Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Weekend Plans: Christmas shows, parades, festivals, more

Posted December 4, 2013
Updated December 6, 2013

Cinderella Raleigh Little Theatre

Let’s just launch right into it because there is a lot of stuff to cover in the family fun department this weekend.

As always, check’s Out & About calendar for more ideas,’s Holiday Guide and Go Ask Mom’s Holiday Central (where you can find information about lights, Santa trains and more).

Here we go …

The region’s Santa trains are on the move, including the Holiday Express at Pullen Park (which is sold out), the Museum of Life and Science’s Santa Train and the Santa Train at the New Hope Valley Railway in southwest Wake County. Read my earlier post for more information about all of those events. If you have tickets to Holiday Express or don’t have tickets but were planning a trip to Pullen, read this before you go.

We have big and small town tree lightings, parades and festivals:

Raleigh will officially celebrate the opening of its Winterfest ice rink from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday, at City Plaza on the 400 block of Fayetteville Street. The event includes a holiday tree lighting with the mayor (at 7 p.m.), outdoor movie screenings of Elf, a Ferris wheel, carousel, artisan market, sled hill rides, live music and more. Admission is free, but there will be fees for the rides. Tickets are $1. The bounce house and sledding cost one ticket; the carousel costs two tickets; and the carriage rides and Ferris wheel cost three tickets. This event is held rain or shine.

UPDATE: This event has been moved inside the Durham Armory, 212 Foster. St., because of the threat of bad weather. Durham’s Holiday Fun Fest is 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, at Durham Central Park, 502 Foster St. There’s snow sledding and snow play, Santa Claus, a kids corner and other activities. Free.

Cary’s Heart of the Holidays offers all kinds of activities on Saturday - pop-up craft fair, gingerbread house competition, winter festival with Santa. Check the website for the full schedule.

Benson’s Christmas on Main includes a tree lighting and parade Friday evening.

Apex has a tree lighting and sleigh rides on Friday evening and a parade at 5 p.m., Saturday.

Garner’s Light Up Main is Friday evening; the parade is Saturday at 2 p.m.

Hillsborough has a tree lighting Friday evening, parade at 10 a.m., Saturday.

Knightdale’s tree lighting is Friday, parade at 2 p.m., Saturday.

Morrisville’s tree lighting is Friday, parade at 11 a.m., Saturday.

Fuquay-Varina’s tree lighting is Thursday, the parade is 3 p.m., Sunday.

Pittsboro’s parade also is 3 p.m., Sunday.

We have Christmas shows:

Frosty the Snowman continues its run at the Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts. The show, part of the Storybook Theater series, runs through Dec. 24. Tickets start at $14. I look forward to checking this one out this weekend with the family. The Grinch

The Raleigh Little Theatre’s Cinderella starts its holiday run this weekend. Now in its 30th year, the show incorporates some new lighting and animation, I’m told. This is hugely popular with families, a tradition for many. I’m excited to take my kids on Sunday. Tickets are $30. The show runs through Dec. 21.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas: The Musical is at the Durham Performing Arts Center through Sunday. It’s best for kids ages 4 and up. In fact, kids under age 4 are not allowed at the performances. Tickets start at $35.

The Carolina Ballet opens The Nutcracker this weekend. And there are a few other places to catch the Christmas classic. Read my earlier post for more.

The region’s historic sites offer some old-fashioned Christmas celebrations:

In Wake County, Historic Oak View County Park’s Sleigh Rides and Cider is 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday. Free. Horse drawn carriages, hot apple cider, a visit with St. Nick and more.

Joel Lane Museum House in downtown Raleigh holds an open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Free. Colonial games and crafts for kids, live music and demonstrations. We always try to make it to this each year.

In Durham, Duke Homestead will hold its Christmas by Candlelight from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday. Tickets are $6 for adults, $3 for kids 10 and under. Live music, historic dancing, storytelling, Christmas treats and more.

Christmas at the Big House, Christmas at the Quarters is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, at Historic Stagville in Durham. Free. Learn more about Christmas traditions for both the planter family and enslaved community. Demonstrations, crafts and more.

Bentonville Battlefield in Johnston County holds its A Civil War Christmas from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Free. Learn more about how Christmas was celebrated during this time period. Cookies, cider, period music, demonstrations. Historic Stagville Christmas celebration

And the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville holds its Holiday Jubiliee from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday. Free. Music, a Victorian Santa Claus, crafts and more.

We have some holiday markets (many more are found on the Out & About calendar):

St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School in Wake Forest will hold its annual Candy Cane Christmas Bazaar. It's 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Sunday. Santa visits from noon to 3 p.m., Saturday. Lots of vendors will be there, including Wildtree, Origami Owl, Thirty One Gifts, Mary Kay, and other homemade jewelry, holiday decorations, knitters and personalized gifts.

Cary Academy’s Holiday Shoppe is 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday; and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday.

And there’s more!

Mrs. Claus will read The Polar Express at 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., Saturday, at Northgate Mall in Durham. (She’ll read The Elf on the Shelf on Dec. 14). It’s free.

The N.C. Museum of Art will hold weekend family-friendly tours at 10:30 a.m., Saturday and Sunday. The 30-minute tours are best for kids ages 5 to 10 and their adults. There’s a special holiday theme this weekend. It’s free. Sign up that day at the west building information desk. It’s first come, first served.

The Durham Preschool Fair is 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Saturday, at Southwest Library on Shannon Road in Durham. The fair, where you can learn all about preschools in Durham, is organized by the Durham Mothers Club. It’s open to the public and is a great place to get a headstart on selecting a preschool for your child for fall 2014. (Because it’s really time to do that).

Duke Gardens in Durham hosts Holiday Celebrations at the Garden from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday. Check out the holiday tree displays and take part in winter holiday crafts. It’s free.

Also at Duke Gardens, the Paperhand Puppet Intervention plans “The Big Reveal,” an hour-long show that starts at 2 p.m., Sunday. The show features the group’s amazing puppets, stories and more. Tickets are $15, $8 for kids under 14. Call 919-668-1707.

And, just around the corner from Duke Gardens, the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University will hold one of its free family days from noon to 4 p.m., Sunday. There’s hands-on art activiites and a gallery hunt. The Lost Nomads will perform Middle Eastern music with belly dancing at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Activities are designed for ages 3 to 12 and their adults (but all ages are welcome).


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