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December 1st - December 7th 2011

by Pam & Michael Davison

I hope all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving Holiday! Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the parks, museums, historic sites and downtowns are filled with Christmas and Holiday Season activities. There are tree lighting ceremonies this week and a handful of parades to get you in the mood for the season.

This is a great time of year to visit some of your favorite parks or some new ones. Take some time for yourself and your family and escape the hustle and bustle of the 'Shopping Season'. If you visit some of the larger parks, there is a good chance you will even spot some wildlife, especially deer, now that the cover of the leaves is gone. A sunny day in a park is a great place to take that holiday family picture, too.

For more info on everything going on, go to click on "Event Search" and fill in the dates. Be sure to include Thursday through Sunday so you don't miss anything. Select the search button and start planning! See below for more...

Christmas Tree Lightings all around the Triangle
Friday night kicks off the holiday season in many towns around the Triangle with a variety of municipal Christmas Tree Lightings. Christmas on Salem Street starts with carols and the official lighting of Apex's Christmas tree. With the street closed to vehicles, historic Salem Street becomes a walking mall of twinkling lights and greenery, and shop owners beckon you inside with hot cider and cookies. Listen for the jingle of bells and you're sure to see Santa arrive in front of the Chamber. Then you can hop aboard a horse drawn sleigh for another view of Apex.


Down in Garner on Friday night they will Light Up Main. The festivities will include lighting the town Christmas Tree, entertainment, refreshments and Santa's workshop with children's arts and crafts. The forcast even calls for snow!
Wake Forest gets the season of to a festive start with The Lighting of Wake Forest. The event features musical talent from local schools, a visit from Santa and hot chocolate! Have your Picture taken with Santa during the tree lighting or this and next Saturday. On Sunday, you are invited to enjoy free horse and carriage rides in down­town Wake Forest, live entertainment and children's activities during their Holiday Open House.
Morrisville Christmas Tree Lighting will be an evening of musical entertainment, crafts for the children and refreshments. Santa Claus will be available for pictures with the children during the event.
The Hillsborough Town Tree Lighting will also take place Friday evening on the lawn of the old Courthouse.
Downtown Knightdale will be celebrating their Tree Lighting along with live entertainment and Mrs. Claus and Santa's head elf.
The acrobats of Acro Entertainment and gospel music by the 100 Men in Black will highlight the American Tobacco Tower Lighting in Durham.
Durham will combine all the elements of a tree lighting with a mini parade, music, arts & crafts, sledding, a petting zoo, and more during their Holiday Fun Fest on Saturday at Durham Central Park.
Cary joins in on the festivities on Saturday with their Tree Lighting Ceremony.In addition to the tree lighting, there will be actors, singers, dancers, and musicians from the community onstage. Not only will the beautiful 30 foot cedar tree be illuminated, but they will also unveil the "community tree" inside Town Hall.
Saturday will also bring the Tree Lighting in Downtown Raleigh during the Raleigh Winterfest Kickoff Festival. In addition to a Christmas Tree lighting, the afternoon will open the downtown ice rink, treat you to a variety of live entertainment, offer carriage, carousel & train rides and include a craft market. The Ice Rink will remain open through the first two weeks in January so click through for more information.

Parades, Parades & More Parades!

Two weeks ago Raleigh kicked off the season with their Holiday Parade. This weekend several other towns across the Triangle will host their annual Holiday Parades. Come out and cheer on the floats and the local marching bands as they usher in the Season.

There are a few more next weekend, but here are this weekend's Christmas Parades. Hillsborough, Knightdale, Garner and Apex are this Saturday. Fuquay-Varina will host their parade on Sunday.
In Cary on Saturday you can check out an Ole Time Winter Festival in downtown, Santa's Workshop at the Herb Young Community Center and a Holiday Open House at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center. This year's Ole Time Winter Festival even features a Gingerbread House Competition.
Bring your sled and come dressed to play at the Winter Wonderland in Cary's Bond Park. Snow My Yard will make snow for you to enjoy on their popular sledding slope. You do need to register for a time slot.
On Saturday, December 10th, you can enjoy the parades in Holly Springs, Wake Forest, Cary and Chapel Hill. Next Sunday the State Capitol Grounds will host the Our Lady of Guadalupe Parade.

Historic Homes invite you to visit Holidays Past


Enjoying the Holiday season does not mean you need to stay out in the cold. Go inside and visit some of the areas Historic Parks and Homes. In Raleigh the Joel Lane Museum House will host a Colonial Christmas celebrating the simple joys of a historic Christmas.


Celebrate an 1870 Christmas at Christmas by Candlelight. The evening tours of Duke Homestead feature period decorations, caroling, hot apple cider, and other goodies.

Come on over to Historic Oak View Park for a wonderful evening of Sleigh Rides & Cider.
Join the Burwell School Historic Site for cider, cocoa, and children's activities before the Annual Holiday Parade. Enjoy great seats on their front lawn. Following the parade, enjoy Christmas carols performed by the Ebenezer Baptist Church choir. Sunday afternoon, the Historic School will welcome visitors for a Candlelight Tour.
Come and learn about some of the traditions from around the world. Then, you'll create gifts for wildlife to take home for your own celebration at the Winter Holiday Celebration at Wilkerson Nature Preserve.
The Scandinavian Christmas Fair at the NC State Fairgrounds features Scandinavian favorites like homemade foods, unique crafts and entertainment. There will be cultural exhibits and children's activities.

First Friday & More


First Friday Movie Night is back at the The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences with a screening of "Bill & Ted"s Excellent Adventure", live music by the Foyer, an opening reception for Refuge Reflections: Havens for Wildlife, Sanctuaries for the Human Spirit and discount tickets for Genghis Khan.

Enjoy a free self-guided tour of local art galleries, art studios, museums, retail, restaurants and alternative art venues during First Friday Gallery Walk in Downtown Raleigh.

Marbles Kids Museum is open late for First Friday and invites you to join artist-in-residence Keith Norval for a Merry Murals Workshop. First Friday features special admission pricing and the Corner Store GIFTS-travaganza. During the day Friday, Marbles invites you to a Chic Christmas Shopping Spree. Join them for a day of shopping, music, and fun. Let the kids visit Santa while you shop unique vendors and enjoy music by the Doug Largent Trio.
Head on over to the Raleigh City Museum for some Holiday Shopping and the Sir Walter Raleigh Installation Preview Party.
A new Cook-off challenge will entice barbecue fanatics when Historic City Market and Big Ed's host City Market Pig Wars. Four professional and non-professional teams will face off in this new First Friday event along with live music.
The North Carolina Museum of Art is offering a lively, in-depth exploration of Pieter de Hooch's The Fireside with a Museum docent along with Art in the Evening.








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