The first Friday of March is this Friday. And that means it's First Friday in downtown Raleigh.
While many consider this monthly downtown Raleigh event something reserved for date nights, girls' nights out and people without kids, there are actually plenty of opportunities for families to get downtown and explore.
Here is some of the family-friendly fun planned this First Friday. (Check WRAL.com's Out & About section for more).
Epona and Oak, the lovely boutique featuring handmade items, will be hosting Messterpieces!, a benefit to raise money for the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's Backpack Buddies program. The event is from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the store at 329 Blake St. in Raleigh's City Market.
The store has collected handmade art created by local children, which will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the program, which provides a backpack of food for needy school children to take home on weekends. The evening includes coffee from Larry's Beans and snacks from Centro, Monster Cookies and Sweet T. Cakery.
And ... not to be missed ... Mr. Erik, the wildly popular librarian/storytime leader from Cameron Village Library will perform at 6:30 p.m. That will be fun.
Just around the corner from Epona and Oak, ArtSpace, at 201 E. Davie St., is open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday. The collection of more than 30 artist studios and four gallery spaces features new and ongoing exhibitions. It's a wonderful place to roam and see all kinds of art.
Marbles Kids Museum will be open until 8 p.m. on Friday. A special activity: Visitors can create self and family portraits. And if parents want to enjoy First Friday on their own, Marbles also offers a First Friday Kids Camp from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. for kids ages 3 to 11. Pre-registration is required for that. Click here for details.
Raleigh's Contemporary Art Museum marks First Friday with activities from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. On Friday, that includes tours with student docents and pop-up performances by the Carolina Ballet. There will be hands-on activities at a creation station coordinated by the Oaks & Spokes Bicycle Fest. Porchetta and Smiles Cupcake food trucks will be on hand (along with a cash bar). Admission to March's First Friday is free.
If you're wondering where to eat, Josh from Babylon Restaurant, at 309 N. Dawson St., tells me that they will offer 1/2 off their handmade pizzas for kids. The restaurant also will offer a three course meal for $30 for adults. Dickey's Barbecue Pit on Davie Street offers one free kids meal for ages 12 and under per paid adult meal of equal or greater value on First Fridays. And the Cupcake Shoppe on Glenwood Avenue has a buy one, get one half off cupcake deal on First Friday.
Anvil Studio & Gallery at 715 N. Person St. will offer a new First Friday Pop Up Shop from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. The shop features locally made products.
And, as usual, the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, which stays open until 9 p.m. on First Fridays, offers all sorts of family fun. There's the free, kitschy B movie: "The Reptile," at 7 p.m. Made in 1966, this one might be a little scary for young kids. But tweens and teens could have a blast.
Speaking of teens, the museum's monthly Teen Science Cafe starts at 6 p.m. at the Daily Planet Cafe. It will feature Dr. Dan Dombrowski, the museum's chief veterinarian. The museum's Nature Art Gallery will open a new exhibit featuring the photographs of Lori Kincaid. And First Friday visitors can see the exhibit "Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition" at a discounted rate - $3 off adult tickets.