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LITTLE SAINTS INTRODUCES ST. MEZCAL, THEIR FIRST NON-ALCOHOLIC SPIRIT, INTO THEIR PORTFOLIO OF PLANT MAGIC BEVERAGES

Little Saints

Little Saints, the only mocktail brand to combine Reishi mushrooms, CBD and terpenes in their ingredients –a formula expertly crafted by of a food scientist, environmentalist and a shaman– today expands their non-alcoholic offerings with the release of St. Mezcal. Known for its rich history and rituals of connection, Mezcal is the fastest growing spirit in the US and the least represented in the non-alcoholic space, making St. Mezcal the first functional alternative on the market. Little Saints is believed to be the first spirit producer (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) using a pure palo santo extract –sourced sustainably from Peru– as an ingredient in its St. Mezcal formula, which will be sold at a suggested retail price of $49.99 in a beautifully-designed, Mezcal-inspired 750ml glass bottle. Little Saints St. Mezcal ingredient profile is highly intentional with a complex blend of flavors and functional, sacred plants for a multi-sensory and mood-enhancing experience. The sophisticated, first-of-its-kind blend is highlighted by palo santo (a surprising blend of wood and fennel), ginger, cardamom and vanilla along with an added burn (from capsicum peppers) that hits your throat even when mixed into a blended beverage. It also delivers the rich smell profile associated with certain alcoholic spirits, like Mezcal. Inspired by, but not trying to replicate, the traditional alcoholic Mezcal spirit, St. Mezcal serves as an idyllic, delicious beverage option meant to be consumed neat or as a non-alcoholic replacement for mocktails and cocktail recipes. Little Saints St. Mezcal is joining the menus of today’s buzziest hottest bar and hotel menus including but not limited to Patent Pending (NYC), Clay (NYC), Saint Tuesday (NYC), La Noxe (NYC), Howard’s Bar and Club (Austin), Perla’s (Austin), Liz Lambert ’s Hotel Saint Vincent (New Orleans) and Austin Proper Hotel (Austin). Little Saints sources its palo santo extract, a fragrant wood known for its energy-cleansing and spiritual properties, directly from a forest in Northern Peru. Creating the pure palo santo extract was an extensive process the Little Saints team perfected alongside its Peruvian partners, over a year-long period to optimize the smell and taste of the extract, in addition to procuring a USDA timber permit to import directly from the Peruvian suppliers. The palo santo used to make the extract in St. Mezcal is harvested sustainably from dead and fallen trees, and a percentage of the proceeds of St. Mezcal goes back to the community in Peru that harvests it. Lion’s mane, an adaptogenic mushroom, has been added in 100mg/serving, a dosage adequate to boost brain power and creativity by stimulating the growth of neurons in the brain–the very thing alcohol negatively impacts. Out of all adaptogenic mushrooms, lion’s mane was included as a segue to better social dialogue and more meaningful interactions. The dosage is stated intentionally as it’s commonplace for brands to include the ingredient without dosage information to mask insufficient amounts for noticeable impact. According to NPR in 2023, the non-alcoholic beverage category is a $400m category in the United States, growing at 20% year or year. In comparison, the US alcoholic drinks market is a $284b market growing at a flat 7% per year. Consumers are seeking savvy, high quality choices. “ Most non-alcoholic spirits don’t hold up by themselves. Some of them are okay in cocktails, but I would never drink them on their own. St. Mezcal is one of two N/A spirits that I would ever drink neat or on the rocks, and I would prefer St. Mezcal out of those two. It is zero proof but it has a kick like a thunder. I want to highlight that it has a flavor balance and that it gets you in a nice mood. It does something to you… It’s not just like I’m not drinking and I’m good for the night. It will put you in a good mood. ” — Nikola Nikoletic, Head Bartender at Patent Pending NYC Little Saints was founded by environmental lawyer turned plant-based foods entrepreneur, Megan Klein, and shaped by a female food scientist with a Masters in adaptogens (plants that help the body adapt to stress). As a woman-led company, Little Saints sets out to elevate emotional wellbeing and to encourage connectivity with nature. Launched at music festivals from day one, the brand embodies