Fun Things to Do This Weekend (Dec. 2-4)
The first weekend in December offers lots of family fun, from old-fashioned Christmas celebrations at historic sites to popular holiday performances. Triangle towns, from Apex to Cary to Durham, are ringing in the holidays with festivities that range from horse-drawn carriage and pony rides to snow sledding, caroling and tree-lighting ceremonies. In downtown Raleigh, the Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest celebration features a tree-lighting ceremony, carnival rides, Santa's village, live music, skating and more.
Enjoy trackless train rides, an interactive kid’s corner, snow sledding, a Santa meet and greet, fare from food vendors and more at Holiday Fun Fest, noon-4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, at the Durham County Stadium Practice Field at 750 Stadium Drive. No need to take sleds as they will be provided for free. Sit around the campfire and eat s’mores from 2 to 3 p.m., or while supplies last.
Photo of Holiday Fun Fest by Tony Jones of Aria Graphic Design
Follow costumed interpreters on a candlelit tour to experience an 1870s Christmas, 6:45-9:15 p.m., Dec. 2-9, at this state historic site. Enjoy traditional storytelling, hot cider and cookies, live music and historic dancing at Duke Homestead in Durham. Help decorate a Christmas tree in Victorian style and join carolers for songs around a fire. Tickets are $6 adults and $3 for ages 10 and younger.
Photo of Duke Homestead COURTESY of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
100 Years of Christmas at Historic Stagville FREE DAY VISITS
Take a free visit to see the historic homes of slaves, sharecroppers and slaveholders to learn about their Christmas traditions, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3. After dark, buy a ticket ($5 per adult and $3 per child) for a lantern tour of the buildings to hear holiday stories. Hot drinks and gingerbread are included. Learn more about the after-dark schedules.
Photo of Historic Stagville at Christmas courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
Watch the historic tower light up and enjoy live music from local school choirs and the arrival of Santa starting at 6 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2.
Photo of the 2015 American Tobacco Lighting courtesy of Brian Mullins Photography
Head to Salem Street in Apex, 5-9 p.m., Friday, Dec. 2, for the town's holiday celebration featuring caroling and a tree-lighting ceremony. The town’s Christmas parade is Saturday, Dec. 3, and starts at 5 p.m.
Cary offers Victorian holiday traditions and horse-drawn carriage rides at the 1868 hotel, the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, 4-6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3. The town’s tree-lighting ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall Campus and features live performances and the unveiling of a community tree decorated with handcrafted ornaments.
Photo courtesy of the Town of Cary
The Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest noon-8 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, features carnival rides, a visit from Santa, live music, a Gingerbread House competition and the Mayor's Official Tree Lighting ceremony.
Photo of Wintefest courtesy of Carolyn Scott Photography
Joel Lane Colonial Christmas Open House FREE (DONATIONS REQUESTED)
In Raleigh, the historic Joel Lane Museum Colonial Christmas Open House celebration 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 3, offers a chance to see the house decorated with traditional greenery and enjoy live music. There will also be costumed docents and historians. Children can learn about colonial games and crafts. Admission is free, but donations are requested. The annual bake sale will feature delicious local specialties and traditional delights. Visit joellane.org to learn more.
Joel Lane, who built and lived in this house in Raleigh, is known as the “Father of Wake County.”
Photo courtesy of Joel Lane Museum House
Family Deal to "Cinderella" at Durham Performing Arts Center
The Durham Performing Arts Center is offering a "buy one adult ticket, get one child ticket free" deal to the Jan. 1 performance of "Cinderella" in Durham. Learn more. Also, carolinaparent.com will be giving away tickets to "Cinderella" in our 12 Days of Giveaways contest, which runs Dec. 1-12. Which day? Visit our contest page daily to find out and to enter to win.
Photo courtesy of Broadway Series South