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Headed to Artplosure? Some tips

The major arts and crafts festival takes over Moore Square this weekend, but a giant inflatable structure to walk through and explore opens Thursday.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
Artsplosure, the major arts and crafts festival, will take over the area around Moore Square in downtown Raleigh this weekend.

While most of the activities are Saturday and Sunday, a giant luminarium, a 10,000-square-foot inflatable structure, will fill up City Plaza on Fayetteville Street starting Thursday.

So what should you see? When should you go? I spoke with Artsplosure's Terri Dollar for some tips. Here's what she said:

  • If you want to avoid lots of people, Thursday and Friday will be the best days to visit Amococo, the third luminarium to come to Raleigh. The 10,000-square-foot structure features all kinds of giant domes and chambers for exploring. The inflatable building is a third larger than the structure at Artsplosure last year. It's hard to describe what a visit to one of these luminariums is like - it's slightly womb-like, there's new-agey music piped in, lots of colors. Little kids love it. Teens enjoy it. I find it very relaxing. Hours are 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 per person. Kids 3 and under are admitted free. No strollers or shoes inside the structure. Tickets are available at the structure's entrance. And on Saturday and Sunday when lines are expected to be long, you can buy a timed entry ticket so you don't have to wait in line. I'll have some video of Amococo on Thursday. Click here for more details.
  • Dollar says the Community Nest exhibit is a don't miss. Massachusetts artist Pam Golden will be creating a giant nest around oak trees in Moore Square from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Families will be invited to create simple people and animals with sticks and yarn that can be woven into the nest. The project is using twigs blown down during the April tornadoes.
  • The Marbles Kids Museum courtyard will have a dance party for families from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  • Sandy Feet returns with a giant sand sculpture, along with the always popular sand pit for kids to play in.
  • There are free crafts for kids from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Moore Square as part of Kidsplosure.
  • The Kidsplosure stage will feature a variety of performances, including several readings that are part of the Lucy's Book Club Bookmarked! festival. And catch the Sandbox Band from 2 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. Saturday.
  • And at 1 p.m. Sunday on the Main Stage on Moore Square, the Paperhand Puppet Intervention will presents its family performance of The Big Tent Cabaret Road Show, featuring their original puppetry creations, drama, and live music.
Artsplosure also is looking for volunteers to fill shifts that usually last less than three hours. Volunteers might help with children's crafts, assist artists or collect audience demographics. It can be a great way for high school students to earn community service hours. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old unless accompanied by an adult on the same shift. In exchange for their time, volunteers will get a free festival T-shirt to wear while on duty and keep. Click here for details about volunteering.

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