Family Events in Raleigh NC: A Year of Fun with Kids (2024)

Amy Hartle

In this guide, I list the biggest and best family events in Raleigh NC and around the Triangle: the annual festivals and happenings that locals look forward to every year. No matter the season, there’s something happening in the NC Triangle you won’t want to miss.

PS: Don’t miss my round-up of Raleigh’s top family attractions. Awesome things to do year-round!

Please note: As of publication, some events have not yet announced their 2024 dates. Information will be added as it becomes available.

[January] Family Friendly Raleigh Events

African American Cultural Celebration (Jan. 27, 2024)

Kick off Black History Month at the North Carolina Museum of History with the African American Cultural Celebration. For over two decades, this event has gathered authors, artists, musicians, filmmakers, and scholars to explore a central theme celebrating the rich contributions of African Americans to North Carolina’s history and culture. A day of learning, inspiration, and community.

[February] Kids Events in Raleigh

American Indian Powwow (February 3rd, 2024)

Held at the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics, this welcoming powwow began in the early 1990s by a group of Indian American students at the school. There are arts and craft traders as well as the main event: lots and lots of dancing! This is a traditional powwow that emphasizes intertribal brotherhood and sisterhood in addition to education about Indian culture.

Krispy Kreme Challenge (February 3rd, 2024)

This is a special race event whose proceeds benefit the UNC Children’s Hospital. Participants run 2.5 through historic downtown Raleigh to the Krispy Kreme located at the intersection of Peace and Person streets. There, they eat one dozen original glazed doughnuts and then run 2.5 miles back to the start of the race with a definite sugar rush propelling them along.

NC MLK Black History Month Parade (February 3rd, 2024)

Now in its 21st year, this annual parade in downtown Durham features marching bands, mascots, cars, step and drill teams, black cowboys, cartoon characters, and more. All are welcome to this inclusive event celebrating the beauty of Black history and culture.

LuminoCity (February-April)

The illuminated LuminoCity Festival arrives each year to Pullen Park in Raleigh. Pullen Park is lovely during the day, but the colorful scenes depicted by the lights and lanterns turn the place into a wonderland.

❤️Check out all of the current kid-friendly Valentine’s Events in the Triangle here.

[March] Raleigh Kids Events

Holi Festival 🌟(March 16th, 2024)

Each spring, the town of Morrisville hosts their annual Holi Festival, a celebration of the Hindu festival of colors. This festival is all about joy and unity, and I have been multiple times and can confirm it is a blast! Come join in a free day of dancing, colorful Holi powders, artisan vendors, and food trucks.

Raleigh St. Patrick’s Day Parade (March 16th, 2024)

There’s nothing like a St. Patty’s Day parade! Raleigh has its own, now in its 41st year! The parade begins at 10:00am at the intersection of Lane Street and Wilmington Street.

🐰Looking for Easter events in the Triangle? Check out our list right here!

[April] Events for Kids in Raleigh

Tacos ‘N Taps! 🌮 (April 6th, 2024)

Join the fun at this family fiesta held at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary! Dive into endless tacos, sip on beers and margaritas, enjoy live mariachi, and smash piñatas. Fun surprises for all ages! 🌟

Midtown Beach Music Series (April 11th-June 27th, 2024)

This outdoor concert in North Hills’ Midtown Park has been delighting families in the Triangle for 15 years. During the warm season, head to the park to enjoy some fun sounds and a laidback community atmosphere.

Peak City Pig Fest! 🐷 (April 12th-13th, 2024)

Get ready for Apex’s yummiest weekend! Swing by for live tunes, chill in the beer garden, and feast your eyes (and taste buds!) on a top-notch BBQ competition, officially approved by the Kansas City Barbecue Society. A deliciously fun time for the whole family!

Town of Cary’s Pimento Cheese Festival (April 13th, 2024)

Does your child love cheese? Do you? The Pimento Cheese Festival in Cary will not disappoint, with plenty of cheesy samples to go around. There’s also live music in Downtown Park (where there is an awesome playground btw), and more.

