8 North Carolina Dads Featured in New Book


Published:

Austin Dowd, a Raleigh dad, and I met through the National At Home Dad Network. At the 2015 National At-Home Dad Convention, Austin and I discussed his idea about shooting environmental portraits of dads and how to turn it into a coffee table book about dads.

I loved the idea and suggested adding a form with questions for dads to answer and also add photos of dads with their kids. The result was pure gold with dads opening up and sharing endearing photos of them with their kids and intimate facets of fatherhood.

"DADLY Dads: Parents of the 21st Century" is the first coffee table book of its kind in the book industry. The book, which will be available in June, features 115 dads from a variety of family dynamics and 11 countries. Of the 115 there are eight dads who live in North Carolina. Henry Amador-Batten of Durham; Jerred Copeland, Wes Hall and Daniel Wilkerson of Cary; James Kline of Apex; Scott Price and Dylan Ward of Holly Springs; and Darrell Humphrey of Charlotte.

Austin and I created this coffee table book for the sole purpose of educating the world about the true image of dads as parents, which embodies the same kind of unconditional love, compassion and dedication that exists in moms as parents. This book is a friendly invitation to embrace a view of dads from a different lens than the one our culture and media’s constant portrayal of dads as incompetent, bumbling parents who are not as trustworthy as moms and could never raise a child and/or be the primary caregivers as well as moms.

We don’t know how or why this negative stereotyping of dads started and continues to exist today. What we do know is that the buck needs to stop here in the best interest of the KIDS!

To demonstrate the importance of why our positive message about today’s modern dads should be important to society and especially the kids who will eventually become future parents, we’d like to highlight stories about two dads, and also share our observations about how these daily occurrences deliver the wrong kind of message. 

Story No. 1

One day a mom gave a neighborhood dad the best compliment she could give him. She entrusted the care of her child to him. However, a week later she called the dad on the telephone and said, “I can no longer leave my child in your care.”

“Why?” He asked.

“I’m sorry. But my husband will not allow it anymore.”

Story No. 2

After a dad and teenage son arrived at their neighborhood community pool and sat in the lounge chairs, two moms approached the dad and said, “We don’t think it would be appropriate for you to sit next to these teenage girls.”

The dad obliged the moms and he and his son left the area and found another place to sit.

In both of these unfortunate scenarios, the husband and two moms rushed to an unfair judgment of the dad’s character. We feel there is another option they never considered in handling their concerns about the dads.

In the first story, the husband could have scheduled a personal phone call and/or meeting with the dad to get to know him better. During that time the dad would more than likely feel comfortable trusting his child in the care of this dad. This is a courtesy many parents provide to people they meet for the first time, such as babysitters, daycare providers and preschool teachers.

In the second story, the two moms could have also exercised the following approach.

“Hello, my name is Cathy and this is Stacey. We’ve never seen or met you before and would like to welcome you to the pool. If there is anything you need, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help.”

This kind of warm and welcoming introduction increases the chances of a more positive outcome and also squelches any fears and concerns the moms may have had about the dad.  

What we feel is also disappointing about the second story is that the dad and two moms overlooked how they contributed to the unfortunate stigma about dads not being good parents and passed it on to the teenage kids, who will more than likely become the next generation of parents.

For the boy there is the emotional trauma of watching two women emasculate his dad. His dad also did not serve as a good role model by surrendering to these two moms' unwarranted request.

The dad had another option: He could have used this as an opportunity to educate the moms and demonstrated to his son, in a constructive way, how to stand up for masculinity, for his role as a dad and for other dads in his position. He could have said:

“I’m sorry you feel this way ladies. My name is David. I live in this neighborhood. I’m here to enjoy the community pool with my son and chose these lounge chairs to sit with him. I’d like to assure you that I’m not a threat to these teenage girls. I would like to ask you ladies a question. What did you just teach these teenage girls with your request for me to leave and find another place to sit?”

The truth is that the community pool is a public place, in which a person is allowed to freely choose where to sit. Also, the dad did not pose a threat to the teenage girls, but more importantly, the moms may have taught the teenage girls to fear and not trust men.

Our message to parents is to consider the first course of action, which is to get to know the man behind the title of dad, before rushing to judgment.

We’d like to briefly share information about some of the exceptional dads you will meet in this book.

