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Community Graduations Ceremonies

Happy Graduation! Congratulations to the Class of 2017! We are proud of our graduates!

Hope this bit of information helps those who are attending!

Graduation day is a roller coaster of emotions for grads and their families alike. It’s a moment of celebration, achievement, and hope for the future and reflection on the past. May you always keep learning, growing, and realizing the best in yourself.

Community Graduations
Most graduation ceremonies will occur at the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Raleigh.

Check the Graduation Schedule calendar below to find out when and where your friend or loved one will be turning his or her tassel.

Livestream links will be available approximately 15 minutes before each ceremony on this Twitter account, @WCPSS

General Tips and Information for Families

  • Plan ahead. Students must be in place at least one hour before the ceremony starts. Allow significant time for traffic and parking.
  • Carpool. Share a ride from home or school and save on gas and parking.
  • Bring a City of Raleigh parking map.
  • Practice patience and watch for pedestrians. Thousands of students and patrons of other events will be on sidewalks and crosswalks. Pedestrians should observe crossing signals to stay safe.

Curbside Assistance

  • The parking spaces located along McDowell Street adjacent to the Raleigh Convention Center under the ‘Shimmer Wall’ will be reserved for passenger drop-off for the duration of the graduation schedule.
  • Golf carts will be available at the drop-off area and nearby parking garages to transport anyone with difficulty walking long distances to the doors of the Convention Center.

Traffic Alerts
WCPSS will post notifications of any traffic concerns via social media.

Concurrent Downtown Events

  • Concerts, street fairs, road races and other special events are likely to be happening nearby, especially over the weekend. Check here for updates on these events and how they might affect traffic and parking.

Please allow ample time to anticipate traffic congestion, parking issues, walking to the venue and finding your seat.

by: Marguerite Greene, right here in Apex


Don’t miss out on some of the city’s great holiday events!


Christmas on Salem Street in downtown Apex Dec. 2, 5-9 p.m., features carriage rides, caroling and a tree-lighting ceremony. The Salem Street firehouse serves a pancake breakfast Dec. 3, 7-11 a.m., and families can enjoy pictures with Santa that day, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Halle Arts Center. The town’s Christmas parade on Dec. 3 starts at 5 p.m. apexdowntown.com, apexrotary.org.


See 20 light displays illuminated by thousands of LED lights at the Chinese Lantern Festival at Booth Amphitheatre in Cary Nov. 25-Jan. 15. Hours are 6-10 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday. The festival also features Chinese performers on weekends. Purchase tickets, $15 adults and $10 ages 3-17, online at boothamphitheatre.com/nc-chinese-lantern-festival-cary.

Heart of the Holidays festivities abound in Cary on Dec. 3. Learn about Victorian holiday traditions and enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, a historic 1868 hotel in the heart of Cary, 4-6 p.m. The town’s tree-lighting ceremony takes place at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall Campus and features live performances and the unveiling of a community tree decorated with handcrafted ornaments. See featured entries in the town’s 6th Annual Gingerbread House Competition at the Cary Arts Center through December. townofcary.org.

The 2016 Cary Christmas Parade, sponsored by the Cary Jaycees, is Dec. 10 at 2 p.m. See the website for the parade route. caryjaycees.org.

The Stone Creek Village Holiday Open House Dec. 3, 4-7 p.m., features crafting, giveaways, treats and specials throughout the center, and a chance to vote on the most festively decorated store front to win a Stone Creek shopping spree. stonecreekvillagecary.com.


Chapel Hill’s Downtown Holiday Tree Lighting Ceremony is Nov. 27, 6-7 p.m., at Memorial Garden of University Baptist Church on Columbia Street. Children can have their pictures taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus. downtownchapelhill.com/celebrations#.

A gingerbread village display, opportunities to dine with Santa on select days, gingerbread house-making, horse-drawn carriage rides and more highlight the annual Twelve Days of Christmasevent series at Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill Dec. 1-Jan. 2. 12daysevents.com.