North Carolina ‘Cuegrass Festival (April 20th, 2024)

The North Carolina Cuegrass Festival is a Downtown Raleigh festival featuring two NC staples: bluegrass music and North Carolina barbecue. Amazing food and beer are among the main attractions here, but this is definitely family-friendly fun, offering a Kid Zone with crafts, face painting, and other activities kids can participate in. Plus, the festival’s profits from food and beverage sales are donated to local charities that support children. Awesome!

Spring Daze Arts and Crafts Festival (April 27th, 2024)

170 artists converge on this art festival that is also a celebration of spring! Spring Daze is held in Bond Park in Cary and there is an abundance of food, entertainment, and activities for the kids!

Raulston Blooms! (April 27th, 2024)

Raulston Blooms! is an event held at the JC Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. Billed as “a Garden Festival for All Ages” there are gardening talks, a birdhouse competition, demonstrations, and hands-on activities that kids will enjoy! Plus, there’s a plant sale as well, so gardeners, come ready to shop!

[May] Family Events in Raleigh

Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival (May 2nd-5th, 2024)

This festival is “a family-friendly celebration of music, dance, art and education” and is now in its 20th year. Guests can choose to camp onsite, and they even offer a Family/Quiet Camping area. Shakori Hills is held in Pittsboro, NC.

Meet in the Street (May 4th, 2024)

Looking for things to do in Wake Forest with kids? The Meet in the Street Festival is a must-do! This beloved event, held in Downtown Wake Forest, has crafts and music in addition to its children’s village filled with activities for kids! A perfect family day out.

Apex PeakFest (May 4th, 2024)

This community celebration in Apex is the town’s biggest event of the year! What started as a small community day in a school parking lot has grown into an event that draws hundreds of vendors and over 22,000 people. There is lots of kids entertainment on offer at PeakFest including inflatables. FUN!

Artsplosure (May 18th & 19th, 2024)

This 2-day art festival is the longest-running one in Raleigh. At Artsplosure you’ll see the work of around 175 juried visual artists from across the USA. There is also live music and free arts and crafts for the kids at Kidsplosure.

Got to Be NC Festival (May 17-19, 2024)

Agriculture-themed activities and delicious food await at the Got to Be NC Festival. Held in May at the Raleigh State Fairgrounds, this 3-day event is free to attend and has lots of activities for kids, including carnival rides, animals, and even an agriculture themed-puppet show!

NC Sugar Rush (May 26th, 2024)

This sweet event is 100% dedicated to desserts! Who loves sweets more than kids? Obviously, this event is perfect for the whole family. But take the name seriously: your kiddos just might have a sugar rush as well as the inevitable sugar crash!

NC Sugar Rush is held in Downtown Raleigh and all are welcome, including pets!

Fest in the West (TBA May 2024)

Welcome, y’all! Fest in the West is a free community festival that kids and families love. Held in Western Cary (hence the West in the name) there’s so much going on at this event! For the kids there is a Kids Corral and petting zoo, and for everyone, a food truck rodeo and a beer garden.

[June] Festivals & Events in Raleigh

Raleigh International Food Festival (June 1st, 2024)

Go around the world without ever leading Raleigh at this fantastic international event! Over 50 countries are represented through food and drink, and there are lots of performances and activities to be enjoyed. Older kids and teens might especially like this event; the website mentions a TikTok Challenge!

Capital City Juneteenth Celebration (June 15th, 2024)

Since kicking off in 2021 at Dorothea Dix Park, this day shines bright, celebrating freedom and remembering the end of slavery in the U.S. Dive into a vibrant mix of speakers, artists, history alive before your eyes, and soul-stirring music. A powerful, family-friendly day to reflect, rejoice, and come together.

[July] Raleigh Events Kids Will Love

July 4th Celebrations (Early July)

There are too many 4th of July celebrations around the Triangle to list here, so keep an eye out for our full list coming early summer 2024!

