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by Brian Clarey

Here we are, cruising into a big holiday weekend, and the big news on the culinary front comes from homegrown doughnut maker Krispy Kreme, which as a special for the month of July has crafted a “Carolinasonly” confection sure to add a few tons to our collective weight. The new doughnut is named the “Cheerwine Kreme Filled Doughnut,” and I can feel my blood sugar rising just thinking about it.

Speaking of girth, KFC has introduced the next incarnation of its infamous Double Down sandwich, this one with an actual bun. Called the “Doublicious,” it’s pretty much the same thing but on a sweet Hawaiian roll.

More chain restaurant news: Boston Market has rolled back its signature meal price to $4.99, what it cost in 1985 when the first store opened. Panera Bread, which opened a pay-what-you-wish non-profit store this year in Clayton, Mo. is looking to expand the concept nationwide. And Chipotle wants you to forward all of your junk e-mails to nojunk@chipotlejunk.com, where they will somehow magically transform into meals for school children.

Also, YES! Weekly staffer Jessica Schell wants everyone to know that Java K’s in Greensboro is selling Bskinny coffee, which purports to burn fat and suppress appetite.

The week begins this afternoon with Wine Down Wednesday, as always, at the Greensboro Hilton Garden Inn at 5:30 p.m. with food, music and half-price wines. Also on Wednesday in downtown High Point, 98.7 Simon presents Picnic in the Plaza. From 11:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. lunchgoers can purchase a hot dog, veggie burger or hamburger with a drink and a side for just 98 cents. Proceeds benefit Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Thursday, the kickoff to the holiday weekend begins at the Winston-Salem Downtown Farmers Market with a watermelon-carving contest — judging begins at 11:30, followed, presumably, by a really big seed-spitting frenzy.

And Tuesday is Blackberry Day at Krankie’s Farmers Market, featuring pesticide-free fruit grown at Whitesell Farms in Gibsonville.

All the rest is cookouts and ice cream, folks.

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