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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Faircloth

Year of the Trail Events Kick Off in Elizabethtown

Updated: Feb 15

Elizabethtown will be hosting a very special nature event over the weekend in celebration of the 2023 Year of the Trail. The festival will be from Feb. 17-19 and will include outdoor vendors, Southern cooking, music, fellowship, and hiking in several areas throughout Bladen County.

The Cape Fear Farmers Market will act as a headquarters for the event this year. The market is located in the former Inman’s Red and White, located at 106 Martin Luther King Drive.

Friday, Feb. 17

Opening festivities begin Friday, Feb. 17, from 3-7 p.m. Check-in will be held at the Cape Fear Farmers Market. Attendees are invited to explore the quaint little town and check out locally owned shops and restaurants. An itinerary and other information about Year of the Trail will be available.

At 5:30 p.m., Earl B. Hunter Jr., founder of Black Folks Camp Too, will hold a campfire conversation titled 'Inviting More Unity to the Outdoor Community and Beyond.' A night hike will follow at 6 p.m. at Jones Lake State Park.

Saturday, Feb. 18

Get up and out the door on Saturday morning. The day will begin with the first hike at 10 a.m. at Jones Lake State Park with a trek on Four-Mile Bay Trail. Guided mountain bike rides, paddle boat adventures, and the Mountain to Sea Fundraiser will dominate outdoors from 10 a.m.-8 p.m. at Camp Clearwater. The benefit will include Southern cuisine, entertainment, and good company. Live music will also be playing at the venue.

Sunday, Feb. 19

Sunday will be a do-it-yourself day. Trail headquarters will provide maps and route descriptions for those planning to get outside for potential hikes. Beginning at 1 p.m., Lu Mil Vineyard will be open to the public for exploring through the vines, and from 1-4 p.m., there will be a tour of the national historical site Harmony Hall.

Other activities are available at any time. Check out the paved trail around Greene's Lake and Cape Fear Winery and Distillery, or you can play nine holes of disc golf at Tory Hole Park.

The Wildlife Resources Commission's N.C. Bird Atlas will also host a special event on Sunday, from 9-11 a.m. Experienced birders will share their expertise and binoculars at 'Beginning Birding at Bay Tree Lake State Natural Area.'

Activities that require registration

Registration is required for some of the activities during Year of the Trail. The Jones Lake night hike and the paddle boat trip have some spots left. To sign up, visit

For the Earl B. Hunter Jr. campfire conversation, register at

For the commission's bird watching event, reserve your spot at

If you need more information about the 2023 Year of the Trail festival, visit

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