play in all its forms. It is the mocktail and spirit to drink for a consequence-free mood lift. “St. Mezcal takes the non-alcoholic spirit game up a notch, adding a mood-enhancing ingredient to traditional mocktail menus. I wanted to pair something sensory and spiritual like palo santo with something highly efficacious like lion’s mane. I use both in my everyday life, and I see the benefits - the palo santo helps me clear negative energy and feel creative, and the lion’s mane activates my brain and gives me a buzz that helps me feel creative, focused and playful.” —  Megan Klein, Founder and CEO of Little Saints. Little Saints' bold flavored non-alcoholic drinks are designed to provide an uplifting sensory experience through thoughtfully combined plant magic ingredients. With the philosophy that play is wellness, their mission is to inspire indulgence in art, movement and connection with their community via the canned ready-to-drink plant magic mocktails and new St. Mezcal spirit. Through sourcing, partnerships and distribution purchasing decisions, Little Saints promotes environmental sustainability and conscious capitalism. With integrity and an open mind, Little Saints serves the community by donating more than 1% of its revenue to organizations fostering equity in relation to plant medicine and mental health. Little Saints St. Mezcal is the brand’s first entry point into the spirit world, but certainly not the last as the brand looks to expand functional, delicious offerings in the non-alcohol mocktail and spirit space. About Little Saints Little Saints is a brand of plant magic beverages inspired by our deep reverence for plants and equally deep commitment to play. Working with functional ingredients sourced from sacred plants—plants with special spiritual and curative properties—Little Saints creates non alcoholic, sugar-free plant magic mocktails and spirits. With flavors inspired by classic cocktails —like Paloma, Spicy Margarita, Ginger Mule, Negroni Spritz, and Mimosa—the ready-to-drink mocktails are sugar free and formulated with Little Saints proprietary blend of Reishi mushroom, CBD and botanical terpenes, and the new St. Mezcal spirit continues their mission of providing consumable functional benefits without the alcohol but with the joy. This plant magic "stack" was created in collaboration with Little Saints' adaptogen-expert food scientist and sacred-plant-medicine shaman to inspire positive emotions and a lifted spirit. The brand debuted in 2021, launching first at outdoor festivals throughout Michigan where Megan served mocktails from the back of a mint-green trailer to attendees intrigued by the unique option of an uplifting, natural, clean, and alcohol-free alternative. Since then, the brand has gone national and is already an industry favorite, staking its claim within the non-alcoholic beverage space which continues to grow exponentially faster than the alcoholic space–a signal of a growing cultural shift. Little Saints is at the forefront of a growing movement of an intentional wellness focused lifestyle that eschews drinking alcohol in favor of healthier options. Little Saints is available at select specialty retailers nationwide, including Erewhon in Los Angeles, Berkeley Bowl in San Francisco, as well as non-alcoholic bottle shops such as Spirited Away, Minus Moonshine, and Sechey in New York. The suggested retail price is $5.99 per 8oz can and $49.99 for St. Mezcal per 750ml bottle. For additional information on Little Saints, check out the website littlesaints.com and follow the brand on Instagram at @littlesaintsco. About Founder Megan Klein Megan Klein, Little Saints' Founder + CEO, is a longtime advocate for plant-inspired living. As an environmental lawyer early in her career for Earthjustice, Megan fought against frackers and factory farm polluters. Later, she became a modern farmer, running the country's largest vertical farm and playing a role in the burgeoning local food movement in the Midwest. As an extension of her work in local foods, in 2017 Megan founded Field + Farmer a plant-based food and beverage brand sold in grocery stores throughout the U.S. While running that company, Megan enrolled in the Kellogg School of Management, where she was when the pandemic hit—and when her thoughts turned to emotional healing. Megan founded Little Saints in May 2021 in Detroit and has since moved herself and the company to Miami. Contact Details Little Saints Amanda Smeal amanda@amandasmeal.com Company Website https://littlesaints.com

