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The Best Local Holiday Light Displays

By: Avery Phillips

’Tis the season! The holiday spirit that we all have needed is finally here. More people than ever are celebrating early this year by putting up festive decorations and lights. I’ve compiled a list of the best decoration displays and light shows in our area to spread some holiday joy with you!

Lake Myra Christmas Lights (Wendell)

The lights at Lake Myre are always a success, featuring lights in many unique shapes and sparkling christmas trees in many different sizes. Lake Myra Christmas Lights is open from November 25th through December 31st, and each show lasts about 25 minutes. This year, there are COVID-19 precautions, such as allowing no more than 50 people inside the fence and required social distancing. They will be closed every Monday-Wednesday.

Hours: Thursdays and Sundays: 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm, Fridays and Saturdays: 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Ticket price: Free, but donations are accepted.

Fieldstream Farm Lights Show (Raleigh)

The Fieldstream Farm Lights Show features different christmas lights and decorations; their main attraction being the tunnel of lights. They have the longest LED lit light tunnel in the world, featuring over 200,000 lights! People are welcome to drive through the tunnel if they have bought a ticket. Tickets can either be printed or the barcode can be scanned on your phone. 

Hours: Monday-Friday: 6:30 pm to 9:45 pm, Saturday-Sunday: 5:30 pm to 9:45 pm

Ticket price: $20.00 for vehicles containing 1-8 passengers, $40.00 for vehicles containing 9-18 passengers.

Night of Lights (Raleigh)

Night of Lights is a drive through light show located at the Dorothea Dix Park in Raleigh. Some attractions include trees decorated with twinkling lights, local art installations, light displays, and festive decorations. Tickets must be purchased in advance to be able to drive through. The Night of Lights festival will be open from November 16th through December 27th. The event will not be open on December 25th. 

Hours: Sunday-Saturday: 5:30 pm to 11:00 pm

Ticket price: $15.00 for vehicles containing 9 or less passengers, $30.00 for vehicles containing 9 or more passengers. 

Lights on the Neuse (Clayton)

Lights on the Neuse is run by Boyette Family Farms. They offer various attractions, such as a twenty minute hayride through beautiful lights, a chance to visit Santa, and a concession stand. A ticket is required for entry. They will be open on Fridays through Sundays from December 4th through the 20th, then open every day after the 20th until they close on the 25th. No reservations are required, but the purchase of online tickets is strongly encouraged. 

Hours: Friday-Saturday: 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, Sundays and the 21st-23rd: 6:00 pm to 8:00pm, December 24th: 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm

Ticket price: $10.00 for ages 3 and up

Hillridge Farms Festival of Lights (Youngsville)

The Hillridge Farms Festival of Lights is a mile long drive through light show. This year the farm has a bigger display than ever before! It will be held from November 26th to December 27th. Tickets and reservations will not be available beforehand, you will have to pay upon arrival. 

Hours: Sunday-Saturday: 5:30 pm to 10:00 pm

Ticket price: $20 per vehicle 

Holt Road Christmas Lights (White Oak)

Holt Road Christmas Lights is a wonderful drive through experience. As you drive around the house, you will be surrounded by colorful holiday lights, arcs, and decorations. The owners will have decorations up from 11/26 through 12/26, and they are closed every Monday-Wednesday. 

Hours: Their schedule varies every day, but it can be easily found on @christmaslightsonholtrd’s facebook page.

Ticket price: Free

Johnson Family Light Show (Cary)

The Johnson Family Light Show is not your traditional light show. You won’t find inflatables, props, or figurines. Instead, you’ll find dubstep music and pixel lights. The pixel lights dance and flicker in time with the music that is being played, resulting in a fun visual experience. Each show lasts about 10 minutes. The shows will start November 26th and run through January 1st. No tickets are needed; all you have to do is drive by!

Hours: 6:00 pm to 10:30pm

Ticket price: Free

Enjoy the lights and happy holidays!

Trump Administration Pressing for Further Environmental Cuts Before the End of Term

By: Alexis Cope

With only weeks before he leaves the White House, Trump, and his administration at large, are beginning a series of massive rollbacks on significant environmental agencies, as well as drafting new legislation for a variety of environmental issues. 

These changes directly benefit the oil, gas, and other non-renewable energy industries, allowing Arctic drilling to expand and loosening laws which hold these companies accountable for the wildlife affected by them. 

