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Weekend Plans: CenterFest, SPARKcon, a Caniac Carnival and pumpkins!

It's not officially fall, but it might as well be. There are more fall festivals and the region's pumpkin patches and corn mazes are getting ready to open. What to do this weekend.

Posted Updated
SparkCon 2008
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

It's not officially fall, but it might as well be. This weekend, there are more fall festivals and the region's pumpkin patches and corn mazes are getting ready to open. You'll find some below, but stay tuned to our Halloween guide for more on all that shortly.

But here's your weekend family fun ...

The 37th annual CenterFest in downtown Durham runs Saturday and Sunday. Lots of art, music, dance and performances here, along with hands-on activities for kids. Kids can paint, make a mask, design their own drum and create their own pinwheels. Admission is free.
SPARKcon takes over downtown Raleigh this Thursday through Sunday and aims to be a showcase of the Triangle's creativity, talent and ideas. You'll find all kinds of music, art, food, live performances, fashion and other artistic outlets throughout the festival (include some circus performers). The festival offers lots of activities for kids, but the hub seems to be the Raleigh Street Painting Festival on Friday and Saturday. I've been in years past and it's pretty amazing to see what folks can come up with with a square of concrete and some chalk. There will be some activities for kids, along with workshops and classes as well. Kids might enjoy the circusSPARK Variety Showcase from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday on the main stage at City Plaza on Fayetteville Street. There also is a meet and greet with the circus performers and circus parade. Check the SPARKcon for Kids page on the website. And be sure to stop by the Raleigh City Museum, which will have some crafts and other activities from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday as part of SPARKcon.
The N.C. Science Festival continues with events across North Carolina including a visit with the co-hosts of the TV show "Mythbusters" in Chapel Hill on Sunday. Check the website for details about this event and all the other events that are part of the statewide festival.
The 11th annual Caniac Carnival is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday at the RBC Center. The event is held inside and outside the RBC Center and includes inflatable rides, interactive games and booths, a zone for kids, a sports area, autograph sessions with some Hurricanes players, two Canes practices and a chance to get tickets to the free preseason game on Oct. 1. Admission and parking is free. The event also will include the Crazy Caniac Challenge II, which involves running and hot dog and soda consumption. Before you go, check the website for details on attending the autograph sessions and other details.
Load up on some stuffed grape leaves and baklava (two of my personal favorites) at the 2010 Greek Festival at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The 29th annual festival runs Friday through Sunday and includes food, along with dancing, music and a marketplace. Admission is $3 (13 and under are free). Check the website for an admission ticket.
Vollmer Farm in Bunn will have a parade of pumpkins on Friday. The farm market and ice cream shop will be open as well as the market playground. Vollmer's very popular Back Forty Playground will open Sept. 25. Other local corn mazes and pumpkin patches are opening or already open including: Ken's Korny Corn Maze near Raleigh, Gross Farms in Sanford, Hill Ridge Farms in Youngsville and Phillips Farms in Cary. And stay tuned for a big guide with lots of Halloween listings shortly here on Go Ask Mom.
Historic Yates Mill County Park just south of Raleigh holds its Harvest Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The free event features harvest-time activities and corn-related games of skill. There will be old time music, foods made from corn and a Cornmeal Cook-off Contest. There's still time to enter. Half-hour tours of the old mill with costumed interpreters are $3 to $5. And see my review of Yates Mill County Park from last week.
Mordecai Historic Park near downtown Raleigh will hold its Battle of the Baked Goods Baking Contest from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. There are cake and cookie categories for both kids and adults. And the general public can sample them from noon to 1 p.m. The event is free to attend, enter and sample.
Dreamsports Center in Apex will have an open house and hockey swap from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Kids 10 and under are invited to sample all of the center's classes for free including soccer, baseball, basketball, hockey, lacrosse and more. Check the website for all the details and the age recommendations. There also will be more information on birthday parties, track out camps, Friday night sports classes and adult fitness classes.
Cary's second annual Caribbean Festival is noon to 6 p.m. Saturday at Herbert C. Young Community Center, 101 Wilkinson Ave. in Cary. The free event features live music, a limbo compeititon for adults and kids, Puerto Rican and Colombian demonstrations and more. Last year's event drew more than 1,500 people.
I wrote earlier this week about Kidzu's Great Shoot Out. The event on Sunday at the N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill offers photo sessions for families with some of the Triangle's top photographers. It's a fundraiser for the Kidzu Children's Museum. Reservations are required. But anybody can show up at Kidzu in downtown Franklin Street for its bilingual storytime in English and Spanish from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday when the museum is open for for free. The storytime is best for kids 4 and up.
The Chapel Hill Cooperative Preschool will hold a Kids Rock! Benefit Concert from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Forest Theater on UNC-Chapel Hill's campus. The line-up includes Baron Von Rumblebuss, Flying Hippo, Mr. John Saylor and Teli Shabu. Performances are interactive. Lots for kids to do. The event benefits the cooperative, one of Chapel Hill's oldest preschools and the first racially integrated preschool in the state. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. Kids 12 and under are free. Bring a picnic.
And if you're in the market for some children's consignment clothes and gear, try the massive Kids Everywear in Morrisville this Friday through Monday, The Monkey Exchange in Raleigh on Thursday and Friday, and Crossroads Fellowship yard sale in Raleigh on Saturday. Check my earlier post for details. And here's the Go Ask Mom consignment sale list for this seasson.

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