May 02, 2023 08:03 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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FS is on a Mission to Unleash Human Creativity. With a Relaunch of its Trend Forecasting Platform, the Future’s Looking Brighter for all Creators

Fashion Snoops

Earlier forecast timelines, dedicated specialty areas, advanced color inspiration, smoothly integrated with AI-powered market tracking and design tools — empowers creators to map their path ahead with extraordinary clarity. FS (Fashion Snoops) announces the relaunch of its popular future forecasting platform. The new rendition streamlines the product creation process; makes it more intuitive, interactive, and creatively fulfilling. Putting power into the hands of the creators, the FS platform provides advanced inspiration aimed to spark future ideas and help track what's happening in the market. Its range of custom tools enable subscribers to gather creative intelligence across retail, runways, trade shows, and social media. Most importantly, they help curate those discoveries into cutting-edge creative strategies and concepts. All in a format that is easy to customize, share, or export into design software. "The problem for creators today is not a lack of information, but rather an overload of it. That's where we come in, ” explains Itay Arad, Co-founder and CEO at FS. "Instead of just offering more, we present our clients with incisive, inspiring content that is easy to find and ready to provoke action." As a company with a purpose to unleash human creativity, the FS forecasting platform offers creatives a way to find joy and inspiration in the product development process. Once again. Feeding their imagination and passion for creating products that aren't driven solely by data or recent fads but by genuine innovation. "We realized that the market is desperately looking for a way to rekindle inspiration,” says Lilly Berelovich, Co-founder and Chief Creator at FS. “We are seeing too many brands and retailers trading in curiosity for a false sense of certainty. Relying so heavily on data and past successes that creativity and innovation are quickly diminishing. It's a catch-22 situation.” Berelovich continues, “Everyone is trying to figure out what consumers want, while the consumers are simply looking to be surprised and excited by newness from the brands... from our commitment to unleashing human creativity, we aim to help the market break this exhausting cycle.” Here are the highlights of features and tools on the renewed FS futures platform: TRACK AREA: FS subscribers can keep their finger on the pulse of what's happening across retail, social media, runways, and trade shows. FS's unique sorting and filtering algorithms make identifying trends and discovering inspiration for their future assortments fun and easy. EXPANDED CATEGORIES: Due to popular demand, the FS team has invested in and grown the offering for Activewear, Swimwear, and Intimates. Creators in these areas now have a section that speaks their language and focuses on their unique needs. COLOR TOOLS: FS's powerful suite of color tools includes a dynamic palette builder, an AI-enhanced runway color tracker, and the ability to search the platform's images by color. Aided by these tools and FS's in-depth color reports, subscribers can create their own original color palettes or use the ones built by FS as a starting point. Individual color chips and entire palettes can now be easily exported and uploaded to design software like Adobe Photoshop and InDesign. PATTERN + GRAPHICS AREA: Inspiration across markets or an individual design category can be found while accessing FS's popular pattern and graphics reports in one convenient place. ASSET GALLERY: FS team's editorial content, which includes mood images, bespoke videos, original art, CADs, and color palettes, is easy to browse through, save, and share. MY FS AREA: Subscribers can access all their saved multimedia content (reports, videos, images, palettes, individual color chips) and drag-and-drop pieces to curate visually compelling mood and concept boards. ABOUT FS For over 22 years, FS (Fashion Snoops) has been a leading force in trend forecasting. Our curious team of experts serves clients in over 50 countries from the worlds of fashion, accessories, home decor, beauty, wellness, and other consumer-facing industries. With a powerful-yet-intuitive digital platform and decades of industry insight, FS is known for collaborating closely with clients. From boutique brands to Fortune 500 companies, we are helping to chart their path to a thriving business. Find your creative futures at fashionsnoops.com Contact Details Fashion Snoops Ashleigh Ralfe +44 7824 393164 ashleigh@fashionsnoops.com Company Website http://fashionsnoops.com/

