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Create New Holiday Traditions in Greater Raleigh


Seasonal Calendar Filled with Events for all Ages

Raleigh, N.C. (Nov. 14, 2014) -    

The holidays are time when family and friends come together to celebrate the magic of the season - no matter what holiday you are celebrating. This year start a new tradition by experiencing the sights and sounds that can only be found in North Carolina's capital city. From cultural seasonal performances to magnificent home tours and outdoor activities, Greater Raleigh captures the holiday spirit this season. And best of all - many of the holiday festivities are completely free

Here are just a few of the events that are bound to become a tradition for your family and for a complete calendar of events visit

Artful Traditions

Cary Players presents It's a Wonderful Life Live Radio Play (Dec.4-8)
This beloved American holiday classic is presented as a live 1940s radio broadcast. With an ensemble that brings over 60 characters to the stage, and help of live Folly artists creating old-fashioned sound effects, the story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he considers his fate one Christmas Eve. Radio Guys and Gals perform original jingles featuring Cary establishments. A family-friendly story of redemption that resonates with all ages. Cary Arts Center. Admission: $17-$20

The Nutcracker presented by Carolina Ballet (Dec. 19-28)
Hundreds of thousands have been captivated and fascinated by the awe-inspiring grace, grandeur and mysterious illusions of Carolina Ballet's holiday classic. This season will prove to be no less spectacular as Robert Weiss combines the beauty of classical ballet with a little Las Vegas magic in what has become an annual favorite throughout the region. Memorial Auditorium at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Admission: $25-$125

Ira David Wood III's A Christmas Carol (Dec. 10-14)
Ira David Wood III's beloved musical comedy celebrates its 40th anniversary. The show has been performed annually since 1974 and named one of the "Top 20 Events in the Southeast." Cited as "one of the most successful shows in N.C. theatre history," A Christmas Carol has enjoyed critically-acclaimed tours to England and France. Memorial Auditorium at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Admission: $30-$80

The Justice Theater Project's Black Nativity by Langston Hughes (Dec. 11-14, 18-20)
This family holiday tradition includes Featuring stirring soloists, a soaring multicultural chorus and inspirational dancers telling the joyous story of the birth of Jesus based on the Gospel of St. Luke. The ONLY "Black Nativity" in the Triangle with authentic Langston Hughes verse. Thompson Theater at NC State University. Admission: $18-$27

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical - Broadway Series South (Nov. 28-Dec.24)
First airing in 1964, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer has become a beloved Christmas classic - capturing the hearts and wonder of generations of fans. Now, 50 years later, something magical is happening as the beloved classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season.  Celebrate Rudolph's 50 years on television and see all of your favorite characters from the special including, Santa and Mrs. Claus, Hermey the Elf, Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster, Clarice, Yukon Cornelius, the Misfit Toys and, of course, Rudolph, as they come to life. Fletcher Opera Theater at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Admission: $14-$37

Historical Traditions

A Colonial Christmas at the Joel Lane Museum House (Dec. 6)
The Joel Lane Museum House, "The Birthplace of North Carolina's Capital," will reflect the very different way in which colonists and early Americans celebrated the Christmas holiday. Information about the house and grounds will be offered by costumed docents; re-enactors will demonstrate scenes of 18th-century life; the sounds of live music will fill the air; and other interpreters will entertain children using colonial games and crafts through the "Hands-on History" program. Joel Lane Museum House. Admission: Free

Historic Oakview County Park Sleigh Rides & Cider (Dec. 6)
Just four miles east of downtown Raleigh, this antebellum farmstead showcases "Christmas at Oak View Farm: How They Celebrated from 1850-1950".  Visit the 1855 Greek Revival house and visit with Santa in the living room, devour freshly baked cookies in the plank kitchen, and explore the cotton gin house museum, 1870s gazebo, and a Farm History Center.  Sleigh rides will be given around the pecan grove, snow or shine. Historic Oakview County Park. Admission: Free

2014 Historic Wake Forest Home Tour (Dec. 6)
Offered only in even-numbered years, the Christmas Historic Home Tour is a self-guided tour featuring several Wake Forest homes and other properties decorated for the holidays and open for viewing. This year's event will also offer free bicycle rickshaw and horse drawn carriage rides, wonderful holiday music and more. Downtown Wake Forest. Admission: $16-$22

