Weekend best bets: SPARKcon, Oktoberfest
Posted 7:55 a.m. Thursday
Updated 11:09 a.m. Thursday
Raleigh, N.C. — You know it's almost fall when the Triangle is packed with weekend festivals and activities. Here's a list of our favorite picks.
SPARKcon - This annual arts festival takes over downtown Raleigh this weekend. The event includes four days of performances and everything from music to geek to fashion. There will be more than 2,000 artists participating in more than 200 events.
BugFest - Discover dragonflies and other bugs on Saturday during the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences' 21st annual BugFest. This free event introduces visitors to a range of arthropods from North Carolina and around the world. There will also be live music, games, movies and more.
Halfway to St. Paddy's Festival - This Irish cultural celebration will include live music with Rattle & Hum (a U2 tribute band) and The Gravy Boys on Saturday. The event will also feature local Irish dance groups, food and drinks. Proceeds from alcohol sales will benefit Raleigh Crimestoppers.
CenterFest - More than 145 visual artists will sell their handcrafted work during this two-day festival in Durham. There will also be more than 75 performing acts on six stages, a children's zone and locally-sourced foods and international cuisine. The event runs Saturday and Sunday.
Lafayette Village Oktoberfest - This German-inspired festival will include more than 20 fall beers and lots of food on Saturday starting at noon. There will also be live music and wiener dog races.
Durham Oktoberfest - Motorco will host this sixth annual festival on Saturday with live music from the Little German Band. There will also be lots of German cuisine for sale. Admission is free.
Halfway to St. Patrick's Day Party - Krafty's Burger and Brews in Garner will host this event on Saturday. There will be bagpipes, a late night party band and lots of food and Guinness.
International Food and Music Festival - Taste a variety of cuisine while enjoying music and dance entertainment, children's games and raffle prizes. This 15th annual festival is Saturday at Wendell's J. Ashley Wall Town Square. Admission is free.
Brier Creek Food Truck Festival - More than 30 trucks will gather on Saturday for this event with face painting and live music from Liquid Pleasure and Runyons Funyons.
Apex Music Festival - Live music and a beer and wine garden are highlights of this year's festival held Saturday on Salem Street. The event runs 3 p.m. until midnight. Tickets are $10.
Food and fun
Mac and Cheese Throwdown - Talented chefs will be putting their own spin on mac and cheese during this competition Sunday at 214 Martin St. in downtown Raleigh. Tickets are $25 and proceeds go to the Hope Center at Pullen, which helps young people aging out of foster care in Wake County with the support they need for a successful transition to adulthood.
Mystery Brewing's Oktoberfest Beer Release Party - Celebrate Oktoberfest with the release of Mystery's fall beers, Oktoberfest-inspired food menu items and festive polka music. The fun starts at 11:30 a.m. at Mystery Brewing's Public House.
The Dude Abides Party - The North Carolina Museum of Art hosts this 5th annual party Saturday night. There will be live music, lawn bowling and a screening of "The Big Lebowski." Tickets are $15 for non-museum members and $10 for members.
8th Annual Hot Pick’n Finger Lick’n BBQ & Bands - The Rolesville Chamber of Commerce will present this cook-off on Saturday at the Rolesville ball fields. There will be live music all day.
Caniac Carnival - Head to PNC Arena on Sunday for this 18th annual event. There will be activities for fans of all ages, a free Hurricanes training camp practice, an autograph session with Canes players, inflatables, interactive games and booths, food trucks, a kid's zone, sports area, live music and appearances by Stormy and the Pepsi Storm Squad.
Cary Scavenger Hunt - Teams will compete to find the most clues during this four-hour competition in Cary on Saturday. The hunt will take them to parks, greenways, historical sites, local businesses, public art and more. Winners will be awarded cash prizes and trophies.
Pop-Up Raleigh - Raleigh's monthly art and vintage market will be held Saturday at Trophy Brewing on Maywood Avenue. There will lots of vendors, great beer and food trucks.
Dinner to Fight Childhood Hunger - Chef Ashley Christensen hosts her seventh annual childhood hunger benefit dinner at Poole’s Diner on Sunday. Tickets are $200.
Crank Arm Anniversary Block Party - This party features bikes, bands and beer until 10 p.m. Enjoy music from six bands and food trucks until 9 p.m. Rare craft beers will be served all day.
Music and comedy
On Stage Hamiltunes RDU - Want to be in "Hamilton?" Well, this is as close as you are going to get for now. This Hamiltunes RDU is an officially sanctioned "Hamilton: An American Musical" sing-along event on Sunday at Motorco. Singing tickets are $10 and non-singing admission is $5.
Upright Citizens Brigade Touring Company - This traveling show brings together the best improv comedians from the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatres in New York and Los Angeles to audiences around the country. See them at Carolina Theatre of Durham on Friday night.
Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy - These comedians are playing Booth Amphitheatre in Cary on Saturday. The show, dubbed "Jeff and Larry's Backyard BBQ," will feature new material.
Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Love and Comedy Tour - Enjoy more than two hours of stories, love duets and poetic outbursts and more during this show at Booth Amphitheatre on Friday night.
Chase Rice - The country singer brings his Lambs and Lions tour to The Ritz Friday night.
Friday Night Tribute series - Head to North Hills for this weekly concert series. This week's performers are Larger Than Life, "The Ultimate Boyband Tribute" band. Show starts at 7 p.m.
Lavell Crawford - You might remember Lavell from NBC's hit reality series "Last Comic Standing" and recurring spots on "Breaking Bad" to "Chelsea Lately." See him at Goodnights Comedy Club in Raleigh Thursday through Saturday.