Festival for the Eno/Enofest (July 2024)

Enofest, also known as the Festival for the Eno, is a vibrant celebration held on the riverbank of the Eno River. It’s a free event that happens in July, featuring an exciting array of live music, a juried craft show, delicious food, and fun activities. Enofest is held at West Point on the Eno Park in Durham.

Sunflowers at Dorothea Dix Park (July)

While not technically a festival, the annual blooming of the sunflowers in Raleigh’s Dorothea Dix Park is one of the Triangle’s biggest events! Not only is the field of gold a beautiful sight, but it’s a popular spot for family photos.

GalaxyCon Raleigh (July 25th-28th, 2024)

Gear up for four fantastic days of family fun at GalaxyCon Raleigh, where pop culture, superheroes, sci-fi, and anime come to life! The Raleigh Convention Center will be transformed into a dazzling universe of imagination, perfect for families who love to explore together. Meet your favorite celebrity heroes, comic book legends, and artistic geniuses.

[August] Biggest Events in Raleigh for Kids

Beer, Bourbon & BBQ Festival, (Aug. 2nd-3rd, 2024)

The name says it all when it comes to the focus of this festival! And yes, it is family-friendly. The Beer, Bourbon, & BBQ Festival, held at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary has got the Cochon Carnival filled with games and activities.

CaribMask Carnival (August 17th, 2024)

Mark your calendars for CaribMask’s 11th year in downtown Raleigh, celebrating diversity and Afro-Caribbean culture! Experience a day of live music, vibrant parades, and delicious cuisine with over 15,000 attendees. Join us for a joyful and enriching family-friendly event that highlights the beauty of cultural unity and appreciation. Don’t miss out on this exciting cultural fest!

Packapalooza (August 24th, 2024)

Packapalooza™ is NC State’s epic all-day block party! This vibrant street festival is the grand finale of Wolfpack Welcome Week, bringing together students, faculty, alumni, and the local community for a day of non-stop fun on Hillsborough Street. From live music and entertainment to activities the whole family can enjoy, plus delicious food and all the Wolfpack spirit you can handle, it’s the perfect way to welcome the school year.

Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival (August 24th & 25th, 2024)

Held in Cary, this festival celebrates the lazy days of Summer, and features artists, live music, a beer garden, and food trucks. What more do you need?!

[September] Family Events Raleigh NC

African American Cultural Celebration (September 2024)

The African American Cultural Festival of Raleigh and Wake County is an annual Labor Day weekend celebration that showcases African American culture through art, music, dance, food, and community engagement. This family-friendly event, set in the heart of downtown Raleigh, draws approximately 40,000 visitors each year,

CenterFest (September 21st & 22nd, 2024)

CenterFest is a fall art festival that takes place in Durham and has since 1974! In addition to impressive artists from across the country, this event has music, dancers, food, creative street performers, and a special Creative Kids Zone.

IBMA Bluegrass Live! (September 27th-28th, 2024)

This exciting event in Downtown Raleigh is the world’s largest urban bluegrass festival! In addition to live music featuring top bluegrass artists, there are multiple vendors and artisans lining Fayetteville Street offering food, crafts, and activities.

BugFest 🐞🐝 (September 2024)

Dive into the buzzing world of bugs at BugFest, hosted by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences! Perfect for families, this annual extravaganza features over 100 exhibits, crafts, games, and activities designed to spark curiosity and wonder in kids and adults alike.

La Fiesta del Pueblo (September 2024)

Join in vibrant day at downtown Raleigh’s Fayetteville Street with La Fiesta del Pueblo, the Triangle’s largest celebration of Latin-American culture. With something for everyone—educational booths, live music, children’s activities, artisan vendors, and food trucks—it’s a family-friendly festival that brings nearly 20,000 attendees together each year.

[October] Fun Kid Friendly Events in Raleigh

Falling for Local (October 5th, 2024)

This is one epic event for kids and families in the Triangle! Falling for Local is a massive fall festival featuring hayrides, a free pumpkin patch, inflatables, activities, food, music, and more!

