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A family guide to the NHL All-Star weekend

If you're headed downtown this weekend for NHL All-Star Game festivities with the family, or at least thinking about it, here are some tips and ideas.

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NHL All-Star Wide Ope
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
The big NHL All-Star Game brings with it a flurry of activities, events, concerts and more this weekend in downtown Raleigh. It's a huge event drawing visitors from all over.

There's lots going on and, at least for me, it's hard to wrap my head around all of it. There's the game. The concerts. The NHL All-Star Wide Open. The NHL Fan Fair. And all sorts of other celebrations.

So I called over to Taylor Traversari, who has been working for the city to get many of the activities together. He offered some tips and ideas for those of us who are headed downtown this weekend with the family, or at least thinking about it.

Besides the game (which I'm told is sold out, along with the SuperSkills Competition, both at the RBC Center), there are a couple of big events.

The NHL Fan Fair is in the Raleigh Convention Center from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Kids under 2 get in free. There are more than 30 interactive exhibits, a kids zone and much more. Check the website for details.
And then there's the NHL All-Star Wide Open. It takes over the Raleigh Amphitheater and Fayetteville and Cabarrus streets in downtown Raleigh. It's from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. And it is all free, including the concerts in the Raleigh Amphitheater.
Here's a map that lists all of the activities and their locations, but Traversari offered some highlights and tips for families with kids.
  • This is the last weekend for the Raleigh Winterfest ice skating rink. It's open 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday through Sunday (the last day for the season).
  • There will be sledding on Cabarrus Street on both Friday and Saturday during the Wide Open event.
  • The Flying Aces, Olympic aerialists, will be performing on City Plaza at 6 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Saturday.
  • The Paperhand Puppet Intervention will be leading parades at 6 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday. If you've been to the people's procession at First Night, Traversari tells me it's just like that. If you haven't been, it involves giant puppets and anybody who wants to parading through downtown.
  • The RBC Autograph Stage will include autograph sessions Friday and Saturday and includes the likes of Tom O'Brien at 10 a.m., Jeff Skinner at noon, Rod Brind'Amour at 3 p.m. Saturday.
  • On Martin Street, the Carolina Rollergirls will be doing performances and demonstrations throughout the weekend on Martin Street.
  • If you're worried you'll be too cold (right now the forecast calls for highs in the low to mid 50s), Traversari tells me that the tents for the festival will be heated. "There's a lot of opportunity to be warm downtown," he said.
  • Snow is guaranteed at the WRAL O-Fishel Snow Zone on City Plaza, along with contests and more. Check my post for details.
  • And, while it might be too late for little kids, there will be fireworks at 10 p.m. Friday.
And over at the RBC Center, there will be an NHL All-Star 5K on Saturday morning. It's open to all ages and abilities and will benefit the Carolina Hurricanes Kids N’ Community Foundation. Click here for details.
These are just a few highlights. Check the website for the full details.


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