Out & About in Wake County: November / December 2022

1. One of Raleigh’s oldest holiday shopping events is back! The 48th Annual Visions of Sugarplums Holiday Art & Gift Show will take place from November 3–5 at Quail Hollow Swim Club. A selection of unique and handcrafted items like Santas, snowmen, wreaths, ornaments, and more will be for sale. Admission and parking are free. visionsofsugarplumsraleigh.com

2. The Triangle’s most spectacular holiday tradition has returned for its eighth year. Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre will once again serve as the home of the North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival. Taking place from November 18 to January 8, this event features 40 new displays, each consisting of hundreds of parts and thousands of LED lights. Last year, more than 200,000 attended. Don’t miss out! Tickets required. boothamphitheatre.com

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival. Photograph by Jonathan Fredin.

3. Just in time to start your holiday shopping, the Christmas Carousel Holiday Gift Market takes over the NC State Fairgrounds during Thanksgiving weekend from November 25–27. More than 250 exhibitors come together to showcase arts, crafts, holiday foods, gifts, floral arrangements, and decorations throughout the 90,000-square-foot Jim Graham Building. Admission is $9 for adults. christmascarousel.com

Christmas Carousel Holiday Gift Market

4. An old-world celebration certain to get you in the spirit of the season, the Scandinavian Christmas Fair at the NC State Fairgrounds is an authentic celebration of the traditions of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland. Held on December 3, this year marks the 26th anniversary of the Julmarknad (Swedish for Christmas Fair). It attracts people from Scandinavia and of Scandinavian descent, as well as many Americans who have made this an annual tradition. You might even pick up a few words in a local tongue and develop a taste for traditional herring! scanfair.org

Scandinavian Christmas Fair

5. Join Santa’s elves for a merry celebration of the most wonderful time of the year! On December 10, come to Merry & Bright, A North Pole Market at Mordecai Historic Park to find a unique gift, create festive crafts, enjoy seasonal entertainment, music, food, and take a holiday photo at the beautifully decorated Historic Mordecai House during their annual open house weekend. There’s even a children’s market. Admission is free. raleighnc.gov/mordecai-historic-park

6. This is your opportunity to tour the interior of some of Raleigh’s most historic homes during the holidays! On December 10 and 11, enjoy the feeling of a small-town community right in Downtown Raleigh at the 51st Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour. The immaculate care of the exteriors of the homes is only a prelude to the beauty and attention to detail given to the interiors. Homes are staffed with docents to enlighten you on the rich history of each property. Tour the properties at your own pace in any order. Tickets are required and usually sell out. historicoakwood.org

Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour

7. Join the Knightdale community as they gear up for the holiday season with Knightdale Christmas on First. On Friday evening, December 2, the tree lighting ceremony takes place at Knightdale Station Park, followed by the annual parade the next day along First Avenue at 2 p.m. knightdalenc.gov

8. Taking place on December 2 from 5–9 p.m., Wendell Wonderland will include musical performances, Santa and Mrs. Claus at Town Square, a light show, trolley rides around downtown, food trucks, a craft market, and more. townofwendell.com

9. For the 30th year, City Ballet Raleigh will present Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, a hallmark of the holiday season. Performed at Stewart Theatre on the campus of NC State from December 9–10, this full-length, richly costumed and staged version features more than 80 City Ballet student dancers joined by professional guest dancers to bring the story of Clara and her nutcracker to life. Audiences will be mesmerized by the Snow Queen and her snowflakes dancing amid real falling snow, a magical Christmas tree that grows 20 feet tall, and toy soldiers that come to life to battle the evil mice. It’s sure to conjure up the magic of the season for young and old alike. city-ballet.com

The Nutcracker. Photograph by Bob Stuart.

10. It’s time to ring in the new year! On December 31, First Night Raleigh takes over 20 blocks in Downtown Raleigh for an all-day event featuring more than 100 performances with music, dancing, theater, comedy, and more across 35 venues. Be sure to take a ride on the 90-foot-tall Ferris wheel before the countdown to midnight fireworks and the highly anticipated acorn drop. There’s also an earlier countdown and fireworks display for kids. firstnightraleigh.com

First Night Raleigh

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