Enjoy New Foods, Rides and Exhibits at the 2017 North Carolina State Fair

The fair celebrates its 150th birthday with a special admission price on opening day, Oct. 12


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Photo courtesy of JBicking/Shutterstock.com

It's that time of year again! The North Carolina State Fair celebrates its 150th birthday this year and will run Oct. 12-22 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Here are the details.


Kickoff Day: Special Admission Price, Buttons, Prizes

The 2017 North Carolina State Fair opens Thursday, Oct. 12, with a special admission price, commemorative buttons, food specials and prizes in honor of the fair's 150th birthday. Here’s what to expect:

  • On kickoff day only, admission to the fair will be $1.50. Gates will open at 3 p.m. that day.
  • The first 15,000 people through the gates will receive a commemorative button as part of “WRAL Button Bonanza.”
  • Each hour, North Carolina State Fair staff will hand out 150 free ride passes and other prizes to people wearing the buttons.
  • Numerous food vendors will offer items for $1.50 on kickoff day.

“The 150th North Carolina State Fair is a milestone, and we wanted to do something special to celebrate,” says Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The fair is a great deal every day, but there won’t be a better fair bargain than on Oct. 12.”

Although the North Carolina State Fair has been around since 1853, it hasn’t opened every year. Stoppages were caused by the Civil War and Reconstruction, the disbanding of the group that used to run the fair, and World War II.


Advance State Fair Ticket Sales

Fairgoers can save money by buying their fair tickets in advance at Food Lion grocery stores.

“For the second year, we are offering fairgoers the convenience of picking up their fair tickets while doing their grocery shopping,” Troxler says. “Tickets will be sold at the checkout counters at Food Lion stores statewide until store closing on Oct. 12.”

Advance admission tickets are $8 for adults and $3 for children, $2 less than the cost at the gate. Children 5 and under and adults 65 and over get in free. An 18-ticket ride sheet is $10 in advance, saving fairgoers $8 off the regular price.

Wristbands, State Fair Flyer tickets, specialty packages and admission tickets for large groups cannot be purchased at Food Lion stores. For more information on purchasing these tickets visit ncstatefair.org.


New Foods and Rides

Take a food adventure at the 2017 North Carolina State Fair by trying some of the fair's new offerings, including:

  • Deep Fried Pumpkin Pie
  • Bacon Mac & Cheese
  • Blue Hawaiian Funnel Cake
  • Cheerwine Cake
  • Deep Fried Bacon & Cheese Collard Bites
  • Flamin' Hot Cheetos Roasted Corn
  • Coconut Macadamia Nut Cream Pie

Check out a map of where you can find this year's new food options.

New rides include:

  • Air Raid (8 tickets)
  • F5 (5 tickets)
  • Fun Time Railroad (3 tickets)
  • Dodgems Chop Shop (5 tickets)

Find a full list of new foods, rides, exhibits and more here.


North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resource Exhibits 

Pirates are taking over the north lobby of Dorton Arena during this year’s North Carolina State Fair as the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources kicks off a celebration of the state's most notorious pirate, Blackbeard, for the 300th anniversary of his exploits along the North Carolina coast. Check out a replica of Blackbeard’s flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, and join in on all the swashbuckling fun at the department's new exhibit. 

Other exhibits will offer the chance to explore a working tobacco barn, learn about North Carolina state parks, and investigate North Carolina’s historic sites, aquariums, zoo and museums. 

  • Take a virtual bike ride through a state park, travel back in time to a state historic site, and see a ship’s cannon undergoing restoration at the N.C. State Parks and Historic Sites exhibit just outside Dorton Arena. Enjoy kids’ activities and crafts, and special programs lead by park rangers.
  • Discover a working tobacco barn in the Heritage Circle area, managed by Duke Homestead State Historic Site, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and the North Carolina Tobacco Growers Association. See volunteers string and cure tobacco the old-fashioned way. Try your hand at looping tobacco and take a peek inside the barn to see the curing process. Catch the looping contest at 2 p.m., Oct. 13, and witness one of the last surviving (mock) tobacco auctions in North Carolina at 2 p.m., Oct.20.
  • Learn about the many ways you can explore North Carolina’s history at museums, experience creatures from all over the world at the North Carolina Zoo or aquariums, or explore the natural world with the state's natural science museums at an exhibit in the north lobby of the Dorton Arena. 
  • See interpreters portraying soldiers from throughout American history during the Military Appreciation Parade and historical uniform revue at 11 a.m., Wednesday, Oct. 18.

