Labor Day Weekend Offers Free Family Fun in Raleigh, Durham

Kids enjoy drumming at African-American Cultural Festival.

What’s on your plate for family fun this Labor Day weekend? Enjoy your backyard cookout, but don’t miss out on these events for children—and grownups—happening around the Triangle:

Downtown Raleigh’s monthly arts festival, First Friday, means restaurants and museums will be open late Sept. 4 to welcome browsers. Head to the N.C. Museum of History, 5-9 p.m., for food and beer tastings, and to hear filmmakers and photographers tell hidden stories of some of North Carolina's abandoned places.

The African-American Cultural Festival Sept 5-6 in downtown Raleigh celebrates African-American culture and history with an art gallery walk, vendors, kids’ activities, food and more. Admission is free. 

Watch the Durham Bulls take on Norfolk Tides at 6:35 p.m. on Sept. 5 at Durham Bulls Athletic Park. After the game, stick around for the final fireworks show of the season. 

Photo courtesy of Durham Bulls Baseball Club

Head to Durham Central Park Sept. 6, noon-4 p.m., for a free Food Truck Rodeo celebrating the end of summer with live music and fare from 50 local food trucks. Non-profit partner Habitat for Humanity Durham will set up a mini playhouse for children and 2x4s on sawbucks so they can write messages for families moving into their new homes. Arrive with folding chairs, blankets, family and friends.

Photo by Mike Driver courtesy of Durham Central Park


See Durham’s popular children’s troupe, Rags to Riches Theatre, perform “Jack Tales” for free Sept. 5, 12:30-2:30 p.m. at Northgate Mall’s Discovery Nook, suite 109, in the mall’s Children’s Alleyway. Northgate Mall and Durham County Library are presenting the show, which brings Appalachian folk tales to life. On his way to adulthood, Jack faces many obstacles with bravery, intelligence and sometimes, trickery!

In Chapel Hill, kids are invited to the Teddy Bear Clinic, 2-5 p.m., Sept. 6, at Kidzu Children’s Museum. Join Kidzu to celebrate National Teddy Bear Day with doctors, nurses, dentists and other professionals so kids can learn about health and wellness procedures and be less afraid of checkups. Let your kids take teddy bears, favorite dolls or stuffed animals for a physical examination. Dolls or teddies will be registered, and children will follow along as their toy passes through multiple stations of examination procedures.

Photo by SP Murray courtesy of Kidzu Children's Museum

In Wake Forest, enjoy free games and activities at E. Carroll Joyner Park on Sept. 6, 4-6 p.m., and free concert by Lakota John & Kin (pictured below), 5-7 p.m. Take a picnic, blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the music, which will be a blend of ancient Native American harmonies and traditional blues from a group based out of out of Robeson County, N.C. Pets on leashes are welcome. The afternoon is part of “Wake Forest Unplugged” the Town of Wake Forest’s efforts to encourage residents to unplug from their devices and connect in person with neighbors.

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