The first fall weekend brings in loads of fun for Triangle families, from Last Fridays entertainment in Hillsborough to an Irish Fest in Wake Forest. In Raleigh, you’ll find a Storytelling Festival and a “Farm Fresh Day” designed to help kids experience farm life. Plus, Take a Child Outside Week, which runs through Sept. 30 invites families to enjoy local nature activities, from geocaching to boating and birdwatching.
Head to Hillsborough for Last Fridays entertainment from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Sept. 25, where you’ll find a center-stage musical act, children's art events on the courthouse square, and new to this year, a pie contest! While you’re enjoying Last Fridays fun, stop by the Orange County Historical Museum to see how wedding styles change through the eras at the museum’s free exhibit Orange County Brides.
On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Hillsborough, The Northern Orange Black Voters Alliance and Fairview Community watch group present a community health gala with lots of programs for all ages. The free event, at Fairview Community Park, at 515 Rainey Street, offers health screenings and diabetes and nutrition information.
Love all things Irish? On Saturday, IrishFest offers a family-friendly outdoor event honoring the people and traditions of the Emerald Isle at Festival Park, in downtown Wake Forest. The festival at 525 S. White Street runs from noon to 9 p.m., featuring authentic Irish and Celtic foods and Irish music. Watch dance groups from the Inis Cairde and Danny Tighe schools perform traditional Irish folk dancing. Take the kids for Irish games, contests, storytelling and face painting, and even learn some Irish Gaelic, one of the country’s official languages. Admission is $3 for adults; children 12 and younger are free. For more information, visit www.festivalpark.org or www.gjcae.org.
Parents: want to listen to stories instead of reading them? Hear from professional storytellers at Historic Oak View County Park’s annual Storytelling Festival. The festival runs from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday at the park located at 4028 Carya Drive, in Raleigh. Call (919) 250-1013 for more information.
Also in Raleigh, experience the sights and smells of fall, and learn about the state’s agriculture, during Farm Fresh Family Day on Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. You’ll find a bounty of farm-related activities and something for all ages. Hop aboard on a hayride, churn butter, go on a scavenger hunt, see antique farm equipment, watch cooking demonstrations, and more. Admission and parking are free.
During Take A Child Outside Week, a national initiative spearheaded by the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, in Raleigh, you can go geocaching with your kids. Geocaching is high-tech treasure hunting game played outdoors using a GPS, and this year, the museum will be hiding seven geocaches in the greater Triangle. Over at Durant Nature Park, off Durant Road, in North Raleigh, another free program—Sample Durant—from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, offers a chance to bird-watch, make crafts and boat as part of Take a Child Outside Week.
In the mood to dance? On Saturday, join in Even Exchange DanceTheater’s Contra Dance Party and Family FUNdraiser at Arts Together, in Raleigh, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Enjoy live music and kids activities including face-painting, crafts and dancing. You’re asked to wear clean soft-soled shoes for dancing. Hot dogs, baked goods and drinks will be on sale. Admission is $9 a person, $30 for a group of four. Even Exchange Dance Theater is a professional dance company and non-profit committed to contributing to culture in North Carolina, especially in its home of Raleigh. For more information, call (919) 828-2377 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.evenexchange.com.
And Saturday Sept. 26 is Smithsonian Magazine’s free Museum Day, when more than 1,000 museums nationwide will waive general fees. A day pass is required and can be downloaded and printed out at www.smithsonianmag.com/museumday.
In Durham, Sarah P. Duke Gardens, invites kids for a free drop-in program on Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., when they can try out leaf and flower pounding and create a botanical kitchen towel. The free Science Sundays programs are offered every Sunday through Nov. 1, from 11 a.m. to 2 pm. Go to www.hr.duke.edu/dukegardens for directions.