Proposals include selling land in the Arctic Wildlife refuge to expand the range of drilling in the region, lowering emission standards for certain toxins, and opening land currently under national park jurisdiction in New Mexico for drilling as well.

One of the most significant deregulations the Trump administration has taken thus far was that of the Migratory Bird Treaty of 1918, which protects over 1,000 migratory bird species (most importantly, birds of prey) by holding industries accountable for the preventable deaths of protected birds. In the event of an oil spill, electrocution from power lines, or construction which hurts a population, the federal government can prosecute the company responsible. The proposed changes will change the Act so that companies will face no consequences when their actions kill protected species, actions which could easily have been prevented.

Last Thursday, the Department of the Interior released its analysis on proposed changes for the mitigation of laws regarding mining and drilling over millions of acres of land in several Western states. 

This isn’t the first time Trump has made huge cuts to environmental funding. In February of this year, he cut the EPA’s budget by 26%, eliminating 50 programs which carried out essential tasks, such as cleaning up hazardous waste, fighting pollution, and helping secure safe drinking water for cities. The EPA’s research budget was also halved, crippling its ability for innovation in a number of fields. Trump additionally proposed severe funding cuts in budgets for the protection and preservation of natural wetlands in several states, such as New York and Washington. He’s also tried to change environmental legislation, such as the Clean Air Act, and attempted to minimize the sizes of several national parks.

Many of these recent, and previous, actions seem to have been taken against the Democratic party, for which environmental reform is a major issue. States affected by the cuts on wetland protection were largely blue states, and the changes the Trump administration is making now are in direct conflict with the environmental agenda president-elect Joe Biden is planning to follow. Already facing around a year’s worth of work to reinstate a pre-Trump environmental budget, these new cuts will only add to the time Biden will have to spend on the issue before making any progress on this front.

These budget cuts and legislation proposals still have to be approved by Congress, and it’s a relative toss up there.

Either way, the Trump administration is working as hard as it can to make the legal battles last as long as possible, which will only end up harming the people and animals who rely on clean water and safe skies to fly through.

Best Local Places to Get Boba Tea

By: Regan Sumy

With more shops and restaurants opening up, you may be craving to get out of your house, but you have nowhere to go. I highly suggest hitting up a boba tea place; all of the ones I have been to during quarantine have done takeout or curbside pickup options, so if you are worried about going into public, maybe you should consider picking up some boba. This article will go over some of my favorite places and drinks. So let’s get into it!

First off, what is boba tea? Boba tea originated in Taiwan and is usually served with a tea base (or milk or fruit tea), but what makes this drink extraordinary is the boba, which are chewy tapioca balls. Tapioca comes from the root of a cassava plant. You can choose any flavor of tea or milk tea you want and add any toppings into your drink. Although the boba is delicious and customary, I have had many friends claim the boba hurts their stomachs, so you may want to take that into perspective when choosing your toppings. Most boba tea places also sell some different drinks, like smoothies, and most sell ice cream.

Milk Lab:

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Milk Lab is located off of Tryon Road, so it is most likely the closest place to get boba. I have been here a couple of times and have been satisfied with my drinks. The first time I went here, I thought Milk Lab served more dessert-type drinks than a casual refresher. They have a website (Milk Lab Website) that contains their menu which consists of fancy drinks, ice cream, and specialty drinks, Milklab Floats. My favorite drink from Milk Lab is called the “Brown Sugar Black Milk Tea,” which I get with boba. While I have never tried their ice cream or specialty drinks, I have heard from friends that they are delicious. 

Bumble Tea:

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Bumble Tea is located off of Avent Ferry Road, near Athens Drive High School, so this would be another place to try close to you. I have only been to Bumble Tea once and thought my drink was decent. The boba tasted great, but the actual milk tea flavor was bland. I ordered the “Winter Melon Milk Tea” with boba, which is one of my favorite flavors, and didn’t fall in love with it, but it was still decent. From what I remember when I walked into the cafe to pick up my drinks, it was a very cute shop. The whole logo is incorporated in the adorable cafe. The website (Bumble Tea Website), shows the menu, but if you click the “order for pickup” button on the top, it gives you many more options, which could be confusing. I am willing to try Bumble Tea again, but maybe a different flavor. 