Carolina Ballet presents its holiday sugarplum, “The Nutcracker” Dec. 3-4 at Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill. See website for show times and to purchase tickets at carolinaballet.com.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Holiday Parade is Dec. 10. It begins at 10 a.m. on E. Franklin Street in downtown Chapel Hill and ends at noon on Main Street in Carrboro. See themed floats, marching bands and Santa in this annual festivity. chapelhillholidayparade.com.


Duke Homestead in Durham hosts its annual Christmas by Candlelight event Dec. 2 and 9, 7-9 p.m., featuring tours of the homestead, caroling and hot cider. Tickets are $6 for adults and $3 for ages 10 and younger. 919-477-5498. dukehomestead.org.

Enjoy 100 Years of Christmas at Historic Stagville in Durham Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is free. Learn about the Christmas traditions of enslaved and free people in North Carolina. After dark, see some of the slaves’ quarters and sharecroppers’ homes lit by lanterns as guides share stories of the holidays during these times. Lantern tours are ticketed and begin at 4:30, 5, 5:30 and 6 p.m. Advance ticket purchase is recommended by calling 919-620-0120. historicstagville.org.

The City of Durham hosts its annual Holiday Fun Fest Dec. 3, noon-4 p.m., at Rock Quarry Park featuring live entertainment, pony rides, snow sledding and a visit with Santa. Enjoy a holiday parade with all the trimmings Dec. 10 at 10 a.m. in downtown Durham. The city’s Kwanzaa celebration is Dec. 30, 6-8 p.m., at the Holton Career and Resource Center. 919-560-4355. durhamnc.gov.

Carolina Ballet presents its holiday sugarplum, “The Nutcracker” Dec, 9-11 at the Durham Performing Arts Center. See website for show times and to purchase tickets at carolinaballet.com.

Christmas in the Piedmont During the Civil War at Bennett Place State Historic Site in Durham celebrates the season with living historians who demonstrate cooking and gift-wrapping in the 19th century Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Santa visits with families during the event. 919-383-4345. bennettplacehistoricsite.com/special-events.

West Point on the Eno Park in Durham hosts its annual Christmas Open House Dec. 11, 1-5 p.m., showcasing festive music, holiday crafts and more. dprplaymore.org.


Raleigh Little Theatre presents two musicals in one production with “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and “Jingle Bell Jukebox” Oct. 28-Nov. 13. See the website for show times and to purchase tickets. raleighlittletheatre.org.

Cameron Village in Raleigh hosts its annual Holiday Open House Nov. 17, 5-8 p.m. 2108 Clark Ave., Raleigh. shopcameronvillage.com/events/cameron-village-open-house.

Holiday-themed floats, marching bands, classic cars and large helium balloons highlight the annual WRAL Raleigh Christmas Parade is Nov. 19 at 9:40 a.m. in downtown Raleigh. The parade begins at the corner of Hillsborough and St. Mary’s streets. grma.org/christmas-parade.

Lafayette Village in Raleigh ushers in the holiday season with its Lighting of the Tree 2016, Nov. 19, 4-8 p.m. 8450 Honeycutt Rd., Raleigh. lafayettevillageraleigh.com.

North Hills in Raleigh welcomes families to its Tree-Lighting Celebration, which features live music, snow slopes, trackless train rides, kids crafts and activities, a bounce house and a vendor village. As Santa Claus arrives at 6 p.m., the 41-foot Christmas tree is lit amidst a joyous chorus of “Santa Clause Is Coming to Town.” visitnorthhills.com.

The annual Ipreo Raleigh Winterfest kick-off is Dec. 3, noon-8 p.m., on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh. The event features a tree-lighting ceremony, carnival rides, Santa’s village, a gingerbread house competition, five musical acts, ice skating and more. godowntownraleigh.com/winterfest/festival. Ice Raleigh, an outdoor ice skating rink located at City Plaza on Fayetteville Street, opens Nov. 19 and closes Jan. 29, 2017. raleighicerink.com.

Kids can make crafts, play colonial games and watch costumed re-enactors demonstrate scenes of 18th-century life when Joel Lane Museum House in Raleigh hosts its Colonial Christmas Open House Dec. 3, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 919-833-3431. joellane.org.

