is helping to prepare these young, talented individuals for bigger platforms – and what I hope are exciting, successful careers. For me, it’s a thrill to be a part of that process.”

To learn more about the 2018 Fashion Week Winston-Salem held at Wake Forest’s Innovation Quarter and to purchase tickets, visit http://wsfashionweek.com/.

New Ambassador: Sandy High

The Winston-Salem Ambassadors are thrilled to announce the FORMAL acceptance of Sandy High as an official Ambassador. Sandy was already acting as an amazing Ambassador for WFUBMC, so we made it official!

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“Hi, my name is Sandy High – Sandra Gale (Fox)High. I am 58 years young. Wife, mother, friend, 2006 Fleer Center graduate from Salem College-BSBA, 7 year breast cancer survivor, neighbor, triathlete, full-time volunteer, recent graduate of Leadership W-S and foodie. We moved to WS 25 years ago this past June! I am originally from Philly, love me some soft pretzels and Philly cheese steaks when I go home! I will not order them any place else – they are NOT the same no matter what anyone tells you!

Kevin and I have been married 32 years, we have three children, one daughter-in-law, 4 granddogs and have been empty-nesters since April of this year. We’ve moved around some in our 32 years together due to Kevin’s education and career. We lived in Charlottesville, VA when we were first married. This is where our first two children were born: daughter – Carleigh 30 years old and son – DJ who’s approaching 28. Then onto New Haven, Connecticut for 3 years while Kevin completed his fellowship. After that time we moved to WS for Kevin’s position as an associate professor in infectious disease with Wake Forest Baptist Hospital (at that time). Kevin wanted an area where he could play golf almost 12 months out of a year. Kevin has since moved through the organization of Wake Forest Baptist Health and is currently president of the health system.

Our youngest child, another daughter, Shawn, who’ll be 25 this fall, was born 4 months after we settled in Winston-Salem. We’ve lived in our current home for 24 of the 25 years we’ve resided in WS and that’s in Old Sherwood Forest. We love this neighborhood. We wanted an area with a mix of generations since our closest family members live in DC.

I was in the food service business up until about 4 years ago when I had some back issues that prohibited me from doing the physical work necessary for this industry. My passion is food. I enjoy cooking, trying new recipes, having friends over, eating out, trying new restaurants, and socializing with everyone. Food is such a great way to bring people together. Family dinners and leftovers were big in our home. I guess being part Italian enhances my love of fresh homemade dishes and family in the kitchen.

Most of my hours recently, have been spent volunteering with WFBMC Guild, a non-profit department of WFBMC, that supports the partners and families of the faculty to make them feel welcome, get them involved in service projects and the area and show them all that WS has to offer. If we can get the partners involved the retention record is better and everyone benefits! So, I’ve been an ambassador before I knew this organization existed!

I love WS and am a true “salesperson” for this city. Being here through the change to Innovation & art has deepened my affections for the area. WS does have some challenging issues and having taken part in LWS, my eyes have been opened wider and its given me new direction to extend my volunteering to be a voice, connector, and doer for areas where that’s needed most; Food insecurities.

I enjoy spending time downtown! Walking around, talking with others, taking in an event – somewhere in the city.  Some of my favorite things to do: try new restaurants, breweries, and local shops that have sprung up! Chat with the owners and then bring others to these wonderfully unique businesses. I enjoy Salem Lake and our greenways whether it’s riding my bike or walking and cannot wait for the new multipurpose connector paths that will be created by the B40 renovations! I am involved with the bicycling community, RiverRun, as well as other events that occur downtown.

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I love hiking and traveling. Our kids live in great places: Nashville, Tucson, and the Big Island of Hawaii! AND the most fun thing I got to do this summer was ride bikes with MY DAD! He’s 87 and loves to ride with his “younger” friends!

I think that having an organization such as WS Ambassadors is a great WELCOMING tool for our city! Having a centralized organization that businesses KNOW about and can either send information or people to will make navigating all of the fun happenings even better. I also believe that as ambassadors we need to “sell” WS to those that already call Winston home. Word of mouth is the best way of advertising whether we are in town or visiting elsewhere we should always be promoting others to come and “give Winston a try.”

