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November 29th - December 5th 2012 Triangle

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 check out a new one. 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.

Remember that the ParkGeek Passport Challenge runs a few more weeks! Every Wake County Park has a scanable QR Code.

This newsletter focuses on this week's holiday events. There are even more events going on throughout the parks, museums and fairgrounds. For more info on everything going on, go to click on Event Search and fill in the dates.

Christmas Tree Lightnings 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.
This year the Hillsborough Tree Lighting will include members of the Orange Community Players, dressed in colonial garb, serenading the town with carols and Christmas stories. Stay after the lighting for a holiday movie, a holiday dance party and holiday shopping.
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!
Downtown Knightdale will be celebrating their Tree Lighting along with live entertainment and Mrs. Claus and Santa's head elf.
The Cary Tree Lighting Ceremony will follow a full day of festivities on Saturday evening.
Downtown Wake Forest will host a Christmas Historic Home Tour on Saturday and a Holiday Open House on Sunday with free horse and carriage rides, refreshments and special offers at participating downtown stores and restaurants. Bring the kids to Downtown Wake Forest either this Saturday or next weekend to get their Pictures with Santa.
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, and include live entertainment; carriage, carousel & ferris wheel rides; bounce houses; sledding; food & dring vendors; a craft market and a 42 foot outdoor movie screen showing The Polar Express.
The Winterfest Ice Rink will remain open through January so click through for all the information about prices, hours, special days and events.
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.
The 26th annual Hillsborough Candlelight Home Tour will take place Sunday afternoon. The self-guided walking tour showcases eight private homes and structures, plus many more historic sites, churches and public buildings.
Looking for a fun day trip? This weekend Wilmington boasts the Holiday Lighting of the Battleship North CarolinaIsland of Lights: Christmas Flotilla and the Wilmington Holiday Parade.
Parades, Parades and 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. HillsboroughKnightdale,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, the Holly Daze Shoppein Downtown 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.
On Saturday, December 8th, you can enjoy the parades in Holly SpringsWake ForestCary 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
Come on over to Historic Oak View Park for a wonderful evening of  Sleigh Rides & Cider. This wonderful holiday event is the ParkGeek Passport Challenge Featured Destintaion this weekend.
Celebrate an 1870 Christmas at Christmas by Candlelight both this Friday evening and next Friday. The evening tours of Duke Homestead feature period decorations, caroling, hot apple cider, and other goodies. Christmas in the Big House, Christmas in the Quarters will take place During the day Saturday and will hightlight the holiday festivities of both the planter family and the enslaved community through vendors, crafts, games, music & food.
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.
Join the Burwell School Historic Site for Crafts, Cocoa and Caroling 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. While you are there, check out the Festive Santa Paintings Collection on display through December 16th.
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.
Holiday Happenings at the Parks & Cultural Centers
Both this Saturday and again on the 8th, Durant Nature Park invites you to do some Holiday Wreath Making with materials found in nature.
Infinity Ballet will present Excerpts From the Nutcracker at the Halle Cultural Arts Center on both Saturday and Sunday. 
The Holly School of Dance will present its annual Holiday Cabaret on Saturday at the Holly Springs Cultural Center. There will even be a Special performance by the Macy's Girls.
West Point on the Eno City Park invites you to their Christmas Open House on Sunday. They'll have refreshments and traditional decorations, plus activities such as wool spinning, an old time tool demonstration, a display of heritage breed animals, and grinding demonstrations at the Mill.
The Museum of Life and Science boasts that this year's Carolina Wonderland Express model-train exhibition is even better than last year's.
The Natural Science Center of Greensboro will be showing both a Laser Holiday Show and the Light Before Christmas, a 3D movie, daily through the holidays.
Not holiday related, but a great opportunity for family fun, the Disc Golf Skills Event at Harris Lake County Park on Saturday afternoon will be an awesome opportunity to introduce the whole family to the sport of disc golf on the park's beautiful course.


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