Mordecai Holiday Open House in Raleigh welcomes the holiday season Dec. 10, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Dec. 11, 1-4 p.m. Admission is free. Take one of the lantern tours, which run 5-9 p.m. on Dec. 10, through the house and grounds to watch vignettes of the Mordecai family, soldiers and enslaved people during the Civil War. Tickets are $5/person. reclink.raleighnc.gov/activities/activitiesadvsearch.asp#top (click on “advanced search” and search for “Mordecai”).

Carolina Ballet presents its holiday sugarplum, “The Nutcracker” Dec. 16-24 at Raleigh Memorial auditorium. See website for show times and to purchase tickets at carolinaballet.com.

Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department has added an extra night, Dec. 7, to its popular event, Holiday Express at Pullen Park. Tickets for Dec. 7 are $10/person and go on sale Oct. 17 at 8 a.m. at eventbright.com. All other dates are sold out. Pullen Park is transformed each year into a holiday wonderland complete with holiday lights and displays, a train ride, local entertainment, carousel ride, crafts and a visit with Santa. Learn more at carolinaparent.com/CP/Tickets-to-Go-on-Sale-for-Holiday-Express-at-Pullen-Park.

The Sleigh Rides and Cider event at Historic Oak View County Park is Dec. 3, 5-7:30 p.m., and offers families horse-drawn carriage rides, hot apple cider, live music, holiday activities and more. Santa also visits. facebook.com/events/1606202959678162.

First Night Raleigh takes place Dec. 31, 2 p.m.-midnight, in downtown Raleigh. Enjoy family-friendly activities prior to the Acorn Drop at midnight. A First Night button, $10, is required for entry. firstnightraleigh.com.

Main Street Christmas in Holly Springs takes place Dec. 9, 6-8 p.m. The annual event includes hayrides, crafts and live entertainment. Mrs. Claus reads stories at the Cultural Center and Santa visits with children at Town Hall until 7:15 p.m. The night concludes with the town’s tree-lighting ceremony at 8 p.m. at the Cultural Center. Holly Springs’ Happy Holly Days Parade on Main Street in Holly Springs is Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. 919-552-6221. hollyspringsnc.us/359/main-street-christmas, hollyspringsnc.us/270/happy-holly-days-christmas-parade.

Morrisville’s Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, featuring musical entertainment, crafts for kids and a visit from Santa, is Dec. 2, 7-9 p.m. at Indian Creek Trailhead. 919-463-7110. townofmorrisville.org.

The Lighting of Wake Forest on Dec. 2, 6-8:30 p.m., includes horse and carriage rides, pictures with Santa, performances by local students and the lighting of the town’s 30-foot Christmas tree at Town Hall on South Brooks Street. School and dance group performances and fun activities for families highlight the Downtown Merchants Association’s Holiday Open House Dec. 3, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free pictures with Santa will be offered from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at Fidelity Bank on South White Street that day. The town’s holiday parade takes place Dec. 10 at 1 p.m. in downtown Wake Forest. 919-435-9415. wakeforestnc.gov/christmas-in-wake-forest.aspx.

by: Janice Lewine , associate editor at Carolina Parent.



Upcoming events for Apex, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Holly Springs and Morrisville.

Be sure to read through the total list – there are so many things coming up – even Halloween events!

Hemlock Bluffs

The Stevens Nature Center hosts activities at Hemlock Bluffs Nature Preserve, 2616 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary. Pre-registration is required. For more information, call 919-387-5980.

▪ Family Program: The Magic Garden (all ages with a caregiver): 2-3:30 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 2. Family fee: $16 residents, $20 nonresidents.

▪ Discovery Days Mini-Camps: Wildlife Trackers (ages 8-12): 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, to Wednesday, Oct. 5. Cost: $54 residents, $68 nonresidents.

▪ Curious Creatures: Squirrels: Day and Night (ages 5-8): 1-3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7. Cost: $12 residents, $16 nonresidents.

▪ Nature Nuts : Snails (ages 3-5 with a caregiver): 10-11 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8. Cost: $10 residents, $13 nonresidents.

▪ Curiosity Club: Birds of Prey (ages 5-8): 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 9. Cost: $12 residents, $16 nonresidents.

