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Summer arts and cultural activities that cool down vacation budget worries

Summer activities and family traditions bring relief from the cold winter this year. N.C. Department of Cultural Resources announces, “Many free and budget-friendly activities will be available on June 14 (2nd Saturdays) this summer and throughout the year,” and in the Triangle areas. When budgets are tight and people still need a mental and physical break from the drudgery of life’s challenges, it’s what Fay Mitchell, Public Relations Specialist for the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources describes, “staycations” that can be part of a solution. Mitchell said, “I don’t think we have a formal definition for “staycation” but (we) generally consider it a recreational time that happens close to home, something that can be done in a day or two and is much more economical than a vacation involving hotels and travel. The term came out of our recent Great Recession.”

Many state historic sites, museums and arts organizations will host activities on 2nd Saturdays programs with local arts, music, performance and “artful experiences are among the wonderful possibilities,” according to the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources press release.
Some highlights of events and activities in the Triangle area- June 14th, 2014 (2nd Saturdays):

N.C. Museum of Art, Raleigh. Family Fun Saturday - Royalty. Explore the regal headgear and sculptural portraits from the African and classical collections and create miniature royal portraits of your family from clay and mixed media. Selected works will be displayed in an upcoming exhibition. Fee $5.

N.C. Museum of History, Raleigh. Make It, Take It: Mix That Media! Watch internationally known artist Alyssa Hinton in her Artist at Work program. She is often inspired by her North Carolina Indian heritage. Create a mixed media picture to take home. Free.

N.C. Symphony, Raleigh. Summerfest: Cirque de la Symphony. Enjoy high flying aerialists, daredevil cyclists and magnificent music at Koka Booth Amphitheater in Cary. Classical and contemporary favorites under the stars will make for a magical evening. Bring your lawn chair and picnic basket. Children can enjoy an instrument zoo. Gates open at 5:30 p.m., concert at 7:30 p.m. $33/$35.

Duke Homestead, Durham. Bullfest. Celebrate Durham's historic roots and experience the modern art, music and food of the Bull City. Observe the lifestyle¬¬ of the Duke family in the 1870s and their early tobacco business on the homestead. The North Carolina Songwriters Co-Op will provide live local musicians all daylong. All vendors and arts and crafts persons are Durham-based. Free program.

Historic Stagville, Durham . Juneteenth Festival. View North Carolina's rarely seen copy of the 13thAmendment, which ended legal slavery in America and changed history. The document is on a limited tour of select state historic sites. Also opening is the Freedom for All Tour of informational panels that describes the evolution from the Emancipation Proclamation to the 13th Amendment. Genealogist Michael Williams will share research that led from New York to his Stagville roots and singer Yolanda Hall will perform spirituals in front of slave cabins. Free.

Additional highlights in Durham:
Carolina Theatre in Durham launches their annual Retro Film Series:

Retrofantasma-is a monthly double feature where some of the greatest and most fun scary movies ever made are playing on the big screen. With an audience that’s screaming and laughing and cheering alongside you during the ride.

Retrofantasma-Classics was born in July 2010 with a William Castle double feature of 13 Ghosts and Homicidal. These monthly double-features of genre films from the 1950s through the early 1970s includes the infamous gimmickry of William Castle, the magic of Ray Harryhausen and classic monster and giant bug films. Some of these films are considered masterpieces while others are simply great “bad” movies.

RetroTreasures-Comedies and dramas from the early 30s through the mid-90s and the kitchen sink. What exactly constitutes a comedy or drama is still up in the air, but they are launching this season with a line-up of movies that gives you a good idea of where to begin.

For schedules and more information visit

Durham County Library Hosts Celebrate Summer Learning Day at Northgate Mall: June 21 at 10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Discovery Nook, Children’s Alleyway, Northgate Mall, 1058 W. Club Blvd. The event is free and open to the public.
Durham County Library, in conjunction with Northgate Mall and Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, will host a celebration in honor of National Summer Learning Day. Summer Learning Day is a national holiday that promotes awareness of continued learning throughout the summer in communities across the county. The events give students and families a safe and healthy opportunity to continue academic growth over the summer months, so that they are prepared and ready to learn when school begins.

The celebration will include a story time and skit performed by the Library Youth Partners, a science presentation by Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s STEMville, and a book giveaway courtesy of RIF (Reading Is Fundamental). Participants will also be able to enter a drawing for carousel rides and other prizes.

For more information, contact Karlene Fyffe Phillips at 919-560-0172 or visit

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