Ideas to Bring Home the 2012 Summer Olympics Excitement


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"I got the gold!" blurted my 7-year-old after finishing his broccoli before anyone else at the table. "I got the silver!" said my 5-year-old. Both boys then encouraged my 2-year-old daughter to hurry and finish her vegetables before Mommy and Daddy so she could win the bronze medal.

This ritual takes place most nights after my children watched the 2010 Winter Olympics on TV. While we don't give out medals, my children like being called the winner. I like that they are excited to eat their vegetables.

The 2012 Summer Olympic Games begin July 27 and run through Aug. 12 in London. Besides offering family-friendly television - and inspiration for a healthy dinnertime game - the Olympics provide excitement, education and entertainment for the whole family. Your family can do more than just sit on the couch and watch the games. Embrace the Olympic spirit and join in the fun. Here are some ways to get started.

Cultivate cultural curiosity

More than 10,000 athletes from 205 countries will compete in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Expand your child's (and your own) knowledge of the world by locating the countries on a map. It can be eye-opening for a child to realize how many countries there are, each with its own history and culture. You will probably need to use the Internet to find more obscure countries like Tuvalu, Comoros and Lesotho.

Add to your child's Olympic experience by exploring different nations' cuisines. You could try your hand at afelia - pork marinated with coriander - which is a traditional food athletes from Cyprus may eat. Experiment with Vietnamese noodle soup, called pho. Or try baking paw paw tarts, little papaya pies and a favorite of many Liberian residents.

Olympic athletes proudly display their citizenship by sporting their country's colors on their uniforms, waving their country's flags and singing their national anthems. Watching the Olympics with your child provides an opportunity to explain the importance of citizenship and teach them the words to our national anthem.

Uncover uncommon sports

The 2012 Summer Olympics features 26 sports. Watching the various events introduces children to a variety of sports.

Your child may be surprised to find out canoeing, judo and handball are Olympic sports. Water polo is similar to handball but played in the water. In this fast-action event, each team has only 30 seconds to score before the ball goes to the opposing team.

If your child isn't interested in basketball, soccer or other mainstream sports, the Olympics showcases other sports he or she can pursue if interested. Who knows? Your child may want to try rowing, fencing or synchronized swimming.

Appreciate inspiring stories

Some athletes overcame major obstacles to participate in the 2012 Summer Olympics. Before watching the events, read about some of the Olympians and how they got to where they are today.

South African sprinter and Olympic hopeful Oscar Pistorius was born without a fibula in either leg. He had both legs amputated below the knee when he was a baby. Now called the Blade Runner, he runs on two prostheses that resemble blades.

Before you tune in to see Team USA's Sanya Richards-Ross run the 400 meter race, tell your child that she suffers from a rare autoimmune disease called Behcet's disease, which causes severe mouth ulcers and lesions, fatigue and joint pain.

These two athletes didn't let adversity overcome their passion to do what they love. Instead they powered through and never gave up - a great message for kids.

Act like an Olympian

All Olympians must work hard, be focused and stay determined to reach the elite level. This is true for any athlete who wants to succeed. Olympians maintain rigorous training schedules. Find out more about their demanding training by watching videos of Olympic athletes training on YouTube.

Since athletes need to be healthy to be good at what they do, teach your kids to think like an Olympian when choosing what to eat and drink.

Watching an Olympic team sport on television, such as volleyball, rowing or relay races, can emphasize the importance of teamwork, a skill kids will use in many areas of life.

Remind your child that there are only three medals given to the many participants in each sport. Most Olympic athletes end up in the middle of the pack. Teach your child that not everyone can be the best, while stressing the importance of accomplishments such as beating a personal record.

Take part in the fun

Encourage and inspire kids to beactive by staging your own mini-Olympics in your backyard. Activities can include anything from obstacle courses and running races to tumbling and badminton.

