Born in 1988

Perspectives from a new generation of parents


Published:

Photo courtesy of Samantha Krafte

Samantha Krafte and her parents in 1988.

Thirty years ago, Carolina Parent was born. So were many of today’s parents. To reflect on how life has changed over the years — and the state of parenting today — we gathered insight from a few moms who also turned 30 this year (or will before the year ends). While some of the tools and tactics have changed over time, today’s parents want many of the same things their parents did: happy, healthy, well-adjusted kids who are ready to better their community and world.


Building on Tradition

Every generation is different, but the most persuasive examples of how to parent (or, sometimes, how not to) often come from one’s own parents and childhood experiences.

“My parents did a wonderful job of loving us and growing our confidence as individuals,” says Natalie Carmen, a North Carolina native who was born in Durham and currently lives in Raleigh with her husband, Andrew, and 2-year-old son, Daniel — and has another baby on the way. “We are still early in the active parenting stage as far as discipline, education, and creating rhythms and traditions.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF Morton Photography

Andrew, Natalie and Daniel Carmen enjoy a ride at Pullen Park.


Carmen and her husband are fans of transparent parenting. “We are committed to letting our children see us disagree, communicate openly, forgive and find resolution,” she says. “For us, the most important aspects of that process are demonstrating healthy communication and demonstrating the need to give and receive forgiveness. While it can be scary to expose our children to the parts of our personality that cause embarrassment, it is more important to us that we demonstrate humility and the characteristics that make us most human. We aim to build on the skill sets that our parents taught us, and we hope that our children, in turn, are able to build upon the skills we teach them.”

Samantha Krafte of Durham, mom to 20-month-old Max, places a strong emphasis on family, since it was instilled in her as a child.

“Growing up Italian-American meant everything centered around family,” she says. “We are lucky to be raising our son 20 minutes from my dad, my brother and my husband’s parents. We prioritize family visits on weekends and put our little family first, no matter what.” 

Krafte’s father, Jack Marcheschi of Chapel Hill, now gets to witness his daughter and son-in-law’s family-centered parenting approach firsthand.

“Both parents put their son’s needs and welfare first, and are willing to sacrifice their own needs and pleasures for those of their child,” Marcheschi says. “They are remarkable about sharing care for the baby, and my son-in-law is a much more hands-on dad than I was, and I admire him for that. I always knew my daughter would be a great mom because of the type of person she is. My grandson is very lucky to have the two parents he has.”

Another way that parents today are building on their experiences is through family traditions.

“My parents excelled in building traditions around family time,” says Lauren Sweetman of Cary, mom to 2-year-old Jack. “We spent most of our holidays celebrating with my grandparents, and most Fridays we would do something fun as a family. I want my son to recognize the importance of family. I’m looking forward to building our own traditions as he gets older.”

“Parenthood is beautiful, but it’s also the hardest thing many people will ever have to do, and I can’t imagine going through it without the wonderful people in my life.” — Chelsea Hartweg of Raleigh, mom to 2-year-old Ellie

Making Changes

“I feel like I parent really differently from my parents,” says Cheri Armour of Raleigh, mom to 2-year-old Liam. “I feel like I and a lot of parents don’t spank, which was perfectly acceptable when we were growing up. We care about added sugar, and we take what our kids may feel or have to say into account.”

Armour feels that, over time, her parents have softened their ways, thanks in part to seeing how she and her husband now raise their son. She has observed that as grandparents, her parents are much more relaxed toward their grandchild, instead of applying the stricter parenting style they used with her. Armour studied social work at North Carolina State University, which she says has influenced some aspects of her parenting style.

“I think there’s more of an understanding that when your 2-year-old is acting like a complete animal, that’s okay — their frontal lobe isn’t developed,” she says. “They’re making a lot of leaps, and they’re not just being malicious or manipulative. A lot of times, they’re going through something.”


Striving With Intention

Many of today’s moms and dads keep certain intentions in mind regarding how they parent. They strive to consider the big picture and long-term impact of how they’re raising their children. They might look to different resources — books, friends or parenting methods — to help shape their opinions and strategies. At the same time, they hope to offer grace, both to their kids and themselves, as they figure everything out.

