Out & About in Wake County: May/June 2024

1. If it’s all local, it’s got to be the Got to Be NC Festival. Over three days of down-home fun, celebrate the state we call home with entertainment, agricultural shows, and NC food and beverages. Throughout a weekend filled with family activities and the best flavors from Tar Heel breweries, distilleries, and wineries, Got to Be is the only place where you’ll get to watch a K-9 working dog demo or BMX stunt show before visiting a mobile dairy classroom! Friday, May 17 to Sunday, May 19. North Carolina State Fairgrounds, Raleigh. gottobencfestival.com

2. This Memorial Day weekend, Raleigh’s premier animation and culture convention arrives. With myriad events — to include guest panels, karaoke, and hugely popular cosplay activities — expect crowds and artistic celebration in its many forms at Animazement. Attend a sake tasting, enter the Karuta Tournament, or take a dance lesson with a local professional dancer. The multi-day festival also has your costume needs covered, with a repair booth for last-minute fixes or alterations. Thursday, May 23, 6 p.m. to midnight Friday, May 24, 9–2 a.m. Saturday, May 25, 9–2 a.m. Sunday, May 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. $65 for a weekend pass. Raleigh Convention Center. animazement.com

3. With 20,000 people attending last year’s Raleigh International Food Festival, it’s a good thing there’s plenty to eat! More than 30 food and dessert trucks, representing countries from across the globe, meet beers and bazaars and a free downtown block party. Culture and cuisine and nonstop performances make for a satisfying summer day out. Saturday, June 1, noon to 10 p.m. City Plaza, Raleigh. downtownraleigh.org/do/raleighs-international-food-festival-1

4. It’s a dessert-only event, and it is returning to Raleigh with even more decadent delicacies this year! The NC Sugar Rush saturates senses with seven hours of sugar. Come craving Italian ice, smoothies, funnel cakes, ice cream, popsicles, cookies, cupcakes, cookie dough, mini donuts, waffles, and much more … to include vegan delights and even treats for pets. A live DJ will help dance off some of that sugar, making seconds (or thirds) possible. Sunday, May 26, noon to 7 p.m. City Plaza, Downtown Raleigh. ncsugarrush.com/nc-sugar-rush-raleigh

5. Come on out! Out! Raleigh Pride is, for the 12th time, hosting its annual celebration of love. Promising to be loud and proud, this funfest will promote inclusion and diversity with activities, entertainment, and eats for the whole family. The festival will once again paint the town in rainbow colors while washing out shame and stigma — so head out and show love some love! Saturday, June 22, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fayetteville Street, Downtown Raleigh. outraleighpride.org

6. Experience the excitement — and emotion — of the 2024 NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championships live at WakeMed Soccer Park. In the thrilling arena of college sports, the championships offer student athletes the chance to reach the height of college athletic competition. Show your support for this year’s championship season and witness the thrills for yourself! Friday, May 24 and Sunday, May 26. $33 and up. WakeMed Soccer Park, Cary. ncaatickets.com/championship/womens-lacrosse/champinfo

7. Meet in the Street on May 4 to enjoy Wake Forest’s premier arts and crafts, music, and food festival. Now in its 42nd year, this free community event invites neighbors to get to know one another and partake of 100-plus artisan booths, dozens of food trucks, live music on two stages all day, and a children’s village chock-full of fun activities for little ones. Saturday, May 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. White Street, Wake Forest. wakeforestchamber.org

8. Sponsored and administered by the North Carolina Museum of History — as “making films is making history” — the 10th Annual Longleaf Film Festival screens independent films that demonstrate a North Carolina connection. The juried weekend festival features the stories that connect us to one another — and to the Tar Heel State through the cast and crew, the filming location, or the subject of the film. Free and open to the public, see NC film at its finest. Friday, May 10 and Saturday, May 11. North Carolina Museum of History, Downtown Raleigh. longleaffilmfestival.com/information

9. Watch Luke Skywalker face Darth Vader on the big screen while you feast your ears on John Williams’ rousing score — live — as North Carolina Symphony presents Star Wars: Return of the Jedi In Concert. Conducted by Conner Gray Covington, the performance promises to be a thrilling ride into the outer reaches of the galaxy. Thursday, May 2, 7:30 p.m. Friday, May 3 and Saturday, May 4, 8 p.m. Meymandi Concert Hall, Raleigh. ncsymphony.org

10. The annual Apex PeakFest promises to be the peak of early summer fun! This community event, which started in a school parking lot, has come a long way — with more than 22,000 people last year taking to the streets of historic downtown Apex. Now in its 43rd year, the free arts and crafts festival promises live music all day, an array of artists, and an assortment of festival foods and activities. Saturday, May 4. Salem Street, Apex. apexpeakfest.com

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