WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival Memorial Day Weekend


Photo courtesy WRAL Balloon Festival

Memorial Day Weekend WRAL Freedom Balloon Festival
I’ve been looking forward to this event for months. For the first time in over 25 years a hot air balloon festival is coming to Raleigh and Zebulon Memorial Day Weekend. This weekend long family friendly event includes a “Mass Ascension & Balloon Glow”, Competition Flights, and Tethered Balloon Rides. Spectating at the events is free but balloon rides will involve fees charged by the individual operators.

I encourage you to check out the website for more information about the weekend long events schedule and parking & shuttles and “What to know before you go”. It sounds like they are expecting a large turnout at these events so plan on arriving early. Chairs and blankets are encouraged and food trucks will be at both sites offering food for sale. According to the website pets are not allowed (except for service animals).

Another great resource is this WRAL Out & About Guide to the festival:

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Big Boss Run Club 4th Anniversary Party ~ Tuesday May 19th


Big Boss Run CLub

The Big Boss Run Club (BBRC) held its first group run back on May 10th, 2011. Organized by a group of friends with a shared passion for running and craft beer,  Jon Odgers, Win Bassett, Greg Mulholland, and Ben Gaddy created what has become one of the most popular brewery supported run clubs in the Triangle. On Tuesday May 19th the club will celebrate its 4th anniversary with an official group run at 7pm followed by beers, raffles, and food truck options at the brewery. A group photo will be taken at 7pm on the patio in front of the brewery by the club’s local celebrity runner photographer Gary Franks.  Everyone is asked to wear their BBRC shirts for the photo. Don’t worry if you don’t have a shirt yet. This run club is open to all runners of all levels. Everyone is welcome to attend!


Bulkogi Truck at Big Boss

A special beer release of Big Boss’s “Tail Wind” is also scheduled as part of the celebration. Tail Wind is an easy drinking, hoppy session ale brewed by run club organizer Jon Odgers and the Big Boss head brewer. Known as run club beer, it’s the only beer brewed for a run club by a runner. The event will feature several awesome guests that will be offering free raffles and discounts including:

  • The 2015 Big Boss Run club sponsors Fleet Feet Sports Raleigh and Brooks Running
  • U.S. National Whitewater Center
  • Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon and half marathon
  • Race 13.1 Raleigh, NC – Spring half marathon
  • 2016 Rock ‘n’ Roll Raleigh Marathon & 1/2 Marathon
  • Food from Bulkogi Truck, Taco Grande and Not Just Icing, Inc.

Big Boss Run Club – 4th Anniversary Party
Tuesday May 19, 2014
Group Run at 7pm
For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/events/101272316871081/.



Filed under Beer, Brewery, Running

Weekend Picks: May 14th-17th

Once again the calendar is jam-packed with lots of fun events this weekend. Saturday is particularly full making it hard to narrow down my choices, but I do my best below with  a quick rundown of fun things to check out this weekend. If you are looking for music events throughout the summer remember to check out my recently updated post about upcoming spring and summer concert series across the Triangle.  As always, I hope you enjoy some time outside and happy exploring!

Thursday May 14th

Back Porch Concert Series American Tobacco Campus
The legendary Back Porch Music on the Lawn series returns Durham’s American Tobacco Campus May 14-September 10th with 8 free shows. This Thursday enjoy music by John Howie Jr and Rosewood Bluff. Free Picnics and chairs welcome. Music starts at 6pm. Event Details

Friday May 15th

Got to Be NC Festival (Friday-Sunday)
A free family friendly event at the NC State Fairgrounds this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with an agricultural twist. Enjoy carnival games and rides, live music, food, animal and agricultural displays, antique tractors, and more. Festival Info

Blues on the Plaza at Northgate Mall in Durham
Northgate Mall hosts their “Blues on the Plaza” music series each Friday in May.  This Friday’s musical guest is Blues Rocket. They also have at least one food truck scheduled for each event. You can view the full schedule with bands and food truck lineup here: Event Details

