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Written by:  Odile Fredericks
Date: April 19, 2012

This weekend offers a wide range of free family fun across the Triangle, from a 24-hour science celebration to Earth Day festivals and author visits. You'll also find consignment sales and a Lebanese Festival.

Unless otherwise noted, you'll find details of the following events and more in our Daily Calendar.

In Raleigh, the Nature Research Center of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will open with a free 24-hour celebration that educates and entertains. Enjoy live music at 4 p.m., followed by a procession of dancers, puppets and international groups dressed in native costumes, led by Sir Walter Raleigh. Opening ceremonies start at 5 p.m. Hear from a retired astronaut, then browse the center's interactive exhibits and chat with scientists about their research in such areas as climate change, meteorites or looking into deep space.

On Friday at 8 p.m. Redress Raleigh, a local group of environmentally conscious folks from the fashion industry will host an eco-fashion show at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh. Learn more here.

On Friday, 7-8 p.m. at the Barnes and Nobel, in Chapel Hill, hear from Ashley Bryan, a leading figure in children's literature for more than 40 years and winner of the 2012 Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Lifetime Achievement Award. Bryan will also be at Quail Ridge Books, in Raleigh, at 3 p.m. Saturday, and at The Regulator Bookshop, in Durham, at 7 p.m. Saturday. On Sunday at 3 p.m., he'll be at the North Carolina Museum of Art, in Raleigh. See our Daily Calendar for details.

If you're looking to save on kids clothes and equipment, visit the Kidcycle Consignment Sale 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Friday and Saturday, and noon- 6 p.m. Sunday at University Mall, in Chapel Hill. See our Daily Calendar for details.

Also this weekend, enjoy these Earth Day events, in Raleigh, Carrboro and Durham.

  • In Raleigh, you'll find Planet Earth Celebration, a 24-hour Earth Day extravaganza that is a joint effort of the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences and Burt's Bees. This celebration runs 5 p.m.-5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and is part of the opening celebration of the Nature Research Center. For details on what will be happening see Triangle Events celebrate Mother Earth.
  • Head out with your whole family to Keep Carrboro Beautiful, an event on 9-11 a.m. Saturday to help clean up the Town of Carrboro and prevent trash from entering local streams. For details see Triangle Events Celebrate Mother Earth.
  • The International Buddhist Progress Society is hosting an Earth Day Festival in Raleigh, a family-oriented event with activities for children, lectures for adults, and a vegetarian food festival on 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Sunday. Kids can enjoy a documentary movie, arts and crafts with recycled items and games. For details see Triangle Events Celebrate Mother Earth.
  • Durham Parks and Recreation and Keep Durham Beautiful Inc. will hold an Earth Day Festival in Durham noon-5 p.m. Sunday with live music, an Earth Day parade, Earth art market, a kids area and sustainability expo. For details, visit Triangle Event Celebrate Mother Earth.

Enjoy a Lebanese Festival 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday and 11a.m.-5:30 p.m. Sunday at Kerr-Scott Building of the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, in Raleigh. Take in authentic food and dancing for the entire family. See our Daily Calendar for ticket prices.

On Saturday 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m., Stampede to Read will host a literacy event featuring a mass distribution of home library gift packs to its registered members at Durham's Lyon Park Family Life Recreation. Hear from guest authors and illustrators, and enjoy games, giveaways and more. The event is for Stamped to Read members only, and at presstime, Stampede to Read founder Pam Kelly said that preregistration is requested but not required. For details, including the cost of Stampede to Read family membership and its benefits, visit this link.

Interested in control common garden pests without toxic pesticides? Take your kids ages 5 and up with you to a free event where you'll get advice from master gardener and master composter Connie Schultz and Ana Duncan Pardo of Toxic Free NC in Raleigh. It's happening 2-4 p.m. Sunday in the multipurpose room of the Alexander Family YMCA, located at 1603 Hillsborough Street, in Raleigh. After a talk and discussion, head next door to the Wedge Community Garden, at 214 E. Park Ave., to discuss and demonstrate pesticide-free strategies for combating pests. You'll need to preregister by emailing Amanda by Friday at Amanda@foodshuttle.org. Call Ana if you have any trouble locating the YMCA or the garden: 919-818-5933.

Also the Hope Valley Railway, in Bonsal, N.C., opens its 2012 season on Sunday with free demonstrations and kids' activities, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., as part of the North Carolina Science Festival. You'll find details in this article. 

Also, Marbles Kids Museum will open To The Arctic 3D on Friday.

Headed to the movies? Don't leave home without checking Jean's Movie Choices for Kids to see what's age-appropriate and worth watching with your children.

Visit our Spring Guide to the Triangle and Family Fun pages for more upcoming fun.



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