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Weekend Plans: History museum festival, holiday musical, magnet school fair, more

The N.C. Museum of History unveils the second half of its "The Story of North Carolina" exhibit with a festival. Raleigh Little Theatre opens "Merry Christmas, Strega Nona." And there are two events for Fancy Nancy fans. Your weekend family fun.

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Merry Christmas, Strega Nona
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall

Here's your weekend family fun!

It's a big weekend at the N.C. Museum of History as it opens the second part of "The Story of North Carolina," which highlights more than 14,000 years of the state's history. The Celebrate NC History Festival from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, will mark the big day and the opening of the largest exhibit ever at the museum. The free event includes all kinds of activities. You'll find award-winning musicians, storytellers, dance groups, authors, craftspeople, re-enactors and other presenters who represent different parts of North Carolina. There's also a costume contest. Read my earlier post for details on that. The first half of the exhibit opened back in April. I'm excited to see the rest of it. For details about the exhibit and the event, click here.
The Junior League of Raleigh's annual A Shopping Spree! opens Thursday and runs through Sunday at the Raleigh Convention Center. The fundraiser features all kinds of fashion and gift items. A great way to start your holiday shopping. Tickets to shop any or all of the four days are $10.
Our Fayetteville readers also have a chance to jump on the holiday shopping during the Junior League of Fayetteville's Holly Day Fair from Thursday to Sunday at The Crown Expo Center in Fayetteville.
And Western Wake Farmers Market in Cary also will hold a craft fair from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.
Raleigh Little Theatre opens "Merry Christmas, Strega Nona," Friday. It runs through Nov. 20. Based on the Tommy dePaola story, the holiday musical follows the story of Strega Nona, who is planning her traditional Christmas Eve feast. She vows to do it without magic. But thanks to the well-meaning yet bumbling Big Anthony, the feast almost doesn't happen. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for kids ages 12 and under. Shows are generally Friday, Saturday and Sunday. It's part of the Raleigh Little Theatre's youth series.
The Museum of Life and Science in Durham will open its new holiday exhibit Wonderland Express on Saturday. The model train exhibit features replicas of landmarks from across North Carolina. A special cafe with coffee, hot chocolate and treats sits next to it. I took a look last week and will have more about this exhibit Friday. Tickets are $4 per person. It will definitely get you in the Christmas mood! It's open through Jan. 15.
Raleigh Dance Theatre will present its family-friendly production of Storybook Tales at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m., Saturday, and 3 p.m., Sunday, at the Progress Energy Center for Performing Arts in Raleigh. Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door. The pre-professional dance program will debut Megan Marvel's The Little Mermaid based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale. The company also will perform Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly, adapted from the popular Fancy Nancy series. The 90-minute program also includes a piece from Sleeping Beauty. Robin Preiss Glasser, illustrator of Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly will be at all Storybook Tales performances to sign books purchased at the event or pre-ordered. Check the website for details.
Robin Preiss Glasser also will stop at Quail Ridge Books & Music on Wade Avenue in Raleigh from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., Friday to greet fans and sign books. You're welcome to arrive dressed like Nancy ... fancy. I've been to one of her programs at Quail Ridge. She is full of energy and many kids came dressed in their finest.
Wake County schools will hold a Magnet School Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Southeast Raleigh Magnet High School. If you're considering a magnet school for your child, I recommend going to the fair where you can learn about all of the magnet schools in the system (though the fair shouldn't take the place of visits to the individual schools). Because of the new school choice plan, the magnet school application process in Wake County is accelerated. Read my earlier post for other dates and tour information that you'll need to know about.
The FAAN Walk for Food Allergy of the Triangle is from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. The third annual event features a 1.5 mile walk and more. Lots of activities for kids. Read more about the event and my interview with its honorary youth chair and her mom in my earlier post.
Kids can learn more about the artist Rembrandt at the N.C. Museum of Art's Family Fun Saturday: Little Dutch Masters. It's 10 a.m., Saturday, and designed for families with kids ages 5 to 11. The event includes a gallery tour plus studio workshops for families. It's $5 per person. Registration is recommended for this as they can fill up. It's a great way to learn a bit about Rembrandt before seeing the museum's new exhibit "Rembrandt in America," which I highly recommend and will have more about next week.
Friday is the first Friday of the month, which means that local galleries, restaurants and museums have special hours as part of downtown's First Fridays. They include Marbles Kids Museum, which will have a Duct Tape Jam from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday night. Families can design and build things out of duct tape. There will also be museum savings, store deals and a food truck. Tickets are $10 for the entire family or $6 for an adult and child. Additional guests, such as a friend or neighbor, are just $2. And the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences will screen “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” at 7 p.m. Friday (the 1982 flick features Kirstie Alley's acting debut). It's free.
Marbles Kids Museum also is hosting a Holly Jolly Dolly Sleepover for girls and their female adults only starting at 6 p.m. Saturday. Pre-registration is required for this one. Click here for details.
The Institute for Math and Computer Science has more free placement classes, including one at 4:30 p.m., Friday, at Cary Academy. The program is designed for gifted students. Read my earlier post for details.
The ACC soccer championships return to Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park this weekend. The women's semifinals start Friday. The championship game is Sunday. The men's games are next weekend. Tickets are $5 for kids and $8 for adults. We took our older, soccer-loving daughter last year and she had a blast watching the game.
Duke Gardens in Durham will have one of its free, drop-in storytimes from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. It's for ages 3 to 8 and their adult. The theme this week is fall leaves.
Oakwood Park, 20 Oakwood Dr., in Chapel Hill will officially reopen with a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday.  Oakwood Park’s community-based public art features an artistic gate created by neighborhood children during two workshops at the Town of Chapel Hill’s Community Clay Studio. There's also a new playground.
New Hope Valley Railway will host its public train rides on its diesel and steam engines start at 11 a.m. Sunday in southwest Wake County.
And the Triangle Youth Jazz Ensemble will perform a free concert at 3 p.m., Sunday, at the new Cary Arts Center in downtown Cary.


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