Whether you want to get out into the sun or stay in for quiet fun, there’s plenty to do in Midtown Raleigh and local places this weekend. Here’s our list of five fun events for all to enjoy.
1. Celebrate the state: The next State Fair is months away, but the fairgrounds will be packed this weekend.
The West Raleigh complex will host the Got To Be N.C. Festival with carnival rides and North Carolina-made food and drink samples. There’s also a barbecue cook-off, a show called Gator Wars and an expanded flea market with even more junky finds than usual. And if newer things are your thing, Let’s Shop Local will host handmade arts and crafts vendors in the Graham Building. 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, N.C. State Fairgrounds, 1025 Blue Ridge Road.
2. B-E-E-R: Spell your way to a free beer this week at Kings Barcade downtown.
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The nightclub will host a spelling bee Thursday night – for adults, not fifth-graders. The incentive? A free beer for each correctly spelled word spelled correctly on the Kings stage. Misspellings, according to event organizers, will “get you derision.” We figure the alphabet gets more challenging with each free beer. 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Kings Barcade, 14 W. Martin St., kingsbarcade.com, $3 to watch, $5 to compete.
3. Vanities – The Musical: The first play in this year’s Theatre Raleigh Hot Summer Nights series shines the spotlight on friendship.
“Vanities – The Musical” opens Wednesday and runs through May 25 at the Kennedy Theatre. It’s a musical adaptation of a 1976 book that follows three high-school best friends over 40 years. Theatre Raleigh artistic director Lauren Kennedy starred in the musical when it opened off-Broadway in 2009. Performances Wednesdays through Sundays until May 25, Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, theatreraleigh.com, $25-27.
4. Pickin’ at North Hills: It seems like bluegrass in everywhere in Raleigh since the International Bluegrass Music Association brought its annual festivities here.
Husband-and-wife duo Darin & Brook Aldridge open a new free bluegrass series on Sunday at North Hills’ new Midtown Park. Have your own banjo, fiddle or mandolin? Come an hour early for a jam session. 5 p.m. Sunday, Midtown Park at the east side of North Hills, pinecone.org.
5. No time to be bored: The 35th annual Artsplosure festival promises the unexpected.
The two-day arts festival features a market with more than 180 arts and crafts exhibits, kids’ activities, visual art installations and musical performances. Drummers, hoop dancers, and Bhangra, a style of folk dance from India, are just a few of the weekend’s offerings. 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday, Moore Square and City Plaza, raleighartsfestival.com.
BONUS: Lakeside safari: Learn more about butterflies with the N.C. Parks Department.
It’s the Year of the Lepidoptera –– the order of insects that includes butterflies and moths –– in state parks. Come celebrate with a butterfly identification hike. Dogs on leashes welcome. 10 a.m. Sunday at Beaverdam, the Falls Lake State Recreation Area, 13304 Creedmoor Rd., Register with Kate.Boysen@NCParks.gov.
Compiled by the Midtown Raleigh News staff.