Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

SPARKcon to light up downtown Raleigh, includes LEGO, Parkour, movement for kids

Posted September 15, 2015

Beautiful street art at SPARKcon 2014.

SPARKcon is a big annual arts festival in downtown Raleigh that's hard to categorize. It's not just arts and crafts. There's dance and music, fashion and film. But then there are programs that explore media and technology, circus and food. Organizers bill it as a festival of creativity.

There's a lot going on. And there are some great programs here for kids and families. But before I get to those, one highlight for SPARKcon is the annual street chalk event along Fayetteville Street. This year, more than 500 Wake County school students will participate in the event, along with others. (The slots are filled).

It's pretty amazing what artists can create out of chalk. An estimated 28,125 pieces of chalk will be used, according to the festival. They'll be working on their pieces, which will extend from Hargett Street to City Plaza, all Saturday afternoon. The best time to see the completed work will be Sunday, something I always enjoy seeing with my girls.

And here's a schedule of family-friendly programs. They all are free and do not require pre-registration. Descriptions come courtesy of the festival. Follow the links for the various "Spark" categories to get location information when not listed. It's all in downtown Raleigh.

ArtSpark events

  • New Mind Education – Chinese Art and Lettering, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Get creative with exchange students calling Raleigh home. Help build a Lunar New Year sculpture, learn some Chinese characters, and even try a henna tattoo.
  • Carolina Mixed Media Art Guild’s “ORANGE: An International Mail Art Challenge," 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday. Create 4″x6″ postcards on the theme, Orange, and mailing them to: CMMAG 4704 Marathon Lane Raleigh, North Carolina 27616.

Geekspark events

  • Code. Design. Create. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Become a creator with Youth Digital. Kids can get hands on experience making their own Minecraft Mods and Servers. Play student created 3D Games, Apps, watch 3D Animations and view original fashion collections. All created by 8 to 14 year olds.
  • Electronic Veggies, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Interactive electronic veggies?!? MaKey MaKeys and carrots = carrot chimes. There may also be a chance to ‘Whack a Potato” Build musical instruments with carrots and other everyday vegetables.
  • LEGO Mindstorm Robots, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Middle schoolers show their LEGO Mindstorm robots and autonomous programming to solve missions on a 4’ x 8’ table. Help build and program LEGO Mindstorm robots.
  • LEGO Time, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Play and build with LEGO blocks.

DanceSpark event

  • Creative Movement for Kids, 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday. Dance classes will be in the Zanzibar Room at Marbles Kids Museum. Please enter through the courtyard.

CircusSpark events

  • Parkour Coaching with Enso Movement at Fayetteville Street and Martin Street, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday. Test your strength, balance, and coordination by learning parkour with Enso Movement. Parkour coaches will teach you how to maneuver through obstacles with jumping and vaulting! No experience is necessary for you to learn how to navigate your body up, over, under and through obstacles.
  • Youth Aerial Silks Interactive Play with Cirque de Vol at Fayetteville Street and Martin Street, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sept. 19. Does your child love to hang upside down? Love to monkey around? The aerial silks are a fun fabric apparatus that kids of all ages can climb and wrap themselves in. Cirque de Vol Studios will be providing demos on the silks throughout the afternoon that include instruction of simple and playful poses in the safety of a low to the ground aerial nest. Ages 5+ are very welcome when accompanied by an adult.
  • Open Play Hoop Jam with The Raleigh Drum Circle at Fayetteville Street and Martin Street, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. Get ready to move to the beat of the drum and spin your hula hoop at our fifth annual circusSPARK hoop jam. Enjoy an afternoon moving those hips and spinning your hoop. Bring your own hoop or borrow one of ours. A great family event, we’ll provide hoops of all sizes. Open to children of all ages.
  • Cirque Aerial Arts Show: Trapeze & Lyra at Fayetteville Street and Martin Street, 5 p.m. to 5:45 p.m., Saturday. Watch aerial artists from around the Triangle perform high flying feats on trapeze and lyra. You will be mesmerized as the aerial dancers create a modern dreamscape before your eyes!
  • Parkour Stunt Jam with Enso Movement at Fayetteville Street and Martin Street, 6 p.m. to 6:45 p.m., Saturday. Watch the “athletes of the circus” demonstrate various feats of strength and skill. Parkour includes running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, rolling, quadrupedal movement, and other movements as deemed most suitable for the situation.
  • Cirque Aerial Arts Show: Silks & Fabric at Fayetteville Street and Martin Street, 7 p.m. to 7:45 p.m., Saturday. Watch aerial artists from around the Triangle perform high flying feats on silks (also known as dance fabric).

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