Full disclosure: I love April. I love Spring. The return of verdant green landscapes dotted with patches of blossoming trees and brilliant blooms elevates my mood and reignites my desire to explore all corners of the Triangle.
For me this month lacks nothing, except perhaps ample time to enjoy all of the eat ~ play ~ shop local opportunities that pack the calendar.
Eat and Drink Local
This first weekend of April marks the return of some seasonal farmers market as well as resumption of earlier opening hours at the year-round markets. In many cases, market shoppers will find new vendors from which to choose too. If we’re very lucky (and if Mother Nature cooperates), later in the month we might see the first locally grown strawberries in market stalls.
Carolina Farm Stewardship Association’s annual Piedmont Farm Tour allows everyone to learn more about our farmers and our food during the last weekend of the month. This year marks a milestone, the 20th anniversary of the tour. The self-guided tour includes forty farms this year, raising everything from sustainable produce to nursery plants, from wine grapes to hops, and buffalo to baby chicks.
Perhaps in April 2014 you attended the first Taste event at DPAC. This year the single event has morphed into a series of events that include cocktails, cider dinners, a burger “smashdown” as well as the main event, the Grand Taste Experience. Choose one, or choose all and know that no matter which you choose a portion of proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Durham Branch of the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
We all need a little something to wash down all the delicious food. Fortunately April happens to be NC Beer Month, leaving no one thirsty. A careful perusal of the events planned for the month will have you wondering exactly how you’ll find time to enjoy it all. For this coming weekend I do have one “can’t miss” suggestion: the 2nd Annual Brewers Olympics at Raleigh Brewing. Six local breweries will complete challenging feats of knowledge and strength during the competition, including a grain bag relay, speed bottle capping and trivia. But only one will be victorious. And you get to drink delicious beer while the teams battle it out.
Individual ticket sales open today for the 18th Annual Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. The four-day event spans multiple venues in downtown Durham and includes free screenings at the Full Frame Theater at American Tobacco Campus and in Durham Central Park Friday and Saturday evenings too. It also provides the perfect opportunity to wallow in everything #Durm. Once you’ve decided which films you want to see this year, plan some extra time before, after or between films to walk around and see what’s new downtown.
April 15th isn’t normally a favorite day for many, but if you’re a Durham Bulls fan it’s your favorite day of 2015 because it’s the first home game of the season. Though the Durham Bulls Athletic Park turns 20 this year, it’s never looked better. Last season revealed a big screen upgrade and new amenities within the park. This season hungry baseball fans will find new food options available from a favorite South Durham eatery, Rise Biscuits & Donuts. Individual game ticket sales are open now, but review the Promotions Schedule first to note which games include the extra special events like Bark in the Park, Food Truck Fest and Game of Thrones night.
Mid April marks the return of the Spring edition of Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, a family-friendly, music and dance-filled weekend in the green, Chatham County countryside. More than 60 bands will grace four stages during the festival, featuring a line up that includes local performers and national acts. During the down time, between bands, festival goers can explore educational booths or browse wares offered by artisan and craft vendors. Fortunately, you can camp onsite if you like and never have to miss a minute.
Craft markets in our region seem to be experiencing a bit of a boom as we have no less than six to shop this month. The new monthly artisan market, Raleigh Makers Market, can be found Saturday, April 4, in the alley by Benelux Cafe in Cameron Village, while in Durham the Patchwork Mini-Market returns to Fullsteam and the Durham Craft Market resumes near the Durham Farmers Market. Downtown Cary Food & Flea debuted in late 2014 and they’re back in Ashworth Village on Sunday, April 12. Later in April, Pop-Up Sunday Vintage Market returns to the parking lot adjacent to Ornamentea in downtown Raleigh and the Mordecai Market starts their crafty new season with a plant and herb sale.
Speaking of herb sales, Wake Forest Herb Fest is my favorite way to restock my patio herb garden. Over two weekends in April, gardeners can find a large selection of non-GMO, organic herbs, heritage tomatoes, heirloom vegetable plants & local grown perennials from NC growers, perfect for our climate. For the best selection you’ll want to visit the first weekend, April 17 – 19.
Did you know that April 18 is Record Store Day? It’s a day to celebrate the unique culture of the neighborhood record store in our communities. Many independent stores will promote special vinyl and CD releases on this special day. At Bull City Records in Durham, several Merge Records artists will peform live and for free! In Raleigh, Schoolkid Records will be hosting several bands throughout the afternoon and special deals all day. Find a record store near you and see what’s new.
Years in the making, the Durham Co-op Market opened its new doors in Durham last month and there was much rejoicing! If you’ve had the chance to visit the store, you found a brightly lit interior, full shelves and bulk bins, as well as quite a few other shoppers taking in all the new-ness. April 11th the market hosts a special Grand Opening party, with local vendor samples, special food and beverage available for purchase and live entertainment and activities. If you can’t come to the special celebration, know that you can shop the co-op seven days a week, from 7 am to 8 pm each and every day.
These selections represent just a few of many great events this month. As always, you’ll find more items of interest on the website calendar.