May 01, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Lily, The First Non-Alcoholic Single Canned Beverage Featuring the Rare & Ancient Adaptogen, Egyptian Water Lily to Launch This Spring

DrinkLily

The first in its category, Lily, a functional non-alcoholic beverage, was created by two native New Yorkers committed to finding a guilt-free way to soothe their anxiety. Over the course of two years they developed a formula designed to gently unwind that tension, leaving consumers with a mood boosting feeling. Every can of Lily harnesses the power of the ancient adaptogen providing tranquility from the Egyptian Water Lily, which was cherished by pharaohs for thousands of years. This flower is packed with rare antioxidants known for sparking creativity and aiding in restoring energy levels, sleep quality, soothing anxiety, stress relief, blood circulation & detoxification. With only 32 calories, 3 grams of sugar, 40% of your daily recommended antioxidants, and no artificial ingredients, each can is something you can feel good about. The drink’s bright and refreshing taste has a base of organic Italian blood orange juice sourced from the lush volcanic soil surrounding Mt. Etna in Sicily. Also in the brew is organic black tea leaves and invigorating Korean Red Ginseng root. The ginseng, a powerful adaptogen, provides an abundance of essential B vitamins (B1, B6, B12). The black and gold tea leaves are sourced from the fertile Yunnan province of China, and deliver a nutty flavor to go along with mind stabilizing L-theanine. Lily’s co-founders and childhood friends Bradley Morgan and Isaac Lliguin, grew up in Manhattan and frequently struggled with coping from the daily stressors of their high pressure jobs. “I was working from 7AM to midnight as the lead producer for a daily TV show on VICE in Brooklyn. After years of commuting between boroughs and working late hours, the stress really started to affect my health. The responsibilities for creating a new television show every day felt endless: writing, producing, editing, while managing high profile talent and staff. And the more weed I smoked, the less it seemed to help with the stress. With the guidance of holistic medicine professionals, I began my search for natural solutions,” says co-founder Bradley Morgan. In the summer of 2020, Bradley was introduced to the Egyptian Water Lily in a tiny Chinatown tea shop. After experiencing the blissful and anxiety reducing qualities of the flower, the path to creating Lily had begun. With other flavors currently in development, Lily is excited to continue their journey of sharing the benefits of this special flower with everyone who knows what it feels like to be a bit overwhelmed with modern day life. Available in 4-pack ($20), 8-pack ($40) and 24-pack ($120) options, the slim and sleek designed 11.5oz cans are available nationwide online and at select health and wellness stores throughout the tri-state area. To learn more about Lily and retailers, please follow along on Instagram @drinklily or visit www.drinklily.com. ABOUT LILY: Co-founded by New York City kids and childhood friends, Isaac Lliguin and Bradley Morgan, Lily, the functional beverage brand was founded in 2023. After years of development, Lily is the first on the market and in the non-alcoholic category to harness the powers of the Egyptian Water Lily and was first concieved as a result of needing to find an energy boosting and stress relief alternative. With only 32 calories, 3 grams of sugar, 40% of your daily recommended antioxidants, and no artificial ingredients, each can is something you can feel good about. The drink’s base is organic Italian blood orange juice with organic black tea leaves and Korean Red Ginseng root. The ginseng, a powerful adaptogen, provides an abundance of invigorating B vitamins (B1, B6, B12) along with mind-stabilizing L-theanine. Contact Details DrinkLily Gabrielle Perez Press@DrinkLily.com Company Website https://www.drinklily.com/

May 01, 2023 09:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Connected Mom - Spring into Summer Gadgets

News Media Group, Inc.

