Out & About in Wake County: July/August 2024

1. For sci-fi, fantasy, pop culture, gaming, comic books, anime, and cosplay devotees, GalaxyCon Raleigh is the four-day festival of fandom that brings the universe’s best entertainers, creators, celebrities, artists, writers, voice actors, wrestlers, cosplayers, and fan groups to you. With panels and workshops — plus competitions and after-dark programming — attendees have a galaxy of attractions to choose from. Thursday, July 25, 2 p.m. to midnight. Friday, July 26, and Saturday, July 27, 10–2 a.m. Sunday, July 28, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. $40 and up. Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh. galaxycon.com/pages/galaxycon-raleigh

2. Head out to PNC Arena for some big family fun — Monster Jam is once again rolling into Raleigh. Get your engines revving for North Carolina’s own Grave Digger, along with Zombie, Megaladon, ThunderROARus, Monster Mutt, and more fan favorites at three hot shows. Saturday, July 27, 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. and Sunday, July 28, 1 p.m. $15 and up. PNC Arena, Raleigh. pncarena.com/events/detail/monster-jam-11

3. Don’t miss your chance to see To Take Shape and Meaning: Form and Design in Contemporary American Indian Art, an exhibition that features 3D works by 75 Indigenous artists from throughout North America, including eight from North Carolina. Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Ends Sunday, July 28. $14 and up. North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. ncartmuseum.org/to-take-shape-and-meaning

4. Work up an appetite — it’s the annual Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival! Use the souvenir glass that comes with every ticket to sip and sample more than 60 beers and 40 bourbons and grab bites of pulled pork, ribs, brisket, chicken, sausages, and sides aplenty. When not sipping and savoring, pay homage at the Shrine of Swine and catch seminars in the Tasting Theater, check out the Cochon Carnival’s copious games and activities, or enjoy live entertainment and exhibits. Friday, August 2, 6–10 p.m. and Saturday, August 3, 2–6 p.m. $45 general, $65 VIP admission. Koka Booth Amphitheatre, Cary. boothamphitheatre.com/events/detail/beer-bourbon-bbq-festival-2

5. Dix Park’s outdoor summer movie nights are back by popular demand. And, with the event including a touch-a-truck experience for kids before the screening begins, Cars promises to be another pleasant Movie on the Lawn. Tickets are free but reservations provide event updates. So bring your own snacks or visit the onsite food trucks, drink responsibly, layer on the bug spray … and rev your engines. Saturday, August 3, 7–11 p.m. Dix Park, Raleigh. dorotheadixpark.org/event/movie-lawn

6. Get your wristband and digital map and complete the August Ale Trail Bar Crawl at your own pace. Watering hole stops along the path promise exclusive food and drink specials and other surprises — so gather your friends or greet new ones on a tasty adventure through Raleigh’s streets and finest pubs. Saturday, August 17, 5–11 p.m. $10. Raleigh Times Bar. allevents.in/raleigh/august-ale-trail-bar-crawl-raleigh-nc

7. At the CaribMask Caribbean Carnival, diversity, equality, and a deeper appreciation for Afro-Caribbean culture is celebrated with a festival and parade through downtown Raleigh’s streets. Live music and entertainment, food and festivities, and a parade of bands and flag ceremony all bring a Caribbean-cool party with a guest count that last year numbered 15,000. Saturday, August 17, noon to 8 p.m. City Plaza, Raleigh. caribmaskcarnival.com

8. Pack the street at NC State’s 2024 Packapalooza! This all-day block party and street festival packs in the fun and festivities, as 85,000 attendees in 2023 can attest. Capping off Wolfpack Welcome Week, and kicking off the 2024–2025 school year, the tradition includes live music, entertainment, family-friendly activities, and more than 300 vendor booths. So come on out and show your Wolfpack pride. Saturday, August 24, 2–10 p.m. Hillsborough Street, Raleigh. packapalooza.ncsu.edu

9. The Lazy Daze Arts and Crafts Festival is a juried craft show that brings together almost 300 artists from across the country. With demonstrations from professional craftspeople, a kids’ world and play zone, and interactive art activities, crafts and culture meet community and celebration at this longstanding summer event. Saturday, August 24, and Sunday, August 25, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cary Town Hall Campus, Cary. carync.gov/lazydaze

10. For the 15th year running, come out for one blast of a block party! The African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County is a celebration of African American art, music, education, entertainment, and community. A vibrant African Marketplace, Family Village, and live music will all merge with fine foods and shared fun on the streets of downtown Raleigh. Saturday, August 31, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 400 Block Fayetteville Street, Raleigh. aacfestival.org

Fourth of July Festivities

Apex – Fireworks Frenzy. Wednesday, July 3, 5 p.m. Hunter Street Park.

Olde Fashioned Fourth of July. Thursday, July 4, 9 a.m. Downtown Apex.

Cary – Independence Day Celebration. Thursday, July 4, 3:30 p.m. Koka Booth Amphitheatre.

Clayton – 4th of July Parade. Thursday, July 4, 10 a.m. Downtown Clayton.

Fuquay-Varina – Independence Day Celebration. Monday, July 1, 6 p.m. South Park.

Garner – Independence Day Celebration. Wednesday, July 3, 5 p.m. Lake Benson Park.

Holly Springs – July 5th Independence Day Celebration. Friday, July 5, 6 p.m. Sugg Farm.

Knightdale – July 4th Celebration (without fireworks). Thursday, July 4, 9 a.m. Knightdale Station Park.

Morrisville – July 3rd Red, White & BOOM. Wednesday, July 3, 5 p.m. Cedar Fork District Park.

Raleigh – 4th of July Fireworks Celebration. Thursday, July 4, 6 p.m. Dix Park.

Rolesville – Rolesville 4th Celebration. Thursday, July 4, 5 p.m. Redford Place Park.

Wake Forest – Wake Forest Fireworks Spectacular. Wednesday, July 3, 6:15 p.m. Heritage High School.

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