State Capitol Tree Lighting, Open House and Holiday Festival (Dec. 11)
Festivities begin with the lighting of luminaries and musical performances on the State Capitol grounds. The Governor and First Lady will light the official state Christmas tree on the west grounds. After the tree lighting, the State Capitol will be open for tours. Local performing groups will provide concerts of holiday music in the Rotunda during this annual open house. Visitors can walk through all three floors of the Capitol to view the holiday decorations. NC State Capitol. Admission: Free

43rd Annual Historic Oakwood Candlelight Tour (Dec. 13-14)
There's a feeling of a small town community right in the middle of downtown Raleigh. Historic Oakwood is a community of homes most of which are dated from the mid 1800's to the early 1900's. The 43rd annual tour of this 19th Century Victorian neighborhood provides a glimpse inside 13 private homes, elegantly decorated for the holidays. Homes are staffed with docents inside to enlighten you on the rich history of each property. Historic Oakwood. Admission: $17.50 - $30.00

2014 NC Executive Mansion Holiday Open House (Dec. 11-14)

North Carolina's Executive Mansion- the "people's house" - will open its historic doors once again for the beloved annual Holiday Open House. Visitors are invited to tour the home, take in the decorations, and enjoy seasonal musical entertainment by local performing groups. The first floor of the Mansion will be decorated with North Carolina-grown Christmas trees, floral and mixed evergreen arrangements, a whimsical gingerbread house, and ornate mantle displays. NC Executive Mansion. Admission: Free

Family Traditions

70th Annual WRAL Christmas Parade (Nov. 22)
For many people the WRAL Christmas Parade is the official kick-off to the holiday season and this parade doesn't disappoint! As the largest parade between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta more than 250,000 will watch the parade live from home and over 60,000 will attend the parade in person. Floats, bands, live performances and more will put a smile on even the grouchiest of scrooges. Downtown Raleigh. Admission: Free

Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest (Ice skating Nov. 22-Feb. 4 / Tree Lighting and Celebration Dec. 6)
The Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest is a two-month premier holiday event featuring its signature outdoor skating rink in downtown Raleigh along with two months of fun-filled festivities, creating memorable traditions for downtown Raleigh visitors. Downtown Raleigh. Admission: Ice Rink $9 includes skate rentals

On Dec. 6 the Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest officially kicks off downtown Raleigh's winter wonderland experience the merriment and excitement of the Official Mayor's Holiday Tree Lighting along with a cornucopia of outdoor festivities, including the new and exciting Taste of Downtown and Gingerbread House Competition! Admission: Free

Wendell Wonderland featuring Lake Myra Christmas Light Show (Nov. 22-Dec. 31)
Nothing says the holidays like bright, pulsating Christmas lights and the Town of Wendell presents one of the largest holiday light shows in the state. Adults and children delight in seeing thousands of twinkling lights move in sync with Christmas carols and sing-along holiday favorites. Town of Wendell. Admission: Free

Holiday Express at Pullen Park (Dec. 4-7, 11-14)
Pullen Park is a year-round favorite destination for families and during the holidays it gets a little more magical. Children and adults alike will enjoy this Triangle tradition as Pullen Park is festively decorated with thousands of lights and transformed into a holiday wonderland. Pullen Park. Admission: $8

Scandinavian Christmas Fair (Dec. 6)
This event features Scandivanian favorites like homemade foods, unique crafts and entertainment. There will be cultural exhibits and children's activities. Come and enjoy a traditional Scandinavian Christmas, certain to get you in the spirit. Entertainment includes folk dancing, folk music, and the popular Lucia-procession. The food court will have Swedish meatballs, salmon and homemade breads. NC State Fairgrounds. Admission: $7

Disney on Ice presents Frozen (Dec. 10-15)
If you have kids there's no doubt you've "Let it Go" a time or two and now you can sing along to the year's most popular movie song in the presence of Anna and Elsa. You'll be magically whisked away into the wintery world of Arendelle, where you will be dazzled by amazing special effects and astonishing skating. PNC Arena. Admission: $20-$325