▪ Discovery Days Mini-Camps: Growing Up Wild (ages 5-7): 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, to Wednesday, Oct. 12. Cost: $54 residents, $68 nonresidents.

Upcoming races

Registration is underway for area walks, races and a marathon.

▪ Sunday, Oct. 9: Triangle Down Syndrome Network Buddy Walk, Sugg Farm, Grigsby Ave., Holly Springs. For more information and to register, go to bit.ly/2dzFt4u.

▪ Sunday, Oct. 23: Cary Fire House Tour Marathon full, half or 10K. Throughout Cary. Tribute to fallen firefighter Jon Schondelmayer. For more information and to register, go tobit.ly/2aPcMOR.

▪ Saturday, Nov. 12: Cary Unity Walk. The walk begins in downtown Cary and travels to Wake Med Soccer Park, 201 Soccer Park Drive. Afterward at 9 a.m., a festival, featuring mile, 5K and 10K runs, entertainment and vendors, will be held at the park. The event will benefit area nonprofits. For more information and to register, go to bit.ly/2cKfDZw.

Bingo Night

Apex Specialized Recreation and Inclusion Services presents Bingo Night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10, at Apex Community Center, 53 Hunter St. For persons with special needs ages 16 and older. Cost: $5. To register, go to apexnc.org/programguide. Another Bingo Night is scheduled Monday, Nov. 14. For more information, call 919-249-3507 or email Allie Prelakse at allie.prelaske@apexnc.org.

SAS Championship

The SAS Championship is Oct. 14-16 at Prestonwood Country Club, 300 Prestonwood Parkway, Cary. Tournament proceeds will benefit the YMCA of the Triangle’s Y Learning Program. A 5K run or walk is 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15. For more information, tickets and to register for the 5K, go to saschampionship.com, bit.ly/2cLpRbl.

Harris Lake Park

Upcoming programs at Harris Lake County Park, 2112 County Park Drive, New Hill. Children under 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Advance registration required for all programs. For more information and to register, go to bit.ly/1YF8gC1. 919-387-4342,bit.ly/213kQMG

▪ Sunset Campfire (all ages): 6:30-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 14. $1 per person.

▪ Nature Through Sign Language (all ages): 11 a.m. to noon Monday, Oct. 17. $1 per person.

▪ Citizen Science (ages 8 and older): 3-5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20. Free.

▪ Super Spiders (all ages): 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 29. $1 per person.

Fall Litter Sweep

Morrisville’s Fall Litter Sweep is 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 15, beginning at Town Hall, 100 Town Hall Drive. Rain date is Oct. 22. For more information, go to bit.ly/2ck2gMK.

Open house

The Fuquay-Varina Fire Department celebrates National Fire Safety Week with an open house from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at 302 E. Vance St. For more information, go to bit.ly/2c65ic7.

Shred Day

The fall Shred Day in Apex is 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 15, in the Saunders Street parking lot across from the Police Department. Limit of 3 small boxes or bags. Free. For more information, go to bit.ly/2czqTu3.

Halloween events

▪ Track or Treat Halloween Express Oct. 15, 22 and 29 at New Hope Valley Railway, 3900 Bonsal Road, New Hill. Tickets: $13; free for children under age 2. For more information and tickets, go to TriangleTrain.com.

▪ The Haunted Trail: Family Fright is 5-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 15, at Carroll Howard Johnson Environmental Park, 301 Wagstaff Road, Fuquay-Varina. Free. The Full Fright Haunted Trail begins at 7 p.m. at 302 Wagstaff Road. Not recommended for those who frighten easily. For more information, go to bit.ly/2c65ic7.

▪ The Halloween Hike is 6-7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, on the American Tobacco Trail in Apex. For all ages. Costumes welcome. Cost: $1 person. Participants will meet at the New Hill Parking Area, 1309 New Hill-Olive Chapel Road, and then explore the trail by moonlight. For more information and to register, go to bit.ly/1WUKMbu.