Saturday May 16th

Artsplosure (Friday-Sunday)
Artsplosure’s returns to downtown Raleigh this Friday, Saturday and Sunday with art, music and food. Check the event website for all the details of this great event that celebrates excellence in the performing and visual arts and brings artists and the larger community together to improve the quality of life and cultural environment. Event Details

Tour D’Coop Urban Chicken Tour
Raleigh’s city chicken owners invite you into their backyards for a first-hand look at keeping chickens in an urban environment.  This self-guided tour provides the opportunity to see over 20 coops, from tiny urban gardens to sprawling suburban lots. This is your chance to glean creative ideas from neighbors who are incorporating chickens and permaculture garden designs into their home landscapes to create an inspiring urban adventure. Event Details

Gouge Wrestling & Food Trucks at Nickelpoint Brewing – Raleigh
This fun event will feature Gouge Wrestling, Craft beer, and food from local food trucks Manna, Cockadoodlemoo, Bo’s Kitchen, Chick-n-Que. The special evening starts at 5pm at Nickelpoint Brewing in Raleigh’s Five Points area. Event Details

Durham Bulls Star Wars Theme Night
One of the most highly anticipated annual Durham Bulls promotions is the Star Wars Night at DBAP. Fans can take photos and interact with their favorite Star Wars characters while being entertained by in-game features from a galaxy far, far away. During the event, the Bulls will sport full C-3PO themed uniforms, which include jerseys, pants, socks, and hats inspired by the goldenrod protocol droid. The game-worn jerseys will be available in both in-game and online auctions, with all proceeds going to the Autism Society of North Carolina. Event Details

Classic Car Show in Downtown Cary
Classic Car Show along Academy Street in downtown Cary from 9am-2pm on Saturday. There will also be activities for kids like “touch a truck” and food from local food trucks Big Mike’s BBQ, Will & Pop’s and Dusty Donuts. Event Details

Sunday May 17th

Midtown Bluegrass at North Hills
Free Live Bluegrass music this Sunday by The Vicki Vaughn Band at North Hills new Midtown Park. Relax on the grass and enjoy music from 4-7pm. Blankets, lawn chairs and coolers are allowed. However, bringing alcoholic beverages is prohibited. Beer and food will also be available for purchase at the concert. Event Details

Wake Forest Food Truck Rodeo
This Sunday Wake Forest will host another big food truck rodeo with over 20 local trucks. The event takes places from 12-4pm at 405 S. Brook Street. There are tons of great local trucks schedule including the ever popular American Meltdown, Chirba Chirba, and the new Cousins Main Lobster. As always for even more food truck events check out The Wandering Sheppard’s Local Food Truck Blog for a full rundown of all the weekend food truck events.

Save the Date: May 21-25th


Photo courtesy WRAL Balloon Festival

Memorial Day Weekend WRAL Balloon Festival ~ May 21-25th
A hot air balloon festival is coming to Raleigh, Zebulon and Wake county Memorial Day Weekend. This weekend long family friendly event includes a “Mass Ascention & Balloon Glow”, Competition Flights, and Tethered Balloon Rides. Spectating at the events is free but balloon rides will involve fees charged by the individual operators. This is the first balloon festival in the area in over 25 years and something I definitely don’t want to miss!  Event Details

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Help Cocoa Cinnamon Open a Second Shop in Durham


Cocoa Cinnamon in Durham, NC

Cocoa Cinnamon is my favorite place to get coffee in Durham. They are a multi-roaster shop offering carefully crafted coffee and espresso drinks, chocolate and tea and locally made baked goods & desserts. The space is fantastic too with both indoor and outdoor seating that serves as a nice transition from to active Geer Street location in Durham’s “DIY” (Do It Yourself) district. But this is no ordinary coffee shop. Cocoa Cinnamon’s owners, Leon and Areli Barrera de Grodski, see their business as a community oriented shop providing a living wage to their employees and a welcoming environment to customers that is “open to all people and strives, through commerce and service, to support a sustainable, democratic and artistic way of being.”


Cocoa Cinnamon Owners Leon and Areli Barrera de Grodski

Local engagement is an important part of what makes Cocoa Cinnamon such a special place. They are currently working on opening a second shop in Durham and using Community Sourced Capital campaign to raise part of the funds needed to make the second shop a reality. This is an opportunity for the community to be a part of the local movement and show support for local small businesses by becoming a “squareholder” and making a small (increments of $50) interest free loan to support the second shop.

