Family Picks

Family Picks: Winter festivals in Raleigh and Durham

CorrespondentDecember 5, 2013 

Join in the fun at this year’s Winterfest.


Considering the temperate winters of recent years, this weekend may offer your best chance at taking your kids sledding in the Triangle.

Raleigh and Durham will host winter festivals Saturday that include fake snow and sledding hills, as well as plenty of other wintry fun.

Raleigh’s Winterfest on Fayetteville Street is 3-10 p.m., and this year it is bigger than ever.

You can take a horse-drawn carriage ride through downtown or ice-skate on the outdoor rink tucked among Raleigh’s tall buildings. This rink, which stays open through most of the winter, is about as close as you can get in North Carolina to New York’s Central Park skating rink.

In addition to the snowy sledding hill, there will be a Ferris wheel, bounce house and carousel.

Santa will also be there to accept requests and pose for photos. There will also be two outdoor screenings of the Christmas movie “Elf.” Showtimes are 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m.

At 7 p.m., the mayor will light the city’s Christmas tree. At 7:30 live music performances will begin.

For the adults, there will be a beer and garden with offerings from six local breweries, as well as plenty of local vendors if you want to squeeze in a bit of shopping.

Holiday Fun Fest in Durham

In Durham, the free Holiday Fun Fest is 1-5 p.m. in Durham Central Park.

There will be a sledding and snow play area, as well as a kids’ zone with special activities for all ages.

Kids can run an obstacle course, jump in a bounce house, ride in a train or take pony rides. There will be arts and crafts activities and face painting, as well as a play area just for toddlers.

Santa will be there as well. (Somehow, he’ll manage the double-booking.)

There will also be an opportunity to add a little community service to your day by writing messages to military members and Meals on Wheels recipients.

Drop off the kids

If you need a little free time without the kids, Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve in Cary is offering a nature-inspired holiday craft program this Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15, for kids 5 to 8. You can drop your children off to create from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

You must register in advance by calling 919-387-5980.

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