20th Annual Kwanzaa Celebration (Dec. 30)
Kwanzaa is a celebration for all people, focusing on family, friends and the fruits of the earth. During Kwanzaa, people are invited to ponder the Nguzo Saba, seven powerful principles derived from African heritage, as a means of taking stock, celebrating achievements and entering the future refreshed and renewed. This year's celebration will feature a Vendor Market and Children's Village along with a  performance by Chuck Davis and the African American Dance Ensemble. Town of Cary. Admission: Free

First Night Raleigh presented by Artsplosure (Dec. 31)
The biggest and best New Year's Eve event for the whole family. Music, entertainment, interactive activities, a downtown carousel and of course, the drop of the iconic Raleigh acorn at both 10:00 pm (for the little kids) and again at the stroke of midnight. Downtown Raleigh. Admission: $10-$13

Musical Traditions

Trans-Siberian Orchestra presents "The Christmas Attic" (Nov. 22)
Trans-Siberian Orchestra (TSO) will wrap up 2014 by performing their rock opera The Christmas Attic live for the first time. Along with new songs from the group's popular album iconic classics and fan favorites, such as ‘Wizards In Winter,' ‘Requiem' and ‘Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo 12/24 will be on the set list. PNC Arena. Admission: $31-$71.50

North Carolina Symphony presents Holiday POPS (Nov. 28-29)
One of the season's best ways to get you in the holiday spirit. William Henry Curry, Resident Conductor
directs the North Carolina Symphony performing sparkling carols, seasonal and classical favorites, a sing-along and a visit from St. Nick. Meymandi Concert Hall at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Admission: $45-$75

Delights of December - Triangle Gay Men's Chorus (Dec. 13)
The Triangle Gay Men's Chorus is pleased to present audiences an eclectic mix of holiday favorites. Pullen Memorial Baptist Church. Admission: donations suggested $10-$15

Raleigh Ringers Holiday Concert (Dec. 14-15)
The Raleigh Ringers is an internationally acclaimed, advanced community handbell choir based in Raleigh. Since its founding in 1990, The Raleigh Ringers has been dazzling concert audiences with unique interpretations of sacred, secular and popular music, including famous rock ‘n' roll tunes arranged just for handbells. Meymandi Concert Hall at Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Admission: $15-$19

Gift Giving Traditions

North Hills Holiday Sip & Shop (Nov. 22)
Discover an eclectic mix of 130+ local shops, restaurants, world-class bars and spas in the area's premier live, work, play district. North Hills merchants invite you to kickoff your holiday shopping with the Holiday Sip & Shop! Enjoy the sights and sounds of the holiday season as you sip complimentary holiday beverages whiles shopping for everyone on your list. Admission: Free

45th Annual Fine Designer Crafts Show (Nov. 28-30)
The premier three-day show and sale of fine craft held Thanksgiving weekend includes more than 100 contemporary craft artists from across North Carolina and the U.S.  Meet the artists at this outstanding marketplace where you'll find glass, clay, wood, wearable & decorative fibers, metal, leather, printmaking, photography, mixed media, one-of-a-kind furniture, precious & semi-precious jewelry. NC State Fairgrounds. Admission: $7-$10

Christmas Carousel Holiday Gift Market (Nov. 28-30)
Shopping has never been so fun! The Christmas Carousel Holiday Gift Market is the complete holiday experience for the entire family. Featuring personal gifts, crafts, jewelry, art, pottery, holiday foods - it's the perfect stop to start & finish your holiday shopping. NC State Fairgrounds. Admission: $4-$8

Home Town Traditions
The Greater Raleigh area is made up of 11 cities and towns, each of which has holiday traditions including parades, tree lightings, sleigh rides and festivals.

Fuquay Varina - Tree Lighting and Sleigh Rides (Dec. 4)
Morrisville - Tree Lighting (Dec. 5)
Wendell - Evening with Santa (Dec. 5)
Apex - Christmas on Salem Street (Dec. 5-7)
Cary - Heart of the Holidays Celebration  and Ole' Time Winter Festival (Dec. 6)
Knightdale - Christmas on First Avenue Tree Lighting (Dec. 5) and Christmas Parade (Dec. 6)
Zebulon - Christmas Parade (Dec. 7)
Holly Springs - Happy Holly Days Christmas Parade (Dec. 13)
Wake Forest - Christmas Parade (Dec. 13)

The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, as the official destination marketing organization of Raleigh and Wake County, accelerates sustainable economic growth and development by increasing visitor and convention business.







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