“My style is I do what works. I know not every kid is going to be the same, so you have to meet your kids where they are,” Armour says. “I think I want my kids to remember that I really did the best I could, the best way I knew how. I hope they remember the reading, the dancing, the laughing, the jokes and the trips to Whole Foods to find dinner when I ruined a Crock-Pot creation.”

Photo courtesy of Jen Hershberger

Jen Hersherger and her dad in Greensboro


Jen Hershberger, who was born in Greensboro and now lives in Wake Forest, feels her Southern upbringing shaped her in many ways. She hopes to pass along everything from manners and hospitality to an appreciation for nature to her 14-month-old son, Nolan. She isn’t just thinking about how she parents now, but also about who her son will grow up to be.

“I hope to give my tiny human all the love, freedom, safety and security he needs to be a great adult who contributes positively to his community,” Hershberger says. “I want my son to value kindness and compassion for others. I want him to be able to succeed on his own for himself, and not just to please others. I want him to learn how to keep himself motivated and inspire others around him.”


Tapping Into Technology

A major presence in modern parenting that wasn’t around 30 years ago is the internet. Whether today’s parents use it to research a topic or set up playdates via social media, the wide variety of digital resources available can prove beneficial and overwhelming.

“My parents relied on the wisdom of past generations, their pediatrician and those around them,” says Lily*, a mom in Clayton. “In the internet age we have ‘Dr. Google’ and the experiences of parents all over the world to compare our parenting choices to. It’s a blessing and a curse to have so much information at our fingertips.”

But with that additional information also comes extra support. “I have found wonderful communities on Facebook and Instagram of like-minded parents,” Lily* adds.

Jenna Barnett, who started the “Millennial Mom” blog at millienialmom.tv when her daughter was born, aims to bring a voice to millennial parents’ needs. “Millennial parents seem to really love Facebook mom groups, and we use them as a resource for product and service recommendations, and parenting advice and techniques from fellow moms. It’s pretty amazing that at any time I can just go on Facebook and access a group of almost 40,000 fellow moms and ask questions like, ‘What potty training techniques worked for you?’ ‘Does anyone have tips for weaning my baby off the bottle?’ ‘What’s everyone’s favorite sippy cup that doesn’t leak?’”


Seeking Community

Whether established online or through various activities, today’s parents value community. When families are spread out across the country — or even across town — the “village” it takes to raise a child may look different than a tight-knit neighborhood of friends and family, but it’s still there.

“I wholeheartedly believe that your village can make or break your parenting experience. We were built for community, and we need to have that network of people to help support us,” says Chelsea Hartweg of Raleigh, mom to 2-year-old Ellie. “Parenthood is beautiful, but it’s also the hardest thing many people will ever have to do, and I can’t imagine going through it without the wonderful people in my life.”

Photo courtesy of Chelsea Hartweg

Chelsea Hartweg, her husband, Dana, and daughter, Ellie.


For example, Hartweg hired a doula for childbirth and later helped establish a co-op playschool for young children. She also finds child care support through both her mother and mother-in-law, and is active in several local and online mom groups.

“The amazing people I’ve met from some of those groups have become really close friends of mine — a few of which I really consider co-parents to our family,” Hartweg says. “Having someone you can call when you’re losing it, and then go to their messy house unshowered and just sit together, can be just what you need for those late afternoons when the kids are starting to lose it.”

Being able to turn to a community of parents who may be going through the same experiences works in a therapeutic way for many of today’s moms.

“I know the concept of ‘a tribe’ may sound cliche, but having a circle of other new-ish mothers has been pretty pivotal,” says Lauren Freudenberger of Louisburg, mom to 10-month-old Myles. “I haven’t been in this game long, but so far, one of my biggest efforts has been to curb my anxieties. I remember feeling the stress my parents were under when I was a kid, and I seem to have carried that with me into adulthood. I don’t want that for Myles.”

Freudenberger is not alone in feeling the impact from her support network and community. Carmen knows she can always lean on loved ones when parenting takes its toll on her.

“My best support is from friends and family,” she says. “Like so many seasons of life, it is a great encouragement to know that we are not alone and have many other souls in the cycle of trying, seeing failure and adapting.”


Samantha Gratton is a freelance writer living in Raleigh. She loves hearing and sharing life stories, traveling on a budget, rock climbing with her husband and doting on her little one.

•This name was changed at the parent’s request.