“We’re always so excited to participate in the North Carolina State Fair,” says Natural and Cultural Resources Secretary Susi Hamilton. “I know it’s one of my favorite events of the year, and I hope that people will take the opportunity to visit our exhibits and learn about all the amazing experiences our department has to offer, all across our state.”

This is DNCR’s fourth year partnering with the fair to help visitors explore arts, history, nature and culture in North Carolina. Each year, the department’s exhibit attracts about 250,000 visitors.

Sources: The North Carolina State Fair press office and North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

 

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Calendar

October 2017

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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Cost: Free

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Cedar Creek Gallery
1150 Fleming Rd.
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Sponsor: Cedar Creek Gallery
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Erwin Road
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201 E. Hargett St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Crowder District Park
4709 Ten-Ten Rd.
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Historic Yates Mill County Park
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2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
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100 N. Greensboro St.
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Cost: Free. $5 parking fee at Bryan Center garage

Where:
Duke Chapel Quad
Duke University
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The Blessing of Animals is an outdoor worship service held each year. Duke Chapel has hosted a Blessing of Animals since 1989, a worship tradition made notable by the camels and other circus...

Cost: Free. $5 parking fee at Bryan Center garage

Where:
Duke Chapel Quad
Duke University
Durham, NC
View map »


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Cost: Free. $5 parking fee at Bryan Center garage

Where:
Duke Chapel Quad
Duke University
Durham, NC
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Cost: $15-$60

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Weaver Street Market
101 E. Weaver St.
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Cost: $15-$50

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Weaver Street Market
101 E. Weaver St.
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Telephone: 919-636-4860
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Cost: See website for fees

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N.C. State Fairgrounds
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Raleigh, NC  27607
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Cost: $12/child; $10 for siblings

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Yoga Garden PBO
184 E. Street
Pittsboro, NC  27312
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Sponsor: Kids Yoga with Emily
Telephone: 919-780-3516
Contact Name: Emily Behr
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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
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
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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
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddler Time is a special time for ages 5 and younger to bounce under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
Sky Zone Durham
1720 Guess Rd., Ste. 90
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: $3/person

Where:
Century Center
100 N. Greensboro St.
Carrboro, NC  27510
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Kids ages 6 and younger enjoy stories. Take part in an optional arts and crafts session after storytime for $5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Cost: $5/adult, $3 ages 7-16. Free for ages 6 and younger

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Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Rd.
Raleigh, NC
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Cost: Free

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Quail Ridge Books
4209-100 Lassiter Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Cost: Free

Where:
Impact Family Chiropractic
5176 NC Highway 42 W, Ste. A
Ste. A
Garner, NC  27529
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Sponsor: Impact Family Chiropractic
Telephone: 919-977-5744
Contact Name: Impact Family Chiropractic
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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
View map »


Website »

More information

Parent and child explore what's happening in nature on an easy-paced hike around the preserve. Register online. Choose course #210344.

Cost: Free

Where:
Horseshoe Farm Nature Preserve
2900 Horse Shoe Farm Rd.
Wake Forest, NC
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Cost: $7/child

Where:
White Deer Park Nature Center
2400 Aversboro Rd.
Garner, NC  27529
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Sponsor: Town of Garner, Parks, Recreation & Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919.661.6982
Contact Name: Nature Center Front Desk
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Have your child's car seat checked for safety with Safe Kids of Durham County.

