Were you at the International Festival in Raleigh’s new convention center this past weekend? Thought so. Judging by the size of the crowd, I don’t think anyone in town missed it. And it was definitely an event not to be missed!
There were three stages of entertainment, with attentive audiences at each stage. Hundreds of appreciative spectators filled the seats at the dance demonstration stage. There were booths offering information and booths selling items from countries around the world, even henna tattoos and belly dancing lessons!
And the smells! The whole place smelled so delicious that it was difficult to decide which country’s menu to order from. Fortunately for us, most of the menus at the food stands offered a selection of inexpensive items, so that we didn’t have to choose after all, but instead enjoyed food from Bagladesh, China, Turkey, and Nepal. What a treat to be able to sample authentic foods from so many different countries all in one place!
While I expected to see a diverse group taking part in the International Festival, I was amazed by the incredible diversity of the festival-goers. Raleigh has truly become a melting pot.
That’s Life in Raleigh.
SPARKcon 2009 transformed Raleigh into an amazingly cool place to be on a weekend in September.
SPARKcon is a grassroots event celebrating the creativity in our area — the “creative hub of the south.” And if you think Raleigh can’t possibly live up to such a weighty description, you obviously missed SPARKcon this year. For four days, Downtown Raleigh was spilling over with proof of this creativity. Music, art, dance, ideas, film, poetry…….
….fashion. Did I mention fashion? The fashion show on the stage in the middle of Fayetteville Street had to be a turning point for our fair city. The loud, thumping beat, the large, appreciative crowd, the models whose hair and makeup were closer to “Night of the Living Dead” than “Night in Raleigh, N.C.,” plus the designs being showcased had me murmuring that famous line about Toto and not being in Kansas anymore! Raleigh has graduated to the big time.
That’s Life in Raleigh…a big, happening city.
Here at the end of summer is a great time to visit the State Farmers’ Market. The stalls are still overflowing with summer vegetables. The vegetables are so plentiful and colorful they provide a feast for the eyes, too. And it’s always an interesting place to visit. After all, a venue that hosts events such as Colossal Collard Day and Watermelon Day can’t be dull, even if it is owned and operated by the State of North Carolina.
On their official website, the Farmers’ Market boasts of selling over 300 different items. That’s easy to believe. Between all the varieties of produce, bushes and plants, salsa, crafts, specialty meats (hmm..), Christmas trees, and even restaurants, they have something or a lot of things for everyone. Plus they have an ATM onsite so you can buy even more than you planned on buying.
If you like crowds, hit the Farmers’ Market on a Saturday or on a Sunday afternoon. It is jam-packed on the weekends. On weekdays, the crowds are not as big, but there are still plenty of people and often even a field trip or two!
The people are one of the best parts of the Farmers’ Market, especially the vendors. They’re always friendly, knowledgeable, and eagerly offering you samples of their wares. It’s easy to leave there with a full belly from sampling fresh, delicious produce from one end to the other. You have to keep moving, though. Too many samples in one spot, and they’ll run you off!
Take a crowd with you when you go. Not only will everyone enjoy the trip, but you’ll need all those extra hands to carry all your goodies to the car.
That’s Life in Raleigh.