American Indian Heritage Celebration

The NC Museum of History honors the American Natives of North Carolina with the annual celebration of American Indian Heritage. Did you know for example that Miss NC 2013 is an American Native? That NC has the largest Indian population of any state in the East? Or that there are eight recognized tribes in our state? Learn these and more facts, and have some direct encounters with the music, dances and cooking – if you’re lucky you might even run into Miss North Carolina Johna Edmonds. The event is taking place in the NC Museum of History and on the Bicentennial Plaza right outside the museum, and lasts from 11am to 4pm.

Maker Faire – Creativity in all its Diversity

The great thing about Maker Faire is that is bring together a wide, wide range of creative expression. Here three shots that try to capture that diversity.

Stormtrooper vs. Quadcopter
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Spinner and Giant Robots
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3D Printer and Recycled Glass Art
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First impressions from Maker Fair NC

Here some first impressions from Maker Faire NC.
Open today until 6pm – much more stuff than last year, so come on out!

Felted electronics = Feltronics
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spoonflower-powered make and sew kit
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Awesome self-designed tank differential gear made in Lego
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Caribbean Instrument Petting Zoo (5/25 2p)

This Saturday, the Cameron Village will turn into a zoo of sorts, but no animals will be there; no, the “petting zoo” will be filled with exotic instruments from various Caribbean islands and from Nigeria. Members of the Raleigh/Durham Afro-Caribbean Association will show the instruments and provide opportunities to explore them up close.

Zoppe Family Circus in Raleigh (5/17-5/19, 2013)

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Update: We didn’t make it to the circus unfortunately, but a fellow local blogger (and clown!) wrote a very nice three-post series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) with many pictures about his visit to the Zoppe Family Circus. Go have a look!

I featured another circus a few weeks ago, and we’ll remember that one fondly as our family’s first circus experience. But depending on how the weekend pans out, we may go to the circus again, since Zoppe promises a small intimate circus right within walking distance.

Zoppe is a family circus, and its history is a marvelous read: Back in 1842 (no typo), a young clown from France (Napoline Zoppe) fell in love with an equestrian ballerina in Budapest, Hungary, much to the chagrin of the ballerina’s father. A clown just didn’t cut it. The young lovers ran away to Venice Italy and founded the circus. Napoline’s great-grandson Alberto came to the US to work for Ringling Brothers (in exchange for an elephant), and brought the circus over here. He performed in the circus until recently, well into his 80s, and today the circus is run by his son Giovanni, great-great-grandson of Napoline and pictured above as clown Nino.

Zoppe features clowns, acrobats, horses and dancing dogs. They perform Friday – Sunday in front of the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts. No online tickets – Advance Tickets at the box office or at the door.

Image (c) Zoppe Family Circus.

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.

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Image (c) NC Department of Agriculture.

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

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

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  • 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.