Ambassadors will be greatly needed to help navigate B40 over the next year and half so that our local businesses do not suffer. I am excited and look forward to promoting and assisting in numerous areas of our Twin City as I do now!”

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#TwinCityConnections: Chris Wilson, Mogul

 

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What’s your name? Where are you from?
I’m Chris Wilson. I was born in San Diego, CA but moved to Winston-Salem when I was 3. 
I am the owner/founder of Mogul Clothing. It’s my full time job running the company. I’m a solo-preneur so everything from fashion design to social media to customer service is all me!

Why do you live and work in WS?
I think it’s affordable and the small town feel is great for making valuable connections, especially when you’re a startup. I have met so many people since I started my business; and made so many worthwhile working relationships that I may have found in a big city as well but maybe not as educated, hard working, or as affordable to work with as I have in Winston-Salem.

What do you love most about WS?
Accessibility. I think there’s something for everyone honestly.  No matter what you’re interested in or what your field is you can find something you will enjoy here. The growth of Forsyth County has been great to watch growing up here.

What gave you the idea for Mogul? Why do you want to do it here in WS? What do you think this brings to our city?
I’ve always been interested in clothes and fashion even from a young age, I always wanted to wear cool clothes or my favorite shirt. In 2003 I lost my oldest brother to his mental health struggle and suicide. It’s very important to me to carry on his memory. He was always someone I looked up to for advice and style advice. So now with Mogul I donate a portion of each sale to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention or other relevant non-profits for mental health programs. There really aren’t many national fashion brands, especially big ones that do what my company is doing, let alone many local ones. I try to offer a premium product for an affordable price all while giving back, so living in a city with a strong sense of community while having a lower cost of living is great! I hope to help start a movement in Winston-Salem of more mental health awareness and spreading positivity. 

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How can people be a part of helping?
First, just be kind to everyone. It sounds cliche but it really does make a difference to just be nice to everyone because it’s the small things that make the biggest impact. Second, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention host walks every year to stop suicide. The next one is at Triad Park on September 22nd. Crisis Text Line is another great non-profit that you can volunteer with.

You have a fashion show on Saturday! What is it that you want to convey to people about it?

Elevate is our very first fashion show! There will be a booth for American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, live screen printing from Machine Gun Graphics, free award winning cheesecake samples and slices for sale from DJ’s Cheesecakes, Dan from OnTarget DJ will be playing music all night, and all hair and makeup for the models is provided by Air by Alkali along with them having a booth with products for sale. We also have to thank our host Footnote Coffee and Cocktails created by Foothills brewing and our event planner Encore Events! Portions of all sales are going to the NC Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Come early and have a great time!

Doors open at 6:30pm and the show will start around 8pm. Advance tickets are $12 and $15 at the door. Footnote is located at 634 W 4th St. in Winston-Salem.

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Moving to Winston-Salem? “New” here?

Dear Twin City fans, friends, residents and future neighbors,

One of the reasons the Winston-Salem Ambassadors was started was to help those who are new here! (New really meaning up to 3 years!) It is often very difficult to get acclimated, meet people, get the scoop on certain restaurants, coffee shops, events happening, etc. etc. etc. when you are “new” somewhere!

Everyone associated with the Ambassadors truly loves Winston-Salem, and we TRULY believe that Winston-Salem has something for everyone. A lot of what we do is make sure YOU know all that we have!!

Other than increasing your awareness of Winston-Salem, there is no agenda here. We aren’t here to sell you anything (except maybe the city as a whole!) and we just want to help you feel welcome. Because you ARE WELCOME! You are welcome here, we want you here and are happy to have you.

PLEASE let us know what we can do for you! We can’t help if we don’t know! There are several avenues for doing that, you can always email President Mackenzie at mackenzie@wsambassadors.org.

You can fill out the form to have coffee or lunch with one of the Ambassadors HERE!

You can volunteer with the Ambassadors (using any of your many skills) RIGHT HERE!