Summertime Tea & Smoothie: 

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Summertime, which is located in Garner off of Highway 70, is my personal favorite boba tea place so far. It may be a little bit more of a drive than the other cafes listed so far, but I think it is worth it. I live closer to Summertime and go there more often, so I am probably biased when it comes to stating the best boba place. My go-to drink is a “Large wintermelon tea with boba, please.” The flavor of the tea is rich, and the boba is chewy- a perfect comfort food for me. Summertime doesn’t have a website, but they do have an instagram they post on periodically (@summertime_garner).  

There are a couple of other boba tea cafes around the triangle, but these three are the most local and popular. I hope you can enjoy boba soon! Check out any of these places and see if my reviews match your review!

Halloween 2020: What Should I Do?

By: Celia Pope and Sarah Cain

While we may not be able to have a normal Halloween this year, with trick-or-treating and fun parties with your closest friends, that doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to be bored, at home watching YouTube videos. Instead, go have some fun with your family outside, where it’s fun but still safe. You can even go and meet up at a friend’s house, or go out and about doing activities for some Halloween season excitement, all while making sure you are staying safe and distanced! 

If you still are up for some fun outdoor activities, some ideas for such could include Phillip’s Farm with their haunted farm and Halloween day activities, or going to The Matthews House, which involves outdoor and distanced trick or treating for anyone to enjoy. 

However, if going somewhere with tons of activities isn’t something you want to do, there are still a lot of super fun things to do with family or a few distanced friends right in the comfort of your own home. For example, have a pumpkin carving contest and see who can do the best, or have a fun outdoor movie night with popcorn and candy while you dive into a scary movie. You can even wear costumes to get into the Halloween spirit, or you could gather up some friends or neighbors to see who can come up with the best costumes for this year’s Halloween!    

Out and About Activities

Phillip’s Farm

Local business Phillip’s Farm has all year-round outdoor activities for everyone of all ages to enjoy, and unique to this year, celebrate Halloween. Although this place is tons of fun, anyone who comes to enjoy the night needs to make sure to be safe and cautious with being around so many people. (While scoping out the area, we saw hundreds of people there and realized that it was a bit of a danger with so many around.) If you plan on going to Phillip’s Farm this Halloween, make sure you are wearing a mask at all times and stay at least 6 feet apart from others at all times (as well as all other COVID precautions). According to Phillip’s Farm owner, Melissa Phillips, “We will be cleaning and sanitizing often throughout the night, and will have pre-ordered tickets to avoid lines. However, if you choose to buy a ticket at the farm, we will have lines marked six feet so that you can socially distance from others in line. We will also have employees walking around and enforcing the distancing policies.” Admission tickets will cost $12 for adults and children and $10 for seniors and military personnel. The Haunted Farm portion of the farm that is offered every Halloween will be open from 7:30pm to 11:30pm. 

Popular Attractions:

-Corn box (children can play in shelled corn)

-Cow-train (Train pulled through the corn maze)

-Ball Pen

-Bounce Pillows (giant pillows about ½ the size of a football field to jump on)

-Corn Maze

For more information go to:

The Matthews House

On Halloween night from 4:30 – 7:30 pm you can find a socially distanced safe way to continue your trick or-treating fun this year. It costs $5 to get into The Matthews House, and it will take place outside unlike under normal circumstances where you would walk around the spooky environment that has been created here. Come dressed up if you would like, and don’t miss the Halloween night trick or-treating that is so beloved by so many people.

(Address: The Matthews House in Cary

 317 W Chatham St 

Cary, NC 27511)

For more information go to:

www.eventbrite.com/e/trick-or-treat-at-the-matthews-house-tickets-122250296929 

At Home Activities

Movie Night

Movies on Halloween have always been a fun Halloween for many people. If you can’t go out and about this year, try cozying up with your family and enjoying a Halloween classic. Need some ideas? Here are some of the most top rated family Halloween movies in the US this year:

-Casper (PG) (Netflix)

-Nightmare Before Christmas (PG) (Hulu and Amazon Prime)

-Hocus Pocus (PG) (Disney+ (Limited Time))

-Halloweentown (PG) (Amazon Prime)

-Hotel Transylvania (PG) (Hulu and HBO Max)

-Ghostbusters (PG) (IMDB and Amazon Prime)

-Coraline (PG) (Hulu)

-It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (NR) (Amazon Prime and Hulu)

-The Haunting (PG-13) (Netflix)

Pumpkin Carving

It is always a fun idea to carve a pumpkin into fun, unique, and creative designs! Not only can this be a fun family activity, but you can also do it with friends (distanced of course)! If you are on the competitive side of things, you can make it into a pumpkin carving contest within the family or even the neighborhood!