NC State Fair (October 17th-27th, 2024)

Held at Raleigh’s State Fairgrounds, the NC State Fair is the biggest annual event in the state. And of course, kids LOVE the fair! An average of one million visitors come through the gates each October to enjoy 11 days of rides, fair food, games, entertainment, and more. This year will be the 156th year of this super popular event!

Wendell Harvest Festival (October 2024)

2024 marks the 96th year of the Wendell Harvest Festival. This day of fun in Downtown Wendell includes a parade, a Kids Village, on-stage entertainment, food trucks, and an evening concert (which is the main event!)

Triangle Oktoberfest (October 2024)

The Triangle Oktoberfest is the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the Triangle area. Held at Koka Booth Amphitheatre in Cary, there is an abundance of live music, German beer (obviously), German food, dancing, and fun for all. The younger members of the family will enjoy the Kinderplatz Zone with face painting, yard games, and other kid-friendly activities.

Hum Sub Diwali (October 2024)

Join the vibrant celebration of Cary’s Diwali at Koka Booth Amphitheatre, a festival that lights up with music, dance, and theater. Dive into the handicraft bazaar, savor Indian cuisine, explore art and culture exhibits, and enjoy activities for kids. It’s a feast of sights, sounds, and tastes for everyone!

HollyFest 2024 🍂 (October 2024)

Celebrate the town of Holly Springs at the annual HollyFest, held at Jefferson L. Sugg Farm at Bass Lake. This family-friendly event showcases local artists, businesses, delicious food, fun activities for kids, and local entertainment. A perfect day out for the whole family!

[November] Events for Families in the Triangle

The International Festival (November 2024)

Experience global holidays at the International Festival, a vibrant three-day event at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds. Over 30 ethnic groups showcase arts, cuisine, dance, textiles, and cultural expressions from around the world, celebrating diversity and unity. A cultural journey for all ages!

Moonlight in the Garden 🌜 (November 7th-16th, 2024)

Discover a magical evening for all ages at JC Raulston Arboretum with Moonlight in the Garden. This unique annual event lights up the night with vibrant colors, showcasing the gardens in a whole new way. Enjoy live music, food trucks, hot apple cider, and cozy fire pits with marshmallows to roast. A luminous adventure awaits every family!

Raleigh Christmas Parade (November 23rd, 2024)

2024 will be the 80th year of the Raleigh Christmas Parade! This exciting and festive holiday spectacle is the biggest parade of its kind between Atlanta and Washington, D.C. Approximately 60,000 revelers come out to watch the two hour parade move along a 1.4-mile route in Downtown Raleigh. Mom tip: bring chairs, snacks for the kids, and a thermos of hot cocoa!

North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival (November-January)

The North Carolina Chinese Lantern Festival is a a beautiful event you have to see to believe! It runs for 2 months in Cary’s Koka Booth Amphitheatre and presents more than 40 illuminated displays using hundreds of thousands of lights. There are also exciting dance and music performances and a clever play area for kids.

[December] Family Fun in the Triangle

Holiday Express at Pullen Park 🎄(December 2023)

Beloved Pullen Park is home to one of the Triangle’s most anticipated Christmas Events (and in fact, ticket often sell out soon after becoming available!) For Holiday Express, kids can participate in a range of cute holiday activities, visiting spots like Candy Cane Lane, Arctic Avenue, and Gingerbread Grove. The Park is lit up with thousands of lights, transforming the area into a festive wonderland, and the popular train runs throughout the event.

Downtown Raleigh Illuminate Art Walk 🌟 (December 2024)

Experience the magic of Illuminate, a self-guided art walk in Downtown Raleigh, lighting up the city with interactive installations, luminous sculptures, and captivating projection art. This free, five-week event transforms public spaces into a dazzling showcase of light-based art. An enchanting urban adventure for all!

First Night Raleigh (December 31st, 2024)

First Night Raleigh is a New Year’s Eve tradition held in downtown Raleigh. For over 25 years, this all-day event has been held featuring more than 100 performances, an iconic Ferris wheel, and a bevy of of kid’ activities. Instead of a ball being dropped at the midnight countdown, Raleigh watches as a massive acorn heralds in the New Year.