Tour de Toys 2013

If you’re brave enough to take on the cold weather and threatening rain, join the Tour de Toys bike “race” this Saturday morning. The race is family-friendly and in past years, kids in trailer, trailer-bikes and on their own bikes have participated. There is a 12-mi course for the ambitious and a shorter 6-mile ride for the leisurely minded. Two free beers (not for the kids) are included; your entry into the race is not a monetary fee, but a donation of a new toy worth $15 or more.

The race starts at 10am at Natty Greene’s, curves through downtown and ends again at Natty Greene’s for a post-race party.

It will be very cold with possible rain – dress accordingly. We’re planning to go with kids and all if the weather is not too crazy. See you there?

Tour de Toys, Saturday 10am, Natty Greene’s. Sign-up today online or tomorrow (if there are any spots left) in person.

Umbrella required – Hands optional (Photo by Franck Vervial, licensed un der CC BY-NC-ND)

Eastern Triangle Farm Tour

First off, I was wondering why this is the Eastern Triangle Farm Tour. Is there a competing Western Triangle Farm Tour? Is it only in the Eastern part of the Triangle? Neither is the case, so it will have to stay a mystery. (Unless you know and tell me!) 27 farms, all over the Triangle and beyond, are opening their gates and barns to curious foodies, goat fans, and homesick farmer’s granddaughters.

You need to buy a ticket ($30 per car), and can visit as many farms as you can squeeze into four hours. (Or eight, if you go both days.) Farms are open from 1p-5p, so it pays to plan your route if you want to really see more than just 1-2 farms. Print the guidebook ahead of time.

One potentially good route would be to head out towards Bunn, where four farms are relatively close together. Don’t try to squeeze all four in, consider it three visits with one backup. Another option is to head South, where three farms are scattered around the Holly Springs / Fuquay-Varina area.

Here my personally picked tour: Leave Raleigh on Capital Blvd. and continue on to Hwy-401. Eventually you take 98-East and follow directions to Ray Family Farms, a meat farm with large black hogs, cows and free range chicken. If you’re vegan, you’ll like the next stop, Vollmer Farms, focusing on berries and vegetables. They also have a large unique playground (“The Back Forty”). Next stop could be Sun Raised Foods, a solar powered farm that raises lamb (sold at Whole Foods). Rare Earth Farms, if you still have time, focuses on Natural Grass-Fed Beef. Continue down Hwy. 39S and then on Hwy 64/264 back home. To conveniently load all addresses and directions in Google Maps, use this link.

Inside Out Global Art Project

inside_out_smIf you can spare 5 minutes on this Friday afternoon, I recommend you head over to explore
http://www.insideoutproject.net. This is a global art project, which places large portraits in public spaces. (My words don’t do it justice, go look at the images.) The posters are large, about 3’x4′, and so far 120,000 of them have been posted around the world. Inside Out, which began in 2011, has spawned multiple projects-in-the-project, one of which is InsideOut11M; it tours 20 US cities, one of which is Raleigh. (Yes, this was a long intro to a local event!)

So come to First Friday between 5p and 10p, and get your chance of having your large portrait taken and within minutes posted on the walls of Artspace, with the goal of completely wrapping Artspace in portraits. (Second chance on Saturday afternoon.)

While you’re on that side of town, check out the other nearby First Friday participants, one of which it the relatively new kids boutique nüvonivo on Hargett Street. They have an interesting combination of online business and brick-and-mortar store, and offer a refreshing spectrum of European brands at decent prices.

The image is from Brent Granby, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

Not your average 5K…

Running a 5K was once cool, but is now sooo 2012. These days, when you run a 5K, you do it in costume. Or barefoot. Or being hunted by zombies. Or, “muddy”:

Mud runs, basically 5Ks with obstacles, mud flats and other accoutrements are all the rage, and now also come in a family version! This Saturday, the Big Muddy Challenge takes place. And while registration has ended yesterday, some race-day spots should be available if you come early. The race is completed as a team of two – one parent and one child, age 6-12. Sounds like a lot of fun!

Not especially geared towards kids, but “for all ages” (kids under 7 run free and strollers are welcome) is a completely different race one week later, the Electric Run. Basically a linear rave, but possibly healthier and more fun, you don as many glow sticks and LED lights as you can find, and immerse yourself in a glowing, flickering landscape with pumping music.

With all these options – don’t take your kids to a dull, old school 5K!

Raleigh M.A.I.N Event

MAINIf you’ve lived in Raleigh for a few years, you know that we’re getting ready for the busiest month: Babysitters are booked months in advance, OpenTable.com crashes and pedestrian traffic jams block downtown sidewalks. We used to call it just ‘busy September’, but this year it has become “The M.A.I.N. event“, a cleverly chosen acronym for music, art, innovation and, um, noise. So we’ll focus on the first two, since innovation is focused on grown-up stuff like entrepreneurship, angel funding and venture capital, and the noise, well, we parents have that year-round.

Of the 18 events that make up M.A.I.N, here are the best for families and kids:

  • The African-American Culture Festival is this weekend on City Plaza, and features a family village, including a stage with kids’ acts.
  • Hopscotch, a week later, has little to no kids-programming, but draws many fringe activities that make it fun to be downtown for all ages.
  • On that same Sunday, the Fiesta del Pueblo will have ‘Ninolandia’ for the kids.
  • Another week later, Sept. 12-15 is dedicated to SparkCon, with many options for kids, from music to street art to circus and fashion shows.
  • After catching our breath (or attending a few entrepreneur event without kids), we put in the ear plugs and get ready for Capital City Bikefest, organized by Ray Price Harley Davidson, and declared “family-friendly”. If you think kids and bikers don’t go together, read this article. There will be stunt shows and more to excite little vroom vroom fans.
  • As the bikers are rolling off into the sunset, we seamlessly shift into a quieter kind of noise, as Bluegrass takes over from Sept. 24-28. A whole week of music, trade fair and award show will offer plenty opportunities to bring your kids closer to this genre that is so closely tied to our state.
  • To round off the month, Marbles‘ birthday party is on 9/28, as is the (re-)opening of the City Museum.

Ready? As the wild things said, “Let the wild rumpus start!”

First Friday

first-friday-logoIt’s time again to feature First Friday, the evening where all art galleries and many museums are open late. One option is to drop them off at Marbles for their First Friday Kid Camp. You drop the kids off at 5:30 with a packed dinner, and pick them up at 8:30, having enjoyed some grown-up time exploring the art scene, having dinner or even a movie at the IMAX.

The other option is bring to the kids along for some art appreciation. Interesting openings this Friday are Paul Dagys‘ show (photography) at TRIG Modern; CANstruction, a fundraising event at 8 locations, and “The Life Aquatic With Less Anderson & More Puppy-Guppy” at Designbox.

One special treat this Friday is a free concert at the Red Hat Amphitheater, sponsored by Red Hat, and if I understand correctly, also Red Hat’s summer party. Goodbye Titan, MONA and Silversun Pickups are the bands on stage.

Sun Power at Crowder District Park; Water Works at Blue Jay Park

sunSign up today for these two family program today since pre-registration is required.

Many parks have free or cheap activity program, and I just picked two examples: Crowder Park is looking up to the sun, and forward to harnessing solar power on Sunday from 2p-3p. $5 for the entire family.

On the opposite side of Raleigh, Blue Jay Point is focusing on water and all the nice little creatures that live in it. This is on Saturday from 10-11.

Photo is by Rhys Asplundh