Inside Out Global Art Project

inside_out_smIf 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.

The image is from Brent Granby, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA.

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Raleigh M.A.I.N Event

MAINIf 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:

  • The African-American Culture Festival is this weekend on City Plaza, and features a family village, including a stage with kids’ acts.
  • Hopscotch, a week later, has little to no kids-programming, but draws many fringe activities that make it fun to be downtown for all ages.
  • On that same Sunday, the Fiesta del Pueblo will have ‘Ninolandia’ for the 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!”

Benefit for the Saturday Market (Sat 9:30a-1:30p)

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.

This Saturday, a special Benefit event is taking place. You’ll need tickets ($10/adult $5/kid), and will get roasted pork, sides, drink and beer.

To me, the Saturday Market is probably the most authentic Farmers Market we have around, and it is well worth a visit even if you live further away.

Saturday Market

Firetruck Parade (Sat noon)

Every industry has its trade show, and so do the firefighters. But unlike other industries, where booths filled with sales people and presentations by subject matter experts dominate, the firefighters know how to put up a decent parade.

In fact, the fire truck parade is on the same level as the annual holiday parades, well attended, and very interesting. Here is a video from last year:

The parade starts promptly at noon, and will probably not last for too long, so it pays to be there before 12. The parade route is down Fayetteville from the Capitol, and then hops over to Salisbury, passes the Convention Center (another good viewing area) and ends in a static display in front of the Performing Arts Center, where all the trucks can be viewed from up close.

First Friday

first-friday-logoIt’s time again to feature First Friday, the evening where all art galleries and many museums are open late. One option is to drop them off at Marbles for their First Friday Kid Camp. You drop the kids off at 5:30 with a packed dinner, and pick them up at 8:30, having enjoyed some grown-up time exploring the art scene, having dinner or even a movie at the IMAX.

The other option is bring to the kids along for some art appreciation. Interesting openings this Friday are Paul Dagys‘ show (photography) at TRIG Modern; CANstruction, a fundraising event at 8 locations, and “The Life Aquatic With Less Anderson & More Puppy-Guppy” at Designbox.

One special treat this Friday is a free concert at the Red Hat Amphitheater, sponsored by Red Hat, and if I understand correctly, also Red Hat’s summer party. Goodbye Titan, MONA and Silversun Pickups are the bands on stage.

Sun Power at Crowder District Park; Water Works at Blue Jay Park

sunSign up today for these two family program today since pre-registration is required.

Many parks have free or cheap activity program, and I just picked two examples: Crowder Park is looking up to the sun, and forward to harnessing solar power on Sunday from 2p-3p. $5 for the entire family.

On the opposite side of Raleigh, Blue Jay Point is focusing on water and all the nice little creatures that live in it. This is on Saturday from 10-11.

Photo is by Rhys Asplundh

Tucker Lake

The City Pools are too small but the beach is too far? How about going half-way, and have a little beach and a lot more water at Tucker Lake. Yes, the place you all know from driving to the beach and have always said, “I wonder what that is like?”

After finally checking out Tucker Lake over the long weekend for the first time, I can now “speak authoritatively” about it: While it is probably not the poshest destination in the area, it is definitely not trashy or dirty, but by and large a safe, clean, family-friendly destination. The place is well-kept and operated, and on a comparable level for amenities and cleanliness as an average beach on the coast.

There is a small concessions are for chips, hot dogs, and ice cream, but ideally you bring a picnic or something to grill; there are countless grills and picnic tables scattered throughout a shaded 4 acre area, and there is probably about 1/2 mile of sandy lake shore. The water depth is very gradual and suited for all levels of experience, if you observe your limits. There are several life guards, but the area is quite large; I would compare it again to a ocean beach with lifeguards; they are there, they watch, but you still need to keep a very close watch on your kids, especially around the numerous slides, rope swings, and other play elements. There is also an impressive water slide which we didn’t try this time.

Since last year, Tucker Lake features also a wakeboard park with a large cable system. (You get pulled by a cable like a ski lift, not by a boat. Don’t sneer at it until you try it – it is how I learned to wakeboard back in the day.) This is of course more for older kids and adults, but I think it brings some welcome funds to the place that should lift up the entire operation. At any rate, if you’ve been to Tucker Lake years ago, you should give it another try; it came under new management in 2012, and seems to be doing well.

Location: Roughly at I95&I64, address: 3025 Allens Crossroads Rd Benson NC, 27504
Hours: Daily 9-6 during the summer, weekends in the fall and closed in winter.
What to bring: Coal and stuff to grill, umbrellas, lawn chairs, small coolers, water toy. But no pets, glass or alcohol.

Tucker Lake