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Weekend Plans: State Fair, Halloween Express, Boo at the Zoo, car seat checks, more

The State Fair continues to go strong. But if you've already made your visit for the year, there's lots more going on too.

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Elephants at the N.C. Zoo
Sarah Lindenfeld Hall
The State Fair is still going strong and runs through Sunday. We have tips and more tips plus WRAL's State Fair page with lots of details. If you're there between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Thursday, come see me at the WRAL booth by Dorton Arena.
But of course there's more. Craft fair season is gearing up. And there are lots of outdoor fall and Halloween-related events as well. Be sure to check our Halloween and fall fun database for more. But some highlights:
Saturday is Spooky Saturday at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham. The event is 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and includes crafts, special programs and animal encounters. Activities are included in admission price.
The Halloween Express rides through southwestern Wake County on the New Hope Valley Railway this Saturday and Oct. 30. Advance tickets are required for the rides, which start up at 4 p.m. each day. And according to the website, tickets are no longer available online for any of the departure times on Saturday and only the 7:45 p.m. departure time on Oct. 30. Some tickets may be available at the ticket window, the website says. But never fear! I called over to Tom's Train Station in the Raleigh/Cary area and learned that they also have quite a few tickets for both this Saturday and Oct. 30. You'll just need to go to the store at The Shops at South Hills, 1239 Buck Jones Rd., to buy them. Cash or check only. (A visit to the store also will be a treat for all those Thomas and other train lovers out there). And as always, check New Hope Valley's website for more details about the ride before you go.
If you're up for a bit of day trip, the N.C. Zoo holds its very popular Boo at the Zoo Saturday and Sunday. The event runs 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day in the Africa and North America plazas and features games, trick or treating in each plaza, costume parades and costume contests. Judges will award prizes each day in three age categories for best costume: infant through age 3; ages 4 to 7; and ages 8 to 12. Check the website for details. Adult costumes, adult masks or adult face painting are not allowed inside the park.
Twilight Halloween Tours at the Conservators' Center in Mebane continue this Saturday. Registration is required for the evening tours of the nonprofit that preserves threatened species and includes wolves, lions and tigers. Two tours are offered: a 5:30 p.m. child-friendly tour best for kids 6 and up and a 6 p.m. tour for people 12 and up. The 90-minute to two-hour tours provide a unique opportunity to see the animals when they are at their most active. Tour guides will "reverse trick-or-treat" by giving animals some special treats. Portions of the center will be decorated for Halloween. And people are welcome to bring a picnic dinner. The tours are Saturday and Oct. 30. Tickets are $25 per person for the general public. Check the website for details and how to register.
The Junior League's A Shopping SPREE! runs from Thursday to Sunday at the Raleigh Convention Center in downtown Raleigh. Tickets to shop all four days are $10. The event is a major fundraiser for the group and features more than 140 exhibitors with clothes, jewelry, decor, gifts and more.
The FAAN Walk for Food Allergy is 9 a.m. Saturday at Bond Park, 801 High House Rd., in Cary. I featured a couple of the moms who are involved in the walk and the local group N.C. FACES, which is made up of and supports families with kids who have food allergies. There is still time to register to support and help raise money for food allergy research.
WakeMed and Safe Kids will offer a car seat safety check from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday on WakeMed Raleigh Campus in front of the Heart Center. Car seat safety checkers will be on hand to make sure that your child's car seat is installed properly.
KidAround KidSale, a consignment sale, runs Friday through Sunday at the Lighthouse Convention Center in Tryon Road in Raleigh.
Teen favorite author Scott Westerfeld will be at Quail Ridge Books and Music on Wade Avenue in Raleigh with his book "Behemoth," a steampunk sequel to the "Leviathan," at 5:30 p.m. Friday. Westerfeld is known for his fantasy series "The Uglies" and vampire tales "Peeps" and "The Last Days."
Businesses in Raleigh's Five Points will host a Halloween event for kids Saturday morning. Reservations are required for a Halloween breakfast at NOFO Cafe @ the Pig. No reservations are required for the rest of the event, which includes a Monster March at 10 a.m. and trick or treating at neighborhood businesses. Babiology on Fairview Road will offer a Halloween art project. Be sure to bring a white T-shirt for that.
Bright Star Children's Theatre will present "The Ugly Duckling" at The ArtsCenter in Carrboro at 11 a.m. Saturday. This is a humorous take on the classic Hans Christian Andersen tale that addresses the issues of bullying, kindness and acceptance. Best for preschoolers to fifth graders. Part of The ArtsCenter's SuperFun Saturday series. Tickets are $7 for kids in advance and $8 at the door and $9 for adults in advance and $10 at the day. Kids 2 and under are free.
The Parent Morning Out program at Holy Infant Catholic Church, 5000 Southpark Dr. in Durham, will host a craft fair and bake sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on parish grounds. You'll find embroidered bags, jewelry, wooden toys, holiday decorations and more. There will be face painting and a craft area for kids.
It's Dogtoberfest at Wake County's Harris Lake County Park in New Hill. The free event from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday features exhibits, games and fun for dogs and their families.
A Wake Forest Block Party will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at E. Carroll Joyner Park at 701 Harris Rd. in Wake Forest. The event sponsored by Lifepointe Church is aimed at getting the community together. The event includes kids activities and games (a visit from Smoky the Bear!), adult activities and games, and a free cookout with burgers, hot dogs, chips and drinks. Local party band Steelwater will perform at 5:30 p.m. And there will be free ice cream at 6:30 p.m.
Storyteller Henry Vogel, who has performed at storytelling festivals across the region, will be at Broad Street Cafe in Durham, part of Broad Street's kids series. The free performance (tip jar is passed) begins at 4:30 p.m. Sunday.
East 54, a collection of luxury condos, shops and restaurants in Chapel Hill, will hold Environ Day to celebrate its grand opening. The event is 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday on Environ Way in Chapel Hill and will include a fun zone for kids, hot air balloon rides, live music, classic cars and more.

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