21st Annual At-Home Dad Convention Comes to Raleigh


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Henry Amador-Batten (at right) and husband, Joel, walk with their son. Amador-Batten will be a panelist at the At-Home Dad Convention in Raleigh, Oct. 7-9.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Rigby

I grew up in a generation that never expected that openly gay men would become fathers.

My mother passed before we had our first child but I’m sure that somewhere or another, after my coming out to her, she had come to terms with the fact that she would never be a grandmother. Lord, how I wish she could be here to see the two loving boys my husband and I have. She would be so proud and undoubtedly, surprised.

There’s no doubt that the shift in marriage equality is what ushered in this beautiful tide that has made way for the gay community to start to create families in numbers that could never have been imagined.

But that’s another story.

What so many of us never fully realized is that there is a sense of isolation and loneliness that comes with being something different, something new. Even now, after nearly  years of legal marriage and us proudly and openly raising our two sons, my husband and I can still count the number of two dad families, that we know of, on one hand.

That’s why shortly after our first son’s birth we founded an organization called DADsquared to help connect the gay dad community and make certain that our children met other families just like theirs. It’s not enough to just see a LGBTQ family on television, we need to connect on more human and personal levels. The mind watches television, the heart holds a hand.

But even this dad story is better left for another day.

Today I write about fatherhood on a broader and more universal level.

There is an amazing movement spreading across this land of dads standing up and joining forces to help end the stereotypes that seem to follow us around.

You know the ones I’m speaking of.

The distant or non-existent dads.  

The bumbling dads that can’t change a diaper. 

The sexist dads that don’t believe that changing a diaper is their job.

The dead-beat dads that leave an unsupported family behind.

The dads that need someone else to handle the nurturing.

I could go on and on but I’m sure you have already conjured up the images needed to at least understand where so many of these stereotypes originated. And some rightly so, the dad or husband you know may be one, if not more of those.

But the dads I write about are the ones that spend their days proving that they are not one of those fathers. Some do so silently, simply going about their days caring for their children often in ways that their fathers didn’t for them.

Photo courtesy of Lisa Rigby

Some are more vocal, advocating for advertisers to stop insinuating that only “moms” get it right. These dads challenge these companies to drop the gender-specific praise and finally agree that raising healthy, beautiful and well-rounded children is simply a “parents” responsibility.

Some of us, even take fatherhood to newer territories as stay-at-home dads, as the primary care takers of our children.

I’m one of those dads, and like so many others that assume this amazing role, I find myself in often precarious and humorous situations, like the time a lovely lady asked me if I wanted her to hold my screaming infant at a restaurant until my “wife” got back to the table, or at the park when the moms think it’s sweet of me to have given the boy’s mom some time to herself. I used to think of those experiences as teachable moments, but now I’m just too busy and quite frankly, too tired to bother. I just smile and nod.

And still other dads have taken those experiences and some of that loneliness that comes with being different and turned it into an amazing opportunity to connect and share and learn from one another in a way that compares to nothing else I have seen. The National At-Home Dad Network is hosting its 21st Annual At-Home Dad Convention. This year we are lucky enough to have it right here in Raleigh. Oct. 7-9.  It’s three solid days of unbelievable programing and classes and breakout sessions and roundtable discussions and speakers and so, so much more.

No attendee has ever left this event not feeling stronger, more energized, more knowledgeable, more capable and more connected to dads just like them, than before arriving.

You could say it's a brotherhood on fatherhood.

This year, I will actually be sitting on panel discussing LGBTQ rights and the struggles that gay dads face. Once again, the convention has found another way of connecting the dad community in a fuller and more inclusive way.

After all, at our core we are fathers first. Working on becoming better versions of ourselves, for some of us better versions than what our fathers were, for others better versions than what society says we are. But most importantly, we want to be the best we can be for our families.

And isn’t that what being an awesome parent is really all about?                                                                                                                                                             

Henry Amador-Batten lives in Durham, where he writes and cares for his two sons. He and his husband are the founders of DADsquared, (www.dadsquared.org/) an international community offering support and resources to gay fathers. He can be contacted at henryamadorbatten@gmail.com

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August 2018

Run Club meets every Sunday at 8 a.m. in Midtown Raleigh or Wake Forest. Stroller friendly; children invited. 

Cost: $10/run or $100/annual pass

Where:
Optimist Park Community Center/Greenways
5900 Whittier Drive
Raleigh, NC  27609
View map »


Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
Website »

More information

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
Website »

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Join Mindful Families of Durham, a Buddhist-inspired spiritual community that supports area parents, caregivers, and their children in the practice of mindfulness and the understanding of the...

Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Celebrate the benefits of a plant-based lifestyle with vendors, food trucks, free food samples and live music.