Costume Contest

This one is pretty self-explanatory: gather up the neighborhood and create different categories for a costume contest! Some examples can include Most Creative, Scariest, Funniest, Best Homemade, etc. Don’t be afraid to get creative with it!

This year’s Halloween is not going to be the same as it usually is (along with most things this year), but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still have fun! Not only is going out to places like the Matthews House and Phillip’s Farm a good way to support local and small businesses, it’s a great way to enjoy a night out, a rare treat these days. There are also other ways that you can enjoy time with your family at home. You can have a movie night, carve a pumpkin, and more; the possibilities are endless! These days, it can be difficult to find enjoyment when there are still so many things we can’t do, so embrace this opportunity to have some fun, and have a HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

A Taste of Normality: FOCO

By: Kayla Engler

The fall season is upon us and personally, I couldn’t be any happier. As much as I hate saying farewell to the cloudless days with the unrelenting rays of sun, fall feels like renewal. Autumn paints landscapes a mirage of oranges, browns, yellows, and reds, stealing the simplicity from the boring greens. Fog settles into the forests and I get to pretend that I’m a character in Twilight for a couple months or so. Autumn pulls leaves from the trees and litters the ground with color, foreshadowing the snow that might fall in late December. Or rather, January or February… or March when it comes to North Carolina weather. 

I associate many things with fall: the start of a new school year, reuniting with those friends that you’re not close enough with to see over the summer but that you care about enough to miss, Halloween, Thanksgiving, bonfires, fear farm, camping, hot cider, apple picking, pumpkins… shall I go on? Though spring is the revival of all that was lost in fall and barren in winter, I see fall as the start of the cycle, a cycle for growth. Nonetheless, if you can’t tell, fall is a personal favorite of mine. 

One of my most favorite parts of fall is football season. And not just any football game, not just any week or any theme. My most favorite of all is homecoming. Homecoming is a week of tradition and fun. It’s a week when school spirit floods through the halls. There’s green and white, band music, smiles, and so much pride to be an Imp. That’s one of the things I was most disappointed to lose thanks to COVID-19.

But somehow, my sorrows were heard and my unspoken prayers were answered. This year, FOCO was born. That’s right, fake homecoming. For me, it all began when I ran across a TikTok that read, “So I threw a homecoming last night…” It was a girl and her friends in pretty dresses with cute boys and pretty decorations. It looked like a night of fun even if it couldn’t really compare to the joys of the actual homecoming dance. But I knew that we’d lost our homecoming football game, our homecoming parade, and our bonfire, so it seemed only fair that I take one measly thing back. 

I called up three of my best friends to pitch the idea and it was a hit. We chose a date, bought some dresses, picked a restaurant, found a place to take photos, and we were set. On October 17th, I got a small taste of what COVID stole from me, from all high schoolers. Here are a couple of my favorite photos from that experience: 

Ironically, groups of people from other schools across Wake County began sharing photos from their FOCOS around the same time. I suppose we weren’t the only ones that were missing our school functions. Check out some pictures taken by other people that participated in FOCO this year!!

All in all, from my own experience and from the fun I can see other people have had at their FOCOs, I highly recommend doing this yourself. So gather up some friends (not too many, stay healthy and safe!!), grab a tux or a dress, take some pictures, eat some good food, dance it out, but most of all make some memories! COVID might’ve taken a lot from us, but I think that this could be a little something that we take back.

Comfort Movies

By: Anna Burggraff

What are Comfort Movies?

A Comfort Movie is a movie that you find joy and peace in while watching. Some comfort movies are sad, some happy, and some funny. With comfort movies, you have typically seen them numerous times and never get tired of them. Many comfort movies are established as a child and continue to bring you joy in some of your worst times. They turn that frown upside down.

What are your comfort movies?

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TWILIGHT SERIES

Bella Swan is a teenager who never really fit in anywhere. She loves to read and keep to herself. Bella’s step-dad is handed the opportunity to go on tour with his baseball team, and her mother decides to go along. With her mom going on tour, she’s left to live with her dad in a small town in Forks, Washington. Bella finds herself in a very different world: a small town, rain, and not a lot of people. Bella meets a series of people that change her life forever. Why? They’re supernatural. Throughout the series, we see Bella struggle with staying safe and deciding between two boys. 

