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Weekend Plans: Disney on Ice, skywatching, and many holiday events

It's another busy weekend. Disney on Ice is in Raleigh. Plus lots of Christmas parades, concerts and more.

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Disney on Ice
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

It's another big holiday event weekend. And because most events are holiday-related, I'll start with the ones that are not.

Disney on Ice presents Toy Story 3 opened Wednesday at the RBC Center and continues its run through Sunday.
Billy Jonas will perform at the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday. Jonas' high-spirited performance features instruments made from everyday objects. He's a Parents Choice Award winner and very popular. Performances are usually a little less than an hour. Tickets are $3. Seating is limited. And these performances sometimes sell out. So it's best to get your tickets now if you plan to go. The art museum also will offer a drop-in craft from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (as it usually does on children's performance days).
The ArtsCenter Stage and Youth Performing Arts Conservatory will perform "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro. The show runs Friday through Sunday and Dec. 16 through Dec. 19. Tickets are $15 and $10 for students.
And Morehead Planetarium's December skywatching session is from 5 p.m.to 7 p.m. Saturday at Jordan Lake State Park. Check Morehead's website for direction and inclement weather information. It's free. This is a great family-friendly event that happens each month. And this is the time of year to go if you have younger kids with earlier bed times since it gets dark so early. At other times of the year, the sessions start around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. (It's just going to be really cold). And a note: Morehead's popular "Star of Bethlehem" show is now running.

We've got a big tree lighting and parades.

The State Capitol tree lighting event starts at 5 p.m. Thursday in downtown Raleigh. The event includes the lighting of the state's official Christmas tree by Gov. Bev Perdue, along with an open house inside the State Capitol. Both the state history and natural sciences museum will stay open late as well. And Perdue will open the doors of the Executive Mansion so the public can view its holiday decorations starting Thursday through Sunday. All this marks a big weekend of events at the State Capitol. Check my earlier post for details.
Smithfield's Christmas Parade will travel down Market Street starting at 7 p.m. Thursday. Smithfield's downtown merchants also will host in the days to come. And there will be free carriage rides with Santa on Dec. 17. Check the website for details.
The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade is 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. The parade starts at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center and goes the entire length of Franklin Street to Carrboro Town Hall. And this has always intrigued me. The Franklin Hotel offers a parade viewing breakfast featuring panoramic views of the parade and a make your own hot chocolate bar. Advance reservations are required. It's $25 per person, $15 for kids ages 6 to 14. Advance reservation is required, but at last check there was space. The hotel also will host Lighting the Franklin on Thursday featuring its Christmas art installation in its picture windows.
Cary's Christmas Parade starts at 2 p.m. Saturday in downtown Cary.
And Wake Forest's parade is at 1 p.m. Saturday along South White Street.
Holly Springs has two events. Its Main Street Christmas is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Town Hall and the Holly Springs Cultural Center. And the town's Christmas Parade is at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The Clayton parade is at 3 p.m. Saturday.

And there's more ...

Bennett Place's Christmas in the Carolinas During the Civil War is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The historic site in Durham will feature music, caroling and more. It's free. Check my earlier post for more on the event and Bennett Place.
Theatre in the Park's A Christmas Carol, a Triangle tradition, moved to to Raleigh's Memorial Auditorium Wednesday and continues until Dec. 15. Tickets start at $24.
And the Raleigh Little Theatre's Cinderella, another Triangle holiday tradition, begins its run Friday at the Raleigh theater. Tickets are $25.
Lazy O Farm's Christmas Dayz continues Saturday and Dec. 18 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Walk through the scenes of Jesus' birth, roast some marshmallows at a campfire, sip on hot chocolate or cider, take a hayride, meet Santa and more. It's $8 per person. The farm is at 3583 Packing Plant Rd. in Smithfield. A portion of the sales will go to the Baptist Children's Home.
The N.C. Symphony is planning a one-hour Holiday Pops for Kids concert at 2 p.m. Saturday at Memorial Hall on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. You'll hear Frosty the Snowman, Winter Wonderland and more. Tickets are $20.
For moms, Shop, Sip & Cinema is from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday in downtown Raleigh. Participating merchants will feature discounts, trunk shows and wine samplings from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. At 5 p.m., shoppers can head over to the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences for a reception with complimentary wine, champagne and treats followed by a free screening of Sex and the City 2 at 5:30 p.m. If you plan on attending the reception and move screening, you'll need to reserve your spot by Thursday. Check the website for details.
The Raleigh City Museum's Miracle on Fayetteville Street, featuring a screening of "Miracle on 34th Street," is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Crafts, holiday treats and more are part of the event. Check my earlier post for details.
The City Ballet performs The Nutcracker at N.C. State University's Stewart Theatre at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $20 and $25. The show features the dance students at City Ballet along with professional dancers from the Carolina Ballet.
Mordecai Historic Park's Christmas events start Saturday. The free holiday open house with carriage rides around the park near downtown Raleigh is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Lantern Tours of the house, featuring members of the N.C. 26th Regiment and Burning Coal Theater presenting six different vignettes, is from 5 p.m to 10 p.m. Saturday. The lantern tours are $5, free for kids six and under. Tickets are still available. Santa's Trolley runs Saturday and Dec. 18 from Mordecai. There are only a few seats left on the 8 p.m. Dec. 18 trolley ride. Tickets are $10. Check the website for details and to buy your tickets.
Renaissance Park in Raleigh will hold a holiday event from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The event will include a visit with Santa, free sleigh rides, military vehicles on display and more. The neighborhood also is accepting toys as part of Toys for Lil Troops, which helps families from Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune where one or both parents is deployed. Drop off a new, unwrapped toy by Saturday and you'll be entered in a contest to win one of three iPads and some cash prizes. Check the website for details.
And Smart Momma on Glenwood Avenue} in north Raleigh will host milk and cookies with Santa from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The free event will include crafts, a storytime and milk and cookies with Santa. The store features furniture, decor, toys, strollers and more for babies to preschoolers.