What to Do in August 2023 In and Around Raleigh

Enjoy the tail end of summer in the Triangle with live music and theater, worldly art, fresh produce and gentle yoga.
by Addie Ladner

Ah, August! Just a few more weeks before school resumes, vacations end and our typical day-to-day rhythms return. By this time of year, we’re just about evenly split between relishing every last drop of humidity at outdoor events and taking refuge inside in the A.C. Fortunately, this list has lots of great options for both camps. August brings an opportunity to check out an important exhibition about the history of Oberlin Village, big-name and local-local musical performances, a chance to see pro runners compete and opportunities to savor peak tomatoes and peaches. Regardless of your stance on this time of year, Raleigh has plenty of fun things to offer.

See and Hear the Voices of Oberlin

The Voices of Oberlin exhibit at the Block Gallery features portraits and oral histories from more than 20 residents that describe the joys and tribulations of life in Raleigh’s historic Oberlin Village. Curated by Michael S. Williams of the Black On Black Project, the exhibit features photography by Derrick Beasley and Teresa Moore, who captured each participants’ character and voices. Among them, Oberlin resident Joyce Morgan recalls the time her front porch was egged after her father attended a meeting led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and Joseph Holt Jr., describes picking wild plums and peaches from the nearby woods before the area was developed. Friends of Oberlin Village executive director Sabrina Goode hopes that this first-person historical account will help present and future generations understand the importance of the last known intact settlement founded by a free Black person in North Carolina. “The poignant stories have a common theme of the unwavering love between all residents of the community,” says Goode. “Behind each message is the steadfast grace and dignity shared by the residents despite the strengths and struggles they encountered daily, from the injustices of racism to the gentrification of their beloved neighborhood.”
All month | Free; Raleigh Municipal Building, 222 W. Hargett Street; raleighnc.gov

Explore Glenwood South

Glenwood South is a popular destination for nightlife, but it has a reputation for appealing to a just-post-college crowd. If you can’t remember the last time someone asked for your I.D., that could be a turnoff — but don’t discount it just yet!  This strip has big-city energy and an eclectic mix of bars and restaurants, so it’s worth a trip the next time you want a taste of the nightlife. These 10 bars on Glenwood South offer great ambiance, elevated drinks and a mixed-age clientele, so everyone from grads to grandma can feel comfortable.

Experience Haiti, The Fantastic Island at Gallery C

See a rich sampling of Haitian art from the late 20th and early 21st centuries at Gallery C. A total of 50 pieces will be on view and for sale depicting the mythology, foods, animals and landscapes of the Caribbean island. “Discovering, selling and personally collecting Haitian art has been perhaps the most rewarding chapter of my career,” says gallery owner Charlene Newsom, who started this collection in 1987. “The combination of wonder and deep spiritualism in this art is endlessly appealing.” Each piece is different, but much of the work shows themes of the Roman Catholic and African influences on the island’s traditions. Some of Newsom’s favorite pieces are colorful paintings portraying everyday life by Port-au-Prince natives JP Auguste and Wilson Bigaud, and whimsical depictions of the underwater world by André Blaise.
All month | Various times; Free to view; 540 N. Blount Street; galleryc.net

Hear Sam Smith at PNC

Sam Smith — the British music sensation who broke into the music scene with their hit “Stay With Me” in 2014 and went on to win many Grammys — will take the stage at PNC as part of their “GLORIA” tour. Award-winning Canadian musician Jessie Reyez will open for Smith with her original, soulful tunes. From Aug. 1 | 8 p.m. $54; 1400 Edwards Mill Road; pncarena.org

Lunch at NOFO @ The Pig for Food Truck Tuesdays

NOFO @ The Pig wants you to try some new flavors — and not from its own kitchen! Each Tuesday this summer, this Five Points gift shop and restaurant is hosting a different food truck in its parking lot during lunchtime, with both indoor and outdoor seating available. Among them: Tri Seafood, Big B’s Southern Kitchen, Virgil’s Jamaican and Hollywood Taco Shop.
Tuesdays | 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cost varies; 2014 Fairview Road; nofo.com

Cheer on Athletes at the Sir Walter Miller

3…2…1… Go! See Olympic-caliber athletes try to break records at the Sir Walter Miler. This race is the climax of a three-day celebration that features a dozen professional runners (last year the lineup included Nikki Hiltz and Yared Nuguse). “It’s special because spectators can get so close to the athletes and cheer them on right on the track,” says Pat Price, one of the event’s founders. This is the 10-year anniversary of the race, which originated with championship runner Sandy Roberts, a Broughton High School and North Carolina State University graduate. He wanted to break a four-minute mile, and hundreds of fellow runners, friends and family lined a track at Cardinal Gibbons High School to cheer him on. He didn’t meet his goal, but it inspired him and running pals Price and Logan Roberts to make an annual event out of trying. “No one in North Carolina had run under a four-minute mile since the 1970s. Since then, around 69 runners have broken that record,” says Price. On Wednesday, Aug. 2, enjoy a morning coffee run with some of the pros starting at Runologie (1614 Automotive Way) and a Q&A panel there with the runners in the evening. On Friday, head to the pre-party at Raleigh Brewing (3709 Neil Street) then line the track for the big race at Meredith College (3800 Hillsborough Street), followed by a post-party back at Raleigh Brewing. On Saturday, the community is invited to join the Raleigh RunDown Downhill Mile (Oval and Blair Drive on Centennial Parkway; raleighrundown.com) before finishing out the weekend at Trophy Brewing (656 Maywood Avenue).
Aug. 2 – 5 | Various times,prices and locations; sirwaltermiler.com

Seek out a Good Frozen Cocktail

Summer is the perfect time to chill out — and nothing is better than a frozen cocktail to help you, literally, relax and cool off. These frozen cocktails served at local watering holes and breweries make the brain freeze worth it. Whether you want to sip a frozen sunrise margarita under a fan on a covered patio or toast with a frosé on a rooftop, this list has it all. Check out our list of the perfect summer frozen cocktails around the Triangle.

