What’s going on this week? Artsplosure, Got to Be NC Festival and 10 more Best Bets

Artist Amanda Parer’s “What’s That?” which is part of her “Fantastic Planet” series. It’s seen here at the Spotlight — Bucharest International Light Festival. “What’s That?” will be at Raleigh’s Artsplosure Festival May 18-19.
Artist Amanda Parer’s “What’s That?” which is part of her “Fantastic Planet” series. It’s seen here at the Spotlight — Bucharest International Light Festival. “What’s That?” will be at Raleigh’s Artsplosure Festival May 18-19.

There’s a lot going on this week. Here’s your cheat sheet of can’t-miss events around town.


Celebrate 40 years of the arts festival as its two-day juried Art Market descends upon downtown Raleigh, featuring 170-plus artists, large-scale installations and Main Stage music, plus can’t-miss fan-favorite Kidsplosure with activities and performances from talented young locals.

The festival will stretch the length of Fayetteville Street with a music stage at the north end (closest to the Capitol) and a huge sculpture, titled “What’s That?,” temporarily erected at the south end of the street. The work comes from artist Amanda Parer, who previously showcased her giant inflatable rabbits at the North Carolina Museum of Art.

Head to West Hargett Street for “BaseLine,” an interactive installation made of bamboo and fabric.

Saturday’s music headliners are The Suffers, a Gulf Coast soul band. Sunday, Alejandro Escovedo will bring his Americana sound to the stage. May 18, 11 a.m.-7 p.m.; May 19, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free. raleighartsfestival.com

Got to Be NC Festival

If it’s a tractor parade, food, tunes and more, it’s Got to Be NC — where you and the fam have got to be for three days of down-home fun. While you’re there, don’t miss the Carolina Bluegrass Battle and the Carolina Pig Jig (both May 18). At the latter, sample your way through the all-you-can-eat barbecue buffet and cast your vote (Pig Jig $15 for adults, $5 for 7-10 years old, free for 6 and under). Tip: At the fest, planners can purchase 2019 State Fair tickets in advance for 2018 prices at the Waterfall ticket booth. N.C. State Fairgrounds, Raleigh. May 17-19. Friday, noon-10 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sunday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Free admission and parking. gottobenc.com

PRIME Music Festival

It’s outdoor concert season, y’all. Head over to Red Hat Amphitheater for the two-day fest featuring the likes of RL Grime, Chris Lake, Bonnie x Clyde and more. 500 S. McDowell St., Raleigh. May 17-18, gates open 4 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday. One-day ticket from $33, two-day ticket from $61. carolina.primefestival.com

‘Hello, Dolly!’

“… in a word, perfection.” So says “Time Out New York” of this Tony Award-winning revival in which Broadway legend Betty Buckley stars. Durham Performing Arts Center, Durham. May 21-26. Times and prices vary. dpacnc.com

LIVE at Lake Raleigh

Free outdoor (lake!) sunset concert. Now that we have your attention: Plan to set up camp at Lake Raleigh and take in the tunes of Americana-Southern-country blend Old Habits, with opening band Shannon Baker & Sometime Soon, as part of a series of free sunset concerts put on by NC State LIVE and Visit Centennial. On the shore of Lake Raleigh, corner of Main Campus and Campus Shores drives, Raleigh. May 23, 6 p.m. Free. live.arts.ncsu.edu/live-lake-raleigh/

Chelsea Handler

On the heels of her latest book and first memoir, “Life Will Be the Death of Me,” the unapologetic comedian (famed for E!’s “Chelsea Lately”) takes it next level. Honest and hilarious as ever, Handler’s tome also turns candid and vulnerable (with a look at myriad life events from the 2016 election to the death of her older brother, Chet). In this can’t-miss event, The New York Times best-selling author takes the stage in conversation at the Durham Performing Arts Center as part of her 16-city Sit-Down Comedy Tour. DPAC, Durham. May 21-26, times vary. From $68.50. dpacnc.com

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Bee Ball

Gather your beehive (21 and older), swarm over to The Maywood, and get buzzed in the name of environmental justice (cheers to that!). Each year, the buzzy night of live music, dancing, Insta-perfect photo-booth shenanigans benefits a giving theme by host The Beehive Collective, who donates a substantial grant to a selected Raleigh nonprofit — having given away $300,000-plus since 2008. The Maywood, 658 Maywood Ave., Raleigh. May 18, 8 p.m. $10 in advance, $15 at door, 21+ only. beeball.swell.gives

NC Beer Mile

Will run for beer? How about will beer while running? Lace, pace and taste your way through the evening with the NC Beer Mile — 4 beers, 1 mile (solo or as a team). Oh, and costumes are mandatory (OK, strongly encouraged). Bond Brothers Beer Co., 202 E. Cedar St., Cary. May 23, 5-8 p.m. Registration: beer mile $50, instant gratification run $30, two-person relay $60, four-person relay $100. ncbeermile.com

News & Observer reporter Will Doran recently completed the NC Beer Mile hosted by Bond Brothers Beer Company in Cary. A beer mile, for the uninitiated, is a race where everyone chugs a beer, runs a quarter-mile lap, then repeats it three more time

Party on the Blacktop

Take the party North of DTR to House of Hops for a monthly pop-up market chock-full of various vendors, live music (3-5 p.m.) — and, of course, beers. And no party would be complete without a food truck. See you there! 6909 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh. May 19, 1-5 p.m. Free to attend. houseofhopsnc.com/events/events-calendar/

NCMA Summer Concerts

Did we mention it’s outdoor concert season? The North Carolina Museum of Art’s famed alfresco entertainment tradition is back, kicking off with An Evening With Dawes. Joseph M. Bryan Jr. Theater in the Museum Park, NCMA, Raleigh. May 17, 8 p.m. Reserved tickets $36 for members and $40 for nonmembers, GA tickets $27 for members and $30 for nonmembers. ncartmuseum.org

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‘West Side Story’

The classic romance of Tony and Maria — think modern-day Romeo and Juliet meets gang turf wars — plays in concert at Raleigh Little Theatre featuring musicians of the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra, where event royalties go toward Equality NC. The weekend will also feature food trucks (Thymely Meals, JAM Ice Cream and more). Stephenson Amphitheatre, 301 Pogue St., Raleigh. May 18, 8 p.m. & 19, 3 p.m. Tickets $18.74. raleighlittletheatre.org.

Dunkin’ for Durham

It’s been one month since the explosion in Durham, and the short term futures of restaurants St. James Seafood, Torerro’s Mexican Restaurant and the Kaffeinate coffee shop are uncertain. The community has raised money to help the employees displaced by the closed restaurants. On Sunday, the Transfer Co. Food Hall in Raleigh will host Dunkin’ for Durham, a benefit for Durham restaurant workers. Triangle chefs will gather in the food hall and serve dishes street-festival style. There will also be live music and a silent auction. $40. 4 to 7 p.m. 500 E. Davie St. transfercofoodhall.com/

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