by Kristen Bagwell
Everyone knows about Lazy Daze, right? The Southeast Tourism Society has selected Cary's Lazy Daze festival as one of the top 20 events for August 2012, so if you haven't been in a while (or at all), now's the time to get Lazy!
In case you haven't checked it out, each year on the fourth Saturday in August, the town of Cary hosts its annual Lazy Daze festival in downtown Cary. Visitors can enjoy the handiwork of the best artists and craftsmen in the country, entertainment on two stages, a variety of food, and civic group exhibits. And don't forget the Kids World area and food from all types of vendors! Don't worry about getting too hot - there are misting tents throughout the festival site.
How to get there
Despite the expected 60,000 people, getting there is a breeze. There are free shuttle buses which run every 15 minutes from Cary Towne Center (at Sears) to Cary Elementary School. Festival hours are 9am to 5pm, and the first shuttle bus departs at 8:30 a.m. (The last bus leaves Cary Elementary at 5:30 p.m.) Cary Towne Center is at the corner of Maynard Road and Walnut Street, and is easily reached from the I-440 Beltline or via Interstate 40 exit 291. Once off the highway, follow signs to festival parking lots.
If you're coming from further away, or just want the novelty of a local train ride, Amtrak will provide service to Cary Lazy Daze for the first time this year! For more info and a discount offer, click here.
What to do
There are many vendors and artisans set up for you to browse and shop, and it's fun just to walk, browse, and snack. Roving entertainers provide fun and song on the move, and there are two stages that will be occupied from morning to evening with some of the area's most enjoyable performers. Opening ceremonies kick off at 8:45am at the Fidelty Bank Plaza, on the Champion Window Stage. Music follows the opening ceremonies and continues throughout the day. Come early to see the local high school and Cary Town bands! Full schedule is below:
Champion Window Stage:
9:00 a.m. High School Bands
9:30 a.m. Cary Town Band
10:30 a.m. Fire Cracker Jazz Band
11:45 a.m. Grass Cats
12:45 p.m. Jerry Miller Awards
1:15 p.m. Jay Blues Band
2:30 p.m. Fred Astaire Dance Studio
3:45 p.m. Children of the Horn
A second stage is set up in front of the Cary Arts Center, brought to you by Edwards Pies:
10:15 a.m. ilyAMY
11:30 a.m. Association of Central Carolina Middle Eastern Dancers
12:45 p.m. David Dyer and the Crooked Smile Band
1:45 p.m. Shadow Players Stage Combat Group
2:15 p.m. Reggae Infinity
3:30 p.m. JAMFEST WINNER – Mark & Robert
Be sure to look for the roving entertainers:
Silver Drummer Girl (living statue)
Interactive Theatre of Jef
Shadow Players Stage Combat Group
Balloons with Magic Tom
Magic by Francis Ignasio
For the younger attendees, the Carolina Parent Kid's World area is an interactive area of the festival especially for kids. Children of all ages can get creative with make-and-take art activities, among other things. This year, Kid's World features the Thumbprint Theatre, where kids can make thumbprint actors, festive pinwheels, and object rubbings. There is truly something to entertain nearly every child in this one area.
When you visit Kid’s World, you'll also find special kid-focused entertainment, concessions, and a misting tent. This is an easy landmark and meetup spot, and has a restroom as well. Down near the public library, Kid's World is located at the corner of Academy and Park Streets and is provided by Carolina Parent Magazine.
The Kid's World entertainment schedule is as follows:
10 a.m. Clown Camp Revue
11:15 a.m. Big Bang Boom
12:15 p.m. Magic of Michael Creech
1:00 p.m. Mountain Marionettes
2:00 p.m. Academy for the Performing Arts
3:15 p.m. Mountain Marionettes
What to eat
Non-profit groups from Cary and Wake County provide concessions alongside the pros. Sample a great variety including polish sausages, funnel cakes, kettle corn, hot dogs, and cold drinks. Concessions will be featured in several locations throughout the festival area.
For those of you who want to watch your waistline, you're in luck: the Town of Cary has been designated a Fit Community by the NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund. To support this program, the Town of Cary is launching the Fit Concessionaire Program at Lazy Daze 2012. These concessionaires have included at least one heart-healthy option on their menu, and those items will be marked with the Fit Concessionaire logo. For a full list of Fit vendors and menu items, click here.
So much to do and see - spend some time this coming Saturday at Lazy Daze! For more information about schedules, attractions, parking, and everything festival-related, visit the Lazy Daze pages on the Town of Cary website.