Cost: Free

Where:
buybuyBaby Durham
5430 New Hope Commons Dr
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: buybuyBaby and Safe Kids
Telephone: 919-593-3672
Contact Name: Jennifer Loomis

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Cost: $3/person

Where:
Walnut Creek Wetland Park
950 Peterson St.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources
Telephone: 919-996-2760
Contact Name: Stacie Hagwood
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Cost: $5 ages 1 and older

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


Website »

More information

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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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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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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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
Raleigh, NC  27617
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Sponsor: Pump it Up
Telephone: 919-828-3344
Contact Name: Owner/manager Kellie Paterson McHugh
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Enjoy the Halloween season with a creepy crawly yoga class. Paint a pumpkin to take home. Supplies included. Grades K-5. Registration required.  

Cost: $40

Where:
Little Guru Kids Yoga and Creative Arts
215 Glenwood Avenue, Suite A
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Little Guru Kids Yoga
Telephone: 919-345-5873
Contact Name: Jen Bluestone
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Kids hike, make projects and engage in nature activities. Ages 5-8. Register online.

Cost: $9/resident, $12/nonresident

Where:
Stevens Nature Center/Hemlock Bluffs
2616 Kildaire Farm Rd.
Cary, NC  27518
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Telephone: 919-387-5980
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More information

Design and decorate pumpkins to display at home, roast and eat pumpkin seeds and play pumpkin games. Registration required.

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Kidzu Children's Museum
201 S. Estes Dr.
Chapel Hill, NC  27514
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Telephone: 919-933-1455
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Meet superhero characters and enjoy music, activities and refreshments. Costumes optional. Ages 4-12. Register online. Choose course code #106338.

Cost: $39/parent and child; $17/additional child

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

More information

Learn about bats and go on a night hike to look for them. All ages with adult. Advance registration required online.

Cost: $1/person

Where:
Crowder District Park
4709 Ten Ten Rd.
Apex, NC
View map »


Telephone: 919-662-2850
Website »

More information

Take the family to view classic films. Games and activities will occur before the movie every Friday in October, 6-9 p.m. (The movie starts at dark.) Pullen Place Café will have...

Where:
Pullen Park and Pullen Place Café
408 Ashe Ave.
Raleigh, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
100 S. Third Street
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Sponsor: Downtown Smithfield
Telephone: 919.934.0887
Contact Name: Sarah Edwards
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Cost: $8/person

Where:
The Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Telephone: 919-249-1120
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One day in class, Grace Campbell discovered that there has never been a female president. Frustrated by the lack of female faces in the White House, Grace decides she wants to be president and...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Raleigh Little Theater
301 Pogue Street
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

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
View map »


Website »

More information

Toddler Time is a special time for ages 5 and younger to bounce under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $7-$10

Where:
Sky Zone Durham
1720 Guess Rd., Ste. 90
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $10-$15

Where:
Artspace
201 E. Davie St
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Telephone: 919-821-2787
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
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
CCB Plaza
201 Corcoran St
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free

Where:
Aspen School
1050-A NW Maynard Rd
Cary, NC  27513
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Telephone: 919-981-6588
Contact Name: Lisa Wagner
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
302 West Main Street
Durham, NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Social Justice Storytime
Telephone: 919-714-3377
Contact Name: Jessica Hulick
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Cost: Free. Suggested donation of either a new board book or $5

Where:
Triangle Presbyterian Church
5001 Tudor Place
Durham, NC  27713
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Sponsor: Triangle Area Parenting Support
Telephone: 919-744-8876
Contact Name: Monica Richardson
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Cost: Free

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


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Kids Together Playground
111 Thurston Dr.
Cary, NC  27518
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More information

Carve a pumpkin alongside the steady hands of a WakeMed pediatric surgeon. All participants receive a free pumpkin while supplies last. 

Cost: $5 ages 1 and older

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


Website »

More information

Kids ages 6 and younger enjoy stories. Take part in an optional arts and crafts session after storytime for $5.

Cost: Free

Where:
Read With Me Book Shop
111 E. Hargett St., $110
Raleigh, NC  27601
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn how to use mixed media techniques to create a dynamic self-portrait. In order for the instructor to prep for this workshop, students will need to provide the instructor with two items in...

