Get Out: Local Celebrations Are Signs of Spring

Blue skies and sunshine make us feel festive, as evidenced by the number of community celebrations taking place locally this spring. From annual favorites to all-new fetes, they offer family fun from Easter eggs to arts, chili to wine and wildlife.

Consider yourself a connoisseur? This fest could be for you.

Spice up your spring at Cary’s first Pepper’s Chilibrewfest with the chance to taste more than 75 craft beers, 10 types of chili, specialty cheeses and an array of hot sauces.

Check out Tasting Theater seminars with hot sauce specialists, brewmasters and fiery foods chefs; live music — as in rock, blues and even bagpipe; and jalapeno or hot wing-eating contests, plus a chili cook-off.

Exhibits of “brewerania” and a cigar tent are also part of the fun.
Becky Colwell, general manager of Koka Booth Amphitheatre, said the fest kicks off the 2012 season and, “It’s is a great way to breathe in the first breath of spring.”

Advance ticket prices range from $25 for designated driver to $55 for VIP.

Saturday, March 31, 2 to 6 p.m. (VIP session begins at noon)
Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park,


It’s the ninth annual Great Grapes! Wine, Arts & Food Festival! Grab a souvenir tasting glass as you enter, then visit the tents and tables of area wineries to sample hundreds of North Carolina’s best wines in this event that draws some 5,000 attendees each year.

“Patrons are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets to enjoy great live music on the Main Stage,” Colwell said. “Also, sit down and learn while experts give hands-on demos in the Gourmet Live! tent, with wine and food pairings.”

There’s also a kids’ activity area; children ages 12 and younger are admitted free. Advance adult admission is $20, or $25 at the door; $15/20 for designated driver ticket

April 21, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Koka Booth Amphitheatre at Regency Park


Enjoy both art and nature at the 19th annual Spring Daze festival, set in Cary’s largest municipal park.

“This festival is unique because it is locally focused,” said Joy Ennis, festivals coordinator for the Town of Cary. “All artists must live in North Carolina, and most are from Wake County, to highlight the wealth of great artists in our own backyard!”

Also part of the festival is the town’s Earth Day celebration, where families discover their roles in protecting the environment. The Children’s Village offer activities for kids, and a Fitness Trail highlights the link between arts and fitness. And of course, there’s food and entertainment throughout the day.

“Not to be overlooked is the direct economic impact that this event brings to Cary each year,” Ennis said. “We normally host about 17,000 visitors at this event, and we’re happy to continue to let people know about Cary and the great quality of life we have here.”

Note: Spring Daze is a sister event to Cary’s popular Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival, set for Aug. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., downtown.

April 28, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Fred G. Bond Metro Park

A 30-year tradition here, the PeakFest arts festival and street fair entices 15,000 attendees from across the area annually.

More than 200 vendors offer an array of arts and crafts; music and dance acts grace multiple stages; and there are rides, roving street performers and festival food.

Not only do families look forward to the event, but vendors plan up to a year in advance to take part, says Brenda Steen, PeakFest chair and executive director of the Apex Chamber of Commerce.

“As Apex has grown and attracted residents from all over, PeakFest has grown and diversified to meet the needs of our community,” she said. “We promise great arts and crafts, a place for kids to have fun, the Craig Woolard Band and other great musicians on the main stage, and more.”

A parking guide for visitors (though walking is encouraged for locals), is an example of Apex’s town motto.

“We are the ‘Peak of Good Living,’ and that means we’re friendly, supportive and professional,” Steen said.

May 5, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Downtown Apex

This second annual culinary adventure shows off Morrisville’s diverse food offerings, with delicious dishes for everyone in the family.

Last year’s inaugural event drew 1,400 attendees in spite of rainy weather; the numbers of both attendees and vendors are expected to rise this year.

Admission to Taste of Morrisville is free; tickets needed to sample food and beverages are purchased at the event, which also features a live band and a bounce house for children.

Here’s how the sampling works: Local restaurants and food vendors set up tents and collect the tickets in exchange for samples of their wares. Food and beverage options represent various price/ticket levels, with healthy food choices among them.

Vendors share ticket proceeds with the town, in a win-win project that offers a platform for their cuisines, says James Worsdale, cultural resources specialist for the Town of Morrisville, and “an excellent opportunity for citizens to expand their horizons about the culinary offerings Morrisville has available.”

May 12, noon to 7 p.m.
Town Hall Drive near Indian Creek Greenway Trailhead

Get Festive!

Spring Fling, March 24, Hope Chapel in Apex, noon to 5 p.m. Food, rides, Easter egg hunt and carnival games;

Spring Fling, March 31, Womble Park in Holly Springs, 8 a.m. to noon. Easter egg hunt and annual community yard sale;

Spring Eggstravaganza, March 31, Lake Benson Park in Garner, 10 a.m. Easter Bunny, egg hunt, music, nature activities, inflatables, arts and food;

Breakfast with the Bunny, March 31, Bond Park in Cary, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m., hosted by Cary Teen Council. Advance tickets required, $4 age 10 and older, $3 age 3-9, free for 2 and younger;

Teen Council. Advance tickets required, $4 age 10 and older, $3 age 3-9, free for 2 and younger;

Easter Egg Hunt, March 31, Bond Park in Cary, 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Egg hunts, food, inflatables and the Sandbox Band.

Easter Egg Hunt, March 31, South Park in Fuquay-Varina, 10 a.m. Rain or shine, for ages 10 and younger. Meet the Easter Bunny and hunt for 12,000 eggs.

Easter Eggstravaganza, April 5, Bond Park in Cary, 6 to 8 p.m. New event for special needs children, egg hunt and Easter Bunny visits;

Strawberry Festival, April 28, Technology Drive at 40/42 in Garner, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.Inflatables, arts and crafts, food;

Photo by: John Keilholz

TurtleFest, May 12, Bass Lake Park in Holly Springs, 1 to 4 p.m. Interactive exhibits, live animals, wildlife educators, crafts and games;

Celebrate Fuquay-Varina, June 1-2, downtown. Friday night concert, Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Classic cars, kids’ activities, food, arts and crafts;

Events are free unless otherwise noted.

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