What's on Tap

What's on Tap

Bluegrass and PepperFest lead our weekend best bets

Posted October 2, 2014
Updated October 3, 2014

7th Annual Pepper Festival (Image from Facebook)

— Bluegrass takes over downtown Raleigh, but there are tons of other festivals throughout the Triangle this weekend.

First up, it is First Friday in downtown Raleigh this week. We have a complete guide to the fun. One of our Best Bets for First Friday: City Market is hosting a Centennial Celebration Friday afternoon and evening. There will be live music by some of our favorite local bands, like Jack the Radio, a special southern menu, street performers and the release of a special brew from Triangle Brewing Company, City Market Centennial Ale.

Bluegrass takes over

The big event happening this weekend is the IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass festival happening in downtown Raleigh Friday and Saturday. The event features ticketed main stage events and a free street festival. Performers at this year’s Wide Open Bluegrass include Chatham County Line, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas and Steep Canyon Rangers. Ticketed events are happening at the Red Hat Amphitheatre and the Raleigh Convention Center. The free street festival (noon to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday) will feature more than 50 bands on four stages. There will also be a dance tent with clogging, square dances and late night open dancing. You can also get into the IBMA exhibit hall at the convention center for free this weekend.

More festivals:

Our sister station Fox 50 is hosting its annual Family Fest on Saturday at the American Tobacco Campus in Durham. There will be live music, story-time with the Storybook Theatre, live animals and the annual rubber duck race. Admission is free!

Oktoberfest celebrations continue this weekend. Carolina Brewing Company hosts its 2nd annual Oktoberfest party on Saturday from 4-10 p.m. There will be food trucks, live music and, of course, beer. A portion of sales will go to the National MS Society. The Rotary Clubs of Apex Sunrise and Cary MacGregor are hosting an Oktoberfest event Friday and Saturday at MacGregor Village in Cary. Enjoy live German bands, dancers, food, beer and even a kid’s zone. Ticket prices vary, but start at $10 for a single day ticket.

Celebrate Irish music during the Raleigh Irish Music Festival Saturday in Moore Square in downtown Raleigh. This free event starts at 11 a.m. and runs until 7:30 p.m. There will be entertainment for the entire family, including bands and dancers.

PepperFest is Sunday in Chapel Hill. Savor delicious NC peppers, enjoy live music, and sample dishes and beverages made from the chefs, brewers and distillers of central NC. Tickets are $20-$30 in advance. ava gardner

On Friday and Saturday, celebrate fall at the annual Wendell Harvest Festival. There will be local bands, crafts, food, face painting and a beer garden. Prices vary. Everything kicks off at noon on Friday in Wendell Towne Square.

Head to downtown Chapel Hill on Sunday starting at noon for an annual celebration of arts. The Festifall Arts Festival will also include live entertainment, hands-on activities and local food. Admission is free.

The annual Ava Gardner Festival is this weekend. Events take place at the Ava Gardner Museum and other venues in the Smithfield area. Highlights this year include an appearance by Project Runway finalist Justin LeBlanc and free screenings of “The Killers” and “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean.” On Saturday, the Clayton Piano Festival, which is this weekend at the Clayton Center, will showcase music from “Showboat.”


Grab those acid washed jeans and scrunchies because Koka Booth Amphitheatre is hosting a 1980s-themed Murder Mystery Dinner this weekend. Held Friday and Saturday nights, see if you can guess who the killer is and enjoy some killer apps and a buffet! Tickets are $60 per seat and must be purchased in pairs.

Some outstanding cuisine will be served up Sunday night during the annual Harvest Dinner at Raleigh City Farm. Standard Foods’ Chef Scott Crawford will be preparing an all-vegetable, family style feast using North Carolina foods from local farmers. Wine Authorities will be providing exclusive wines and Fullsteam Brewery will be serving up a plow-to-pint beer. VIP tickets are $200 and just a ticket to the dinner is $125.


The Music Maker Relief Foundation, which aims to support musicians in times of need, kicks off its 20th annual Blues Revue on Friday at the ArtsCenter in Carrboro. This event includes an afternoon panel discussion with artists and folk scholars and a performance that evening. Cool John Ferguson, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Ironing Board Sam and more will be there. Tickets are $25. Events continue on Saturday with the Music Maker Homecoming show at the Shared Vision Center in Durham. Enjoy a day of blues starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are $150 each and $100 of that is tax deductible.

Darius Rucker (Image from the N.C. State Fair website)Head to North Hills in Raleigh to rock out to Slippery When Wet, a Bon Jovi Tribute band, Friday night. It's all part of their Friday Night Tributes series. The show is free and starts at 7 p.m. in Midtown Park.

Jethro Tull plays the Durham Performing Arts Center Saturday night. Tickets start at $40.

Darius Rucker, the former lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish, will play Koka Booth Amphitheatre Sunday night. He will be joined by David Nail and Joel Crouse. Reserved seats are $52 and lawn tickets are $42 in advance.

More fun:

Cheer on some brave folks who will be going “Over the Edge” for Special Olympics NC. People will be rappelling down the side of the Wells Fargo Capitol Center in downtown Raleigh from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Want to rappel? Donate $1,000 to Special Olympics NC.

The Wake County Parade of Homes kicks off this weekend. Check out 200 homes in Wake County. The tour is free and open to the public. It also runs Oct. 10-12 and 17-19. There is also a parade of homes in Durham, Orange and Chatham counties. Check out 56 homes during this free event. The tours also run Oct. 10-12 and Oct. 17-19 if you are busy this weekend.

The Tunnel to Towers 5K Run & Walk is Sunday morning at PNC Arena. Proceeds benefit the Building for America's Bravest program, which is building a home in Fayetteville for an injured service member. The event also honors those who sacrificed their lives on 9/11 and other first responders. After the run, enjoy music, children's activities and more.

The 22nd Annual Triangle AlzNC Walk is Saturday at Koka Booth in Cary. All of the proceeds help North Carolina families impacted by Alzheimer's. Along with the walk, there will be vendors, kid's activities, live music, a raffle, a chili cook-off and more.

One of our favorite book stores is celebrating an anniversary Sunday! Quail Ridge Books & Music is having a 30th Anniversary Celebration with a reception, drawings, a tribute to founder Nancy Olson and more.


Please with your WRAL.com account to comment on this story. You also will need a Facebook account to comment.

Oldest First
View all