Patrick Emerson, a California dad who works as a deckhand on a supply boat that runs crew and cargo offshore for the oil rigs in Santa Barbara. His work schedule requires him to be away from his family for a week at a time.

Richard Blake, a Colorado dad who serves as the primary caregiver for his family.

Mike Beltran, a California single dad who received full custody of his son and works as a referee.

Kelly Farley, an Illinois dad who, in an 18-month period, experienced the loss of two babies: daughter Katie in 2004, and son Noah in 2006.

Mark Goblowsky, a Nebraska single dad whose son, Josh, suffered a massive traumatic brain injury due to a hit-and-run accident. Josh must wear a helmet for his safety and struggles to function like a normal person.

David Drysdale, a United Kingdom dad of two children. At the time we invited David to share his story, he was diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, David died peacefully before the publication of this book on July 4, 2016. (Austin and I would also like to acknowledge David’s amazing wife, Misol, who graciously honored David’s request to participate in this book.)

Nick Thorpe, a United Kingdom dad who adopted a child. Nick wrote the Tribute to David Drysdale, which we included in this book.

Pablo Elizaga, a New York dad who, after he announced to his wife he was gay, has a unique long distance and wonderful father-child relationship with his daughter who lives in Argentina.

Jason MacKenzie, a Canadian dad who lost his wife to suicide and, with the help of his second wife, conquered his alcohol and drug addiction.

David Mike, a Nebraska dad who had been incarcerated in a military prison for dishonorable desertion. After his release he turned his life around and became a productive citizen and wonderful dad. Austin and I included David to demonstrate that it is possible for a dad who made a mistake and/or committed a crime to turn his life around for the better and become a responsible and productive parent.

Darius Walker, a Wisconsin dad (of one child) who is serving a life sentence in a correctional facility. Austin and I included Darius to demonstrate that regardless of the crime a dad commits, concrete walls should not condemn or prevent him from building a relationship with his child(ren). Although incarcerated dads committed a crime and were sentenced by our legal system, Austin and I feel it is not our place to judge these dads while they serve their time in prison. They are still dads! Our attempt to invite and include incarcerated dads in this book wasn’t easy. Correctional facilities' strict policies made it difficult for inmates to participate in the book and for us to gain access to them. All but one of the inmates who contacted me gave up. The one inmate is Darius Walker. Darius has not only demonstrated an enormous amount of perseverance but also expressed remorse for his crime as well as his passion to continue being a father to his son. 

Shawn Fludd, a California dad who became a father at the age of 16 to a son who is now 20 years old. Shawn and his first wife divorced. He married again and he and his wife are parents to three children under age 5.

Wes Hall, a North Carolina dad who survived cancer but lost his right leg at the age of 15. After he retired from the YMCA in 2008, he and his wife made a decision for him to be the primary caregiver for their family.

Brian Knowler, a Canadian dad who works as a policeman and is a post dramatic stress disorder survivor. In March 2016 he debuted a book about his struggles with PTSD. The title of the book is "On the Other Side of Broken – One Cop’s Battle With the Demons of PTSD." 

Dylan Ward, a North Carolina gay dad who, with his partner and despite a difficult journey, adopted a 2-year-old boy.

After you acquaint yourself with this outstanding, diverse group of 115 dads, Austin and I believe you will come to the same conclusion we have about the true state of fatherhood: That the responsible, active, nurturing caring, loving, dedicated dads far outnumber the irresponsible, absent dads. But more importantly, we hope you'll see that fatherhood is alive in well all over the world!

The book is available for purchase in bookstores, at Amazon.com and other at retail outlets. The hard cover version is $39.95 and the paperback version is $27.95. If you’d like to contact the coauthors or preorder an autographed copy at a discount from one of the authors, please email Hogan Hilling at hogan@unitedweparent.com.

 

Hogan Hilling is a parent and nationally recognized and Oprah-approved author of 10 published parenting books in addition to the "Dads Behaving DADLY" book series. Hilling was the primary caregiver to three boys for 20 years. He has appeared on Oprah and ABC’s "The Story of Fathers and Son." He is also the founder of United We Parent and lives in Southern California.

 

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October 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
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM
Telephone: 919-348-0472
Contact Name: Missy Currin
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North Carolina's signature event features live music, carnival rides, delicious food, kids' entertainment and more. See website for hours and ticket prices.  

