Here’s your weekend family fun!
It’s been all about Christmas lately, but let’s start with a holiday that actually starts this weekend - Hanukkah. The eight-day Jewish festival of lights starts Saturday evening. Cary will hold its Cary Jewish Cultural Festival from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, at the Cary Arts Center. Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh will hold its annual family Hanukkah concert at noon, Sunday. And Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh will mark the holiday with daily menorah lightings starting on Saturday. For details about all of these events, check my earlier post.
Disney on Ice presents Rockin’ Ever After runs Wednesday through Sunday at the PNC Arena. Tickets start around $16 per person.
The State Capitol Tree Lighting celebration begins at 5 p.m., Thursday. The actual ceremony and lighting is 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. The Capitol will be open for tours after the tree lighting. (The Capitol also will host an open house from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Thursday through Saturday). The N.C. Museum of History, which is across the street from the Capitol will be open until 7:30 p.m., Thursday, for tours and shopping in its store. The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences also will stay open until 7 p.m., Thursday, and will have some animals on display.
The Executive Mansion, the home of the governor at 200 N. Blount St. in Raleigh, will be open for its annual holiday open house. You can just pop in - no reservations required. Hours are noon to 8 p.m., Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday; and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. I take my kids and mom to this every year. They have giant Christmas trees and performances from local groups. My kids are mesmerized by both.
We have some big annual holiday shows:
The Raleigh Little Theatre opens Cinderella on Thursday. The show runs through Dec. 16. This very family-friendly show with lots of laughs and even some audience participation is fantastic. Many girls come dressed in their princess best. The theater has been presenting this show for more than two decades during the holidays. I highly recommend it. Tickets are $25 and shows will sell out.
The City Ballet will present its 20th annual performance of The Nutcracker, featuring guests artists from the Carolina Ballet, at 7 p.m., Friday, and 2 p.m. and 6 p.m., Saturday. The performances are at N.C. State University's Stewart Theatre. And Destiny Dance Institute will perform "A Christmas Gala" at Heritage High School in Wake Forest with shows on Sunday. For details about these and other Nutcrackers, read my earlier post.
Theatre in the Park in Raleigh opens its very popular A Christmas Carol. Shows are Thursday to Sunday at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh. The show moves to the Durham Performing Arts Center next weekend. Tickets start at $30 and shows likely will sell out.
The Sandbox Band is the featured performer during Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s holiday concert. It’s 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, at Morehead in Chapel Hill. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for kids. Sandbox will perform holiday classics and originals from its Christmas album, “Snow Day,” under the “stars” of the planetarium. The band has another concert in Garner next weekend. Read my earlier post for details about both.
Marbles Kids Museum’s An Evening with Elves is Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 for this special annual event that includes dinner and lots of activities. At last check, there were some tickets available, but this does sell out. If you do not have tickets, but were planning on heading over to Marbles on Friday, know that the museum will close at 4 p.m. to prepare for the event.
Speaking of tickets selling out, Pullen Park’s Holiday Express is completely sold out. It runs Wednesday through Sunday. No tickets will be available for purchase at the park. And if you’re planning an outing to Pullen for fun, know that the park will close down at 2 p.m. each day to prepare for the event. For more information if you do have tickets and if you don’t but were planning a Pullen visit, read my earlier post.
New Hope Valley Railway’s Santa Train will run again Saturday and Sunday from the station near Apex. Read my earlier post for details about the ride, which started last weekend.
In Goldsboro, Herman Park will host its annual Jingle in the Park from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday. There will be train rides, candy cane hunts, music, lights, s’mores, storytelling, crafts and Santa.
There are various Christmas parades and tree lightings:
Benson’s Christmas on Main is 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday. The parade starts at 6:45 p.m.
Morrisville’s tree lighting is 6:30 p.m., Friday, at Morrisville Town Hall.
Holly Springs’ Main Street Christmas begins with activities Friday evening, including a tree lighting and visit from Santa, and continues on Saturday with a parade starting at 11 a.m.
The Clayton Christmas Parade is 3 p.m., Saturday.
Wake Forest’s Christmas Parade is 1 p.m., Saturday.
Cary Jaycee’s Christmas Parade is 2 p.m., Saturday.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade is 10 a.m., Saturday, starting on E. Franklin St. at the Morehead Planetarium and ending about noon at Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St.
Don’t forget: Saturday is Dollar Day at Kidcycle, the consignment sale at University Mall in Chapel Hill. Read my earlier post for details.
Kelly Starling Lyons, a Raleigh mom on our Made by Mom Gift Guide, will launch her book Tea Cakes for Tosh during a special event at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh at 3 p.m., Saturday. Kelly will lead a program with crafts, refreshments and more. This is a wonderful children’s book. I'll have more about it as part of our gift guide on Friday.
The Relative Pitch, an open mic night for kids 18 and under, is 4:30 p.m., Sunday, at the Broad Street Cafe in Durham. Read my earlier post for more details about this new program for kids.
And Duke Gardens will hold a Winter Fun Day from noon to 3 p.m., Sunday, at the gardens. The free activity focuses on a science or craft project. No registration required.