Financial troubles have brought down the curtain on the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival in High Point. Trustees of the nonprofit professional theater company confirmed last week that the festival has shut down after 37 years. Officials told the Greensboro News & Record the organization would not have the money to program a 2014-2015 season. Mark Woods and Stuart Brooks founded the festival in 1977. Its last director, Pedro Silva, stepped down in June. He said he's heartbroken about the festival's demise.
CHARLOTTE PRIDE PARADE
The annual Charlotte Pride Festival continues from noon to 6 pm Sunday in downtown Charlotte. More than 20 floats are expected for a parade down Tryon Street that begins at 1 o’clock. The grand marshals are Charlotte City council members Patsy Kinsey and LaWana Mayfield.
Another honored guest is Latta, SC, Police Chief Crystal Moore. The openly gay Moore was fired by a mayor who condemned her lifestyle. Citizens of her tobacco town rallied to her defense and forced her rehiring. During today’s parade … watch for road closings between Third and Ninth streets. Today’s events include a street festival and a performance by Grammy Award-winning singer LeAnn Rimes. More than 80,000 people were expected for this weekend’s festivities, which celebrate the area's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities.
TOURISM SPENDING RISES
Big events like Charlotte Pride draw lots of visitors to town … A new state report says visitor spending increased in 95 of North Carolina's 100 counties in 2013, with three counties topping 1 billion dollars. Governor Pat McCrory and Commerce Secretary Sharon Decker said last week that visitors spent a record $20 billion in North Carolina in 2013, up 4 percent from 2012.
The largest increases in visitor spending were in Buncombe, Burke and Carteret counties, followed by Wilkes, Forsyth, Durham, Brunswick and Rowan. Spending topped $1 billion in Mecklenburg, Wake and Guilford counties. State officials say visitor spending directly supported and more than 198,000 jobs and generated more than $4 billion in payroll income. Mecklenburg County led the state with 46,500 direct tourism workers and payroll of $1.5 billion.
PRESERVATION TAX CREDIT TO END
A tax credit that helped people rescue historic businesses and homes in 90 of North Carolina's 100 counties appears likely to expire as the General Assembly prepares to adjourn. The historic preservation tax credit likely will end Jan. 1 because many lawmakers oppose targeted tax credits and don't believe the breaks justify their cost. Developers of more than 2,300 projects have used the tax credits since the state expanded the program in 1998. Successes include the Oakwood neighborhood in Raleigh and the Loray Mill in Gastonia. Cultural and historic preservation officials hope lawmakers will revive the program when they meet again next year.
CAM NEWTON RETURNS TONIGHT
Tonight in Uptown Charlotte, the Carolina Panthers play the Kansas City Chiefs in an NFL exhibition game. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will play for the first time since ankle surgery in March. Panthers coach Ron Rivera says he expects Newton to play at least a quarter, and maybe longer depending on how well the offensive line protects him. Game time is 8 o’clock at Bank of America Stadium.
WATNEY LEADS WYNDHAM
Nick Watney sank a 20-foot birdie putt on 18 to take a one-shot lead over Brad Fritsch through three rounds of the PGA's Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C. Watney shot a 5-under 65 for a 14-under total that includes just one bogey through 54 holes. Fritsch also shot a 65.