Rebecca Zellmer, a preschool teacher, helps her 4-year-old students create their own Olympic Games. "I divide the children into groups representing different countries," she says. "They participate in events and receive medals. We listen to the Star Spangled Banner and learn about the different events and equipment needed."

Zellmer even helps them make their own Olympic torches out of empty toilet paper tubes and tissue paper.

Watching the Olympics with your child can be a fun, family bonding experience, but don't just sit on the sidelines - participate! Prepare to learn a thing or two yourself as you and your child actively uncover fun facts, healthy habits and valuable life lessons.

Deanne Haines is a freelance writer and mother of three.

For more ways to generate Olympics excitement, see Engage Your Kids in Olympic Sports in the Triangle and check out these wildlife Olympians!

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April 2019

Join professional chefs at the Food Lion Kitchen Stage as they prepare recipes using the freshest ingredients and products from the Food Lion Family. Learn tips to make healthier and easier meals....

Cost: $10-$12/person

Where:
NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh , NC  27607
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Cost: See website for fees

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2908 Optimist Farm Rd.
Apex, NC
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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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Cost: $10-$12

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NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC  26707
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Cost: $10 Topper's Pass (includes egg hunt); $5 Chickee Pass (egg hunt not included)

Where:
Hubb's Farm
10276 N US 421 Hwy
Clinton, NC  28328
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Sponsor: HubbsFarm
Telephone: 910-564-6709
Contact Name: Tammy Peterson
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Take your favorite lady and enjoy stage performances, giveaways and activities. All ages.

Cost: $10-$12

Where:
NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Road
Raleigh , NC  27607
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Telephone: (704) 494-7563
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Cost: $10-$60

Where:
Durham Central Park
501 Foster Street
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Animal Protection Society of Durham
Telephone: 919-560-0640 ext. 23
Contact Name: Darlene Fiscus
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Cost: Free

Where:
Downtown Cary
, NC  27511


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Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Bible Fellowship
9043 Chapel Hill Road
Cary, NC  27513
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Sponsor: Grace Bible Fellowship
Telephone: 919-468-4590
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Children make treasured memories while increasing their knowledge of plants and animals. Ages 7-10. Register online. Choose course #121614.

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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Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of water as it turns the milling machinery. Preregistration is encouraged. 

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Geocaching is a treasure hunt where participants use GPS coordinates to track down hidden “caches.” Learn what geocaching is all about and head out to find a real geocache in the park! We will...

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
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Look for signs of spring. All ages with adult. Register online. Choose course #121682.

Cost: $12/resident, $16/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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See Mickey Mills perform steel drum music as enjoyed in the Caribbean. 

Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Green St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Take your little princesses and sing-a-long with your favorite fairytale friends. Take a camera for an opportunity to meet and pose for pictures with the princesses following their...

Cost: $10-$12

Where:
NC State Fairgrounds
1025 Blue Ridge Rd.
Raleigh , NC  27607
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Cost: $40 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: $15 or use your package/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East Street
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Ages 5-13 enjoy a one-hour yoga class designed to strengthen and stretch the entire body, balance the nervous system, improve body awareness, encourage the development of communication and social...

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Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East St.
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Cost: Free

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The Halle Cultural Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Cost: $15/child, use your package/membership.

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt Carmel Church Rd
chapel hill, NC  27517
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A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

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Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
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Hargraves Community Center
216 N. Roberson St.
Chapel Hill, NC  27516
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Go back in time to the 18th century. Compare life then and now using pictures, artifacts, and modern objects as well as historic reproductions. In a guided inquiry, discover the purposes of several...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Do you have what it takes to be a History Detective? Come to Yates Mill and find out! Solve puzzles, hunt for clues and investigate the mystery of milling with real historical artifacts inside the...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), and $3/Child (ages 16 & under)

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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Connect with your baby, other parents and yourself during this adult-focused postpartum yoga class. Recommended for babies newborn to walking. Take a mat, a blanket for your little one, and...

