For those who want more out of your family’s Memorial Day weekend than cookouts and beach trips, several local events salute veterans and military service-people. Some of these events are positively huge, such as the WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest, so plan ahead.
▪ The WRAL Freedom Balloon Fest at Fuquay-Varina’s Fleming Loop Park lasts the whole extended weekend and includes live music, vintage rides, tethered balloon rides and food vendors. Friday hours are 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., while Saturday and Sunday hours run 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday’s finale, complete with an honor caravan that departs the festival site to decorate military graves, runs 5:30 a.m. to noon. Admission is free, but there’s a charge for parking. There is no parking on the grounds, but festival-goers can use the park-and-ride service nearby: parking is $10 and the tram to the festival grounds costs $5 per adult, $3 per child aged 2-12, and free for infants. Visit wralfreedomballoonfest.com for all details and directions to the four designated parking areas.
▪ Reenactors in military uniforms covering the span of American history, from the Revolution up through World War II and Iraq, will salute military personnel Saturday and Sunday at Bennett Place in Durham. There will be veterans as well, displaying artifacts and their service uniforms. These tributes to Americans in uniform happen between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunday. Free. Visit facebook.com/bennett.place.
▪ Saturday evening, the North Carolina Symphony opens its Summerfest series with Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 5” and other classical selections at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary. This 7:30 p.m. outdoor performance is $28.10-$30.90 for adults, but free on the lawn for kids 12 and under. The Symphony will bring its instrument zoo for children to try out. Visit ncsymphony.org for more.
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