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A LOVELY AFTERNOON AWAITS: Local brand and marketing guru Michael Ussery curates a special Valentine’s Day market and fundraiser

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In honor of Valentine’s Day, Wilmington residents are invited to an early celebration for the holiday of love. There’s Something To Do, a group that organizes social events in the Port City, is hosting a “Lovely Afternoon Event” at the New Anthem Beer Project on Sunday, Feb. 12. Michael Ussery, the curator behind it, hopes to bring together fellow citizens to shop from local vendors, while in turn helping others in need.

16266229_374438429578261_2192940486483010586_n“There’s Something To Do was a direct result of working with creative people and makers who wanted to help Wilmington get more involved with what’s going on—and just simply not having enough time to see friends,” Ussery explains. “I wanted to have markets where local makers can sell their items, markets where the community can see all the cool things happening here, and gather friends together in one place.”

Ussery started There’s Something To Do in 2015. As a brand developer in the Port City, he loves working with local businesses, artists and entrepreneurs to help them reach their full potential in terms of brand and marketing. Essentially, he’s hyper-aware of social trends and movements.

“I try to soak up everything from movies to music to art to conversations,” he says. “I’ve been challenging myself to be more aware of my surroundings because what you allow into your mind and heart is what’s going to come back out.”

Ussery finds inspiration at every turn, but especially from his friends and projects his clients are undertaking. “Hearing about their passion, watching their hands make things, and being a part of their dream is not only inspiring but also motivating to keep pushing myself to be better at what I do,” he praises, “and to learn more than I already know, and challenge myself to see with new eyes.”

One of Ussery’s greatest joys in his line of work is seeing clients realize even their biggest dreams and goals are within reach. Seemingly, it opens more light and ideas.

“It’s hard to explain,” he says, “but when that moment comes, when they decide they’re finally going to go for their dream—being allowed to be a part of that experience is such an honor.”

There’s Something To Do hosted its first event in December two years ago. “It was the largest, both in attendance of shoppers and vendors,” Ussery states. Lovely Afternoon will be the group’s fifth event in Wilmington—a smaller one, with only 10 or 12 vendors in the space, all curated to fit around the Valentine’s theme. Vendors include Sullivan Anlyan Art, I Like It Here Club, Merewif, Shelton Metal, Colin Peterson, Blossom Bay Botanicals, Sweets by Brittany Henline, Tay Ham Greeting Cards, Dirty Little Love Notes, Hexed, Carleigh Sion, Legacy Eyewear, Forge & Foundry, and Melissa Tyson Designs.

“From cards to candy and treats to plants and jewelry, I curated a group of makers who could solve every Valentine’s Day gift need,” Ussery says.

While There’s Something To Do is passionate about helping local business and the community come together in fellowship, they also aim to help the less fortunate. By participating in the event, guests will be simultaneously helping Wilmington Domestic Violence Shelter and Services Inc. A percentage of vendor fees and bar sales will go to the nonprofit.

“This year, more than years past, I’ve realized I, too, have to stop talking about it and start being about it, in regards to making a positive influence or change in the world around me,” Ussery expresses. “I might not be able to make a national impact, but locally, I can rally my energy and friends to help out people in need, and I need to do more of it.”

For anyone looking for the perfect last-minute gift for their Valentine, Lovely Afternoon will be the sweetest spot to find it. The event begins at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 12 and will last until 6 p.m. at the New Anthem Beer Project, downtown Wilmington’s newest brewery (116 Dock St.). Guests are asked to bring a fuel gift card of $5 to $10 to be donated to the Wilmington Domestic Violence Shelter.

Lovely Afternoon Event
Sunday, Feb. 12, 3 – 6 p.m.
New Anthem Beer Project
116 Dock St.
Entry: $5-$10 fuel gift card, to benefit Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Inc.

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Encore Magazine regularly covers topics pertaining to news, arts, entertainment, food, and city life in Wilmington. It also maintains schedules and listings of local events like concerts, festivals, live performance art and think-tank events. Encore Magazine is an entity of H&P Media, which also powers Wilmington’s local ticketing platform, Print and online editions are updated every Wednesday.

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