By JD Walker | Courier-Tribune

ASHEBORO - June will be a strong month for tourism both in 2013 and 2014, according to the Randolph County Tourism Authority (TDA).

This year, June 22-23 the authority is supporting the first Retire Asheboro, N.C. Open House, said Tammy O'Kelley, TDA director. People have been invited to take part in two days of activities including free exercise classes, tours of Randolph Community College and the downtown area, an Asheboro Copperheads game and complimentary tickets to the N.C. Zoo, among other perks.

O'Kelley said North Carolina has become magnet for retirees for many reasons, not the least of which is its central location on the East Coast. Randolph County, in addition to having affordable living and many great attractions, is perfectly situated in the center of the state.

Asheboro was designated a N.C. Certified Retirement Community in 2012. O'Kelley said the goal is to attract retirees, including those in the 50-plus age group, the fastest-growing demographic in the country.

In 2014, TDA will partner with Pinehurst for the U.S. Open Championships. Pinehurst hosted championships in 1999 and 2005. This is the first time a single venue has been chosen to host both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open Championships in successive weeks in 2014.

O'Kelley said Pinehurst is also the only USGA location to host all five major championships. She said TDA has been asked to help with the placement of signage, hosting ads and providing staff support at the southbound Visitor Center on U.S. 220 Bypass.

The authority is also working on a landing page on the Heart of Carolina website for the event. When visitors come to the site, they will be able to learn more about the event plus find information about the availability of hotels/motel rooms in the county.

Although the event is more than a year away, O'Kelley said the sale of tickets will begin on June 10 of this year.