Cost: $35

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris St.
Durham , NC  27701
View map »


Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2726
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More information

Enjoy a festival celebrating work, food and harvest. This event explores the season for all people on one of North Carolina's largest plantations, through games, music, food,...

Cost: $5/person, $15 family rate

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


Telephone: 919-620-0120
Website »

More information

Join a costumed interpreter to learn 19th-century country dances. No registration required. Sessions are noon-12:45 p.m. and 4-4:45 p.m.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Enjoy a health fair, food, interactive exhibits, arts, crafts, games provided by Playworks NC, prizes face painting and more.

Cost: Free

Where:
Poe Center for Health Education
224 Sunnybrook Rd.
Raleigh, NC
View map »

More information

One day in class, Grace Campbell discovered that there has never been a female president. Frustrated by the lack of female faces in the White House, Grace decides she wants to be president and...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Raleigh Little Theater
301 Pogue Street
Raleigh, NC  27607
View map »


Website »

More information

Learn about the trade of candy making, taste penny candy and take a trip around the globe to explore favorite treats. All ages. No registration required.

Cost: Free

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


Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Celebrate Halloween and nature with scary scavenger hunts, creepy crafts and fun games. Costumes optional. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Parkway
Morrisville, NC  27560
View map »


Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
Website »

More information

Carolina Ballet presents a night of haunted stories and bewitching tales.

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Kelly Starling Lyons debuts her new chapter book series "Jada Jones" along with illustrator Vanessa Brantley Newton. 

Cost: Free

Where:
Richard B. Harrison Community Library
1313 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Explore the historic nature of Leigh Farm Park with a friendly guide. Venture inside the historic farmhouse while being captivated by tales about life at Leigh Farm throughout the years.

Cost: Free

Where:
Leigh Farm Park
370 Leigh Farm Rd.
Durham, NC  27707
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Sponsor: Durham Parks and Recreation
Telephone: 919-560-1116
Contact Name: Natalya Buckel
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Activities include large KidZone with fire engine, face-painting, reading corner, giant games, inflatable obstacle course, paint-a-pumpkin, bird-feeder craft and more. Adult activities include...

Cost: $10/adult, $5/child. Free for ages 5 and younger

Where:
Midtown Park @ North Hills
4011 Cardinal at North Hills Street
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Sponsor: Midtown Raleigh Alliance
Telephone: 919-606-6068
Contact Name: Tara Robbins
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Enjoy a comic ballet with charming characters telling the story of this age-old fairytale. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $8/person

Where:
The Halle Cultural Arts Center
237 N. Salem St.
Apex, NC  27502
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Telephone: 919-249-1120
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One day in class, Grace Campbell discovered that there has never been a female president. Frustrated by the lack of female faces in the White House, Grace decides she wants to be president and...

Cost: See website for fees

Where:
Raleigh Little Theater
301 Pogue Street
Raleigh, NC  27607
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All ages enjoy a barn dance hosted by the Sassafras Fork Farm with live music and barbecue.

Cost: $15-$50

Where:
Sassafras Fork Farm
639 U.S. 158
Rougemont, NC  27572
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Sponsor: The South Durham Farmers' Market
Contact Name: Jessie Kadolph
Website »

More information

Enjoy a comic ballet with charming characters telling the story of this age-old fairytale. All ages. Purchase tickets online.

Cost: $8/person

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


Telephone: 919-249-1120
Website »

More information

Carolina Ballet presents a night of haunted stories and bewitching tales.

Cost: $32 and up

Where:
Fletcher Theater
2 E. South St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Annual Guides

Education Guide

The 2016-17 Education Guide offers 643 education resources in the Triangle, including area preschools, private schools, public school systems, charter schools, boarding schools and academic resources.

The Triangle Go-To Guide

Our debut Triangle Go-To Guide connects you to family fun resources across the Triangle. Plus, find out who our 2017 Readers' Favorites are.
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