Go Ask Mom

Go Ask Mom

Weekend Plans: Winterfest opens, Christmas parades, tree lightings, Shrek and more

Posted November 28, 2012

We have Christmas parades, tree lightings and big events in Cary, Durham and Raleigh. As always, check’s Out & About section,’s Holiday Guide and Go Ask Mom's Holiday Central for more.

Here’s your weekend family fun!

Raleigh opens Winterfest, the downtown ice rink, on Saturday with a big opening celebration that includes everything from sledding ramps and bounce houses to a Ferris wheel, carousel and screenings of “The Polar Express.” The free opening celebration, which also includes visits with Santa, runs from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. with the ice rink open from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday. It’s all on City Plaza on Fayetteville Street. There will be a charge, as you can imagine, for the rides. They’ll be around $1 for a bounce house to $3 or so for the Ferris wheel. Admission to skate, including skate rental, is $8 for kids and adults. Read my earlier post for more information.

Downtown Cary will be packed with all kinds of events as part of its annual Heart of the Holidays seasonal celebration from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday. The day includes an Ole Time Winter Festival with arts, crafts, food and other activities, along with the town’s Gingerbread Competition. Santa’s Workshop is 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Herbert C. Young Community Center. Kids 10 and under, along with their parents, can enjoy hands-on crafts, entertainment and a chance to see Santa. (They’ll be collecting non-perishable food items here). Victorian carolers and free horse-drawn carriage rides will be offered at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center Holiday Open House from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. And, at 6 p.m., the town’s more than 30-foot Christmas tree will be lit. At 8 p.m., the Cary Players will present “A Christmas Story.” Downtown Cary also will get its first pop-up shop starting Saturday. the short-term sales space, which will be open through Dec. 22 at 120 E. Chatham St., will feature a variety of artisans. For more information about the pop-up shop and Cary’s Heart of the Holidays, click here.

And in Durham, trackless train rides, Santa, local performing groups and more will be part of the fun at the city’s third annual Holiday Fun Fest. It’s 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, at Durham Central Park.

We have Christmas parades and tree lightings:

Historic sites are celebrating too.

At Four Oaks, Bentonville Battlefield, a state historic site, will mark the season with “A Civil War Christmas” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Costumed interpreters will decorate the kitchen using materials such as holly, magnolia and fruits. There will be cookies and cider for visitors. Costumed military interpreters will talk about how the common soldier spent time on furlough with friends and family.

Historic Oak View County Park in Raleigh will hold its free Sleigh Rides and Cider event from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, hot apple cider, live music, a visit with Ol’ Saint Nick, and other holiday activities.

In Raleigh, the Joel Lane Museum House will hold its annual Colonial Christmas Open House from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday. Admission is free. Costumed volunteers can talk about the house and grounds. Re-enactors will demonstrate scenes from 18th-century life. There will be colonial games and crafts for kids. The house’s museum shop also offers some great gifts for less than $10 for kids (great place for stocking stuffers).

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill launches its Holiday Concert Series with the The Clef Hangers and The Loreleis on Friday and The John Brown Quintet on Saturday. The Sandbox Band will play next weekend. Listen to the music “under the stars” inside the plantarium. Tickets for this weekend start at $12.

We have a lot of craft markets this week. Check’s holiday guide for details about many of them. I thought I’d highlight a couple. The Holiday Shoppe at Cary Academy is Thursday to Saturday at the school’s Sports and Education Annex. And, the Elf Fair is set for The ArtsCenter in Carrboro from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday. If you have favorite craft markets, please share in the comments below.

Vollmer Farm in Bunn will hold its Christmas at Vollmer Farm from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday and Dec. 8. The afternoon includes holiday lights, a nativity and more. Admission is $12 per person ($10 for seniors and free for under 2).

We have Santa Train rides at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham and New Hope Valley Railway near Apex. Read my earlier post for details. Some departure times may be sold out.

Santa visits Quail Ridge Books & Music in Raleigh at 10 a.m., Saturday.

Shrek the Musical continues at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts through Sunday. Read my earlier post for details.

Kidcycle holds its annual children’s consignment sale from Friday to Sunday at University Mall in Chapel Hill. Find deals on clothes, toys and other gear for kids. This will be a great place to find Christmas gifts!

And Little Root will perform at 4:30 p.m., Sunday, as part of Broad Street Cafe’s BSC Kids series for families. The concert at the Durham cafe is free.


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