Got to be NC Festival 2013

Do you feel like the State Fair is a “must-see” for your kids, but do you loathe the crazy crowds? Try the Got to Be NC Festival instead.

Less crowded, less crazy, more family-friendly, more exciting. You still get all the main State Fair ingredients (rides, tractor pulls, lawn mower racing, farm animals, fried food), but in a more relaxed atmosphere.

The event kicks off Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday. Admission and parking is free.


Image (c) NC Department of Agriculture.

National Train Day in Selma and Cary (Sat 5/11)



Amtrak celebrates National Train Day this Saturday, and there are two ways to participate:



  • First, you can drive to Cary, where a quite large event is taking place in the downtown depot. Even better, you could take the (short) ride on the Amtrak from Raleigh to Cary; leave Raleigh at 11:45am and get back at 3:11pm, about 15 minutes on the train each way. Train fare $11/adult.
    The event has a Chuggington exhibit, model trains and free train whistles, live music, hot dogs, and other things that get rail fans excited.
  • Secondly, you can take the train to Selma, where National Train Day is a major event for this  quaint Eastern Piedmont town. For this trip, you would leave Raleigh at 10:25am and get back at 4:42pm, and spend closer to 40 minutes on the train each way. (You could of course also drive to Selma.) Train fare $16/adult.
    Selma’s event is probably a bit smaller, but not any less exciting, with a live band, food vendors, kids activities and so on. There will also be trains arriving and departing while you’re there, going to far-away places like New York or Savannah.

If you’re planning to take the train to one of these events, let me know.

Antique Car Show at Oak View Park (Sat 5/4)

Oak View is one of our favorite parks, often for is relative tranquil setting. But this Saturday, it will be buzzing and humming and roaring with the sounds of dozens of antique engines. The local chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America willl have its Spring Meet there, and the public is invited.

I haven’t been to this park when it is crowded, but it might be a good idea to park at the Olivia Rainey library, and take the short walk through the park. (Use 4016 Carya Drive in your GPS, or take the first left after turning onto Carya Drive, followed by a second left into the parking lot.)

This is an all-day affair, from 9am-4pm. One thing not to be missed is the Ford Model T quick assembly, which the club will perform at 11:30a and 2:30p. An entire Ford Model T will be assembled from a pile of parts to driving condition in a matter of minutes.

Chavis Carousel Grand Re-Opening

Chavis Park is one of the best kept secrets of Raleigh. A nice playground, a cool pool, and unique and unfamiliar views of the downtown skyline and easy access to the greenway system make a trip worthwhile.

But there is more to come, with the Grand Re-Opening of the historic Allan Herschel Carousel, built some 70-80 years ago. It has recently been refurbished and moves a few 100 feet (not without controversy). The reopening is slated for this Saturday and a dedication ceremony will be held at 2pm. (Download dedication postcard.)


The Okee Dokee Brothers in Chapel Hill

Children’s Music has come a long way from the bopping keyboard with squeaky children’s choir days. Today, there are children’s music bands, children’s music songer-songwriters and even children’s music Grammy Awards. The Okee Dokee Brothers are all of the above (yes, they won a Grammy) and also friends since childhood.

Go see them on Saturday at 11a at the Carrboro Arts Center.


I’ve been working on the railroad…

Whether you want to learn about the thermodynamics of a steam engine, or understand the mechanics of the Walschaerts valve gear, New Hope Valley Railway is the place to be this Sunday. Of course, you can just ignore the science, and ride the choo choo for pure enjoyment.



Untitled (New Hope Valley Railway) by abbyladybug, used under the CC BY_NC license.

Chillyfest Downtown Raleigh Chili Cook off

chillyfestlogoSince we’re always looking for a balanced diet for ourselves and our youngens, how about adding some yummy chili to that tasty hotdog?

Chillyfest, an annual chili cook off for food businesses and individuals is happening on Fayetteville Street this weekend. Bring an empty stomach, $8 for 10 tastings and, “chilly out’.

The Wienermobile is coming!

Have you also secretly dreamed about what your kids will be when they graduate college? Lawyer, ballet dancer, nuclear engineer? You probably realized by now that they’ll do what they will, but how becoming a brand advocate for Oscar Mayer and drive cross country in a giant hot dog? This dream comes true for 12 marketing or PR college grads every year, who get selected by Oscar Meyer to do just that. Check out their and visit two of them this Saturday when they are in the area.

9am-12pm, Walmart near Brier Creek (Hwy 70& I-540, specifically 10050 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh NC)
1pm-4pm, Walmart in Morrisville (Hwy 54& I-540, specifically 1001 Shiloh Glenn Dr., Morrisville)


Hot Dog! by Bill on Capitol Hill

F as in Fun…draising (4/28/2012)

Fundraising for education, a constant topic across the nation.

Two events I came across have as goal to raise awareness and raise funds for schools, and both are part of the Wake County Public School System.

First, Project Enlightenment holds its now annual Project Palooza, a “…community-wide family fun event celebrating Project Enlightenment’s forty-three years of outstanding service…” If you always wondered what Project Enlightenment does, read a more conceptual explanation or some real-life examples. With all the changes in WCPSS, its future seemed threatened for a while, and they can always use support for their work. Saturday, 4/28, 10am-1pm.

Second, similar but different, Middle Creek Elementary School in Apex holds its annual PTA fundraiser, the MCES Spring Carnival, also on Saturday. Maybe I don’t know enough about PTA’s, but this seems to be the “Rolls Royce” of PTA fundraisers. (A quick search at other Wake schools didn’t bring up anything similar.) They have food vendors, a ton of games (Lollipop Tree! Lego Speed Build! Nail/Tattoo Shop! BeanBag Toss! and so on…), many of them tied into a raffle that will yield cool prices, but also some spare change for the PTA’s initiatives. Again, with the future of the WCPSS assignment plan also uncertain, it might as well be that your Raleigh child will end up in an Apex school. Why not check them out, and have some fun while doing so!
Saturday, 4/28, 4pm-8pm. (So you can go to both of them!)

Lemonade Stand with staff by Harris County Public Library, used under the  CC BY-NC-SA license