Cost: $15 or use class pass/membership

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Pittsboro
184 East Street
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Meet other families in your community in a recreation setting. The play room will be reserved for parents and their young children. Sports and recreation equipment will be available...

Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
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Cost: $10/person

Where:
The ArtsCenter
300-G E. Main St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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Cost: $15/class, or use your class pass/membership.

Where:
Kids Mindful Movement - Chapel Hill
781 Mt. Carmel Church Rd.
Chapel Hill, NC  27517
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A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


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Cost: Free

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


Website »

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You may know the important role that milkweed plants play in the life of Monarch butterflies, but did you know that during World War II the government encouraged citizens to collect milkweed fluff...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Take your budding paleontologist on a quest to unearth colorful dinosaur eggs. Explore the Dinosaur Trail where you will find fun activities, adventure, and prehistoric excitement, including...

Cost: $7 for egg hunters, $2 for accompanying adults. Museum admission not included.

Where:
Museum of LIfe and Science
433 W. Murray Ave.
Durham, NC  27704-3101
View map »


Sponsor: Museum of Life and Science
Telephone: 919-220-5429
Contact Name: Heather Hill
Website »

More information

Join us for a day of family fun to welcome spring, including a picnic area, giant slides, a giant sandbox, the barrel train, and mini zip lines (weights up to 100 pounds).  An egg hunt for...

Cost: $8 Bunny Pass (includes egg hunt); $5 Chickee Pass

Where:
Hubb's Farm
10276 N US 421 Hwy
Clinton, NC  28328
View map »


Sponsor: Hubb's Farm NC
Telephone: 910-564-6709
Contact Name: Tammy Peterson
Website »

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Get ready for Easter with egg decorating. Make wooden eggs that will last for years. Along with the crafting, enjoy some treats.  Register online. 

Cost: $8/person

Where:
Bull City Craft
105 W NC highway 54
Suite 265
Durham, NC  27713
View map »


Sponsor: Bull City Craft
Telephone: 919-419-0800
Contact Name: Jessica Greene
Website »

More information

Enjoy fun, games, friendship and more every Friday.

Cost: Free

Where:
Sanderford Road Center
2623 Sanderford Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27610
View map »


Sponsor: Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department
Telephone: 919-831-1898
Contact Name: Adam Sproles
Website »

More information

A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Preregistration is encouraged. Tours are not available between Noon-1:00...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (6 - under)

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Duke Homestead
2828 Duke Homestead Rd.
Durham, NC  27705
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Cost: Adults $10, Youth 7-17 $4. Free for ages 6 and younger

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

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Cost: Free

Where:
Baptist Grove Church
7109 Leesville Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27587
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Sponsor: Baptist Grove Church
Telephone: (919) 787-4528 x224
Contact Name: Cynthia Jacko Wise
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Ages 4-12 with caregiver enjoy arts and crafts.

Cost: Free

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

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Cost: $7 for egg hunters, $2 for accompanying adults. Museum admission not included.

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433 W. Murray Ave.
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Enjoy an Easter egg hunt featuring games and prizes. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Genesis Church
6724 Hankinson Rd,
Wendell, NC  27591
View map »


Sponsor: Genesis Church
Telephone: 843-908-1700
Contact Name: Carolyn Lutz
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Cost: Free

Where:
Sertoma Amphitheatre, Bond Park
801 High House Rd.
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Put your dancing shoes on! Come to the mill yard to join our costumed interpreters in learning and dancing 19th-century country dances. You do not need to have a partner to dance—just a...

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal.  Preregistration is encouraged. Tours are not available between...

Cost: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60+), $3/Child (ages 7-16), Free/Child (ages 6-under)

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
Apex, NC  27539
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
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For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Today, you can stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Telephone: 919-856-6675
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More information

A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

A brave young woman sets out on a journey to discover the mystery of her past through the twilight of the Russian Empire to the euphoria of Paris in the 1920s. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $129 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Harris Lake County Park
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View map »


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

More information

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