February often seems endless and uninspiring as winter unfurls its last days. Nevertheless, it’s the month with dates set aside for groundhogs, romance and pre-Lent revelry. And it is a whole month of days to recognize the often neglected, always fascinating history of African Americans.
In her History column, Lauren Stepp visits South Asheville Cemetery, a burial ground for African Americans since the mid-1800s (p. 92) Here, caretakers like George Gibson honor the dead by keeping their resting places from falling to ruin and neglect. Nearby, the Shiloh Community Association works to preserve its historic neighborhood, moved to its present site by George Vanderbilt in the 1880s as he amassed the acreage that would become the Biltmore Estate. The Association will hold its annual Black History Celebration on Saturday, February 17, with an open invitation to all. (p. 53)
Groundhog Day, always on the second day of this second month, finds us all hoping that a fat, furry critter, hundreds of miles away, will amble out of his Gobbler’s Knob lair, cast no shadow and thus forecast an early spring. Artists on the second floor of the Wedge Studios in the River Arts District are marking Friday, February 2, by inviting all to a celebration (p. 33) of collective optimism that sunny spring days will be here soon.
Asheville holds its own Mardi Gras Parade on Sunday, February 11, (p. 78) with a celebration of the quirkiness that makes our city distinctive—and lovable.
If you still think February is for the birds—well, you’re right! The Audubon Society holds its Great Backyard Bird Count February 16–19. Visit birdcount.org to learn how to participate. And don’t miss our Sustainability column about birds adapting to winter and how you might lend a helping hand. (p. 90)
Enjoy the last brisk days of winter with eyes wide open to the promise of spring!