OTTAWA — North Carolina is celebrating the nation's birthday outside of the country. Governor Jim Hunt and other delegates headed across the border to promote and improve the state's trading partnership with Canada.
More than 200 guests traveled to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to showcase the tastes and sounds of North Carolina.
"We are featuring North Carolina products, North Carolina hospitality and a lot of fun for everyone in Canada," says Hillsborough restaurant owner Sam Hobgood.
The beach music group, the Embers, some Cherokee dancers and singers from Fort Bragg entertained guests. U.S. Ambassador Gordon Giffin says he wants to attract more trade and tourism outside of the United States.
"People in Canada need to know more about the diversity in North Carolina where you have got the beautiful mountains, the sea coast and the beautiful golf courses," he says. "Canadians love to golf, but it's too cold and there is too much snow five months out of the year. If they know that you can golf in North Carolina all year-round, you will have Canadians there all of the time."
Giffin also has personal ties to North Carolina. He and his wife are graduates of Duke University and their daughter will attend Duke in the fall.
Hunt says he wants to expand the state's trading partnership with Canada.
"There are 60 Canadian firms in North Carolina right now," Hunt says. "We want a lot more to come. We want the others to expand, and I think they will expand by thousands of jobs in the next few years."
Restaurants across North Carolina joined the cause by sending 4,000 servings of barbecue, 1,200 pounds of shrimp, 1,250 racks of ribs and 6,000 pieces of Bojangles fried chicken across the border.
Canada has taken away some of North Carolina's film industry. Tourism leaders say it is because they cannot compete with the exchange rate, so state leaders chose a movie theme for the event. The theme was called "North Carolina on Location."
State leaders worked hard during the trip to figure out how to get some of the film business to return to North Carolina.