Contact Details News Media Group Karl Wayne +1 334-440-6397 karl@newsmg.com Company Website https://newsmg.com/

May 01, 2023 06:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Planet Based Foods creating clean food using hemp as key sustainable ingredient

Planet Based Foods

Planet Based Foods CEO Braelyn Davis joined Steve Darling from Proactive to share news about the company which creates unique products using a clean blend of hemp seed, pea protein and brown rice, to maximize nutrients and fiber with zero waste. Davis tells Proactive more about the company, its product line and which sectors it will look to grow in. Contact Details Proactive Investors +1 604-688-8158 na-editorial@proactiveinvestors.com

April 27, 2023 01:12 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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USDA’s ‘Defend the Flock’ Campaign Addresses How to Help Keep Your Backyard Chickens Safe from Bird Flu

YourUpdateTV

Over the last several years, more people have turned to raising chickens at home. But a highly infectious bird flu called Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) has created challenges for backyard growers, already affecting more than 58 million birds nationwide. Recently, Dr. Julie Gauthier, the Assistant Director of Poultry Health at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, participated in a nationwide satellite media tour to discuss the crisis and how their ‘Defend the Flock’ campaign is helping address the issue. A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://youtu.be/-7Wg4IcF5Bc The U.S. poultry industry is one of the largest in the world and an important sector of our agricultural economy. Disease outbreaks can devastate flocks, impact trade, cause job and financial losses, and affect prices on eggs, prepared poultry, and other staples. The Defend the Flock education program offers free tools and resources to help everyone who handles or works with poultry follow proper biosecurity practices. These practices will help keep your birds healthy and reduce the risk of avian influenza and other infectious diseases. Tips include: · Keep flocks away from open water and wild birds that can carry disease · Separating your poultry from the rest of your property, using only one entry and exit point · Clean regularly and wear dedicated clothes and shoes when tending to your flock · Clean equipment and vehicles with soap and water before and after they are near your flock · Don’t share tools, poultry supplies or equipment with other flock owners · Report sick birds and know the warning signs, including lower egg production, soft-shelled or misshapen eggs, and runny nose, sneezing and trouble breathing. Report any signs of illness or unexplained deaths to your veterinarian, animal health official, or call the USDA at 866-536-7593 For more tips and advice to keep your chickens safe, search online for ‘Defend the Flock’ About Dr. Julie Gauthier Dr. Julie Gauthier is Assistant Director for Poultry Health and a Veterinary Medical Officer at the U.S. Department of Agriculture/APHIS. The doctor is a Veterinary Medicine Prevention Officer for the U.S. Army Reserve where she has served for more than five years. Dr. Gauthier received her Master’s in Public Health from the Yale School of Public Health and her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from Michigan State University. Contact Details YourUpdateTV +1 212-736-2727 yourupdatetv@gmail.com

April 27, 2023 10:31 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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Pangea Natural Foods seeing success with the manufacturing and distribution of healthy food

Pangea Natural Foods

Pangea Natural Foods CEO Pratap Sandhu joined Steve Darling from Proactive to talk more about the company which has several verticals in the healthy food sector. Sandhu tells Proactive more about the products the company offers including food manufacturing, co-packing services and food distribution. He also discusses its growth plans. Contact Details Proactive Investors +1 604-688-8158 na-editorial@proactiveinvestors.com

April 26, 2023 01:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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AmeriLife’s LeadStar Announces Latest Platform Enhancement Backed by RGI Solutions, Combining Best-in-Class Leads Platform with Enterprise-Wide Direct Mail Leads Solution

