Got to Be NC, Artsplosure, Fox Liquor Bar Reopens

Find out what's happening around town, and beyond!

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FESTIVAL FUN. The Got To Be NC Festival takes place at the State Fairgrounds from this Friday, May 19–Sunday, May 21. North Carolina food companies, breweries, distilleries and wineries will be sampling and selling some of North Carolina finest flavors in the Food Lion Local Goodness Marketplace. The free event also features carnival rides and games.

ART MARKET. Artsplosure returns to downtown Raleigh on Saturday, May 20 (11 a.m.–7 p.m.) and Sunday, May 22 (10 a.m.–6 p.m.). Explore the eclectic art market that features more than 175 juried fine artists and crafters exhibiting original works of art in 10 categories. All will be available for purchase, including painting, photography, pottery, jewelry, woodwork and more. The event will feature live music from emerging national and regional artists, along with free arts and crafts at Kidsplosure. 

Bull City Summit, a showcase festival and conference celebrating innovation in music, arts, science and technology, returns to downtown Durham September 18–24 at 8 p.m. Opening night will feature North Carolina soul singer Lee Fields and award-winning Durham-native jazz/soul vocalist Mavis Poole at Motorco Music Hall.

The Blues Is Alright Tour comes to Raleigh Memorial Auditorium at the Martin Marietta Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, September 29 at 8 p.m. Tickets go on sale this Friday, May 19 at 10 a.m. The event is part of the 12th Annual Raleigh Blues Festival and features performances by King George, Pokey Bear, Lenny Williams, Lebrado, Theodis Ealey and J-Wonn.

BEST BEERS. Durham’s Ponysaurus Brewing Company was among 13 North Carolina breweries that earned awards at the 2023 World Beer Cup Competition in Nashville on May 10. The not-for-profit trade association for America’s small and independent craft brewers judged entries from more than 2,000 breweries from around the world.

STRESS BUSTER. HeadsUp! and media personality Brian Dawson will visit 15 schools in Durham, Vance and Wake Counties from May 17–June 1 to host in-school pep rallies designed to boost morale and decrease stress as students prepare for end-of-grade (EOG) tests. Each stop on the tour will feature motivational speakers, music and entertainment, as well as nutrition and fitness tips to promote wellness and success. For more information, email 

FOX RETURNS. Fox Liquor Bar—a subterranean drinking den from Ashley Christensen’s AC Restaurants that features classic and contemporary cocktails, a zero-proof program and bar snacks—will reopen for the first time since COVID Friday, May 19. The bar, which was reinvented during the past three years, began in 2011 as one of Raleigh’s first craft cocktail bars. It has evolved into a tavern-style bar that honors the spirit of its namesake and Christensen’s father, Robert, who passed away in 2021 and was nicknamed “Fox.” Check out the menu

Photo courtesy of Lauren V. Allen

HISTORIC TRAVEL. Hundreds of museums and historical sites are scattered across this nation, ready to educate you about America’s incredible history. Take a tour of 10 such destinations—which also offer engaging attractions, beautiful scenery and tantalizing culinary experiences—in chronological order of their historical significance. 

BUTTERFLY FOREST. The “Living Conservatory at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences” reopens on Saturday, May 27. The popular exhibit, often referred to as the “Butterfly Room,” is modeled after a Central American forest and is filled with live animals. The two-toed sloth is a fan favorite, but the room also houses as many as 200 live butterflies, a tropical milk snake, five ornate wood turtles and a Brazilian black tarantula. The conservatory will be open through Sunday, September 3. Hours are Tuesday–Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. and 1–3 p.m.

SEAFOOD FOR A CAUSE. Cape Fear Seafood Company will open a Wake Forest location (3612 Roger’s Branch Road) on Monday, May 29. This third Triangle location will host four reservation-only charity events in the week prior to the public opening from May 25–28. Fifty percent of all sales will benefit The First Tee of the Triangle, The Joel Fund and The Trawick Pediatric Cardiology Fund at Duke Children’s Hospital.

EXOTIC PLANTS. The Southeastern Plant Symposium and Rare Plant Auction takes place at North Carolina State University’s JC Raulston Arboretum and Juniper Level Botanic Garden on Friday, June 16 and Saturday, June 17. The event features 13 speakers and allows plant lovers to acquire more than 300 plants that are rarely available commercially.

MUSEUM FUNDRAISER. Made4Me’s SuperHero Blast takes place at Marbles Kids Museum on Friday, May 19 at 6:30 p.m. The event is a fundraiser for adaptations for guests with special needs. The goal is to raise $50,000. The event includes music, a raffle, a silent auction and a costume contest for kids. Reservations are available online

INSPIRING VIEWS. The 2023 Brewster International Kaleidoscope Expo comes to Raleigh Marriott Crabtree Valley this weekend, May 18–21. The event is called “Flights of Imagination” and several exhibiting artists will be on hand. The Brewster Kaleidoscope Society is a group of artists who design and create kaleidoscopes. Learn more about the expo here.

Photo courtesy of Brewster International Kaleidoscope Expo

‘CUE FOR A CAUSE. Lawrence Barbecue hosts Getting Piggy With It at Trophy Brewing’s Maywood Hall & Garden on Sunday, May 21, noon–6 p.m. The barbecue festival is a fundraiser for the Frankie Lemmon School and Development Center in Raleigh. The event will feature pitmasters from around the region along with live music and entertainment. Tickets are available online.

CHEESE TRAIL. The WNC Cheese Trail offers travelers a beautiful—and delicious—way to explore western North Carolina, where rolling hills and glorious countryside reign. Since its inception in 2012, the trail has grown in popularity, with an increasing number of locals and tourists enjoying the artisan cheeses offered at participating creameries. Explore the trail. 


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