Cary Celebrates Dreamfest

Since 1999, the Town of Cary has celebrated Dreamfest, a collection of events honoring the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unlike the virtual-only celebration in 2021, this year’s lineup includes film screenings, live performances, an in-person interfaith service and more.

To honor Dr. King’s legacy, consider volunteering in the contactless Dreamfest Food Drive or participating in the MLK Day of Service event at Good Hope Farm on Jan. 17. 

In addition to these opportunities, the lineup below will run from Jan. 12 through Jan. 17. 

Reflecting the Times: Saving the Nina Simone Childhood Home 

Jan. 12, 7 p.m.

This is a free, virtual presentation on the childhood home of singer and civil rights activist Nina Simone. Learn more about the efforts to save the property, the challenges of its rehabilitation and its potential uses with Tiffany Tolbert with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Ted Alexander with Preservation North Carolina. A speaker Q&A will follow. 

Film Screenings


 Jan. 13, Jan. 15

This eye-opening documentary uncovers the extent of the FBI’s surveillance and harassment of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the government’s history of targeting black activists. Showings are scheduled for Jan. 13 at 2 p.m. and Jan. 15 at 7:30 p.m. T


Jan. 13, Jan. 15

This historical drama is based on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tumultuous campaign to secure equal voting rights for African Americans throughout the South. Showings will happen Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. and Jan. 15 at 5 p.m. 

“I Am Not Your Negro”

Jan. 16, 2 p.m.

This 2016 documentary, directed by Raoul Peck, is based on James Balwin’s unfinished manuscript “Remember This House.” Narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, the film examines and explores the history of racism in the United States through Baldwin’s recollections of civil rights leaders and his own personal observations. Following the film, there will be a Q&A with NC State University professor Dr. Marc Dudley and other guests. Free tickets are required.


“No Fear and Blues Long Gone: Nina Simone”  

Jan. 14, 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy this one-woman play and intimate portrayal of legendary artist Nina Simone, written by Howard L. Craft. Directed by Kathryn-Hunter Williams and starring Yolanda Rabun, this performance gives insight into Simone’s wide repertoire of music, her life perspective, sense of humor and sense of duty to people of color. 

“African American Heroes and Sheroes” 

Jan. 15, 11 a.m.

Linda Gorham brings to life the stories of the following African American heroes and sheroes whose actions and/or experiences made a positive impact on our country: Rosa Parks, Ruby Bridges, The Little Rock Nine, Young Barack Obama and Young Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Interfaith MLK Service

Jan. 16, 3:30 p.m.

All are welcome to attend this in-person service at Christ the King Lutheran Church in Cary (masks required) or participate on YouTube at Clergy from the Christian, Jewish and Muslim traditions will offer prayers and reflections.

For more information on Dreamfest events and to purchase tickets for film screenings and performances, visit the Town of Cary’s website.

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