Another annual event that we’re looking forward to each fall is BugFest. It is organized by the Science Museum, and it clearly deserves being called a “Fest”. Live Bugs, Dead Bugs, Small Bugs, Big Bugs, Bug Movies, Bug Crafts, Bug Races, Bug Art: It is BugFest. To point out my personal favorites:
The Alberti Flea Circus: We’ve all heard of a Flea Circus, but have you actually seen one? Performing at BugFest throughout the day.
Cafe Insecta: They serve bugs. No kidding! Fried Grasshoppers, anyone?
Horseshoe Crabs: If you’ve been to an aquarium around here, you’ll know that they are among the most fascinating sea creatures.
Cyborg Insects: NC State’s iBionics Lab connects microcontrollers to cockroach brains, and makes them run left or right.
Stump the Experts: Bring any bug to the examination table and the experts will identify it. (We did that last year, and brought what turned out to be a Phidippus Audax we found earlier that day.)
Visit the BugFest website for detailed directions, or just head out to the museum and the Plaza and enjoy what you find.
Phidippus audax (yes, we singlehandedly caught one last year)
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.
A visit to the Saturday Market often marks the beginning of the weekend for us. What has started as a food truck and a farm table a couple years ago has become a steady and year-round fixture in our Boylan Heights neighborhood.
The food truck(s) rotate, so it is always a surprise what you find. Captain Poncho and Chirba Chirba are among our favorites. You can always find coffee and sweets, and for “real groceries”, the LoMo Market has a wide variety of fresh vegetables, baked goods, meat, dairy and sometimes seafood.
For the kids, a visit to market is almost as cool as a visit to a farm. Besides the chicken coops, which are the main draw, it is interesting to see what is growing in the garden, watch a train maneuver through the Boylan Wye, or just run around.
Saturday is Engineers Day at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. Some of the programs are geared towards kids 10+, but the many engineering-related exhibits are suitable for all ages. Plus, if interests for engineering should wane, there is always plenty more to explore at this marvelous museum, like the butterfly house or the cool outdoors playground.
Milagro Saints, a local band firmly rooted in downtown Raleigh, will kick off this year’s concert series in Fletcher Park. Last year, we went to see a show that didn’t take place due to a thunderstorm, and ever since I’ve been waiting for a chance to go back. (That band, Sandbox will play in two weeks, I’ll remind you.)
Milagro Saints play “Americana Poetic Roots Rock”, and their music is perfect for hanging out in the park on a lazy, hot Sunday afternoon. Fletcher Park is a good destination for a Sunday picnic anyway, so pack up the kids and a picnic and head on out – this Sunday, 6pm, Fletcher Park.
Fill this place with music! (Photo (c) City of Raleigh)
Holly Springs is serious about its turtles, and celebrates the annual TurtleFest. Crafts, Hayrides, Live Music, and, of course, turtles.
TurtleFest takes place at Bass Lake Park, a scenic place to hang out, or walk along the lake. If you want a change of scenery this weekend, Bass Lake is only 30 minutes from downtown Raleigh, down Lake Wheeler Road.
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.
Harris Lake is a beautiful park, albeit a bit of a drive from (downtown) Raleigh. (~25 minutes) This Saturday, they celebrate their Longleaf Pines, and they have about 60 acres full of them. The Festival features hayrides through the longleaf preserve, entertainment, crafts, live animals and even a fire engine. Since this is not hipster downtown, but rather the rural fringe of Wake County, food will not be provided by some fancy food trucks, but catered by Chick-Fil-A. (So you might want to bring your own kale chips and alfalfa sandwiches.)
As part of NC Science Fest, several astronomers’ groups are offering stargazing opportunities to the general public. The weather should clear up just in time for sunset tonight, and viewing conditions should be moderately good.