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
N.C. State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Enjoy a craft fair presented by the Junior League of Raleigh. See website for hours and to purchase advance tickets.  

Cost: $10/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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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
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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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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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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
Contact Name: Rebecca Quinones
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Discover the origins of the State Fair at a display table, and learn the history behind some of its tasty treats. Make a fair-related craft to take home. All ages. Registration not required.

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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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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Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Registration required.

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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The Midtown Raleigh Alliance invites you to join in for a fall festival of events for the entire family (even the dog!) This year’s event promises another fun-filled day ~ including a live...

Cost: Online - $10 adult, $5 ages 6-16, free 5 and under, $25 family.

Where:
Coastal Credit Union Midtown Park @ North Hills
4011 Cardinal at North Hills St.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Midtown Raleigh Alliance and Capital Bank
Telephone: 919-438-2210
Contact Name: Emily Holton
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Cost: $12/person. Free for ages 3 and younger.

Where:
Stewart Theatre, Talley Student Union
2610 Cates Avenue
Raleigh, NC  27695
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Sponsor: NC State LIVE
Contact Name: Liza Green
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Celebrate local food and the community it inspires at Chickadee Farms, a female-run, organic vegetable farm in Clayton. Enjoy slow-roasted pig raised by Little Eco River Farm, Southern...

Cost: $25 for adults, $5 for kids, free for children 3 and under

Where:
Chickadee Farms
980 McLemore Rd
Clayton, NC  27520
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Sponsor: Chickadee Farms
Telephone: 919-418-9628
Contact Name: Jenn Sanford-Johnson
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Children ages 11 and older with special needs make snacks for furry friends. Register online. Choose course #116722.

Cost: $19/resident, $24/nonresident

Where:
Herbert C. Young Community Center
101 Wilkinson Ave.
Cary, NC  27513
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Enjoy a fun rotation through hands-on stations to learn about a variety of fall topics. Interact with the topics and volunteers at each activity. Activities range from hands-on learning experiences...

Cost: $5.00 per child for Arboretum Family members, $7.00 per child for nonmembers

Where:
JC Raulston Arboretum
4415 Beryl Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Telephone: 919-513-7011
Contact Name: Elizabeth Overcash
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Learn how bats fly, catch their food, where they live, and what they do all winter. Preregistration recommended. Program includes story, craft, and outdoor experience.

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
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Enjoy an evening stroll to watch the moon rise and learn about the natural world after dark. Dress warmly, wear good walking shoes, and take water and a flashlight. Ages 10 and older. Register...

Cost: $9/member, $12/nonmember

Where:
North Carolina Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Sponsor: North Carolina Botanical Garden
Telephone: 919-537-3770
Contact Name: Elisha Taylor
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Learn why leaves turn color during the fall season. Enjoy a one-hour tour of native trees in the park.

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Celebrate with this annual tribute to the state vegetable.

Cost: Free

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State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Learn why leaves turn color during the fall season. Enjoy a one-hour tour of native trees in the park.

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Enjoy movies, trick-or-treating in the shopping district, a costume contest for kids and adults, free hayrides and more.

Cost: Free

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Park West Village
Village Market Place, corner of 54 and Cary Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Take the family out for a night of trick-or-treating, hayrides, music and a free outdoor movie-screening at sunset. Enjoy discounts and specials at select restaurants and shops in the District for...

Cost: Free

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The District at Park West Village
3400 Village Market Place
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Contact Name: Conner
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Ghostly games, activities, face painting, haunted maze and more highlight this annual event for all ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Flaherty Park Community Center
1226 N. White St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Learn how information is protected online. Students will work on puzzles, encryption and code breaking. At the end of the lesson students will see if they can figure out encrypted information....

Cost: Free

Where:
Spreedly
733 Foster Street
Durham, NC  27701
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Learn about area charter schools and speak to school representatives. Snacks provided.

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Arts Council Allenton Gallery
120 Morris St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: NC Association for Public Charter Schools
Telephone: 336-669-9996
Contact Name: Rhonda Dillingham
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Enjoy mischief, magic, spirits and fortunes. Enjoy a kid-oriented daytime version of the popular Halloween Phantasmagoria event with crafts and hands-on activities. Learn all about...

