Fun Things to Do This Weekend (Oct. 21-23)

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Photo courtesy of Brett Chambers
The Durham Symphony Orchestra outdoor Halloween Spooktacular will feature a family concert, costume contest and Paperhand Puppet Intervention performances

Halloween and harvest fun, festivals that celebrate storytelling, music, theater and dogs, the North Carolina State Fair, and nature and art lure families out to play this weekend.

Halloween Spooktacular FREE

Celebrate Halloween outdoors on the Plaza at Northgate Mall 4-7 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 23, with music from the Durham Symphony Orchestra and staged performances by Paperhand Puppet Intervention, creator of giant puppets, masks and shadow plays. Don your Halloween costumes and enter the “Best Costume” contest to win prizes. Enjoy food truck fare, too. In the event of inclement weather, the event will be indoors at Northgate Mall’s center court. All events are free. Carry your chairs; no coolers allowed. 

Photo of Paperhand Puppet Intervention show at Northgate mall courtesy of Brett Chambers

Neck of the Woods

The “Neck of the Woods” performance series returns at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, at the Wake Forest Renaissance Centre for the Arts Live Go. You can hear musicians Claire Williams, Robert Redfield, Joe Woodson and Art Champagne; Wake Forest Storytellers Robin Kitson, Lenny Weismeier, and Drew Bridges; and Enloe Magnet High School's Happy Accidents Improvisation Troupe. Tickets are $5 (plus tax) and may be purchased online at or at the Renaissance Centre Box Office in Wake Forest.

Musicians Claire Williams and Robert Redfield

North Carolina State Fair

Don’t miss this Triangle tradition that features old-fashioned fun, from rides and games, a "Flower and Garden Show," "Folk Festival," the Village of Yesteryear’s artists and crafters, and the "Field of Dreams," a miniature farm designed to help children learn how food is grown. The fair runs though Oct. 23. Find out if your deep-fried dreams will come true at the 2016 North Carolina State Fair. Visit the fair website for hours of operation.

Photo courtesy of North Carolina State Fair


Help support Triangle Beagle Rescue at its annual dog festival, which features food, games, raffles and vendors, 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, in Durham. Take your dog to enter contests for the “Best Howl,” “Softest Ears,” “Longest Ears” and “Best Costume.” Admission is $5/person; additional fees vary per activity. (Free for kids ages 4 and younger and for dogs.) Buy advance tickets online.  

Dogtoberfest FREE

Head out with your dog to Ashley Wilder Dog Park in Knightdale, noon-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, for 2-mile fun walk/run and canine costume contest. If you’re looking for a pet, you’ll also find agencies showcasing pets for adoption. 

More Trick-or-Treat Events

Catch some early Halloween fun, like the “Costume Dance Party” at Cary Arts Center in Cary, 1-2:30 p.m., Oct. 22, ($1/person); “Creepy Crabtree” at Lake Crabtree County Park in Morrisville, 2-6 p.m., Oct. 22 (Admission is free); or “Fall Festival” at W.D. Hill Recreation Center, 6-9 p.m., Oct. 22 in Durham. (Admission is free.) Learn more in our roundup of Trick-or-Treat Events.

Harvest-Themed Outings

Plan a family outing to a pumpkin patch, corn maze or for a hayride. Local farms are offering lots of harvest-themed fun. Learn more in our roundup of fall fun at area farms

Kids Nature Programs

Head outdoors with your children for a nature program at a local park. Browse our Daily Calendar to explore your choices, Many nature programs are free, but some require registration. Also, check out these two programs on Saturday, Oct. 22:  Rambling Ranger Walk (at 2 p.m.) and Animals of Umstead (at 3 p.m.), both at William B. Umstead State Park in Raleigh. (Registration is required.)

Photo courtesy of North Carolina Department of  Natural and cultural Resources 


Third Friday Art Celebration FREE

The Durham Arts Council’s Gallery crawl 6-11 p.m., Friday, Oct. 21, features live music and other performances. Maps are available at the Arts Council and at each participating location.

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