AmeriLife

LeadStar, the proprietary, private leads platform created with and exclusively for AmeriLife -affiliated agents, announced today that it has partnered with data-driven business solutions company RGI Solutions to develop LeadStar Direct, the latest enhancement to LeadStar that will sit alongside its Marketplace platform and deliver agents fully compliant direct mail lead campaigns and a CRM solution. LeadStar Direct, which is slated to be launched later this summer, will initially allow agents to seamlessly order Medicare Advantage, Medicare Supplement and Final Expense lead mailers that are tested, fully compliant, and have 100 percent data availability with no territorial blackouts – all in one central location and without having to juggle multiple leads vendors. Leveraging the proven success of RGI Solutions, all lead cards in LeadStar Direct will be continuously tested and optimized to generate the performance required to deliver more sales at a lower cost for agents. Additionally, agents using LeadStar Direct will have access to award-winning customer support should they need it. This support, alongside LeadStar Marketplace’s seamless onboarding for real-time data leads and both inbound and warm-transfer customer calls, will provide agents with the tools they need to start selling quickly and confidently on all channels. “Our agents spoke and we listened, and with both cost and compliance being top of mind today, LeadStar Direct is coming online at the perfect time,” said William DeCourcy, senior vice president of Growth Marketing and Customer Acquisition for AmeriLife and founder of LeadStar. “We’re excited to deliver premier direct mail lead options to agents, through an Amazon-like storefront, which includes competitive pricing, worry-free compliance, and a best-in-class user experience that is the hallmark of the LeadStar platforms.” “We’re thrilled to join forces with LeadStar and AmeriLife to bring this much-needed program to market,” added Nathan Addesa, president of RGI Solutions. “RGI has been longtime partners with a number of AmeriLife’s affiliated companies. This enterprise partnership will drive end-to-end efficiencies and total compliance for everyone in the AmeriLife network.” Launched in October 2022 in partnership with Fluent and SalesRiver (formerly known as Leadrilla), LeadStar Marketplace delivers exclusive, real-time leads as well as inbound and warm-transfer calls – directly to field agents – at the industry’s best prices. With the ability to customize lead volume and types against individual agents’ needs, LeadStar Marketplace empowers agents with unmatched flexibility, reliability and performance to accelerate their sales and grow their businesses. Now, together with LeadStar Direct, agents will have access to one of the best one-stop-shop lead solutions in the market today. “The launch of LeadStar and LeadStar Marketplace was a major milestone not only for AmeriLife’s affiliated agents, but the industry as well,” said Ovi Vitas, Chief Marketing Officer for AmeriLife. “LeadStar Direct is yet another reminder to our partners that we remain laser focused on their needs, working tirelessly to deliver tools and technology that will truly move the needle for the growth of their business.” ### About RGI Solutions With over 40 years of experience, RGI Solutions has helped thousands of clients in the insurance industry. RGI’s focus is to help clients grow their top line revenue. Our innovative cost per lead program generates consistent flows of direct mail leads to agents, carriers and marketing organizations. RGI also helps companies grow thought its Agent Boost solution. This recruitment program cost effectively sources highly qualified agents for our clients. For more information, visit us at RGIDA.com. About AmeriLife AmeriLife’s strength is its mission: to provide insurance and retirement solutions to help people live longer, healthier lives. In doing so, AmeriLife has become recognized as the leader in developing, marketing, and distributing life and health insurance, annuities and retirement planning solutions to enhance the lives of pre-retirees and retirees across the United States. For more than 50 years, AmeriLife has partnered with top insurance carriers to provide value and quality to customers served through a distribution network of over 300,000 insurance agents and advisors and 120 marketing organizations and insurance agency locations nationwide. For more information, visit AmeriLife.com, and follow AmeriLife on Facebook and LinkedIn. Contact Details Media Jeff Maldonado +1 321-297-1112 jmaldonado@amerilife.com Partnership Inquiries Patrick Nichols +1 727-726-0726 pnichols@amerilife.com Company Website https://amerilife.com/

April 26, 2023 01:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time

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Unleash Your Inner Adventurer

