Southwest Wake News

Lazy Daze festival in Cary will feature snow, beer and more

Downtown Cary is expecting a big crowd Saturday for the annual Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival.
Downtown Cary is expecting a big crowd Saturday for the annual Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival. NEWS & OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

Regardless of the local forecast, Lazy Daze visitors might have to contend with a little unseasonable weather Saturday.

Cary plans to truck in snow to make Santa Claus feel more at home during a guest appearance at the 38th annual festival, which routinely draws about 50,000 visitors and has been heralded as one of the top arts festivals in the Southeast.

Festival-goers looking to get out of the August snow can find bratwursts, beer and live music from German bands in the beer garden, which will expand this year and move across the street from its usual location to the historic Ivey-Wellington-Waddell House.

Those looking for different food and drink options can also visit two concession stands, instead of just one as in past years.

Other than the snowy weather and expanded beer garden and concessions, organizers of the Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival say the event should look much the same.

Even a construction site on Academy Street, smack dab in the middle of the festival, isn’t expected to be too obtrusive.

“Most of the construction is minimal at this point, and the basic layout of the festival will remain the same,” said Lyman Collins, the town’s cultural arts manager.

Since the festival is on a Saturday, construction work won’t take place during the event, so there are no worries about noise or dust, said Rob Garner, festival director.

“It really should have no impact on the festival,” he said.

Organizers did, however, have to move the Kid’s World stage because of the construction. It will be at the post office this year.

The snow will be across the street, and the beer garden and a concessions area will also be on the north end, near the intersection of Academy and Chatham streets.

About 400 vendors will stretch down Academy Street to Dry Avenue, where there will be a stage, chainsaw sculpting competitions and more.

Collins said the art is always a hit, since the festival is a juried show that attracts artists and visitors from across the United States.

This year, Collins is especially excited about the German band and beer garden.

“Maybe it’ll even feel like you’re in Munich,” he said. “And if that snow blows over, maybe you’ll think you’re in the Alps. Who knows?”

The beer garden is sponsored by the Sister Cities of Cary, a local group that aims to promote international comaraderie — especially with the town’s sister cities in Canada, Taiwan, France and Ireland.

Another tie with a German city is possible, hence this year’s German theme.

The beer garden was controversial when it first opened in 2007, eliciting angry letters and ominous predictions from some.

But Collins said the recent news of the expansion hasn’t led to any worried reactions, and that the vocal opposition stopped almost as soon as it began.

“Obviously there’s some people that don’t drink, but they don’t have to go in,” he said. “And after the first year, after people realized it didn’t lead to drunkenness in the streets, it became just another part of the festival.”