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Travel tips River cruises

Club to discuss benefits of European trips

With the combination of high fuel costs and a down-turning economy, many would-be travelers are looking for bargains. To learn more about the benefits of European river cruises, as opposed to sea-going cruises, join the Magellan Travel Club, 7p.m. Tuesday, room 203 in the Fellowship Hall, Covenant Presbyterian Church, 1000 E. Morehead St.

Fred Cook of Cruisemasters will discuss the reasons European river cruises are growing in popularity. These cruises offer the same benefits as sea-going cruises, just on a smaller scale. Many of the ships have a capacity of about 150 passengers and include larger staterooms. River cruises also offer shore excursions. Cook will also present information detailing river routes including the Rhine, Elbe, Danube and Moselle. The meeting is free. Details: 704-366-0404; or email Bob Taylor at

Bluegrass festival Cape Fear River

Party promises a stompin' good time

The sixth annual Southern Coastal Bluegrass Festival will be 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sept. 20 (a Saturday) and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sept. 21 (a Sunday) at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Center, near Kure Beach.

This year's musical lineup includes the Barnraisers, L-Shape Lot, the Tony Williams Band, the Wells Family, Ted Jones and the Tarheel Boys, Hagar's Mountain Boys, the Sounds of Grass, County Farm and the Out on the Ocean Contra Band. There will be other activities such as folk stories with John Golden, an open mike jam session (for those who bring instruments), clogging, square dancing, wall climbing, arts and crafts, and clowns to entertain the kids. Food includes seafood, funnel cakes, barbecue, Greek cuisine, hot dogs, hamburgers, gourmet popsicles, soft drinks, beer and wines.

No coolers or pets are allowed. Daily admission: $15 (advance purchase: $10); two-day passes at the gate: $25; 12 and younger free with paying adult. Details: 910-791-9773; www.coastalblue

Ceremony Mount Vernon, Va.

Estate commemorates Slave Memorial

George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate and Gardens and Black Women United for Action will host a program and wreath-laying ceremony to honor slaves who lived and worked on the estate, 11 a.m. Sept. 27.

The ceremony will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of the estate's Slave Memorial, designed in 1983 by Howard University students (several of whom are expected to attend). The event will feature dramatic readings and performances, African drumming and uplifting music in recognition of the slaves' sacrifices and contributions to the formation of our nation. There will also be a special salute to the men and women who have served in the U.S. military over the centuries.

Admission: $13; $12 for 62 and older; $6 for 6-11; 5 and younger, free. Mount Vernon, in Mount Vernon, Va., is near the southern end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway, 16 miles from Washington. Details: 703-780-2000; www.mount Rochelle Reynoldson