This is tied for my favorite series. The music is incredibly chosen and composed. The atmosphere of the town she resides in is full of interesting people, it’s quiet, and rainy. Everything is incredible. These are my favorite comfort movies of all time. They provide me with such a warm feeling and are the perfect movies for a rainy fall day.

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HARRY POTTER SERIES

Harry Potter is a young boy who lives with his aunt, uncle, and cousin after the tragic death of his parents. Harry is invited to Hogwarts, a school of magic, and learns that he is special. Hogwarts is a magical school hidden in England where only invited people are allowed. Throughout the series, we as viewers are able to watch the main characters face hardships and Voldermort, a wizard gone bad. Along with trouble, we see the character’s growth from age and education. The 3 main characters, Harry, Ron, and Hermione, are very well loved because of their kindness and strength towards the people around them and the troubles they face throughout the series. This is one of the most famous sets of movies, and for good reason. If you find yourself enjoying the movies as much as many people have, check out the incredibly well written books by J.K. Rowling.

I love these movies. I watched this series for the first time when I was around 8 years old and have continued to watch them since. These movies provide me with a safe feeling and are perfect for fall, in my opinion. If you are looking for a series that explores the wizarding world and are perfect for curling up by the fire with blankets and tea, these are the movies for you. 

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PRINCESS DIARIES

Mia Thermopolis is a teenage girl who lives in San Francisco, California with her mother. Mia was picked on by the “popular” crowd at her school, and this causes her to be envious of those girls and the lives they have. With a visit from her grandmother, whom she had never met before, she learns that she is a princess. Throughout the movie, we see Mia struggle with the decision she holds whether or not she wants to be crowned Princess of Genovia or continue to be an average teenage girl. 

I watched Princess Diaries many times when I was a little girl and to this day, I can probably quote the whole movie. Mia is a great character who finds herself facing a difficult situation and learns what the value of true friendship and a loving family can hold.

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10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU

The movie begins with a new student named Cameron James. Cameron meets a boy who shows him the way of the campus and attempts to explain that there are cliques. Cameron is stuck on the pretty, popular girl, at this school and attempts to be seen by her. The popular girl is Bianca Stratford, and her father does not allow her to date anyone unless her sister, Kat Stratford does. Kat doesn’t like the labels of high school and likes to do her own thing. She is seen as a rebel and scary to boys; she’s basically a boy repellent, as Bianca would describe. Cameron, persistent to date Bianca, tries to find someone that would pair up perfectly with Kat. 

This movie is so cute and makes you cry at times. Learning about each character and the differences they all hold that make them humans are beautifully created in this movie.            

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MEAN GIRLS

Cady Heron, a new student, finds herself meeting a boy and a girl named Damian and Janis, who show her the different cliques and the problems with each. The group of mean girls at her school attempt to invite her into their friend group because she’s new meat for them to prey on. Damian and Janis come up with a sneaky plan to encourage Cady to join the popular group in attempts to destroy them and their “wrath” over the school. The audience watches as Cady gets wrapped up in the popularity and becomes a horrible person to her former friends and family. 

This is such a popular movie because it’s truly hilarious. Whenever I’m feeling down, I find myself watching this movie for a good laugh. I highly recommend this movie to the people who just want something lighthearted and funny, while also holding an interesting story line.

Police Brutality in Nigeria

By: Jack Chrest

Nigeria is in the midst of a national crisis pertaining to police officers in the country. For years, Nigerians have been taking to the streets in protest of a controversial branch of the Nigerian Police Force known as SARS (Special Anti Robbery Squad). In the past, SARS have harassed citizens, made unlawful arrests, and even carried out unjust killings. This month, tensions boiled over as Nigerian forces opened fire on hundreds of peaceful protesters in Lagos, killing several.

Since the formation of SARS in 2017, the branch has repeatedly abused the human rights of every-day Nigerians. Tweets under the hashtag #ENDSARS show footage of forces torturing, sexually harassing, and humiliating protesters during previous demonstrations. Further, SARS officers are not mandated to wear police uniforms or badges while on the job. Effectively, street goers have no way of knowing whether they are being violated by an officer or a complete stranger. Regardless, SARS forces have not been held back by the Nigerian government over the past several years.

On October 20, hundreds took part in a peaceful protest outside of the Lekki toll gate in Lagos, Nigeria. That evening, military forces opened fire on protesters, killing and wounding several. Prior to the massacre, demonstrators were gathered together, singing the Nigerian national anthem and waving green-and-white flags. Sadly, many of them were subsequently killed by SARS.