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Armory
220 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Website »

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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about carry positions, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to crawl,...

Cost: $18

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr
Morrisville, NC  27560
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This back-to-school celebration features indoor and outdoor eating areas, kids' activities, music and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn at Southpoint
7007 Fayetteville Rd.
Durham, NC  27713
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Enjoy a back-to-school event featuring a food truck rodeo, inside and outside eating areas, kids' activities and more. Take a non-perishable food item for Back Pack Buddies, an Inter-Faith...

Cost: Free

Where:
Hilton Garden Inn at Southpoint
7007 Fayetteville Rd.
Durham, NC  27713
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The Arc of the Triangle, Allegiant Air and The Arc of the North Carolina will co-host a Wings for Autism® event at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in partnership with the Transportation...

Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
2400 John Brantley Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Telephone: 919-942-5119 x117
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Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
2400 John Brantley Blvd.
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Cost: Free

Where:
Raleigh-Durham International Airport
2400 John Brantley Blvd.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Telephone: 919-942-5119 x117
Website »

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Discover how farmers preserved their food in the days before refrigeration. Learn about drying, pickling, canning and other techniques. All ages.  ages. Registration not...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Tour the farm, spend time with farmers who care about the environment and meet friendly animals. Tickets must be purchased online; the farm is not open for drop-ins.

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Hux Family Farm
1923 Shaw Rd.
Durham, NC  27704
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Learn about the importance of trees through games and hands-on activities. Make paper and  discover the goods that we get from trees. All ages with adult. Registration required...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
Apex, NC  27539
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Sunday, August 19, 2:00–3:00 p.m. Want to do more to help out your community park? Do you like history, the environment, agriculture and/or the arts? Consider volunteering at Yates Mill! Join us...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Study the vital role that wetland ecosystems play. Net macroinvertebrates, learn how to identify them and discuss their value in the aquatic environment. Wander through some of Lake...

Cost: Free

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Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
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Enjoy activities inspired by the boo, "Mind Your Manners, B.B. Wolf," by Judy Sierra. Ages 4-9. 

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Hillsborough Library
137 West Margaret Ln.
Inside McDougle Middle School
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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

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Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Read the story by Eric Carle, and practice counting and observing similarities and differences.  A short walk to look for crickets and other insects. Ages 18 months-3 years with adult....

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Little ones enjoy storytime.

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Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online.

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Cary, NC  27518
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Weekly basic skills cooking class for children aged 5-10 at Whole Foods North Raleigh.  This free class meets each Tuesday at 4 p.m. and is offered by registering in advance...

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8710 Six Forks Road
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Low-cost microcontrollers, such as the Arduino, have revolutionized the way we connect the real and virtual worlds. Learn Arduino programming and create projects using sensors...

Cost: Free

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Durham, NC  27703
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Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Registration required.

Cost: $15/resident, $19/nonresident

Where:
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Raleigh, NC
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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Read a story about cows, compare cow breeds, and learn about life on a dairy farm. Explore how milk is made into butter, cheese and other yummy products. Wrap up with an ice cream social and taste...

Cost: $7/child

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Contact Name: Rebecca Cope
Website »

More information

Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

Where:
Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
Cary, NC  27616
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Website »

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Learn about the exciting process that changes caterpillars into butterflies. Visit the butterfly garden while searching for butterflies and caterpillars!. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $4/child

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
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Show Less...

Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

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Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

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Nasher Museum of Art
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Take the fast track to nature in this hands-on study of ecology. Ages 8-12. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

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2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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A wonderfully kid-paced hour featuring music, play and dancing with toddler stars singing on the mic at Cotton's gently amplified & participatory music show. Children delight in...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Pump It Up Raleigh
10700 World Trade Blvd, #112
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

Cost: Free

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Barnes & Noble
5959 Triangle Town Blvd.
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Walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and the Triassic period and experience what it was like to be among living dinosaurs. See life-size replicas of adult and baby dinosaurs, dig...

Cost: $20-$34

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Personality Festival is a Roxboro tradition. Enjoy amusements rides along Main Street, food vendors, singers, dancers, craft and merchandise vendors, local businesses and more. Little Miss...

Cost: Free

Where:
Uptown Roxboro
211 N. Main St.
Roxboro, NC  27573
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Sponsor: Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 336-599-8333
Contact Name: Melissa
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Kids spend a night out in nature making memories and new friends in an old-fashioned, camp-style program. Ages 8-12. Register online. Choose course #117241

Cost: $15/resident, $19/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Take the family for a night of jigs, reels and anything Celtic. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Carrboro Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Celebrate the end of the "dog days of summer" by joining a park naturalist for an evening hike around the millpond. Learn tips for observing wildlife and find out ways to identify the...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27615
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-400-3288
Contact Name: Rebecca Cope
Website »

More information

Take a moonlit stroll down the Trail to the Beaver Creek bridge and back, listening and looking for nocturnal animals. Linger on the bridge to enjoy the wonderful sounds of nature and play some fun...