Cost: $5 donation per car

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
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Wander the garden to see glowing pumpkins and follow a scavenger hunt. Make your own natural potions, meet live critters, design a candy catapult, and create leaf art. Enjoy treats and prizes. Take...

Cost: $5/person. Free for ages 3 and younger

Where:
North Carolina Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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Sponsor: NC Botanical Garden
Telephone: 919-249-8404
Contact Name: Andrew Torlage
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Fly into the world of "Stellaluna" to discover bats, owls and other nocturnal animals. Make a craft. Ages 3-10 with adult. Register online.

Cost: Free

Where:
Good Hope Farm
580 Morrisville Carpenter Rd.
Cary, NC  27519
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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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. 

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

This annual celebration of multiculturalism brings together nearly 60 international groups who call the Triangle home. Explore the world through main stage performances, cultural exhibits, world...

Cost: $5-$15/person

Where:
Raleigh Convention Center
500 S. Salisbury St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: International Focus
Telephone: 919-782-0552
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Get ready for a day filled with Lexington barbecue, live music and family friendly attractions as NC By Train gets you to the Lexington Barbecue Festival on Oct. 27, dropping you off at the welcome...

Cost: Train price varies; free festival

Where:
Raleigh Union Station
510 W. Martin St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: NC By Train
Telephone: 800-298-7246
Contact Name: Alison Boswell
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Enjoy enrichment classes for grades pre-K to 8th grade. Super Saturday is a bi-annual event organized by PAGE (Partners for the Advancement of Gifted Education) of Wake County.  To...

Cost: $20-$25 per class

Where:
Triangle Math and Science Academy
312 Gregson Drive
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: PAGE of Wake County
Contact Name: Suzy Wang
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Live entertainment, a kids' zone, corn hole competition, food trucks, and arts and crafts vendors highlight this annual festival in Holly Springs.  

Cost: Free

Where:
Sugg Farm at Bass Lake Park
2401 Grigsby Ave.
Holly Springs, NC  27540
View map »


Website »

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Explore magnet programs in the Durham Public School system.

Cost: Free

Where:
Southern High School
800 Clayton Rd.
Durham, NC  27703
View map »


Website »

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Learn how bats fly, catch their food, where they live, and what they do all winter. Preregistration recommended. Program includes story, craft, and outdoor experience.

Cost: $3

Where:
Wilkerson Nature Preserve
5229 Awls Haven Drive
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-6764
Contact Name: Wilkerson staff
Website »

More information

Children's booksellers read their favorite picture books. All ages.

Cost: Free

Where:
Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Website »

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Take the family for a grassroots outdoor music event

Cost: Free

Where:
River Park
106 E. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Website »

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Enjoy food trucks, a petting zoo, costume contests for adults and pets, trick or treating at downtown businesses, a hay ride, children’s arts and crafts, balloon artistry,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Cary
South Academy Street
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: The Heart of Cary Association
Telephone: 919-561-3340
Contact Name: Nanette Mattox
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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.

Where:
City of Raleigh Museum
220 Fayetteville St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Learn about local bats and the wonderful things they do for humans. Wrap up the session by making a night creature luminary to use in fall celebrations. Appropriate for ages 5 and older....

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27614
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Telephone: 919-870-4330
Website »

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Man's best friend is featured in a family-friendly event that includes dog shows, a canine costume contest, parade, photo booth and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Website »

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Wear a costume and take part in the inaugural Trick or Trot 5K at Wendell Falls. Prizes will be awarded for the fastest runners in costume and awards for the best-dressed runner. Awards will...

Cost: $30/person

Where:
Wendell Falls
320 Vintage Point Lane
Wendell, NC  27591
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Website »

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Don a costume and experience the magic of Marbles after dark with family-friendly Halloween activities. Purchase tickets online; this event sells out quickly.

Cost: $12-$18/person

Where:
Marbles Kids Museum
201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Website »

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Explore historical concepts of spiritualism, awe and wonder from the 19th century at Duke Homestead in this no-scare event. Wander the property to see what wonders you can find. All ages....

Cost: $10 plus tax per person in advance, $15 plus tax at the door.

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
View map »


Website »

More information

This annual celebration of multiculturalism brings together nearly 60 international groups who call the Triangle home. Explore the world through main stage performances, cultural exhibits, world...

Cost: $5-$15/person

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


Sponsor: International Focus
Telephone: 919-782-0552
Website »

More information

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