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Pender narrows search for tourism director to five

READ MORE: Pender narrows search for tourism director to five
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Pender County leaders say there is more to southeastern North Carolina than the beach, which is why they're looking for a new county tourism director. Officials have narrowed their search down to five candidates. They want to find someone with the right tourism experience. John Westbrook of Burgaw Antiques said, "That's what small town USA is all about, it's in Wilmington's back yard, and a lot of people just haven't ventured north to come here 20 miles." As the applications poured in, more than 70 people from across the nation wanted a piece of the southeastern North Carolina tourism pie. People who live and do business here say some of the best history and beauty lies in small towns like Burgaw. Vernon Harrell of Harrell’s Department Store said, "If people are going to the beach or Wilmington, we are an easy day trip. Westbrook explained, “The beauty of Pender County is it has more to offer in the area of tourism, than just the beaches." In the race to find a new tourism director for Pender County, local business owners like John Westbrook say it's important the candidate has experience. New Hanover and Brunswick Counties are filling up quick, and he says Pender County is the new place to be. “Just like a tube of toothpaste, it gets squeezed, and people start moving north." Vernon Harrell's family has run Harrell's Department Store for more than a century. Right now, his clients are all locals, but he hopes that will change as tourists start finding his town. “Essentially we are a quaint town, we are easy to get along with, we have easy parking, and so we have a lot of things that would attract us to tourists." Mayor Pete Cowan says it's essential to find the right person to fill this new position. He is looking forward to giving Burgaw more exposure, and letting people know about all it has to offer. A final decision will be made in January.

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Sara Kathryn Adams

Bring back Sara Kathryn Adams! She invented the Blueberry Festival out of thin air and now it's a huge draw that pulls people from multiple counties each year! She's also pretty cute!