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Written by:  Odile Fredeicks
Date: May 24, 2012

For weekend activities for June 1-3, read our roundup: Weekend Fun: Free Concerts, Movies, Story times, Fishing Fun.



The Memorial Day weekend offers lots of free family activities across the Triangle, from live performances to an outdoor fiesta and a historic reenactment. You'll also find free story times for children and a free family day with activities at a local museum. If you want to stick close to home, see why mud in your backyard could provide healthy fun for your kids at no expense.

Unless otherwise noted, you'll find details of these upcoming events, and others, in our Daily Calendar.

THURSDAY

Kick the weekend off a little early at 7:30 p.m. Thursday with a free beach music concert by Shaggie Maggie in at the corner of Academy and Chatham Streets, in downtown Cary. It's a beach music street party that will get you ready for summer.

FRIDAY

Head to Hillsborough on Friday for "Last Fridays," a warm weather fiesta that presents a free performance on the historic Old Courthouse lawn and children's activities. This Friday, North Carolina singer-songwriter Greg Humphreys will be the featured artist, and Maura Garcia will be leading kids activities by teaching inspirational movement with a choreographed mask dance. The dance event is open to children and adults of all ages. Last Fridays is organized by the Hillsborough Arts Council and runs from April through September. As you walk through the fiesta, you'll also find more musicians, food and art vendors, an art walk and a bake-off contest from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Brochures with a map of the Last Fridays Art Walk are available at any of the participating venues or at www.lastfridaysartwalk.org.

On Friday at 7 p.m., take a blanket or chair and watch the movie, Crazy Stupid Love (PG13), as part of the Movies by Moonlight series on the lawn at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, in Cary. You can bring in a picnic. Gate times are 7 p.m. and the movie will start at dusk. Admission is $3 for adults; kids 12 and under are admitted for free. Proceeds benefit the WakeMed Children's Hospital. Tickets can be purchased at Amphitheatre Box Office. For details, visit www.boothamphitheatre.com.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, enjoy Family Fun Night at the Barnes & Noble, in Cary. Pirates will be helping kick off Barnes & Noble's summer reading program for kids in grades 1-6. The event is free and no registration is required.

In Chapel Hill, Fridays on the Front Porch runs from 5-8 p.m. Friday at The Carolina Inn. Relax outdoors with the family listening to live music for free. Purchase advance food tickets online. See our Daily Calendar for Details.

SATURDAY

In Durham from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Bennett Place State Historic Site will present a free program to remember and honor American soldiers through time. History re-enactors will bring to life some of the first soldiers from the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, and War of 1812. Union and Confederate Civil War soldiers, Rough Riders from the Spanish American War, and soldiers of World Wars I and II, and Vietnam, will be represented. Visit http://www.nchistoricsites.org/bennett/bennett.htm for details.

On Saturday, The N.C Symphony opens Summerfest, its summer-long outdoor concert series at Cary's Booth Amphitheatre, with Play with the Pros, when citizen musicians will join with the symphony musicians for select works. Gates open at 5 p.m. and the music start at 7:30 p.m. Picnic baskets are allowed; bring a little extra bread for the geese. For details and ticket prices, visit http://boothamphitheatre.com/events/summerfest-opening-night/.

Kids are invited to Beautiful Butterflies, a program from 9 to 11 a.m. at Lake Crabtree, in Morrisville. Learn the difference between a butterfly and a moth, where caterpillars come from and about metamorphosis on a hike around the Old Beech Nature Trail. Meet at the Waterwise Garden. See our Daily Calendar for cost and how to register.

Free Saturday fun includes events at Triangle-area farmers markets!  In downtown Hillsborough on Saturday, the Eno River Farmers Market will run from 8 a.m. to noon and will feature free make-and-take crafts for kids. In Cary, the Western Wake Farmers Market will run from 8 am. to noon offering live music, the produce of more than 30 farmers and artisans, and a special program in the Education Tent.

In Hillsborough, enjoy family yoga at Hillsborough Yoga & Healing Arts from 9 to 10 a.m. Saturday. The class is for ages 2 and up with family. Children are admitted free when accompanied by parent. See our Daily Calendar for details.

You'll find 10: 30 a.m. story times at the Orange County Public Library's Carrboro Branch, in Chapel Hill, and at East Regional Library in Knightdale. See our Daily Calendar for details.

SUNDAY

Enjoy a free Family Day from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Ackland Art Museum, in Chapel Hill. Take the kids for hands-on activities, scavenger hunts in the galleries and more fun. See our Daily Calendar for details.

At 7 p.m. Sunday, Triangle Wind Ensemble will present An American Celebration, a vocal ensemble of popular and patriotic selections to celebrate Memorial Day weekend. See our Daily Calendar for ticket prices.

MONDAY, MEMORIAL DAY

Marbles Kids Museum will feature a Memorial Day Flare program with fun activities on Monday. Fire up your Memorial Day with a 21-soda geyser salute and patriotic pinwheels. Check out all things bubbly during Bubble Blast (10 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 3 p.m.) and enjoy solar activities throughout the day. The museum will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Interested in more story times on Monday? See our Daily Calendar for details.
* The Chapel Hill Public Library is offering a story time from 10:30 to 11 a.m. for kids ages 3 to 6 years featuring stories, songs and activities. It's free.
* Quail Ridge Books and Music, in Raleigh, will have a free story time at 10 am for ages 3 to 5 years.

You'll also find kids yoga in Wake Forest, Moms and Tots Yoga in Hillsborough, and postnatal yoga in Chapel Hill. See our Daily Calendar for details.

Also Monday, take your preschooler to an art class or craft class. See our Daily Calendar for details.


Planning Your Summer Getaway?


Browse our digital Carolina Family Travel Guide to discover some of the best places for outdoor fun with your children, including:

  • Family programs at state parks in North and South Carolina
  • N.C. mountain getaways for families with suggested activities
  • Lighthouses of the Carolinas to tour or visit.
  • Five of the top roller coasters in the Southeast



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