Family Picks

The best family picks, Nov. 30

CorrespondentNovember 29, 2012 


Megan Williams, 10, and Rachel Iris Evans, 7, front, enjoy sledding at Raleigh Winterfest Sunday, January 8, 2012. They are from Farmville. Snow My Yard set up these sledding ramps in downtown Raleigh. The free entertainment will be back to the Winterfest next Sunday, January 15.


This weekend is bursting with holiday events in every corner of the Triangle.

In downtown Raleigh’s City Plaza, Winterfest kicks off Saturday with a celebration that lasts all afternoon and evening.

The downtown ice skating rink, which is becoming an annual tradition, opens at 2 p.m. Saturday for its first skating session of the year, but that’s only one of many events.

From 3 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be live music and dance performances on the stage. A kids’ area will feature a carousel, a 40-foot Ferris wheel, bounce houses and carriage rides. Plus, kids can take free rides on a sledding hill covered in manmade snow.

Santa will be on hand to hear Christmas wishes, and more than 40 vendors will sell food, crafts and gifts.

At 7 p.m., Mayor Nancy McFarlane will supervise the annual tree lighting. And at 5:30 and 7:30, there will be showings of “Polar Express” on a 42-foot outdoor movie screen.

For more information, go to

• In Durham, you can celebrate the arrival of the Christmas season at the Holiday Fun Fest, Saturday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Durham Central Park at 502 Foster St.

There will be games, food, music, a petting zoo, train rides and chances to visit with Santa. Kids can also make cards for soldiers and, from 1:30 to 3:30 they can make s’mores over a campfire. Adults and children can participate in an obstacle course.

• In Cary, the Ole Time Winter Festival will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. All around downtown Cary there will be arts and crafts, performances and food vendors. This might be a good way to keep the kids entertained while you do a bit of shopping.

• If you want to teach your children about Christmas in Colonial times, try the Joel Lane Museum House in downtown Raleigh. At a free open house 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, you can tour the historic home, once owned by a Revolutionary War soldier and one of Raleigh’s founding fathers. You can also get a feel for how Christmas was celebrated in Lane’s day.

There will be costumed tour guides, Colonial-style decorations and live music. For kids, there will be Colonial games and crafts.

• Lastly, if you are in the mood for a Christmas parade, you have lots of choices this weekend. Parades will be held Saturday in:

Apex, 5 p.m., Salem Street

Garner, 2 p.m., Main Street

Hillsborough, 10 a.m., Corbin Street to Margaret Lane

Knightdale, 2 p.m., downtown

Send Family Picks suggestions to

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service