Weekend Plans: Hanukkah festivals, Christmas activities, Cinderella, more!
Posted December 2, 2015
Updated December 4, 2015
It’s a huge weekend of Christmas and Hanukkah activities. Let’s get started with the holiday that actually starts this weekend - Hanukkah!
There are Hanukkah events in Raleigh, Cary, Apex and Durham. Among them: In Apex, they’ll be building a giant menorah out of Legos and offering a fire show. Stay tuned for a yummy Hanukkah recipe on Go Ask Mom this Friday. Happy Hanukkah!
And, of course, there’s Christmas! Holiday light shows are on; Santa is traveling across the region for pictures; and Santa trains are chugging along (big note: Pullen Park’s annual Holiday Express is sold out). Our Holiday Central page lists lots more details too.
We have a lot of Christmas shows: Cinderella at the Raleigh Little Theatre; various versions of Nutcracker (including the Carolina Ballet’s run and the Triangle Youth Ballet); and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical” in Raleigh. Not really holiday-related, but the Durham Performing Arts Center has “The Sound of Music” on stage this weekend.
Communities are hosting big holiday festivals:
In Raleigh, it’s the Winterfest Celebration, which runs 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday. Find it on City Plaza in the 300 and 400 block of Fayetteville Street. The event includes skating at an outdoor rink (which is $10 per person, including skate rental). There also will be music; food trucks; a gingerbread house contest and storytelling at the Wake County Express Library at 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.; and a tree lighting at 7 p.m. Santa will be available for pictures inside Santa’s Village (be sure to bring your own camera). Admission is free (unless you want to skate).
Cary has a bunch of fun Christmas activities Saturday as part of its Heart of the Holidays celebration in downtown Cary. They include a tree lighting at 6 p.m.; Christmas movies at The Cary; a gingerbread house competition; Santa's workshop for kids; and more.
Durham’s Holiday Fun Fest is 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, at Rock Quarry Park, 701 Stadium Dr. The free event includes snow sledding, Santa Claus, pony rides, campfire s'mores, train rides, slide, arts and crafts, obstacle course, food, a toddler playland, festive music and entertainment!
A Christmas tree lighting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, at Knightdale Station Park Amphitheater with lots of activities for families.
Apex’s annual Christmas on Salem Street is 5 p.m., Friday. You’ll hear Christmas carols and see the lighting of the town tree. Santa and Mrs. Claus will arrive on a horse drawn carriage in front of the downtown fire house between 5:45 p.m. and 6 p.m. Carriage rides are available from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The cost is $7 per person (kids 2 and under are free). Tickets go on sale at 4 p.m., Friday, in the white tent at the corner of North Salem Street and Saunders Street. Apex’s website says they go fast. So get in the line early if you really want one.
Wake Forest will host its annual Lighting of Wake Forest Friday at Centennial Plaza, 301 S. Brooks St. The evening includes the arrival of Santa Claus aboard a Wake Forest fire truck! Local school and church groups also will perform. Kids can take part in crafts. There will be free hot chocolate, along with pictures with Santa (bring your camera!) from 6:45 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Music starts at 5:30 p.m. The tree lighting is at 6 p.m. Weather permitting, there also will be free horse and carriage rides starting at 6:30 p.m.
We also have Christmas parades:
Garner’s Christmas Parade is at 2 p.m., Saturday.
Knightdale’s parade is 2 p.m., Saturday. Johanna Colón, first grader and YouTube sensation, will be the grand marshal.
In Durham, the Parkwood Christmas Holiday Parade is 3 p.m., Saturday. Santa will be available after the parade for meet and greets.
Apex’s Christmas parade is 5 p.m., Saturday. From 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., there will be a pancake breakfast at the Apex Downtown Fire House. Pictures with Santa will take place from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, at The Apex Depot.
Fuquay-Varina’s Christmas parade is 3 p.m., Sunday, along Main Street.
We have Christmas events at historical sites:
Bentonville Battlefield State Historic Site’s Civil War Christmas is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, at the historic site in Johnston County. Help decorate an 1860s style Christmas tree, spend time with Confederate soldiers around the campfire, sip cider with civilian living historians and tour the circa 1855 Harper House. Children’s games and activities also will take place throughout the day.
In Durham, Duke Homestead’s Christmas by Candlelight is 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday (and also Dec. 11). Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for kids 10 and under. Costumed interpreters will lead you on a candlelit tour through the historic area decorated with period decorations as we celebrate Christmas in the 1870's. There also will be live music, carols, hot apple cider and other holiday goodies.
And, also in Durham, at Historic Stagville, Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters is noon to 4 p.m., Saturday. It’s free. The event highlights the 1850s holiday experiences of the enslaved and white communities on the plantation. The afternoon includes holiday treats; games and crafts for kids; and more. There also will be lantern tours of Horton Grove and the Great Barn after the main event. The tour will be lit by fire and lanterns, and will include hot drinks and gingerbread. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for kids ages 4 to 10. Call 919-620-0120 for tickets.
The Joel Lane Museum House will hold its annual Colonial Christmas Open House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, in downtown Raleigh. Admission is free. The afternoon includes games, decorations, costumed docents, re-enactors, music and storytelling.
There is more!
A holiday festival benefiting Turkeys for the Triangle is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. At the festival, you can buy a Christmas tree, get pictures with Santa, take a sleigh ride, shop local vendors and enjoy some games and activities. Donations are accepted for the photos with Santa and sleigh ride. Coldwell Banker HPW and Zerorez are presenting the event. Turkeys for the Triangle is an HPW Foundation charity that partners with local charities, homeless shelters and churches to give away thousands of turkeys each year. All proceeds go to purchasing turkeys for those in need here in the Triangle
An Evening with Elves takes over Marbles Kids Museum on Friday evening. The museum will close at 4 p.m. that day to prepare for it. Tickets likely will be sold out by the time you read this, but it’s always worth checking!
The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh will be open late on Friday for first Friday in downtown Raleigh. The evening includes a free showing of “Santa Claus,” at 7 p.m. This cult classic is not for little ones (but I think some teens out there would love it!). Here’s a description from the museum: “This isn’t your daddy’s Santa Claus movie, but rather a strange Mexican fantasy film from 1959 in which Merlin the Magician helps Santa Claus save Christmas by defeating the evil machinations of Pitch, a demon with a digestive disorder.” It’s been described as “good old fashioned nightmare fuel.” So, again, not for kids! The museum also will host a teen science cafe at 6 p.m., Friday, featuring a discussion on the human brain. Also on Friday and for the entire family, the museum will offer discounted tickets to Extreme Mammals. During First Friday hours, they are only $10. The exhibition is open until 8 p.m., last entry at 7 p.m.
Northgate Mall is offering free ornament making from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Saturday. From 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Saturday, the Durham mall’s Discovery Nook also will host free performances of Holidays Around the World by Bright Star Touring Theatre.
Just Right Academy in Durham will hold a fundraising event from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, to benefit the school and teacher salaries. The event is free. Raffle tickets are $1. It includes a bounce house, entertainment, children’s activities, refreshments and more.
WRAL's Out & About calendar lists more weekend events!