▪ A Costume Dance Party is 1-2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Cary Arts Center, 101 Dry Ave. Cost: $1 per person. The event will feature refreshments, an art activity, dancing and costume awards. For ages 5-12 with a caregiver. For more information, call 919-469-4069. bit.ly/2d0Mhq9

▪ The Pumpkin Carving Wagon Ride is 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Harris Lake County Park, 2112 County Park Drive, New Hill. Cost: $1 per person; for all ages. Participants meet at the Longleaf Shelter for a wagon ride and then carve a Halloween pumpkin. Registration required; go to bit.ly/1YF8gC1. 919-387-4342, bit.ly/213kQMG

▪ The annual Creepy Crabtree Halloween celebration is 2-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Lake Crabtree County Park, 1400 Aviation Parkway, Morrisville. Free; no registration required. Costumes welcome. Scavenger hunts, crafts and games will be featured. For more information, go to bit.ly/29z1M7o.

▪ The Reel-ly Scary Cary Film Series and Haunted House and Trail is 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, to Saturday, Oct. 29. Tickets: $10 for ages 13 and older; free for children 12 and under (movie only; Haunted House not recommended children 12 and under). Food and non-alcoholic beverages allowed. Bring lawn chairs or blankets. No pets. For more information and a schedule of films, go to bit.ly/2dp4OuN.

▪ Trick or Treat in downtown Fuquay-Varina is 2-5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at participating businesses. For children ages 10 and younger. fuquay-varinadowntown.com

▪ Zombiepalooza begins at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at The Cary theater, 122 E. Chatham St. Free. Screenings of zombie films by local filmmakers will be featured. A showing of “The Night of the Living Dead” is 9:30 p.m. outside the theater. Zombie costumes welcome. Face-painting will be available on site. Refreshments provided. For more information, go tobit.ly/2cApRxJ.

▪ The Great Pumpkin Carve is 2-8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Ivey-Ellington House, 135 W. Chatham St., downtown Cary. Charge for pumpkins; all activities free. For more information, go to bit.ly/2d0Mhq9.

▪ Trick or Treat the Trail is 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, along Hatcher Creek Trail at Morrisville Community Park, 1520 Morrisville Parkway. Costumes welcome. Food trucks will be on site. Free. For more information, go to bit.ly/2cR2w6w.

▪ The Goblin’s Groove Family Dance is 7-9:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Halle Cultural Arts Center, 237 N. Salem St., Apex. Parent/child dance; all children must be accompanied by an adult. Costumes welcome. Refreshments provided. Tickets: $5 a couple, $2 per additional child. For more information and tickets, go to bit.ly/2cz25Ny.

Volleyball fundraiser

The Apex Friendship High School Lady Patriots volleyball team hosts a fundraiser for Bob’s Buddies at games Tuesday, Oct. 18, at the school, 7801 Humie Olive Road, Apex. Gates open at 4 p.m. The junior varsity game is 5 p.m. against Holly Springs High School. The varsity game is 6 p.m. Admission: $5. Bob’s Buddies supports children with brain tumors and their families. Raffle and other special sales will be held. bobsbuddies.com

Taste of the South

Sara Foster, owner of Foster’s Market in Durham and author of “Sara Foster’s Southern Kitchen,” discusses her cookbook and recipes from 3-4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at Eva Perry Regional Library, 2100 Shepherd’s Vineyard Drive, Apex. Registration requested; call 919-387-2100 or go to bit.ly/1Us9hOQ.

Cary cemeteries

The Friends of the Page-Walker host the program More Mysteries and Secrets: Exploring Cary Area Cemeteries at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 25, at the Page-Walker Arts and History Center, 119 Ambassador Loop, downtown Cary. Free. For more information, call 919-460-4963 or go to friendsofpagewalker.org.

Wine Walk

The last fall Wine Walk for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund is 5-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 28, at Waverly Place shopping center, 2001 Kildaire Farm Road, Cary. Sampling glasses are $10; wine samples and special promotions will be available at participating merchants. A raffle will be held. waverlycary.com

Tobacco Road Marathon

Registration is underway for the Allscripts Tobacco Road Marathon and Half Marathon March 19, 2017, on the American Tobacco Trail. The event is a fundraiser for the Hope for the Warriors, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, the American Red Cross, the Rails to Trails Conservancy and Wake County Parks and Recreation. For information on costs and to register, go to tobaccoroadmarathon.com.