 

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Calendar

December 2019

Wear your favorite holiday attire and dine with Santa Claus. Enjoy a delicious brunch, stories and crafts, and take pictures with the jolly man from the North Pole. 

Cost: $10/child. Free for ages 2 and younger

Where:
Joyner Park Community Center
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

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Participants develop their naturalist skills and understanding of local nature. Ages 5-8 with parent. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

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Girls ages 5-12 take their favorite doll and have a creative time together preparing for the holidays. Register by emailing llpolkhouse2@gmail.com.

Cost: $22/attendee, $20/sister

Where:
Historic Polk House
537 N. Blount St.
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Telephone: 919-676-6368
Website »

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See dancers and a guitarist from Flamenco Carolina perform a Spanish style of music and dance.

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Website »

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Ebeneezer Scrooge was visited by three spirits, but what about the next Christmas? With heartwarming excitement, discover how the Cratchit family has fared in the year that has passed since old...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

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The Durham Medical Orchestra performs with special guest Joseph Alessi, principal trombone, New York Philharmonic.

Cost: Free

Where:
Baldwin Auditorium, Duke University
1336 Campus Dr.
Durham, NC  27705
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Website »

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As a Christmas gift to our community and surrounding area, Wake Forest Presbyterian Church delivers the true Christmas story in a stirring virtual “walk” through Bethlehem to the stable...

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Presbyterian Church
12605 Capital Blvd
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Sponsor: Wake Forest Presbyterian Church
Telephone: 919-556-7777
Contact Name: Meghan Reynolds
Website »

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Fun for the entire family, enjoy this wonderful, witty retelling of a classic fairy-tale. With a score consisting of well-known pop songs, follow Snow White and her Seven Dwarves as they try to...

Cost: $10-$60/person

Where:
Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
2 East South Street
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Sponsor: Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Telephone: 919-996-8700
Contact Name: Blake Jones
Website »

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The choir presents its 49th performance on Handel's "Messiah."

Cost: Free

Where:
White Plains United Methodist Church
313 S.E. Maynard Rd.
Cary, NC  27513
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Website »

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The first day of winter is right around the corner! Help us welcome the season by making a snow globe to take home. We will bring the materials if you bring the imagination! For all ages (adult...

Cost: For all ages (adult accompaniment required for all children); FREE. Registration

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
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Telephone: 919-662-2850

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Children will enjoy this wonderful book written by John Denver reminding us not to forget about the wildlife this holiday season. We will make a craft then take a walk to look for our wildlife...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
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Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

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Join RTOOT as it performs the music of great Italian composers as well as beloved Christmas classics. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $9/adult, $3 ages 12 and younger

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

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Dan the Animal Man brings some of his animals from his vast collection to entertain all ages. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Website »

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Help find candy canes hidden in Bond Park before the Grinch turns them green. Ages 6-12. Registration required online. Choose course #127871. 

Cost: $10/child

Where:
Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
Cary, NC
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Website »

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Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

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Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Get into the holiday spirit by decorating cooking, making a craft and enjoying a holiday children's show.

Cost: Free

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Website »

More information

The Wake Forest Abilities Choir will present an evening of holiday music under the direction of director.

Cost: Free

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

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Celebrate pecans at the State Farmers Market.

Cost: Free

Where:
State Farmers Market
1201 Agriculture St.
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Join us to learn about how Habitat for Humanity helps build houses, hear a Christmas tale and then build a graham cracker house of your own. Call to, 919-245-2532. Best for ages 4 and up with a...

Cost: free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

Is there a man in the moon, and is the moon made of cheese? Sip on some hot cocoa and listen to some of the stories people have told about the moon and find out if there is truth to them. Then...

Cost: For all ages; FREE. Registration is required for everyone, and adult accompanime

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd
Apex, NC  27529
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Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Discover family traditions from North Carolina and around the globe. Create art, enjoy free access to Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism, and have a special visit with Santa.

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Art East Building and Museum Plaza
Raleigh, NC


Website »

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Bundle up and enjoy an evening around the campfire learning about creatures of the night and listen to Native American tales about some of our favorite nocturnal animals. Roast marshmallows and go...

Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
2112 County Park Dr.
New Hill, NC  27562
View map »


Sponsor: Harris Lake County Park
Telephone: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Kids ages 5-12 enjoy indoor activities while parents enjoy a night out. Register online. 