YourUpdateTV

Are you looking for a vacation destination that offers endless adventure and relaxation? Well, look no further than northeastern North Carolina’s charming lake and river towns. Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC, and Bruce Tyler, co-founder of Weldon Mills Distillery, recently conducted a satellite media tour to talk about the hidden gems and local hotspots that make this region so special. A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://youtu.be/CF6-KlI9A90 With spring in full flow, Visit North Carolina rolls out Dream Big in Small Town NC in the state’s Northeast Lakes & Rivers region, an area dotted with waterside gems, refreshing views and resonant history. Travelers can try their luck with sweepstakes prizing as they follow the Dream Big initiative’s roadmap to under-the-radar destinations that will welcome a boost in visitation and interest in longer stays. “Halifax, Henderson, Tarboro, Warrenton — these towns and others invite travelers to cozy up and connect,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit North Carolina. “Their appeal is immediate as well as timeless with fresh vitality springing from the big dreams of hometown heroes and newly arrived visionaries. Now is a perfect time for travelers to discover places worth knowing.” Dream Big in Small Town NC, created by the General Assembly as the Rural Tourism Recovery Pilot Program, targets 16 counties at risk for population loss as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The initiative began with a focus on five Scenic Mountain counties and now continues in Edgecombe, Halifax, Vance and Warren counties, whose bodies of water include Kerr Lake, Lake Gaston, and the Tar and Roanoke rivers. The final phase, beginning in June, will zero in on seven Inner Banks counties. Easily reached from exits along Interstates 85 and 95, the Northeast Lakes & Rivers destinations combine distinctive culture with landmark history plus natural beauty and recreation. Start the getaway dream by entering the sweepstakes for a chance to win: · A $1,000 voucher from program partner Airbnb. · Three $100 gift cards for a choice of restaurants, shops and activities. · A $500 gift card from Visit NC to assist with travel expenses. For outdoor lovers, the rivers and lakes create ample reason to explore, Tuttell said. In Henderson, Kerr Lake and its 850 miles of shoreline have a dozen local access points, including eight in a state recreation area known for hiking and birding as well as water activities. At Lake Gaston, between Warrenton and Roanoke Rapids, adventure seekers can sign up for lessons from international wakeboarding champion Adam Fields’ AF Wake. Tarboro visitors can access the scenic Tar River Paddle Trail, and distance paddlers can embark on the Roanoke River State Trail from Weldon. Stunning views of history and nature reward hikers and bikers at Medoc Mountain State Park and on the Roanoke Canal Museum & Trail, which makes loaner bikes available. “There’s joy in these outdoor activities plus a sense of wonder from the historic moments since the time of the Tuscarora,” Tuttell said. “In Halifax, North Carolina became the first colony to call for independence from Britain. Weldon was home to the world’s longest railroad, which played an outsize role in Civil War history. The Roanoke Canal Trail includes stops on the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. Princeville became one of the first towns in the country chartered by Black residents, and Warren County is recognized as the ‘birthplace of environmental justice’ based on a 1982 protest.” If economic growth has favored urban areas in recent decades, the Lakes & Rivers towns have been fortified by a deep-rooted community spirit and sense of possibility. Ambitious locals who left have returned with big ideas for revitalizing and reinventing the places where they grew up. Homecoming enterprises include Tarboro’s On the Square restaurant and Tarboro Brewing, Halifax’s Hen & the Hog and Halifax Studios, and Littleton’s Blue Jay Bistro, Main Street Wines and Daphne’s Coffee Shop plus the revitalized Lakeland Cultural Arts Center. Near Norlina, Seven Springs Farm & Vineyard opened in 2020 to become a popular spot for music events and wine tastings. Lori Medlin, president and CEO of the Halifax County Convention & Visitors Bureau, cites a pair of entrepreneurs who were inspired to turn a former sleepwear factory in Weldon into a distillery. Almost immediately after opening in 2019, Weldon Mills Distillery gained national attention with its award-winning bourbons and other spirits. The founders of Sylvan Heights Bird Park in Scotland Neck arrived by way of Great Britain. And in nearby Vance County, downtown Henderson attracted an achiever who opened The Eleanor on Belle hotel and a shop called Gear and