A new location for Cary’s annual Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival means fewer vendors at the nationally-known celebration, but there will still be plenty of beer, art, music and fun at the downtown event.
This year, the one-day event, now in its 39th year, will encircle Cary’s Town Hall because of streetscape construction on Academy Street. As a result, there will be about 400 vendors — about 50 fewer than last year.
The festival usually is along South Academy Street from East Chatham Street to Dry Avenue and Chatham Street from South Harrison Avenue to Walker Street.
Lyman Collins, manager of the town’s Cultural Arts Division, said some residents suggested the South Academy Street portion of the event be moved to North Academy Street. But he said that’s not feasible because of the railroad tracks that run across the thoroughfare.
“We could not control the comings and goings of the trains, and it would not be safe,” he said. “But we were committed to keeping Lazy Daze downtown.”
Despite the new location, some favorites will still be present, such as the town crier, the Cary High School band and more than 325 new and returning arts and craft vendors from across the country. That includes this year’s featured artist, Donald L. Hamilton Jr., of Cary, who designed the artwork on this year’s event poster.
While it will be Hamilton’s first time participating in the festival as an artist, he said he has attended the annual event for a majority of his 16 years living in Cary.
“I’m looking forward to the energy and the excitement and the activity at the Lazy Daze Festival,” Hamilton said. “It’s always fun.”
This year, Lazy Daze will feature more than 30 bands and entertainers performing on five different stages and children’s activities, including magicians and puppets. Kid’s World will be between Town Hall and the Cary Police Department with storytelling, games and crafts.
Attendees may also go inside the Town Hall to learn more about the services Cary provides, such as the town’s greenways.
There will be food trucks mixed in with the food vendors. The Beer Garden stage will be in the garden next to the Page-Walker Arts & History Center garden. A nearby stage will feature music by the Little German Band.
“One thing that will be different this year is we are considering the entire festival footprint the beer garden, which means that patrons aren’t confined to the beer garden with their refreshments,” Collins said, adding that beer would still be confined to the festival itself.
The new layout could give attendees the opportunity to see an artist or vendor that they never noticed before, Collins said. Featured art includes jewelry, photography, fiber art, sculptures, pottery and glass.
“If you have seen an artist in the same location year after year, you might just pass by them, but if you see them in a different location, you may just see something different,” he said.
Because event parking will be limited, Collins encourages festival attendees to ride one of the shuttles from Cary Towne Center, at 1105 Walnut St., or Green Hope High School, at 2500 Carpenter Upchurch Road. All fixed C-TRAN routes will be free on the day of the event.
“We encourage people to take advantage of those,” he said. “It will mean fewer headaches for them.”
Collins said the event hopefully will be able to return to its usual Chatham and Academy streets location next year, depending on construction.
Kathryn Trogdon: 919-460-2608; @ktrogdon
Want to go?
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 22. The event is held rain or shine.
Where: Cary Town Hall Campus, 316 N. Academy St.
Shuttle: Free shuttle service starts at 8:30 a.m. The last buses leave the festival at 5:30 p.m. They leave from Cary Towne Center, 1105 Walnut St., and Green Hope High, 2500 Upchurch Road.
Parking: Limited parking available in the parking lot for First United Methodist Church of Cary at Waldo and Walker streets.