Cost: $30/resident, $45/nonresident

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Website »

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Wear white clothing and play games, tumble and dance. Enjoy pizza, drinks and more. Ages 5-10. Registration required online. Choose course #127487.

Cost: $18/child; $28 for two children per family

Where:
Middle Creek Community Center
125 Middle Creek Ave.
Apex, NC  27539
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Website »

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Friday, December 13, 6:00pm, at both the Millbrook and Wake Forest Campuses. Put on your Christmas jammies, grab a blanket and come out for a  festive night to watch the classic animated...

Cost: Free

Where:
Crossroads Fellowship
2721 E Millbrook Road
Raleigh, NC  27604
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Sponsor: Crossroads Fellowship
Telephone: 919-981-0222
Contact Name: Lorraine Entwisle
Website »

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Have some fun and make something great at the Clay studio (and parents can sneak away and grab a bite or do some shopping at Northgate Mall). Each kid will complete and paint a piece of pottery...

Cost: $18 per child per workshop

Where:
1058 West Club Blvd
Durham, NC  27701
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Telephone: 919-560-2726
Contact Name: Lauren Tannenbaum
Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Sing along with the band as they perform holiday favorites of Christmas, Hanukkah, the winter solstice and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Cary Senior Center
120 Maury O'Dell Place
, NC  27513
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Website »

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Celebrate the love and joy that this season brings by creating art inspired by a Christmas tree. Register online. Choose course #126761.

Cost: $32/resident, $42/nonresident

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
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Website »

More information

Give rugby a try. Take part in tag rugby pick-up games every Saturday morning at Baileywick Road Park, near the Second Shelter.  No experience necessary. All ages. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
Website »

More information

Our Reindeer Romp is open to the entire community and our Girls on the Run families. So join us! Celebrate as nearly 1,000 girls reach their end-of-season goals – the finish line is only the...

Cost: $30 - $35

Where:
Koka Booth Amphitheater
8003 Regency Pkwy
Cary, NC  27518
View map »


Sponsor: Girls on the Run of the Triangle
Telephone: 919-401-6307
Contact Name: Jamie Botta
Website »

More information

Ages 5-12 make a picture frame for the holidays. Snack provided. Register online. 

Cost: $30/resident, $45/nonresident

Where:
Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
View map »


Website »

More information

Ages 1-5 and caregiver delight in the discoveries of nature. Register online. 

Cost: $8/resident, $10/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-387-5980
Website »

More information

Travel with us to Puerto Rico with books, games and arts and crafts!  Join the staff of ISLA (Immersion for Spanish Language Acquisition) for a fun filled hour! Best for ages 3 and up with a...

Cost: Free Gratis

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
View map »


Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

One ticket admits the entire family to decorate a special gingerbread house. Supplies provided. Workshops available at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Allergy-free workshop available at 11 a.m....

Cost: $40

Where:
Family Preschool
4907 Garrett Rd
Durham, NC  27707
View map »


Sponsor: Family Preschool
Telephone: 919-402-1500
Contact Name: Sue Henson
Website »

More information

Family Wildlife Series: Holiday Habitat Helpers Saturday, December 14, 2-3 Attract winter wildlife to your backyard by providing or improving their habitat.  Create simple outdoor decorations...

Cost: Free

Where:
Blue Jay Point County Park
3200 Pleasant Union Church Rd
Raleigh, NC  27614
View map »


Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Embark on a wild ride with favorite Disney characters Mickey, Minnie, Goofy and many others in this fun-filled getaway featuring unexpected hijinks and character interaction. Purchase tickets...

Cost: $15 and up

Where:
PNC Arena
1400 Edwards Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us as we watch for meteors during the Gemenids Meteor Shower. Local astronomers will help us observe these shooting stars and other phenomena in the night sky. As a bonus we may see or hear...

Cost: Free

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: 919-387-4342
Contact Name: Joanne St. Clair
Website »

More information

Favorite Christmas songs are presented in authentic Nashville country style with dazzling guitars and fiddles along with soaring harmonies. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $25/person

Where:
Wake Forest Renaissance Centre
405 S. Brooks St.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
View map »


Website »

More information

See the choir perform beloved Christmas songs with guest vocal group AVANTE. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Cary Arts Center
101 Dry Ave.
Cary, NC  27511
View map »


Website »

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