For Our Betterment



Last year, the Winoca Records’ crew put on Take the Lake at Greenfield Lake, and this year’s WinocaFest at Battleship Park is somewhat of a reincarnation of that festival. With the emphasis on a nonprofit presence, this event is even more of a celebration of the community, says WinocaFest staff member Ashlie White.

“It has been a lot of work pulling together this festival and there’s much more work to be done,” she admits, “but when the first band takes the stage at noon on August 27th, I will certainly feel like it was all worth it.”

The much-anticipated event invites community organizations to come highlight and support their accomplishments, and 25 to 30 groups have committed to meet and greet the public to discuss current socially and environmentally conscious efforts in the Cape Fear region. Of the ilk is the newest local nonprofit: 1,000 People Who Care.

Founded a few short months ago, 1,000 People Who Care was originally established in Sarasota, Florida by people who wanted to give back to their community, make a difference and help neighbors. Inspired by the concept, a handful of people with a few ideas and dreams for the betterment of Wilmington decided they could do the same.

The discussion, which began in September 2010 about beautifying our city, has become a unification and mobilization of the community. Each member commits $100, with a promise to host member fund-raising parties, and every penny goes to a specific community betterment project each year. Project ideas from the community may be submitted via the website at (still in development stages). Upon submission, nine board members will decide on the best projects and then organize fund-raising events to finance them.

Co-founder Gay Adair has been a fixture of Wilmington for 20 years as an interior designer; however, as of late she says she’s felt the need to connect more with people who want and can make a difference. “I wanted to be in a position to make things better and not just complain about them,” she tells. “Things are kind of fractured in the world and 1,000 People Who Care seems like a tonic.”

With 60 members under their belt, 1,000 People Who Care are still the newest kids on the nonprofit block, so they’re being honored with a percentage of the WinocaFest proceeds to help them pick up momentum on developing projects, including a beautification and park project for the downtown post office lawn.

Adair insists anyone can and should approach with ideas by visiting their Facebook page or e-mailing her directly at In the end, Adair and 1,000 People Who Care share the load with every organization attending WinocaFest, as White explains.

“We are providing the space for other nonprofits at no cost,” she says, “so they can raise awareness, as well as funds for their individual organizations.”

Kevin Rhodes, founder of Winoca Records, which started the festival, and drummer of Onward, Soldiers (playing at WinocaFest), knows the impact of nonprofits and the need for community support. He is a veteran volunteer with Surfers Healing (also attending WinocaFest).
“I’ve been involved with several nonprofits, and I know how hard it is to reach out to people for support,” Rhodes admits. “Nonprofits need the opportunities like Winoca Fest to connect with the community and find more support.”

Thus, the nonprofits will benefit from that stage time in between acts, to enlighten audiences. Already scheduled are Gay Adair from 1,000 People and Sarah Gilliam from Stop Titan Action Network.

Also a member of the Cape Fear Green Building Alliance, Rhodes and his team has worked tirelessly for this event to have a low carbon footprint. Using solar generators and LED lighting, Rhodes insists green products and technology is increasingly better and more readily available. “It’s not any harder [to have a green event],” he insists. “You just have to be open to it.”

Committed to the reduction of waste throughout, Rhodes happily states the ommission of plastic water bottles sold on site. With the addition of the Blue Green Machine, people can fill up their own water bottles all day long for a one time $2 fee. “I first saw this at a festival at Shakori Hills,” White says, “and I felt like it would be perfect for WinocaFest.”

Though outside food and beverages are not permitted, WinocaFest currently has two vendors coming from Durham, NC: Pie Pushers and KoKyu, which are the most popular food trucks in the Triangle. “They both offer vegetarian or vegan options, and they take pride in buying from local farms,” White says. “We have also asked the Taco Truck, one of the only food trucks in New Hanover County, to join us.” Thirst has been anticipated as well, so New Belgium Brewing will be there to deliver.

All vendors have been asked to use corn-based or compostable items during the festival, because going green for this event has been nothing less than a multi-tiered collaboration of everyone represented at WinocaFest. Clean Energy Events, which has helped Winoca, will be one of many booths readily available to advocate public information about renewable energy and sustainability. The Full Belly Project, Cape Fear Surfrider Foundation, Cape Fear Audobon Society, Kids Making It, Earth Save SENC, Cape Fear Volunteer: Big Buddy Program, Half United, The Nature Conservancy, and so many more will be represented, too.

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