Want to volunteer specifically for our signature event, Second Sundays on Fourth? Our next one is September 9, you can volunteer HERE! We really need muscles for set up and tear down!

Or you can follow us on Facebook HERE! or Instagram HERE!, we post lots on Social Media.

We are here for you! Please let us know how we can help.

Many thanks!

-Mackenzie

Mackenzie Cates-Allen, President, Winston-Salem Ambassadors

#wsambassadors

#AlwaysWelcoming

#Moving #New #WelcometoWinstonSalem #betterTogether #newtowinstonsalem #movingtowinstonsalem #friends #ILoveWinstonSalem

WS Appreciation: West End Coffeehouse and Twin City Gelato

One of the things that makes Winston-Salem SO special, in my humble opinion, is how local and small businesses support each other.

I had the privilege of meeting Jim and Dana Moody in 2013 when they bought the then Caffe Prada at 390 N. Broad St. Since that time, I have grown to know and appreciate these great hearted folks and all that they do for our community. Us Dash City folk love our coffee shops: they’re not only a huge source for business meetings and meet ups with friends and family, but a place to build community, camaraderie and relationships.

Dana and Jim and the laid back space at Broad and 4th have offered their space to the Winston-Salem Ambassadors multiple times. I have also attended a campaign kick-off party for a local there. Because Jim and Dana believe in community, they want to help build it up and it shows.

Today, July 15, 2018 was National Ice Cream day and these amazing people offered FREE gelato from 12-5 today. I took my oldest daughter, who was 4.5 and she enjoyed the birthday cake ice cream, a bright blue deliciousness. They also have a counter full of REALLY good baked goods, including some of the BEST brownies in the city, which I took partook of.

I just wanted to remind my fellow citizens to appreciate these treasures in our community! Shop small, shop local and it will pay off in dividends.

THANK you Dana and Jim for having such a great space and for ALL that you do for our city!

-Mackenzie Cates Allen, President, Winston-Salem Ambassadors

The Ambassadors Welcome Isaac Moore

The Board of Directors and President Mackenzie Cates-Allen are excited to welcome Isaac Moore as the newest Board of Advisors member.

Isaac Moore is Director of Alumni Engagement and an Adjunct Professor of First-Year Experience at Winston-Salem State University. Moore brings a background in both higher education and corporate management to Winston-Salem. Most recently he was Senior Assistant Director of Alumni Relations for Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. At Bucknell he led a team that designed and executed professional development and industry-related initiatives that engaged alumni at companies as large as Google and as far away as Asia and Europe. Prior to Bucknell Moore served in management roles at Susquehanna University, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology and the Target Corporation.

Moore received his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Marketing from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Public Administration and Certificate in Public Sector Human Resources from The Pennsylvania State University. Mr. Moore has also received additional training from the Project Management Institute.

Moore, a native of Pittsburgh, is an active volunteer and member of The Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), The Association of Fundraising Professionals and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.

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Start Out Summer at Leinbach Park!

If you’re new to checking out parks in the area, you should definitely try out Leinbach Park!

Conveniently located near Jefferson Middle School, there’s a walking/running trail, tennis courts, a picnic shelter, a volleyball court, and an awesome playground. There’s also a lot of green space to just lay down a blanket for a picnic or to read a book.

Last summer, my family made it a priority to visit a few parks we had never been to, so if you’re into doing the same, stop by Leinbach Park for a picnic or a walk!

Leinbach Park
3511 Sally Kirk Rd NW
Winston-Salem, NC 27104

#TwinCityConnections: Christy Spencer

 

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This #TwinCityConnections is with one of our Board Members who joined in 2017. Christy C. Spencer. Christy Spencer is Vice-President of JKS Incorporated and co-owner of The Winston Cup Museum Special Event Center.

“I live in Winston-Salem for a couple of reasons – First – I was born and raised here and Second – I just love the city – our history, our community – the commitment that our residents have to thinking creatively to solve problems and generate new business.

I love that there is so much to do – and that its accessible to everyone.  If you want to volunteer here in WS – its easy to get involved.  If the arts are your passion – we have it.  If continuing your education is something you love – we have that too.  If you want to visit a park that is free and open to the public – you can – we have lots of them.