These funds will go towards tangible things, like outdoor seating, a new espresso machine, and a unique space designed through the collaboration of local artists. It will also help Cocoa Cinnamon create a thriving business that will bring in the income to pay more than a living wage and enable them to offer career positions for their long term crew and deepen their ability to help build opportunity in the local community.


Indoor Seating with Garage Door Opening to Outside

If you are looking for a great coffee experience I highly recommend a visit to Cocoa Cinnamon. To be a part of the community support behind their second shop and learn more about how to become a squareholder visit their Community Sourced Capital campaign website here.

Cocoa Cinnamon
420 W. Geer Street
Durham, NC (map)
facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CocoaCinnamonDream/
twitter: @CocoaCinnamon
website: http://www.cocoacinnamon.com




Filed under Coffee, Durham

Weekend Picks: May 8-10th

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Abbotts Creek Greenway ~ North Raleigh

Looks like another weekend of great weather is coming our way. In addition to getting outside to enjoy Raleigh’s beautiful greenway this weekend I’ve put together a quick list of other local events that caught my eye. Happy exploring!

Friday May 8th

Blues on the Plaza at Northgate Mall in Durham
Northgate Mall hosts their “Blues on the Plaza” music series each Friday in May.  This Friday’s musical guest is the Jimi King Trio. They also have at least one food truck scheduled for each event. You can view the full schedule with bands and food truck lineup here: http://www.northgatemall.com/mall-events/blues-on-the-plaza/

Art After Hours in Wake Forest
It’s the second Friday, and that means it’s time to head down to downtown Wake Forest for an evening of family entertainment, food, and to see what the local merchants have on offer. The event brings out a good crowd of folks, and the evening cooler temperatures are a nice excuse to get out and around downtown. https://www.facebook.com/aahWF/info

Saturday May 9th

Second Saturday PopUp Market at Sola Coffee in North Raleigh
Just in time for those last Mother’s Day gifts. Sola Coffee is hosting a PopUp Market on Saturday from 9am to 1pm featuring 20+ local artisans selling amazing handcrafted gifts, clothing, jewelry, ceramics, leather, T-Shirts, signs, candles, scarves and other unique finds. https://www.facebook.com/events/1658691151027722/

Belgian Waffology Food Truck at Cocoa Cinnamon in Durham
On Saturday you have two chances to catch one of my favorite food trucks in Durham. From 8:30-11:30am the Belgian Waffle truck will be parked at Cocoa Cinnamon making for a great breakfast option. If you aren’t an early riser catch the truck later in the day from 12-4pm at Bull City Ciderworks. http://belgianwaffology.com/

Sunday May 10th

Oaks & Spokes FrankenBike Block Party in Downtown Raleigh
FrankenBike is a bike parts swap held at Oak City Cycling Project from 1-5pm on Sunday May 10th. Bring all your bike parts that you’d like to sell or trade and get excited to buy, sell and swap! There will be food, music, beer and plenty of bikes, parts of bikes and bike-related fun! https://www.facebook.com/events/1559738290969827/

Six Sunday Concert Series at Joyner Park in Wake Forest
Bring the kids, friends, a picnic, and a blanket! The Six Sundays in Spring concert series is held on consecutive Sundays through the end of May. These free concerts are held at E. Carroll Joyner Park Amphitheater at 701 Harris Rd. in Wake Forest. The music will be starting at 5 pm and ending at 7 pm. This Sunday will feature music by the 18 piece Casablanca Orchestra. You can view the full music schedule here: http://wakeforestarts.org/events/six-sundays/

Strawberry Season is here!

May ushers in North Carolina strawberry season and this weekend there will be plenty of berries to pick up at local area farmers’ markets. A few of my favorite markets are the Durham and Carrboro Farmers’ Market. There are also great markets in Wake Forest and North Hills in Raleigh. If you prefer to pick your own berries check out this list of local berry patches by Carolina Parent.


Filed under Events, Weekend Picks