Winter blues? ‘After Dark’ 2018 comes to the rescue!

By on December 26, 2017

It’s no secret that life here can get a bit tough once we move past the revelry of ringing in the New Year.

It’s a challenge to get out of doors when the wind blows hard and cold, and many of the restaurants and nightspots are shuttered for the season, limiting opportunities to socialize.

But deep down, you know you are tired of binging on Netflix and Hulu reruns, which do little to overcome the dreary winter doldrums.

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Or perhaps you made a New Year’s resolution to learn something new, help local charities, or just get out of the house and meet new people.

If either applies to you — a case of the wintertime blues, or an ambitious list of resolutions for 2018, All Saints Church has your solution.

Like a warm summer breeze that revives the soul, All Saints Episcopal Church offers the perfect remedy for breaking up those winter blues— with the added bonus of taking some very cool classes while helping local charitable and other causes in the process.

Their slogan — “Light up your mind—and your smile” is right on the mark.

If you’ve wanted to learn basic yoga, here’s your chance.

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Or how about the basics of surf fishing, quilting, oil painting or overcoming fear of that room called the “kitchen.”

Jan. 29 through March 2, 2018 (with one class on March 6) are the dates classes are offered. More importantly, registration starts on Dec. 30, and many of these classes are offered only once and fill up quickly.

About After Dark

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For those not familiar with the event, After Dark is a program that gathers local volunteer experts from a variety of fields and each of them will teach a topical class that lasts about 90 minutes.

The quality of instruction is superb, and the lineup of instructors rivals those offered up by specialty schools and colleges.

Cooking classes are often taught by well-known restaurant chefs, art classes by recognized artists. Courses with an academic bent often feature instructors with Ph.D.s or real-life work experience as writers, professors, theologians, or government workers such as former employees of the State Department or other agencies.

Business owners take the helm for more technical courses such as tax prep, wine and beer tastings, computers and technology, wellness and the like.

Almost 90 courses are on tap for this season’s “semester” and they have been divided into several broad categories; cooking, history, computing, wellness, tastings (wine, cheese, beer), music, nature, creative expression, arts & crafts, and general interest — which runs the gamut from income taxes to understanding AirBNB to bathroom design and the strategy of mah-jongg.

The cost for each course is one of the best bargains on the beach. Adults pay $23 per course, with some courses such as cooking or art adding nominal fees of $5 to $10 for supplies.

For those under the age of 18, the class fee drops to $12.

Helping others while learning…

With the use of volunteer instructors, the small course fees collected help supplement All Saints Church’s community outreach program.

Over the past eight years, net proceeds from After Dark’have allowed the church to donate over $94,000 to local agencies and organizations helping those in need throughout the entire Outer Banks community.

How to Register

Let’s start with Saturday, Dec. 30, the first day of registration.

As has been a long-standing tradition, on Dec. 30, registrants must do so in person from 9 a.m. to noon at the All Saints church office at 40 Pintail Trail in Southern Shores.

You might think you want to pass on this short three-hour window, but folks in the know realize that many classes have limited space (as little as 10 students) and some of the most popular classes fill up as early as the first day.

There are limitations on this window. For example, you can only register three other people besides yourself on Saturday morning.

If you can’t make “live registration” on Saturday morning, telephone registration will be open on Dec. 30 from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. The phone number is 252-261-6674.

Going forward, in-person registration is available at the church starting Tuesday, Jan. 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on most weekdays.

While Monday through Thursday are normal business days, Fridays are not assured and anyone planning to register in person on any weekday might want to call ahead first to make sure staff is on hand.

There is no in-person registration on weekend days.

Telephone registration follows the same schedule as in-person, with the exception that payment must be made to All Saints within 48 hours of reserving your space, or the registration is canceled.

Information on registering by U.S. mail and email, as well as registration forms, full class schedules and descriptions and other important details, can be found at the main website: https://www.afterdarkallsaints.com/

A sample of offerings!

This list is far from exhaustive, so please check out the List of Classes here:

Every year prospective students can expect some favorite classes and instructors to return.

For example, “Kiki” and Dawn Kiousis return for another year. This year they are going to teach you to make a Greek spinach dish called Spanakopita.

Chef’s from The Salt Box, Blue Moon, Kill Devil Grill, Coastal Provisions, Bad Bean, Russo’s, Pigman’s and Agave Roja are also featured as instructors in the cooking arena.

Jim Bickford is holding a men’s only course that, when completed, should make even the most kitchen-averse man able to whip up a menu to serve a dinner party of eight.

In the history grouping, Lance Culpepper of The Lost Colony will offer a course on The Native People of NC’s Outer Banks, with other courses covering the role of “Pharaoh’s Daughter” in the Exodus of Moses and his people from Egypt, a look at the Civil War’s “Mosquito Fleet of Hatteras,” and a “History of American Women At War from the American Revolution to the Civil War.”

In the tastings area, you can learn about “Award Winning Cheese”’ from Trio cheese-monger Jennifer Minnich, home brewing from Tom Welch, a history of beer from Trio’s John Minnich, as well as Wine 101 with Dan Lewis of Coastal Provisions and more wine and cheese pairings from Trio’s Kenny Hyman.

One class combines music and martinis. Master mixologist John Tucker explores the perfect martini as All Saints organist and choirmaster Steve Blactock introduces students to the church’s new pipe organ which sports two manuals, 18 ranks, and 1,088 pipes.

Another class explores jazz from Brazil and Latin America.

Nature is important to our region and this year thyhave “Sea Turtles in Jeopardy,” “Native Plants on the Outer Banks,” an “Introduction to Bonsai,” “Tips for Moon Watching” and another introductory course on beekeeping.

If you want to explore your creative side, check out the “Novel Writing Boot Camp,” “Sacred Feminine Power Principles,” “Manual Photography and Long Exposure,” and “Thinking about Thinking: Skills of Effective Critical Thinking” taught by former NSA intelligence analyst Michael Fletcher.

Of course, there are also classes in oil painting, quilting, journal writing, stained glass, knitting and a host of other crafts.

Finally, the general interest category will introduce students to mah-jong, healthy pets, an intro to AirBNB, basic Outer Banks home maintenance, bathroom design and even shag dancing.

With a month of fun courses to choose from, by the time you finish learning all these new things, April showers will be just around the corner.

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