Weekend at a Glance: Trees, Trains and Towers

Weekend at a Glance: Trees, Trains and Towers

Kick off the holiday season with a variety of events sure to get you in the spirit – from the annual water tower lighting to markets to festivals and more

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The Museum of Life and Science hosts the 41st annual Santa Train for the next four weekends alongside a variety of other holiday activities. Photo courtesy of Museum of Life and Science.

Shop Independent Durham Week – Through Sunday – Shop local! Keep money in our local economy by purchasing holiday treats and gifts at Durham small businesses. Nationwide, folks shopped on Small Business Saturday, but here in Durham, we celebrate from that day through December 2, presented by Sustain A Bull.

‘Amongst the Liberal Elite’ with Elly Lonon and Keith Knight – Thursday, 7pm – Love political satire? Witness a conversation between McSweeney’s columnist Elly Lonon and award-winning artist and illustrator Keith Knight at The Regulator Bookshop. They will discuss Elly’s new book, “Amongst the Liberal Elite: The Road Trip Exploring Societal Inequities Solidified by Trump (RESIST).”

Hisham Matar Author Talk – Thursday, 7pm – The winner of the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for autobiography visits the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University for an artist talk and conversation, explaining his exploration into the disappearance of his dissident father through painting and poetry.

‘Hamilton’ – Thursday, 7:30pm; Friday, 8pm; Saturday, 2pm and 8pm; Sunday, 1pm and 7pm – The most-talked-about show right now, this Broadway hit presents the story of Alexander Hamilton as a musical, with a range of songs styles from hip-hop to jazz, blues, rap and R&B. This is its last weekend at DPAC!

26th annual Chatham Artists Guild Studio Tour – Friday-Sunday – With more than 50 local artists, this weekend-long studio tour features various art forms – from pottery to sculptures to paintings of all kinds. On Friday, come to the opening reception to pick up your own free Art Lover button from 7-9pm at the Arts Incubator in Siler City.

NCZoukfest 2018 – Friday-Sunday – Triangle Dance Studio hosts this weekend-long festival that includes international and local Zouk instructors teaching the Brazilian dance art through workshops, parties, community-building activities and more.

14th Annual American Tobacco Water Tower Lighting – Friday, 6pm – This uniquely Durham tradition includes local performers, holiday music and food. Expect a special appearance from Santa and performances from local artists! At the conclusion of the event, the festive fun will continue with a march down Blackwell Street to CCB Plaza for the City of Durham Tree Lighting. In the days after the tower is lit, it’s always a treat to stroll through the American Tobacco Campus. Be sure to check out the Home for the Holidays display at Diamond View Park, which features one-of-a-kind playhouses in support of Habitat for Humanity, as well as the 25-foot-tall Tree of Bikes on the Burt’s Bees The bikes will be on through December 20 and then be distributed within the Durham community.

Tree Lighting – Friday, 7pm – Join Paperhand Puppet Intervention and Batala Durham drummers as Downtown Durham Inc. lights up CCB Plaza for the holidays.

Handel’s Messiah – Friday, 7pm – North Carolina Central University Choir and Fayetteville State University Choir join forces at the B.N. Duke Auditorium to perform selected choruses and solos from Handel’s “Messiah Part One.”

Nia Simmons – Friday, 7pm and 9pm – This R&B, gospel and jazz singer performs back-to-back sets at Beyú Caffé. Not only has she performed as a headliner at notable venues in the D.C.-metro area, she has also shared the stage as a background vocalist with nationally and internationally acclaimed artists such as Regina Belle, Howard Hewett, Bobby McFerrin, Kirk Whalem, Me’lisa Morgan and Crystal Aikin.

Winter 18 Runway Show – Friday, 9pm – Be the first to see Runaway‘s 2018 winter collection at The Fruit, and then stick around for the afterparty with performances by Ben Negative, Oak City Slums, Footrocket, ZenSoFly and DJ Shahzad.

Holidays at Northgate – Saturday and Sunday – Participate in one of Northgate Mall‘s many holiday events during the month of December, including Santa selfies, the Polar Express and an Elf on the Shelf Instagram contest.

Books Among Friends Book Sale – Saturday, 10am-noon (members only) and noon-4pm, and Sunday, 1-4pm – Get some holiday shopping done at the Friends of the Durham Library‘s December book sale at Northgate Mall! Hardbacks are $3, trade paperbacks are $2, small paperbacks and young adult books are $1, and children’s books are 25 cents to $1. AV materials are $1 to $4, and special books are priced as marked. All proceeds go to the Friends of the Durham Library, a nonprofit that helps the Durham County Library fund programs, services and materials.