While it is hard to determine exactly how many lives were lost from the Lekki massacre, at least 12 deaths have been reported. The governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-olu, claimed that at least one person died during the protests. However, he initially denied all reported deaths, and some have claimed that even more protesters died at the hands of SARS. Many have reason to doubt the Nigerian government, as President Muhammadu Buhari is first on the list of those facing accusations of negligence. Both him and the governor of Lagos should have been aware of the order for Nigerian forces to charge into the crowd of peaceful protesters on the night of October 20. Even so, these leaders still sat back and watched innocent people perish.

The NC Food Fair: When a State Fair isn’t an Option

By: Alexis Cope

I love fair food. It’s like a big holiday with its overwhelming spread of turkey or potatoes or some other indulgent and buttery food, except it’s a week long, someone else does the cooking, and everyone agrees that everything tastes just so dang good. So, of course, I went to this year’s NC Food Fair, which, in reality, was just the toned-down version of the annual state fair. 

Since 1853, the North Carolina State Fair has been held annually as a chance to showcase statewide accomplishments in agriculture, horticulture, livestock rearing, homemaking, artwork, and craftsmen and women. Of course, there’s always rides and attractions and shows, wrapping the whole week and a half long event into a complete package for everyone who comes. 

But in 2020, a year that’s been nothing but chaotic, the Fair was just not an option. For the first time in its history, the Fair would not happen due to concerns and restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Luckily, the NC Department of Agriculture found a fix: a Food Fair. For 11 days, 22 of the local food vendors of the State Fair parked their trucks and trailers on the fairgrounds to provide a little taste of the annual fun we all miss. Deep fried candy, oreos, and mac-n-cheese? Yep, it’s there. Turkey legs? Check. North Carolina barbeque? You bet. Fried dough, funnel cake? Of course. Gator tail on a stick? For some reason, yes. 

In addition to all the vendors, a small display of large pumpkins and watermelons from across the state was set up for all those who passed to admire or take a picture with. It was a sweet nod to all the farmers who were unable to show off their accomplishments this year. 

Safety was, obviously, paramount. The stands and lines were spread out, and everyone was wearing masks. Unless they were eating, of course, but even then there were pavilions and other areas to eat away from others if you wished. 

To all those who helped plan the food fair and to those vendors who participated: thank you. You have brought a fun little piece of the fair to all those who miss it, and from the flocks of people I saw, that’s quite a few people.

All in all, the food fair was a thoroughly enjoyable event. To be able to sit and eat powdered sugar-topped funnel cake with my family while watching a beautiful sunset brought a smile to my face, and to all the others I saw doing the same. Walking around under the, albeit dimmer, carnival lights was enough to make me content for the year. And to sit with a belly filled with barbecue – well, I was not complaining. 

The Food Fair ended this Sunday, after more than a week of fun. For information about future state fairs, visit ncstatefair.org. 

The Reopening of the Triangle: Entertainment Edition

By: Avery Phillips

After months in quarantine with businesses, restaurants, and stores closed down, things in North Carolina are finally starting to reopen. Something we haven’t heard a lot of news on is what companies designed for entertainment are going to do. Here are the updates and plans on what some local companies in the Triangle area.

Crabtree Valley Mall (Raleigh)

Crabtree Valley Mall is open to the public and is taking extra safety precautions. Face coverings are required for entry and are also available at the Guest Services desk. The food court is open with spaced out seating. There are additional hand sanitizing stations and increased sterilization procedures, especially on high volume touch points.

Dave and Buster’s (Cary)

Cary’s Dave and Buster’s is open, requiring masks for all guests and staff. Hand sanitizer stations are available, tables and games will be frequently cleaned, tables are six feet apart, and there will be disposable menus. Games are half priced every Wednesday. 

Frankie’s Fun Park (Raleigh)

Frankie’s is currently reopened, but only partially. The mini golf, batting cages, laser tag, bumper boats and all of the go karts are available for use. There are increased hand sanitizer stations set up.

Jellybeans Super Skate Center (Raleigh)

Jellybeans is open with a maximum capacity of 185 people at a time, which is less than 15% of their building capacity. Protective barriers are installed, and there is enhanced cleaning of high touch surfaces. Face coverings are required at all times indoors except for when you’re skating. They are currently not accepting coupons or offering discounts. 

