Triangle Weekend Offers Free Family Festivals, Concerts

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This weekend offers a fantastic line-up of family fun in the Triangle. Festivals that celebrate bugs, the harvest season, the Carolina Hurricanes and international cultures offer a chance to enjoy hands-on activities, demonstrations and live entertainment. Some events are free. You’ll also find free concerts. Here’s a look at what’s coming our way. Unless otherwise noted, you’ll find details in our Daily Calendar.

Kick the weekend off in Durham with a free R&B concert featuring Cardye on Friday, from 6-8 p.m. outdoors on the terrace on the top of the parking deck at Durham Centre Plaza on 300 W. Morgan Street. The plaza is located on the corner of Morgan and Morris Streets – across from the Carolina Theatre. The concert will take place rain or shine except in severe weather conditions. Please check the website for updates or call (919) 560-4355.

On Friday at 7 p.m., enjoy another free concert when the Triangle Brass Band Concert presents Pops in the Park at the Sertoma Amphitheatre, at Bond Park, in Cary. You’ll hear a selection of marches, musicals, light classical music and traditional brass band tunes.

Got a tween who loves to dance? Pump it Up of Raleigh is hosting a Tween Dance Night from 7-10 p.m. for ages 10-14 to enjoy a party with a live DJ. Visit our Daily Calendar to learn how to purchase tickets online.

Head to the Fall Harvest Celebration at Historic Yates Mill County Park, in Raleigh, for a free event featuring harvest-related demonstrations and hands-on activities for the family on Saturday, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. You’ll find corn husk doll-making, wheat weaving, crafts, displays, games and more activities. Take in live bluegrass music and performances by wooden dancing dolls. Compete in the “Cornmeal Cook-off” and sample foods made from corn and other agricultural products, including free popcorn in the afternoon. Other foods will be available for purchase.

The Historic Yates Mill, Wake County’s last operable water-powered gristmill, will be open for half-hour tours and corn-grinding demonstrations conducted by costumed interpreters. The mill will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tours are $5 for adults and $3 for seniors and students, ages 7 to 16.  Children 6 and younger are admitted free. For more information or to participate in the cook-off, call 856-6675 or visit

Also Saturday in Raleigh, the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences will host BugFest, another free event. Billed as the largest, one-day, bug-centric event in the country, BugFest runs from 9 a.m.-7 p.m., taking up all four floors of the museum, as well as Bicentennial Plaza, Jones St. and Edenton St. Special presenters will offer talks on such topics as stalking bugs by hot-air balloon and research trips to the Amazon rain forest. You’ll also find educational stations on tarantulas, bees and spiders. More details here.

Step into Café Insecta—BugFest’s free bug-food emporium, to enjoy a host of bug-filled dishes (while they last) made by chefs from Spize Café, The Market Restaurant, Tir Na Nog, Carolina Jacks, Thai Villa, Whole Foods and the Museum’s Acro Café. If your child is interested in a citizen science project, check out the “School of  Ants.” The first 500 visitors wanting to participate will receive an ant collection kit baited with cookies to help collect various species of ants. The findings will then be sent back to the lab where the ants can be identified. Once all of the ant species in North Carolina are mapped, that map will be revealed at the 24-hour opening of the Museum’s new wing, the Nature Research Center on April 20, 2012.

Also this weekend in Raleigh, more than 100 students and faculty from The Art Institute of Raleigh-Durham will be on Fayetteville Street to create the downtown’s largest chalk drawing as part of the annual SPARKcon festival.  The 1,500-square-foot chalk drawing will take shape on Friday night and throughout Saturday in front of the Wake County court house between Martin and Davie Streets.  The drawing, called “Create Tomorrow,” will be made up of 60 individual 5’x5′ squares engineered to perfectly sync together.

On Saturday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m., Wendell hosts The International Food and Music, with more than a dozen authentic cuisine booths, music and games, as well as a silent auction to benefit a local food pantry. You’ll find details in this article.

The Youngsville Fall Festival will take place on Saturday, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. at 125 US1-A, in Youngsville. Enjoy kids activities, craft and car shows, food vendors and more. Visit our Daily Calendar for details.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, enjoy a Greek Festival, at the Expo Center of the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, in Raleigh. Sponsored by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, the festival will feature food, pastries, live music and dancing. A portion of the proceeds will go toward Habitat for Humanity. See this link for ticket prices.

On Saturday and Sunday in Durham, the Museum of Life and Science is hosting Heroes, Villians and Special Effects. Explore the science behind entertainment and meet experts in the fields of special effects, make-up artistry, video game design, comic book art and more. Activities are included in the price of admission to the museum. Visit our Daily Calendar for details.

Also Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., the Walltown Park Recreation Center, in Durham will host a free community day with food, games, and entertainment for the entire family. The Mt. Olive Dancers, Fierce Eclipse All-star Cheerleading Dancers, Walltown Wildcat Cheerleaders, Walltown Baton Twirlers and various step teams are among the many performers who will be there. For more details contact Pam Sellars at 919-560-4296, ext. 27421.

On Sunday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., The National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes will host their 12th annual season kick-off event, the Caniac Carnival, at the RBC Center, in Raleigh. This year’s Carnival will feature activities for fans of all ages including a Red-White game, inflatable rides, interactive games and booths, live music and an autograph session with select Hurricanes players presented by RBC Bank. Parking and admission to the event are free.

The RBC Center’s doors open at 9 a.m. for the rookie practice and wristband distribution for the autograph sessions. Players will be available to sign autographs from 10-11 a.m.  Fans can also sign up for the Crazy Caniac Challenge III, which will consist of running a lap around the RBC Center, eating two hot dogs, drinking a 12-ounce Pepsi product and then completing a final lap. All competitors will receive a Crazy Caniac T-shirt and the grand prize winner will receive two 12-game plans for the 2011-12 season. The race will begin at 10 a.m., and all proceeds from the $15 entry fee will benefit the Carolina Hurricanes Kids ‘N Community Foundation.

The Red-White game will mark fans’ first opportunity this year to see the Canes in action, and all of the team’s veteran players are currently scheduled to participate. Seating for the scrimmage is general admission and a ticket is not required. The scrimmage will be played and timed like a regular NHL game, and will feature activities and contests for fans during the intermissions. For more information, visit

Get ready for more fun and games at our upcoming Baby Shower Meet-Ups on Sept. 24 at two Bright Horizons locations in Cary and Durham. Visit this link for details.

Meet, mingle, network at our Women@Work Breakfast on Thursday, Sept. 29, featuring N.C. comedian Kelly Swanson.?

Headed to the movies? Read Jean’s Movie Choice for Kids to see what’s worth watching and appropriate for your tot, tween or teen.



Categories: Activities, Early Education, Education, Fall, Family Fun, Food + Fun, Preschool Activities, Preschoolers, School Kids, Seasonal Fun, SK Activities, Things To Do, Tweens and Teens