Beer. “Small towns are best explored at leisure,” Tuttell said. “Between the outdoors and the distinctive downtowns, there’s infinite opportunity to dream big in our Lakes & Rivers destinations.” Dream Big comes with a two-facet approach to economic development: a tourism promotion to infuse revenue into local economies plus appeal to people interested in relocation. As a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, Visit NC is coordinating Dream Big with the N.C. Department of Commerce and other private and public entities involved in growing the state’s first-in-talent workforce. Funded with $1.5 million from the American Rescue Plan Act, the initiative has a dedicated presence on VisitNC.com, complete with links for job postings in the Scenic Mountains ( Graham, Haywood, Madison, Mitchell and Yancey ) and Inner Banks ( Chowan, Gates, Hertford, Martin, Perquimans, Tyrrell and Washington ) as well as the Northeast Lakes & Rivers. The Dream Big homepage also links to the Airbnb website with content to help travelers plan trips and find short-term rental properties in each region. Beyond the exposure from the satellite media tour and sweepstakes, Dream Big will reach the traveling public via @VisitNC’s social media channels. A digital content creator campaign is bringing selected tastemakers to the destinations to engage followers in the local culture and lifestyle appeal for people interested in a long-term change of scenery. Program partner Airbnb, which is also promoting the campaign on its social media channels, is using its inventory of short-term rental properties to host the content creators. “North Carolina is full of unmatched opportunities for big dreams to take hold,” Tuttell said. “We want people to bring them here and make them real.” · For a quick look at enticements in Dream Big destinations, click here. · Find photos from Dream Big destinations here. About Wit Tuttell Wit Tuttell was named Executive Director of Visit North Carolina in November 2013. He oversees the strategic planning, policy development and marketing initiatives for North Carolina's official state tourism office and the industry sectors it serves. North Carolina's state tourism office, formerly the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film, and Sports Development, was transferred to the non-profit Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina in October 2014 and renamed Visit North Carolina. Tuttell has been in North Carolina tourism since 2006. During this time, the office has been recognized with numerous national awards for excellence in marketing and advertising. He has served as chair of the board of directors of Travel South USA and serves on the board of the U.S. Travel Association. In 2022, Tuttell was named State Tourism Director of the Year by the National Council of State Tourism Directors. He has more than 30 years’ experience in the tourism industry including working for Universal Studios Florida and the Orlando/Orange County Convention & Visitors Bureau Inc. He graduated from the University of Florida and was also a reporter for the Anchorage (Alaska) Times. About Bruce Tyler Attorney Bruce Tyler, a 26-year Army veteran, and Michael Hinderliter opened Weldon Mills Distillery in 2019. Their quest to create a distillery in a historic building with character led them to Weldon, a historic town on the Roanoke River that's known as the “rockfish capital of the world.” Weldon Mills quickly became a regular award winner at competitions, including the East Coast Craft Spirits Awards, the Microliquor Spirit Awards, the SIP Awards and the San Diego International Wine and Spirits Challenge, which named Weldon Mills the Distillery of the Year for 2022. Best known for its bourbons (The All Malt, Reserve, Select and Soldier's Cut, which honors the 82nd Airborne Division and raises money for Gold Star Families), Weldon Mills also crafts vodka, gin, tequila and other spirits. Tyler is vice president of the Distillers Association of North Carolina Board of Directors. About Visit North Carolina: Visit North Carolina is part of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. Established in 2014, the EDPNC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that oversees the state's efforts in business and job recruitment and retention, international trade, and tourism, film and sports development. The mission of Visit North Carolina is to unify and lead the state in developing North Carolina as a major destination for leisure travel, group tours, meetings and conventions, sports events and film production. For more information on North Carolina’s destinations and travel assets, go to VisitNC.com. Contact Details YourUpdateTV +1 212-736-2727 yourupdatetv@gmail.com

April 26, 2023 11:28 AM Eastern Daylight Time

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