Museum of Life and Science (Durham)

The Museum of Life and Science is open. You must reserve tickets online for each guest of your party. They require visitors to wear face coverings at all times, social distancing is enforced, and there are frequent hand sanitizing stations. Waits may be longer due to limited capacity at some exhibits.  

North Carolina Museum of Art (Raleigh)

The North Carolina Museum of Art is open to guests indoors Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm. You must have (free) time slot tickets for entrance to encourage social distancing. Face coverings are required, and high touch areas are frequently cleaned. Hand sanitizing stations can be found throughout galleries and restrooms. The Iris restaurant and Sip coffee kiosk are also temporarily closed until further notice. 

North Carolina Zoo (Asheboro)

The North Carolina Zoo is requiring people to reserve a timed entry ticket prior to visiting. Face coverings are required for those 5 and older, social distancing is enforced, and surfaces will be cleaned frequently. All guests must enter through the North America Entrance. 

The Streets at Southpoint Mall (Durham)

Southpoint Mall is open to the public and is taking extra safety precautions. There are frequent cleanings, hand sanitizer stations, a filtered air system to catch airborne viruses, and required face coverings. The food court is open as well, but the seating is limited and customers are encouraged to order take-out. 

Triangle Rock Club (Raleigh) (Durham)

The Triangle Rock Clubs of Raleigh and Durham are open. Members and guests must make a 90 minute time block reservation on weeknights or weekends but are not required to at other times. Every individual indoors must wear a mask at all times, and high touch areas will be sanitized throughout the day. 

Duke Gardens (Durham)

Duke Gardens will remain closed through the end of 2020. Duke Gardens are planning on having a phased reopening in 2021, but this is dependent on the progression of COVID-19. 

Park West 14- Stone Theaters (Cary)

All Stone Theaters locations are closed temporarily. 

 Polar Ice House (Cary)

The Polar Ice House is not currently allowing public skating, but the last update stated they would try to bring it back in late September or early October. 

Regal Crossroads & IMAX (Cary)

The Regal Crossroads movie theater was reopened for a short amount of time but closed all theaters again on October 8th, 2020. If you have any credits or rewards that would’ve expired when they are shut down, they will still be viable once they reopen business. 

The Rise of Blue Light Glasses

By: Kiera Kofkin-Hansen

Due to school being moved online for at least the remainder of the first semester, the amount of time students are spending throughout the day looking at screens has risen tremendously. Students spend on average six hours a day staring into a device, and that’s just the time spent in class. The effect online school has on students’ mental health is known, but little is discussed about the physical effects the new normal of a school day has on students’ health. 

“Eyes are the windows to the soul,” and it’s important that they’re protected. The short term effects of staring at screens for elongated periods of time include eye fatigue and eye irritation. The long term effects, however, are much more concerning. These effects can include loss of focus flexibility (the ability to quickly change focus) in our eyes, nearsightedness, and retinal damage. 

Digital devices release blue light, similar to the light produced by the sun. It’s common knowledge that staring directly into the sun is damaging for the eyes, and hence, constant screen time can have a similar effect. 

In order to combat the eye strain caused by constantly staring into screens, many students have begun to invest in “Blue Light Glasses.” These are non-prescription glasses used for the sole purpose of protecting one’s eyes from the light produced by technology. These glasses weaken the strength of the blue light coming from screens and gives the wearers’ vision a slight yellow tint. A Cary High senior, Scott Gates, said about his blue light glasses, “They’ve definitely helped with headaches and my eyes getting dry. I didn’t realize how much spending all day-everyday on my laptop was hurting me.” 

Although blue light glasses have become one of the more popular ways students have dealt with the eye-harming ways of online school, there are many other ways to help defend your eyes against blue light. Turning down the brightness of your screens and limiting time spent on screens other than when required by school are both small ways that you can significantly help the strain that has recently been placed on your eyes. 

No matter what the best solution is for you, it’s important to protect your eyes. They’re the only ones you’ve got!

Sources:

https://www.susquehannahealth.org/in-the-community/blog/is-screen-time-really-bad-for-our-eyes#:~:text=Potential%20effects%20of%20screen%20time,can%20become%20dry%20and%20irritated.

https://preventblindness.org/blue-light-and-your-eyes/#:~:text=Digital%20eyestrain%3A%20Blue%20light%20from,contrast%20leading%20to%20digital%20eyestrain.&text=Retina%20damage%3A%20Studies%20suggest%20that,like%20age%2Drelated%20macular%20degeneration.