Great State + Haunted Trails, Selling Tobacco + Hemp Banned Near Schools, New Restaurant Near Downtown Cary Park

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HAPPY TRAILS. Great Trails State Day will be celebrated across North Carolina on Saturday, October 21. From the mountains to the coast, residents are encouraged to explore outdoor wonders by finding a trail and starting to explore. Interested in science? Experience the state through easily accessible science and nature venues through the NC Science Trail

The North Carolina General Assembly recently approved more than $54.9 million in funding for trails and greenways as part of the Great Trails State Program. The plan provides $12.5 million each year for two years and will be administered as a competitive grant program for new trail development and extension of existing trails. These include paved trails and greenways, along with natural-surface trails for biking, hiking, walking, equestrian use and paddling.

HAUNTED TRAILS. Head over to the Fuquay-Varina Haunted Trails at Carroll Howard Johnson Environmental Education Park (301 Wagstaff Road, Fuquay-Varina) on October 21, 5–6 p.m. and 7–9 p.m. Wear a costume and interact with characters along the sunlit Family Trail, 5–6 p.m. The Full Fright Trail, 7–9 p.m., is a scary journey through the nighttime woods and is not recommended for children under the age of 10. Children between the ages of 10–12 should be accompanied by an adult. Park at the Fuquay-Varina Community Center and take the shuttle bus to the park. 

SPOOKY FUN. Children’s Lighthouse of West Cary (7420 McCrimmon Parkway) will host a children’s Spooktacular Night on Friday, October 27, 5–6:30 p.m. The early learning school offers a free family event that includes a costume parade, ghoulish games and prizes, food, ice cream trucks and more. All residents of Wake, Durham and Chatham Counties are welcome.

TOBACCO BAN. The Wake County commissioners board voted unanimously to change development regulations and prevent stores that primarily sell tobacco and hemp products from opening within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, greenways, homes and other similar retailers. The ban only applies in unincorporated regions of Wake County where the county has planning authority, but not in areas that fall within town or city limits. Apex, Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Rolesville and Zebulon already regulate tobacco retailers through their own development regulations.

CASTING CALL. Charles & Colvard jewelers (170 Southport Drive, Morrisville) will host an open casting call and job fair for MADE Shopping TV Network on Saturday, October 21, 11 a.m.–2 p.m. The network is looking for hosts, models, producers and production assistants. Candidates may submit resumes to .

SPIRITED TASTINGS. Head over to The Mayton for a complimentary bourbon tasting with Cook’s Mill Whiskey on Friday, October 20. Head to the study from 4–7 p.m. to learn more about this locally-distilled bourbon whiskey that offers a sip of North Carolina history. Made with seven North Carolina native heirloom corn varieties, this small-batch bourbon whiskey explores flavors that existed before GMOs. The Peck & Plume bar will also serve specialty cocktails made with Cook’s Mill Whiskey. Stay for dinner or a night out in downtown Cary. 

Dram & Draught will release its fall and winter menu at its Raleigh, Durham and Cary locations on Thursday, October 19, 4–7 p.m. Then it’s KB Barman’s Halloween Haunt on Thursday, October 26, 7–10 p.m. Take part in an evening of drink specials, a costume contest, prizes and more. 

FOOD AND DRINK. Chef Lon Bounsanga will open Saap, a Laotian restaurant near Downtown Cary Park, on Wednesday, November 15. The longtime executive chef at Bida Manda and Brewery Bhavana has divided the menu into small plates and large plates, including soups, curries and a wok section for fried rice and noodle dishes. Offerings include green papaya salad, larb and pork belly soup.

The Mayton’s Peck & Plume in Cary will host a three–course Thanksgiving meal on Thursday, November 23, and reservations are now open. Served by executive chef Jason Daniels and his team, the meal includes favorites like butternut squash soup and roasted turkey followed by a dessert table of house-made treats. The meal is $65 for adults and $30 for children. The first serving begins at 11 a.m. with the last seating at 6 p.m. 

TOMORROW’S LEADERS. Leadership Fuquay-Varina applications will be available from Sunday, October 15–December 15. The 10-month program was developed in 2014 to grow a sustainable, diverse network of citizens that develops and maintains a broad awareness of community assets and local government infrastructure. The next leadership cohort begins in March 2024.

HEALTHY HABITS. The Poe Center for Health Education (224 Sunnybrook Road, Raleigh) hosts PoeFest, a free community festival to celebrate healthy choices, on Saturday, October 21, 1–4 p.m. Enjoy food and prizes, interactive theaters, local entertainment and more. Free books and produce will be available, along with fun at the KidsLab.

BACK TO NATURE. Triangle Land Conservancy hosts Wild I.D.E.A.s Gets Outside at the George & Julia Brumley Family Nature Preserve on Saturday, October 21, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Local organizations will lead hikes, birdwatching and plant identification activities. Online registration is required.

GET YOUR KICKS. The North Carolina Courage soccer team returns to the NWSL playoffs at WakeMed Soccer Park on Sunday, October 22 at 7 p.m. The Courage hosts New Jersey/New York Gotham FC in the team’s first trip to the playoffs since 2019. Cary Chamber of Commerce members can purchase discount tickets.

FINE ARTS. The Concert Singers of Cary symphonic choir presents “Our Star Will Not Wane” at the Cary Arts Center theater (101 Dry Avenue) on Tuesday, November 7 at 7:30 p.m. The program celebrates the breadth of musical colors, styles and aesthetics of Black composers from North and South America, including African–American spirituals, gospel and jazz. Lindsey Bruner Woodcock serves as guest conductor.

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