Cost: $1/person

Where:
American Tobacco Trail
1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park and the American Tobacco Trail
Telephone: 919-387-2117
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Morehead Planetarium presents a night of West African storytelling and stargazing at Historic Stagville. Learn about the oral tradition that might have been preserved by enslaved families. After...

Cost: Free. Donations welcome.

Where:
Stagville State Historic Site
5828 Old Oxford Hwy.
Durham, NC  27712
View map »


Telephone: 191-962-00120
Contact Name: Vera Cecelski
Website »

More information

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Camp Gladiator takes over the Durham Bulls Athletic Park featuring fun workouts designed for all fitness levels. Enjoy local vendors, music, food, gear and tons of giveaways....

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Bulls Athletic Park
409 Blackwell St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Camp Gladiator
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Contact Name: Marisa Park
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More information

Walk through the Cretaceous period, the Jurassic Period and the Triassic period and experience what it was like to be among living dinosaurs. See life-size replicas of adult and baby dinosaurs, dig...

Cost: $20-$34

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Enjoy a unique weekend celebrating the history of Tweetsie Railroad, the ET&WNC Railroad and mountain culture.

Cost: $0-$45

Where:
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Hundreds of artisans from across the Southeast, festival foods, demonstrations, a kids' play area and live music highlight the town's signature arts and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Town Hall Campus
316 N. Academy St.
Cary, NC  27513
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Stretch your way into creative and silly poses. Share fun memories from the summer, like building sand castles, spitting watermelon seeds, and diving into the swimming pool with our friends,...

Cost: $20 -$25

Where:
Funny Girl Farm
504 Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27707
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Telephone: 984-377-3113
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The Salvation Army of Wake County’s 7th annual Most Amazing Race Raleigh will take place Saturday, August 25 at popular locations throughout downtown Raleigh. The scavenger-hunt-like race is...

Cost: Teams must raise $300 to participate

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The Salvation Army of Wake County Corps Community Center
902 Wake Forest Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Celebrate North Carolina farming culture and history at Duke Homestead. Don't miss the looping contest and Hornworm Race. This event features live music, local arts and crafts vendors, hands-on...

Cost: Free

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Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
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Enjoy backpacks and school supplies while they last. Sponsored by Word of Truth St. Barnabas Presbyterian Church and Carolina Pines Community Center.

Cost: Free

Where:
Carolina Pines Community Center
2305 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27605
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Sponsor: Word of Truth St. Barnabas Presbyterian Church & Carolina Pines Comm Center
Telephone: (919) 831-6435
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Go nutty for nature as children satisfy some of their curiosity about the world around them and parents share in the joy of discovery. Ages 3-5 with parent. Register online.

Cost: $10/resident, $13/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

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Enjoy live entertainment, hands-on projects and gallery hunts.

Cost: Free

Where:
Nasher Museum of Art
2001 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Website »

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Personality Festival is a Roxboro tradition. Enjoy amusements rides along Main Street, food vendors, singers, dancers, craft and merchandise vendors, local businesses and more. Little Miss...

Cost: Free

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Uptown Roxboro
211 N. Main St.
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Sponsor: Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 336-599-8333
Contact Name: Melissa
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Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

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Quail Ridge Books
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The first Holly Springs Children's Business Fair allows children in Holly Springs and surrounding communities to showcase their entrepreneurial skills by launching their own business. Children...

Cost: Free

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Holly Springs Towne Center
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Little ones enjoy storytime.

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View the main power drive and milling machinery while exploring the mill's history and aspects of its preservation. All ages. Registration encouraged online; tickets available inside...

Cost: $5/adult, $3/ ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger.

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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Explore the historic heart of downtown Raleigh on a walking tour of Fayetteville Street. Tours highlight the people, places, architecture and political movements that have shaped...

Cost: Adults (18+) $10; Youth (7-17) $4; Children (6 & under) Free.

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Join staff for a morning in the gardens. Take a peek at a mini pond, composting area, pollinator garden and children’s garden. Ages 5 and older with family. Register online. 

Cost: $1/person

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3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
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More information

Enjoy giveaways, live entertainment, food, inflatables and more. Dog-friendly event.

Cost: Free

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US 64
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Sponsor: Lake Pine Plaza
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Enjoy live music. Take a blanket or lawn chairs. Pets and alcohol not permitted.

Cost: Free

Where:
Apex Nature Park Amphitheatre
2600 Evans Rd.
Apex, NC  27502
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Sponsor: The Halle Cultural Arts Center
Telephone: (919) 249-1120
Website »

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