Monday, December 30, 2013

Free NYE fun

Charlotte’s biggest New Year’s Eve bash, WBTV First Night Charlotte, is celebrating its sixth year by moving to a new location, Romare Bearden Park at 300 S. Church St.

The alcohol-free event that focuses on the arts starts with the First Night Kids celebration from 1 to 6 p.m. on the Church Street side of the park with a countdown beginning at 5:50 p.m.

First Night evening events are from 7 to 9:30 p.m. The countdown starts at 10 p.m. with headliner Sol Fusion.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus

Christmas really is a season of miracles.

I was sitting at my desk thinking how good I've been this year when suddenly I heard a jolly voice yell out my name.

I turned around and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but Santa and Mrs. Claus, both so very, very dear. He dropped by to confirm that yes, I had been good. I knew it!

During the year, Santa works here under the name Mark Cory. I love to see him pull out of the parking lot in his big vehicle. He told me that children go crazy when they see him roll around town.

Mrs. Claus is very supportive of her husband's work. She loves to accompany him to events and help him spread Christmas cheer.

After much demand from people who have seen him out and about, Mark has decided to finally give in and make himself available for holiday parties and other events. Obviously he's very busy over the next few days, but there's always next year. Believe it or not, he's already getting bookings for 2014.

If you're interested, he can be reached at 704-681-5063.

You don't have to tell him I sent you. He'll know.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Monday, December 16, 2013

Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte

The buzz is building about “Dancing with the Stars of Charlotte,” North Carolina Dance Theatre’s signature black tie fundraiser on Jan. 11 at Knight Theater that pairs leaders in the Charlotte community with professional dancers from the troupe in a fun competition.

During the After Party, Philip Bailey, the voice of Earth, Wind & Fire, is scheduled to make a guest appearance with the band Big Swing and the Ballroom Blasters. That’s just one of the many fun details about this evening. 

Tickets start at $100;

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Monday, December 9, 2013

Good Friends Luncheon Dec. 12

One of the most meaningful fundraisers in Charlotte is coming up Dec. 12 from noon to 1:30 p.m. when 1,000 women gather for the 27th annual Good Friends Luncheon at the Charlotte Convention Center. 

The nonprofit uses 100 percent of the money collected at the event to help needy families and children in Mecklenburg County pay for small needs that make a big difference such as eyeglasses or a baby crib.

Last year’s event raised more than $160,000 that was used to help 2,700 people.

The cost to join is $65 a year. The luncheon is free for members; guests pay $20. Details:

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

A simple Southern appetizer

Now that we're in the thick of the holiday shopping frenzy, I highly recommend Julia Reed's book “But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria: Adventures in Eating, Drinking and Making Merry.” It's filled with some of her hilarious essays and delicious recipes.

I met Reed during her book signing at Capitol, and she is so charming, delightful and fun. 

She’s a wonderful writer who has lived such an interesting life that her words bounce off the page and suddenly you feel that you’re part of the party.

When I asked her how she prefers to entertain at her home in New Orleans, she told me she likes to keep things simple. One of her favorite hors d’oeuvres to serve is a watermelon rind pickle wrapped in bacon and broiled. “It’s so easy, but I promise you people will be chasing the trays down,” she said.

Follow Olivia on Twitter @oliviafortson