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.

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 hotdoggerblog.com 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

Raleigh Car Show (Auto Expo) (Feb 2013)

New cars and old cars are both on display at the “2013 North Carolina International Auto Expo”. But that isn’t all: Both the GEICO gecko and Spider-Man are slated for an appearance, making the case that this is definitely intended to be a family affair. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for kids (under 6 free), and you can save another dollar by printing a coupon from the (also antique?) website.

Saturday 9-5:30, Sunday 10-5, Spiderman on Saturday 11-2.

Ford GT & 2005 Ford Mustang GT-R Concept

Ford GT & 2005 Ford Mustang GT-R Concept by StanD70, on Flickr

Ride with Santa on New Hope Valley Railway (12/9/2012)

If you’ve heard about the holiday train at Pullen Park and are still thinking about going, you will probably keep thinking: Tickets are completely sold out for the entire duration. But a good alternative would be the New Hope Valley Railway, which also has rides with Santa this weekend. They are also sold out, but are holding a limited number of walk-in tickets. Make sure you read details before taking the half-hour-drive. (My suggestion would be to get there before or right at 10 a.m., and be prepared to not get tickets for the very first ride. (There is enough to see during the wait…)

Winterfest on City Plaza (Winter 2012/2013)

Raleigh Winterfest

After its first run in the 2009/2010 season, the “AT&T Raleigh Winterfest” has quickly become one of the signature downtown events of the winter season. Of course there is the ice-rink, complete with skate rental and a golf-cart with the necessary implements to turn it into a mini-Zamboni. But that’s not all:

On a few Sundays (this one included), SnowMyYard will build an artificial sledding hill, something that looked quite enticing last time. The website also talks about a 40-foot Ferris wheel, which will be new this year, and a carousel.

The ice-rink is typically open as follows, but check the schedule to make sure:
Monday: Closed; Tue/Wed/Thu: 4-9; Fri: 4-11; Sat: 11-11; Sun: 12-5
The season runs from Dec-1 through Jan-31.

This Saturday Dec-1, there will be a big kickoff event from 3p-9p. Live music, vendors, outdoors movie and general merrymaking will provide a joyful start of the season.

Don’t miss it! $8 for skating, watching the Zamboni from the sidelines is free.

Raleigh Winterfest ’09 by kmoliver, used under the CC BY-NC-ND license

Benson Mule Days (9/22/2012)

Not just Raleigh has its fall festivals. I suggest that after Hopscotch and SPARKcon, you head out for a somewhat different program at the Benson Mule Days. First, where is Benson? Have you ever noticed that going to and coming from the beach on I-40, the signs say you’re going to “Benson”, but then you actually never go through Benson? Well, for future reference, “Benson” is code for “the intersection of I-40 and I-95”. And Benson is also the location of the annual (63rd this year) Benson Mule Days.

A long weekend filled with small town fun, rides, parades, a rodeo and many four-legged animals, mules and others. Here is the website and their program.

The photo is Mule Riding Couple by Mangrove Mike, used under the CC BY license

Touch a Truck (9/22/2012)

I featured another touch-a-truck event a while back that was in Chapel Hill, but this weekend we’ll have one in Raleigh: The best thing do do on Sunday afternoon is to head out to Dorton Arena on the fairgrounds and not only see, but touch, feel, smell, hear and operate all sorts of cool vehicles. From 11-12 is a ‘silent hour’ for special needs children (or others who hate loud noises), and no horn will be blown and no lights will be flashed.

After 12, “all the fire trucks go berserk!” (free after Sandra Boynton) as kids are allowed to sound the horns and activate the sirens!

There is an admission fee of $5/child (max. $20/family), but it is for a good cause. The event is put together by the Cary Pilot Club, and proceeds go towards helping people with brain-related disorders and injuries.

Fire Truck Parade (8/11/2012)

Wait, didn’t we already have that? No, no, see: A few weeks ago, we had the Raleigh Fire Department Centennial Fire Truck Parade. This weekend, we’ll see the South Atlantic Fire Rescue Expo’s Fire Truck Parade.

The parade starts at 9 a.m., but be there early – it is a pretty short route. The trucks start at the capitol, go down Fayetteville and switch over to Salisbury at the end. After the parade is over, the trucks go to the static display, where they can be looked at from up close, climbed on and sat in.

I may be a bit biased, because my son would happily go to a fire truck parade every weekend. But especially if you missed the last one, this is another opportunity to see some exciting vehicles.

Some impressions from the previous parade can be seen on http://www.youtube.com/daddyweekly.

Garbage Truck Rodeo (6/23/12)

No, this is a not a pun on a food truck rodeo. The Road-e-o is a competition for garbage truck drivers. As their website states, “Contestants representing public and private waste collection agencies will be competing […]. Drivers are required to maneuver competition vehicles through a preset course […].” The event is organized by the NC chapter of SWANA (Solid Waste Association of North America) and takes place at two locations, the South Wake Landfill at 6130 Old Smithfield Road in Apex, and (closer) at City of Raleigh’s Wilder’s Grove Operations Facility at 630 Beacon Lake Drive in Raleigh.

It is officially a two-day event for the participants, but the main competition takes place on Saturday from 8a-4p. This is the NC regional. The winner and runner-up ill continue on to the National Championship in Kentucky.

My son went through a phase of fascination with garbage trucks, and after seeing a ton of fire trucks last weekend, we need to pay the garbage trucks some respect!

Raleigh Fire Truck Parade (Raleigh Fire Department Centennial) (6/14/2012)

Thanks to go out to the loyal reader who sent in this event. Suggestions for posts are always welcome!

The Raleigh Fire Department celebrates its 100th anniversary this weekend, and what better way to do so than inviting a bunch of kids! How do you get the kids to come out? Fire trucks. Big ones. Old ones. Steam-engine driven. Hand-pulled. Remote-controlled (to play with). And speaking of play: a Kids corner with a bucket brigade game and toy fire truck races.

Here’s  a suggested itinerary for the day: Get to your preferred spot along the parade route early for the best view. The parade starts at 10am on Hillsborough at St. Mary’s. It will travel along Hillsborough to the Capitol and continue down Fayetteville Street to the parking lots in front of the Performing Arts Center.That also where the fire trucks (properly called “apparatus”) will be on display along with the Kids Zone, a Pumping Exhibit and the usual stuff like food vendors, and, of course, a huge birthday cake.

At noon, the antique steam engine driven fire engine will be demonstrated, and other ‘pumping displays’ (I assume that means splashing water in laymens’ terms) will happen before and after.

Did you know the Raleigh Fire Department covers on average 100 incidents per day? Show them your support and go celebrate their 100th birthday. More information can be found at rfd100.com