Halloween 2013: Haunted Mordecai

Mordecai House

Mordecai Historic Park has its Haunted Mordecai Free Festival this Saturday, 10/26 from 5p-10p. In addition to games, crafts, food, etc., there will be a “paranormal investigation group” presenting what they found out about Mordecai’s ghosts, and also costume contests for different age groups (under 3 at 6pm, 4-6 yrs at 7pm, 7-12 at 8pm, 13-16 yrs at 9pm). To do the Lantern Tour of of the Mordecai House, you need tickets.

Mordecai Historic Park is just North of Downtown at 1 Mimosa St.

Halloween 2013: Marbles Kooky Spooky Party

Marbles is hosting its annual Halloween party also this Saturday evening, from 6p-9p. Note that tickets are required, even for members, and that Marbles closes at 4p that day in order to prepare for the event, so you can’t go early and just stay.

Marbles as always puts a science/museum twist on the event, which includes among other things a Mad Scientist Lab and Spinning Spider Science. Showing up in costume is highly encouraged!

Purchase tickets ahead of time if you can, they are $8 in advance, but $13 on the day of the event ($10/$15 for non-members).


Cooke Street Carnival

Living on a street that is primarily known for its block party is certainly special, and Cooke Street Carnival keeps going strong in its fifth year. “The Cookeout” is this year’s theme, and in addition to art vendors, kids activities and bands, there are of course food trucks and beer tents. Particular mention goes to the “Art Boards”, 2D-art with cutouts for your head, all created by local artists, and excellent photo-ops.

Cooke Street Carnival is this Saturday from 1-6p – on Cooke Street, of course!

cooke street carnival

NC State Fair 2013

So, what new can we say about the State Fair? After all it’s been taking place (except for brief interruptions during war) continuously since 1853.

Well, new is the pork barbeque filled egg roll, for example, or the Sloppy Joe Doughnut burger. Enjoy! Another newer development is the local wine and micro-brew beer tasting that has been added a few years ago.

For kids there is Kiddieland, and then of course the livestock. And the drag racing. And the music. And the food. In short, all that makes the state fair, the state fair.

Corn Mazes and Pumpkin Patches

It is that time of the year again. The leaves are turning, the pumpkins are patching and the corn is a-mazing.

I won’t disguise it, I take the simple path and will just refer you to my last year’s article. Both corn mazes are good options that we’ve visited personally. One addition to the list this year is Vollmer farm, where we went a few weeks ago for the Farm Tour. It has a large kids activity area and the usual farm stuff. No corn maze, but a giant jumping pillow and even movies on Saturday night.

Ken’s Korn Maze and Ganyard Farm were covered in last year’s article.

hay maze

Shakori Hills Fall 2013 (Fri-Sun)

Shakori Hills, the twice-yearly music festival started yesterday. With temperatures dropping, it will probably be more a hardcore hippies event, but if your family can brave the chilly 70s, head out and enjoy tent camping, music, tie-tying, singing, drum-circling, short everything needed to help the kids understand what the grandparents did back in the 70s. (Well, maybe not everything.)

Shakori Hills is family-friendly, read their family page for some details. Tickets are $110, kids get in free.

Shakori Hills



International Festival of Raleigh (Fri-Sun)

I think nobody needs convincing that Raleigh is more mulitcultural than ever, but if you wondered just how many immigrant communities there are, come out to the International Festival at the Convention Center this weekend. From El Salvadorian dance to Lebanese food and Vietnamese cooking demos, you will find something from all the places you’ve always wanted to visit but never got to go.


PepperFest (Sun 3-7)

Do you like Peppers? You probably didn’t expect it, but there is a Festival just for you. In its sixth year, the Annual Amazing Abundance Pepper Festival takes place on Sunday in Chapel Hill. Sample all sort of pepper dishes, celebrate pepper king and queen, and even sample pepper micro brews!
Pepper Festival Website

Bluegrass and Barbecue

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Raleigh has snagged the Annual Bluegrass Convention and surrounding hootenannies from Nashville. If Bluegrass and Barbecue is not your world, it might be best to stay home for the weekend or go to the beach. (For better alternatives, see below.)

Assuming that you’re looking for some free entertainment with kids, here are the options: There are actually two kids’ areas, one next to the convention center facing the Marriott (Salisbury St.) and the other further up on Martin St. Near the main stage on City Plaza, there is a dedicated hula hoop space.

Want band recommendations? (see schedule for details):

Big Fat Gap (Fri 3p), Kruger Brothers (Fri 6:15p), Lou Reid and Carolina (8:15p) on Friday; then the Church Sisters (Sat 4pm), Vickie Vaughn Band (Sat 5:15) and Chatham County Line (9:30p) on Saturday.

And what about the barbecue?

The NC Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship is co-located with the festival. Pigs will go on the grill on Friday at 9pm, and will be ready on Saturday for lunch. Barbecue will be for sale after the judging is over.


Young Audience by Hindrik S, licenced under CC BY-NC-SA

Greenway and Carousel

The Festival takes place this weekend, which is my annual opportunity to promote urban hiking. See, if you drive and hour to a park, only to find a half hour paved loop, you might as well stay ITB. Don’t ask me why, but I find loop hikes more appealing that out-and-back. Are you interested in more hikes like this? Please let me know – I’m thinking about writing up a few more, but I’m not sure whether there is any interest.

(If you visit the page about this hike, you can download a pdf with the map.)

You can anywhere in downtown (your house, ideally), and make your way to Boylan Ave, then Walnut Creek Greenway, the Little Rock Greenway, and finally back toward downtown along E Lenoir St.

If I read it correctly, the festival is not scattered along the greenway this year, but concentrated around the beautiful Walnut Creek Wetland Center, perhaps about an hour walk from downtown along the greenway. From the, continue on to Chavis Park, where the 75th anniversary of this underutilized park is celebrated. Free carousel rides all day!

If you don’t think of downtown as a place to hike: go do this one, and let me know! (And if you need tips, contact me upfront!)

festival in motion_resized