Where is the ONE place you would send someone in WS if they were visiting? Okay – that’s hard – everyone loves different things.  If they can only go one place I think I would send someone to the Reynolda House because the history of Mr. R.J.Reynolds and his wife, Katharine, really helps explains why our city grew and thrived in the early 20th century.

How long have been a member of the Board of the Ambassadors? WHY did you JOIN the Board? I joined the board in May of 2017.  And I joined after meeting Mackenzie and hearing about the mission of the Ambassadors.  I love this city and I want to be involved with an organization that fosters spreading the word about what an amazing community we have along with including everyone and anyone who feels the same way.

Where do you see WS going in the next few years? In the next 10?  I think this is probably happening now and will continue but I believe that with all the expansion at Innovative Quarter and the influx of people coming to work or study there – we will see many adults (ages 25 to 35) deciding to make WS their permanent home where there is affordable housing, a vibrant downtown with entertainment options and is a great community to eventually raise their families.  In the next 10 years – I think we will see WS developing a true artisian culture between our local breweries and local artists.  We will have artist maker spaces (work/live environments) that encourage and promote creativity – and in turn will bring visitors and art enthusiasts from all over the world.

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The Winston Cup Museum is located at 1355 N Martin Luther King Jr Dr, Winston-Salem, NC 27101, in Downtown Winston-Salem.  Website is here.

#TwinCityConnections: Nikkie Pridgen

My name is Nikkie Pridgen, and I am a native of Winston Salem, NC.  I am a former Program Coordinator at Wake Forest Innovations, and am the CEO of N.V. Menagerie.

I chose to live and work in Winston Salem “because home is where the heart is”.  I attended college in-state at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte- but also about an hour and a half away from my friends and family.  I quickly came to realize that although Charlotte was pretty amazing, it didn’t compare to Winston Salem.  I love the feeling of ‘community’ in this city, and am excited about all that it has to offer.

Winston Salem has made great strides in Art and Innovation over recent years.  We are now getting national recognition for programs and technologies created in my home town.  We have also established a prominent Arts District, embracing the significance of artistic expression.  I have a great sense of pride in all the amazing accomplishments Winston Salem has achieved.

For 15 years my partner (Victoria Myers) and I have conducted a ton of market research, to find that 99% of bars/ nightclubs offer the exact same thing.  To have an authentic experience, one must make travel arrangements to attend an event.  As the city of Arts and Innovation, I believe that Winston Salem can be a catalyst in reinventing what we know as “nightlife”.  The premise behind the concept of N.V. Menagerie has been to bring performance arts to the bar.  Our motto is “When NY and LA meet NC”.  With so much talent in the city, including the students and alumni of UNC School of The Arts, this city could create a new nightclub culture highlighting theater and performance arts.  We intend to not only feature Burlesque shows, but everything the city has to offer (comedy, magic, aerial art, Fine art, Music and vocalist, spoken word, and much more!)  Our stage will provide our artists a platform to their peers, and a social hub for the performance arts community.  We are hoping to establish what will become a local venue that will attract people from all over the state.  Our business model is to back the growth of North Carolina economy by partnering with local vineyards and breweries, providing permanent employment, creating a platform for local arts community, and networking with local entrepreneurs to bring innovative ideas to the table.

With such an artistic theme, we would love to base this venue in The Winston Salem Downtown Arts District in hopes of drawing more visitors to the area.  N.V Menagerie Bar & Lounge would provide the city a unique, upscale social hub for both business professionals and the local Arts community.

We have recently launched our Indiegogo Kickstarter Campaign, where you can find more information on our project, as well as grab some amazing perks for your contributions!  We are hoping to raise $250,000 to over startup costs and help with Operating Costs for the first 6 months.  ( https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/n-v-menagerie-bar-and-burlesque-lounge-dance-entertainment#/ ).  Our website is https://www.nvmenagerie.com/.  You can reach us at nvmenagerie@gmail.com.

We are so excited to bring this venue to Winston Salem; Cheers to Arts and Innovation!