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Weekend Plans: BugFest, Star Wars guys, festivals and more

It's a huge weekend of family activities with two major kid-friendly events - BugFest in Raleigh and the Museum of Life and Sciences' Heroes, Villains and Special Effect. There's a new exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History. And the fall festival season is ramping up.

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Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

It's a huge weekend of family activities with two major kid-friendly events - BugFest in Raleigh, which kicks off the N.C. Science Festival, and the Museum of Life and Sciences' Heroes, Villains and Special Effects. There's the opening of the George Washington exhibit at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh. And the fall festival season is ramping up.

In other words, there's lots to do ...

It's time for BugFest! The annual event in and around the N.C. Museum of Natural Science in downtown Raleigh draws tens of thousands every year to learn about all things bugs. This year, the focus is on aquatic bugs. From 9 a.m .to 5 p.m. Saturday, downtown Raleigh's Jones Street, Bicentennial Plaza, Edenton Street and all four floors of the museum will have insect-related displays, exhibits and activities. The Sandbox Band plays at 10:30 a.m. on the main stage on Edenton Street. You can taste some "delectable dishes" featuring bugs as a major ingredient. And you can bring in an unusual bug to the Stump the Experts table. The day turns slightly more adult, but still very much family friendly from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the Evening Insectival, featuring live bands, bug stations, a nocturnal insect tour and a street carnival. Great for older kids. This weekend marks the end of GLOW: Living Lights, an exhibit that explored organisms that can make their own light. And $4 discount tickets will be available to the exhibit, which closes Sunday. BugFest itself is free. Some tips if you go: Parking is free downtown on the weekends. Be sure to check the website for details and schedules so you can plan before you go. And I always like to go early to beat the crowds.
BugFest kicks off the N.C. Science Festival, which celebrates the places and venues that offer science programs across the state. The festival runs through Sept. 26 and includes all kinds of activities. And make plans to come see me at the Go Ask Mom booth during the UNC Science Expo Day on Sept. 25!
Before or after BugFest, hop across Bicentennial Plaza to the N.C. Museum of History, which opens the traveling exhibition Discover the Real George Washington: New Views From Mount Vernon. The exhibit, which opens Friday, explores the life of George Washington, includes lots of artifacts (including the only surviving complete set of his dentures) and features three life-sized figures of the president. Interactive activities for kids are spread throughout the exhibit. Tickets are $10; $8 for seniors, active military personnel with ID, students 19 and over with ID; and free to ages 18 and under. See my earlier post on other activities associated with the exhibit.
Over in Durham, the Museum of Life and Science's very popular Heroes, Villains and Special Effects features the state's video game and film industries.Top gaming companies, including Redstorm Entertainment, Epic, Virtual Heroes and Playdom/Merscom, are attending. Film industry experts such as award winning makeup artist, Dean Jones, stunt choreographers and Star Wars characters from Carolina 501st Garrison, will be there too. Kids ages 1 to 4 can try out video games created by Tantrum Apps. And visitors will have an opportunity to spar with stunt choreographer and coordinator David McClutchy. Heroes, Villains and Special Effects is 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It's free with admission, which is $12.50 for adults; $9.50 for ages 3-12; $10.50 for 65 and older and active military with ID; free for under 3.
The N.C. Museum of Art's summer concert series ends with two performances of the Paperhand Puppet Intervention's major summer show Islands Unknown. Shows are at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Consignment sale shoppers have two places to go this weekend: the Durham Children's Clothing Exchange in Durham and Carolina Kids Consignment in Goldsboro. See my earlier post for details.
The Five Points Street Fair and Block Party is Saturday in Raleigh's Five Points (at the intersection of Glenwood, Fairview and Whitaker Mill Road where they've been doing all that road work).  The Five Points Farmers Market runs from 8 a.m. to noon. And a street fair runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with food, entertainment and a kids zone with a bouncy house, Cotton the Clown and a drum circle. All the stores and restaurants will be open. And there will be a raffle for $500.
Festivals: The Fair at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church, a long-time north Raleigh favorite, runs 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. You'll find rides, carnival games, entertainment, food, crafts and more at the church on Falls of Neuse Road. Free admission. The Fiesta Del Pueblo is from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday in the Graham Building at the N.C. Fairgrounds. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under 12 accompanied by an adult. And the Bull Durham Blues Festival runs Friday and Saturday in Durham. Check the website for ticket information.

Terra Elan McVoy, author of "Pure" and "After the Kids," will visit Quail Ridge Books & Music on Wade Avenue in Raleigh at 3 p.m. Saturday. "After the Kiss" tells the story of two high school seniors and what happens after one of their boyfriends suddenly kisses the other. These books are best for kids ages 14 and up.
Duke Intensive Care Nursery Family Advisory Board holds its annual BBQ for Babies from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at Teer Farm, 7729 Kepley Rd. in Chapel Hill. The event includes a BBQ dinner, music, raffle and other activities for kids and families. The event benefits families in the Duke intensive care nursery.
Don't forget the free N.C. Symphony concert at the new downtown Raleigh amphitheatre. Seating is first come, first served for the concert which starts at 7 p.m. Sunday. Gates open at 5 p.m. And Minneapolis-based multi-instrumentalist Dosh will open the event at 5:45 p.m. with his electronic blend of folk keyboard and experimental sampling.
Duke Gardens in Durham will hold a Family Fun Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday with lots of nature-related activities. And see my earlier post for other events at Duke Gardens this fall.
Head over to Kidzu Children's Museum on Franklin Street in Chapel Hill for the Back-to-School Book Giveaway. Thanks to the Friends of the Carrboro Library, Kidzu will be giving away one book per child starting at 1 p.m. Sunday and until supplies last. As always, admission is free to Kidzu on Sundays.
Celebrate Grammy and Pa at Grandparents Play Free on Grandparent's Day at Marbles Kids Museum. From noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, grandparents who are accompanied by a grandchild will get free admission to the museum and IMAX. There will be special activities throughout the museum along with special showings of Toy Story 3 in IMAX 3D.
And Triangle Town Center in Raleigh holds its Kids Fest from 2 p.m .to 5 p.m. Sunday. The free event includes live performances, inflatable slides and a lot more. It's been running all summer. The final Kids Fest is slated for Sept. 26.

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