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)
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.
Correct, it is not even Thanksgiving yet, but we’re having the Christmas Parade. On its traditional route down Hillsborough and then Fayetteville Street, the Christmas Parade can be relied upon to warm hearts and freeze toes.
Some people arrive early and brave the cold and drizzly weather, while other come later and only admire the tallest balloons floating over the heads of people standing in front of them.
The parade is from 10:00-12:00, and is taking place for the 69th time. (And if you don’t like rain – the parade is also broadcast live on WRAL.)
Bright Horizons Centers in the Triangle is hosting Touch-a-Truck day at their location in Cary (800 Weston Parkway, Cary, North Carolina 27513). It is $5 per child, and benefits the Bright Horizons foundation. Their Bright Spaces program provides homeless families and families in crisis a place to play and serves thousands of homeless children nationwide every month. (Just picture yourself for a moment, homeless, with children…)
So anyway, a worthy cause, and also a Touch-a-Truck day that is a bit closer than the other one I’m aware of and have written about, in Chapel Hill.
Note the limited time, from 10a-12p on Saturday morning. It does not say on the event page how many exhibits there will be, but they promise “a wide range of trucks and vehicles for kids and adults of all ages to explore”. Go, have a look, and touch a truck!
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Raleigh has snagged the Annual Bluegrass Convention and surrounding hootenannies from Nashville. If Bluegrass and Barbecue is not your world, it might be best to stay home for the weekend or go to the beach. (For better alternatives, see below.)
Assuming that you’re looking for some free entertainment with kids, here are the options: There are actually two kids’ areas, one next to the convention center facing the Marriott (Salisbury St.) and the other further up on Martin St. Near the main stage on City Plaza, there is a dedicated hula hoop space.
Want band recommendations? (see schedule for details):
The NC Whole Hog Barbecue State Championship is co-located with the festival. Pigs will go on the grill on Friday at 9pm, and will be ready on Saturday for lunch. Barbecue will be for sale after the judging is over.
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.
If 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.
If 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:
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!”
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.