Local writer and editor Tina Firesheets has written a book titled 100 Things to Do in Winston-Salem Before You Die. It came out in March and gives readers ideas for exploring the history and culture of the city. Wake Forest University student Vir Gupta spoke with Firesheets about her book. 

Interview highlights

On Firesheets' background and what brought her to the Triad:

"So I'm Korean-American. I was adopted, actually by a Japanese mother and a Caucasian father. And I grew up my whole life in western North Carolina and Appalachia. So I have only known what it was like to be Asian-American in the South and in the rural South. My mother was the only other Asian person I knew growing up until I went to college. So I did come here to go to UNCG. And I've also lived in the Triad for as long as I've been working. So I was familiar enough with Winston-Salem and had done many of the things already that are in the book."

On a few recommendations from the book:

"The things that come to mind immediately are Reynolda Village and Reynolda Museum and Gardens and Old Salem. And I love both of those. I love the Trade Street Arts District where you have three to four art galleries, featuring works of local artists. You have restaurants, you know, two of which have chefs that have been James Beard semi-finalists — Sweet Potatoes and Mission Pizza. We have ... Wise Man Brewing, Camel City BBQ, you have the Art Park which is great for people-watching and just enjoying the outdoors downtown."

On how Winston-Salem and Greensboro arts and entertainment scenes differ:

"I come back to the work that the city of Winston-Salem has done to reinvent itself from a textile and manufacturing town to a city of arts and innovation and the partnerships and the collaboration that it took to execute that successfully. So that's really inspirational and it shows you the possibility of what can be done. ... The thing that I really love about Greensboro is its diversity. Its long history of refugee resettlement that began after the Vietnam War. And the '70s, the Vietnamese were the first large group of refugees to resettle in the area. So now we're home to a pretty significant Vietnamese Montagnard community, Laos, Cambodian communities and as well as other refugee groups and immigrant groups. And that adds a richness and a flavor to a community." 

On ensuring diversity among the book's recommendations:

"One of the things I knew that I wanted to really draw attention to was the Triad cultural tours, and Cheryl Harry and the Black history tours that her group offers and some of the cultural preservation as well with the Happy Hills neighborhood project. But it was really important for me to include that part of Winston-Salem's history because a lot of times, Black and brown history and places is overlooked or overshadowed. ... One of the itineraries is a list of supporting Black-owned businesses. I included one of my favorite events in the city every year, which is the FIESTA [street festival] that's held in early- to mid-September is just a really good time if you enjoy food and music and culture. I highly recommend that event I try to make it every year."

*Correction: A previously broadcast version of this story incorrectly stated that the book came out in April. It was published in March. 

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