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The annual state tree lighting in Raleigh, a new exhibit of Star Wars artifacts in Asheville and a colonial Christmas weekend at the coast are just a few of the opportunities for fun and discovery you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Here 18 ideas for making the most of your weekend:

1. Celebrate a Colonial Christmas weekend with activities with open houses at Historic Edenton and Historic Bath, and the annual Candlelight celebration at Tryon Palace in New Bern.

 

 

2. Join Governor Pat McCrory for the annual State Tree Lighting on the grounds of the State Capitol in Raleigh, and then stop by the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences across the street for a special meet the animals program.

 

 

3. Visit a special exhibit of Star Wars artifacts at the Western Regional Archives in Asheville, and take your kids to a special Star Wars Lego class there Saturday.

 

 

4. Meet Santa by the sea Friday at the N.C. Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores and Saturday at the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher in Kure Beach.

 

 

5. Marvel at the Executive Mansion’s elaborate Christmas decorations during its annual holiday open house in Raleigh throughout the weekend.

 

 

6. Step back in time to an 18th century Christmas at Brunswick Town/Fort Anderson Sunday in Winnabow. You’ll find colonial refreshments, traditional games, special tours and an authentic period candlelit service.

 

 

7. Enjoy a concert of Duke Ellington’s “Nutcracker Suite” and other holiday favorites Thursday at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA) in Winston-Salem.

 

 

8. See what 18th century life was like along the North Carolina frontier Saturday at Fort Dobbs in Statesville.

 

 

9. Experience a Civil War Christmas Saturday by learning about the holiday traditions from the period at the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center in Kinston and seeing a period holiday brought to life at Bennett Place in Durham.

 

 

10. Find a gift for the art lover in your life at the Folk Art Center’s Guild Artist Holiday Sale Saturday in Asheville.

 

 

 

 

12. Explore the dramatic landscapes and diverse peoples that have shaped the South at a new exhibit of Southern paintings opening at the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh Friday.

 

 

13. Spend a festive Sunday afternoon at Duke Homestead in Durham as part of the site’s annual Victorian Family Christmas program.

 

 

14. Browse of the one largest selections of local pottery in mountains Friday and Saturday at Mud Dabbers of Brevard‘s holiday open house.

 

 

15. Listen to some of your favorite holiday tunes as performed by the North Carolina Symphony Thursday in Jacksonville and Saturday in Wilmington.

 

 

16. Get into the spirit of the season with holiday open houses Saturday at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras, Historic Halifax, House in the Horseshoe near Sanford and the Mountain Gateway Museum in Old Fort.

 

 

17. Watch the Geminid Meteor Shower Sunday night with N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences at Medoc Mountain State Park in Hollister.

 

 

18. Go on a candlelight tour to celebrate the holiday season. Aycock Birthplace in Fremont will offer tours Thursday, and both Duke Homestead and Bennett Place in Durham will offer tours Friday.

 

 

Check out DNCR’s calendar for more information on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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