Volunteer at Merrick-Moore Elementary School – Saturday, 10am-noon – Lend a hand to a local elementary school by spreading mulch, painting the walls and hanging visuals around the hallways and classrooms.

Holiday Pop-Up Shop – Saturday, noon-8pm – Grab a beer and find the perfect gift for everyone on your list at Durham Fashion‘s Holiday Pop-Up Shop at Fullsteam Brewery. Shop vintage-inspired clothing, accessories, home décor and housewares as well as hostess gifts and exclusive Christmas decorations!

Parkwood WinterFest – Saturday, 2-6pm – Parkwood Neighborhood hosts its third annual winter celebration at the Parkwood Ball Field with food trucks, beer, hot drinks, giant bounce houses, an artisan craft market and the guest of honor, Santa!

First Anniversary Party – Saturday, 2-6pm – Melina’s Fresh Pasta Shop to celebrates its first year at the shop and eight years in business by sampling pasta, filling cannoli to order and having a group of local food businesses sampling including San Giuseppe Salami Company and Gabi’s Grounds. The Farmhouse Chef, Jamie DeMent, will have her cookbooks for sale. Plus there will be made-to-order pasta bowls!

Fillaree Birthday Party – Saturday, 3-6pm – The Fillaree storefront celebrates its one-year anniversary with food, shopping and drinks! The eco-friendly business will launch its new green accessories section with products that will help with waste reduction.

Durham Grand Opening – Saturday, 3-10pm – Come out to the grand opening of Hi-Wire Brewing and Warehouse Artist Studios at the Golden Belt Campus. Celebrate the new 10,522-square-foot taproom with 25 artists, food trucks, a variety of circus-themed activities, 40 different Hi-Wire brews and two music sets from the Fayetteville funk band, Lotus Sun.

41st Annual Santa Train – Saturday and Sunday, 5-9pm – Take the family to the Museum of Life and Science to experience a moonlit ride to the North Pole by way of the Ellerbe Creek Railway. Skate in your socks on a synthetic ice rink, create Christmas crafts, sip on hot chocolate and have your face painted by Paint Savvy. Don’t miss out on the snow polymers during the “Science of Santa” activities.

Patchwork Holiday Market – Saturday and Sunday, noon-5pm – The Patchwork Holiday Market is bigger and better than ever this year! Now spread over two days, more than 120 local makers and vintage vendors come together at the Durham Armory to create a unique shopping experience with a diverse selection of high-quality and original goods. A new batch of vendors set up shop each day, and there will be coffee, food, music and gift wrapping available by Girls Rock NC. Parents can also enjoy shopping sans kiddos, as Nido: Coworking & Childcare is providing free childcare during the event.

Bright Spirits Holiday Market – Sunday, noon-6pm – Motorco Music Hall hosts the Bright Spirits Holiday Market, featuring North Carolina makers selling jewelry, photography, home decor and other items for the gift-giving season. Set up in the Showroom, shoppers can enjoy drinks and food from Parts & Labor.

Allagash Oyster Roast – Sunday, noon-6pm – Motorco Music Hall welcomes Allagash Brewing from Portland, Maine, and Oysters Carolina from Harkers Island, North Carolina, for a winter oyster roast. This event will run at the same time as the Bright Spirits Holiday Market (above), and Santa will be around from 1-3pm.

Hanukkah Festival – Sunday, 2-4pm – Celebrate Hanukkah with the Jewish Federation of Durham-Chapel Hill at the Levin JCC. This year’s Hanukkah Festival will actually be on the day of the first night of Hanukkah – an extra-special treat. As always, there will be kids’ activities (a bounce house, climbing wall, arts and crafts, cookie decorating and more) and holiday treats for sale, like latkes, knishes, gelt (chocolate coins), sufganiyot (jelly donuts) and more. There will be interactive menorahs and opportunities to learn more about the holiday. This event inclusive and accessible: There will be extra reserved accessible parking in the JCC’s lot, a quiet room with sensory-friendly activities and games, noise-reducing headphones in children’s sizes, and a fully wheelchair accessible building. It’s free and open to all, though attendees are asked to practice the Jewish core value of Tzedakkah (charitable giving) by bringing non-perishable food items and/or hygiene products to donate to the organization’s food pantry.

Mike Slobot’s I Love My Robot Closing – through Sunday – Visit the Louise Jones Brown Gallery in the Bryan Center at Duke to see Mike Slobot’s one-of-a-kind robot art, the Slobots, for its last day on exhibit. Created with old and new materials, his artwork incorporates pieces of recyclables and other everyday detritus.

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Cara is a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Spanish. In her free time, she likes writing, tap dancing, quoting TV shows and finding new dog Instagram accounts to follow.