Triangle Weekend Offers Free Holiday Events


Triangle towns are ringing in the holidays with lots of free weekend events designed to delight children of all ages and their parents. Enjoy parades, visits with Santa, tree-lighting ceremonies, sleigh, train and carriage rides, snow sledding and much more. Some holiday events offer a taste of Christmas past, and you'll find a great selection of family-friendly performances. See our Daily Calendarfor details on these upcoming events, as well as lots more fun:


On Friday, from 7-9 p.m., head to Durham for the Duke Homestead Christmas by Candlelight to celebrate an 1870 Christmas. Tours will feature period decorations, caroling, hot apple cider and other goodies. All ages are welcome.

In Apex, Christmas on Salem Street kicks off at 5 p.m. Friday, featuring the town's tree lighting at 5:30 p.m. as well as sleigh rides, holiday treats and Santa.

In downtown Benson, Christmas on Main runs from 6-8:30 p.m. Friday. Get ready for

live entertainment, cider and cookies, a tree-lighting ceremony at 6 p.m. and a parade at 6:45 p.m.

In downtown Garner, from 6-8 p.m. Friday, the Light Up Main Event offers local entertainment, arts and crafts in Santa's workshop and a tree-lighting ceremony.

Hillsborough will usher in the holiday season with a tree-lighting event at 7 p.m. on Friday.

Downtown Knightdale will host holiday events from 6-7:30 p.m. Friday. Take the family for live entertainment, a tree-lighting ceremony and Santa's Magical Workshop. Kids can have their pictures taken with Mrs. Claus and Santa's elves and take a sneak peek inside his workshop.

Wake Forest will host a family-friendly festival featuring local music groups, a tree lighting ceremony, Santa's arrival and much more at 6 p.m. on Friday. .

Downtown Mebane will ring in the season with a nighttime Christmas Parade at 7 p.m. Friday.

And Wendell's tree lighting ceremony starts at 6 p.m. Friday.


Step into Christmas long ago at the Historic Stagville State Historic Site, in Durham, from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday. The event, Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters portrays traditions that were part of Christmas celebrations for both the plantar family and the enslaved community. Enjoy vendors, games, crafts, storytelling and more. Tour original slave quarters from the 1850s decorated for the holidays.

In Chapel Hill, The Carolina Inn will host a free community open house on Saturday from noon-4 p.m. to kick off the inn's 14th annual celebration of the holidays taking place through Dec. 31. Enjoy an array of Carolina Inn goodies along with the talents of local craft and food artisans. Tour the inn's new unique interpretation of the dozen verses of the traditional holiday carol, "The Twelve Days of Christmas," which will be on display all month throughout the historic hotel. For details, visit

On Saturday, as part of Apex's holiday events, the Salem Street fire station will host a pancake breakfast from 7-11 a.m. Kids can have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. At 5 p.m., enjoy an old-fashioned holiday parade on Salem Street.

The Garner Christmas Parade kicks off at 10 a.m. on Saturday, and you'll see a line-up of  marching bands, emergency vehicles and St. Nicholas.

The Hillsborough Christmas Parade also gets started at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Knightdale welcomes the holiday season with a parade featuring marching bands, Santa and more at 2 p.m. on Saturday.

Raleigh Winterfest Kick-Off will offer a family-friendly festival with carriage rides, carolers, a visit from Santa and live music on Saturday, from 5-10 p.m., in downtown Raleigh.

Step back in time at Sleigh Rides and Cider: A Winter Night at Oak View from 5-7:30 p.m. Saturday at Historic Oak View County Park, in Raleigh. You'll find decorations and displays from 1850 to 1950, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday music and stories in the 1855 farmhouse, hot apple cider and a visit with St. Nicholas.

The Town of Cary's Old Time Winter Festival will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., in downtown Cary, where you'll find arts and crafts, festive food, live entertainment and a visit from Santa.

At 6 p.m. Saturday, enjoy a variety show with local performers at The Town of Cary's Tree Lighting. The town will light a 30-foot cedar tree and a community tree decorated with handcrafted ornaments.

Wake Forest's Holiday Open House from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Saturday in downtown Wake Forest will offer pictures with Santa, face painting and kids activities.

In Durham, Holiday Fun Fest, runs from 2-6 p.m. Saturday in Durham Central Park, Take the family for snow sledding, train rides, campfire sing-alongs with s'mores, a mini parade, a petting zoo, face painting and a visit with Santa.

For more events on Sunday, visit ourDaily Calendar. For more holiday fun and local chefs family-favorite holiday recipes, visit our Winter Holidays Guide.

Headed to the movies? Be sure to check Jean's Movie Choices for Kids first to see what's appropriate for your tot, tween or teen.??

Categories: Activities, BT Activities, Family Fun, Family Ties, Lifestyle, Preschool Activities, Preschoolers, School Kids, Seasonal, Seasonal Fun, SK Activities, Things To Do, Tweens and Teens, Winter Holidays