Shop the Durham Patchwork Market

Shop handmade items from regional creatives at Durham’s biannual Patchwork Market at the Armory. Launched in 2014 as a way for small businesses to interact directly with their customers, it has grown into one of the largest artisan markets in this area. “The goal is to support and promote local artists, designers and entrepreneurs by providing them with a platform to showcase their work and connect with the community,” says Morgan Grimm, who founded the market. Among the more than 50 vendors, you’ll find Raleigh-based Grayhill Made ceramics, Ware Ware Studio and Earth Folk Apothecary.
Aug. 6 | 12 – 4 p.m.; Free admission; 212 Foster Street, Durham; thepatchworkmarket.com

Head to the Beach to Hunt for Shark Teeth

According the the pros, our state is a particular hotspot for finding fossilized shark teeth. But some beaches have more than others. We spoke to scientists, fossil hunters and divers to learn where they’ve had the most luck right here.

See Theatre in the Park’s Noises Off!

Now a Theatre in the Park tradition, Noises Off! follows a discombobulated cast as it attempts to stage a risqué comedy. Written in the early 1980s by English playwright Michael Frayn, this classic play is full of doors slamming, innuendo and on- and off-stage intrigue. “To thank our patrons for their continued support through Covid, we allowed them to request the performances they wanted to see in our 2023 season,” says Yamila Monge, the theater’s box office and guest services administrator. “This was the most-requested show!”
Aug. 10 – 20 | 3:30 & 7:30 p.m.; From $29; 107 Pullen Road; theatreinthepark.com

Dance the Night Away at the Sneaker Ball

Hip-hop’s origins date back to the 1970s in New York City’s Bronx, where musicians in predominantly Black and Caribbean communities would combine DJ tracks with improvised vocals to make the soundtrack for block parties. Eventually the music made its way South. “When hip-hop was evolving in the 1980s and ‘90s, Raleigh was the center of the New Great Migration, as African Americans began to leave the North and move south,” says Grady Bussey, a Friends of the City of Raleigh (COR) Museum board member and organizer of the event. “Many rappers moved to Raleigh and attended our local Historical Black Colleges and Universities, which gives our area many layers of influence on the genre.” The Sneaker Ball will celebrate 50 years of hip-hop with performances by artists like 3am Sound, Southside Heat, Exhale TAOP and Nacynze. Also enjoy food trucks, vendors and a dance-off led by the Raleigh Rockers. “Uncovering the origins of hip-hop, and its path to Raleigh, is important to understanding the city’s culture today. We can’t wait to celebrate our city’s contributions to this global phenomenon,” says COR Museum director Ernest Dollar.
Aug 12 | 6 – 10 p.m.$65; Raleigh Union Station, 510 W. Martin Street; cityofraleighmuseum.org

Hear Peter Lamb and the Wolves at the International Jazz Open Jam

The Oak City Music Collective has a new monthly series on Tuesday evenings: the International Jazz Open Jam. Hosted at Neptunes Parlour, the open music sessions will celebrate Latin jazz, Afrojazz and other variations of the genre heard around the world. In an “open-jam” format, the headliner will kick off the night while inviting other players to the stage. This month, Raleigh’s five-piece jazz-inspired band Peter Lamb and the Wolves will start the jam.
Aug. 15 | 8 – 11 p.m.; Free; 14 W. Martin Street; oakcitymusic.com

Hear the Steep Canyon Rangers at NCMA

Presented in partnership with Chapel Hill music venue Cat’s Cradle, join the Steep Canyon Rangers at the North Carolina Museum of Art’s amphitheater for a night of banjo, twangy vocals and overall good times. Amythyst Kiah, a bluesy singer-songwriter from Tennessee, will open for this Grammy-winning band from western North Carolina. Make an evening out of it: use the Picnic in the Park program to preorder dinner for that evening. Wine, beer and other beverages will also be available for purchase.
Aug. 18 | 7:30 p.m.;From $30; 2110 Blue Ridge Road; ncartmuseum.org

See The Second City at NC State

Join NC State LIVE for laugh-inducing improv and comedy from The Second City — a world-renowned venue and teaching organization in Chicago that launched the careers of Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Keegan-Michael Key and Steve Carell, among other big-name funny folk.

Aug. 25 | 7 p.m.;Tickets on sale Aug. 16; 2610 Cates Avenue; live.arts.ncsu.edu

Start Your Saturday with Yoga at North Hills

Bring your mat to The Commons at North Hills for a complimentary yoga class hosted by Midtown Yoga during the Midtown Farmers Market. Before or after class, shop the market (8 a.m. to 12 p.m.) for seasonal produce like watermelon, heirloom tomatoes, basil, zucchini and peaches.
Aug. 25 | 9 – 10 a.m Free; 4191 Main at North Hills Street; visitnorthhills.com

Head to Chapel Hill for PlayMakers Repertory Company Open House

Join the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s PlayMakers Repertory Company for a behind-the-scenes look into its upcoming season. Hosted at the Joan H. Gillings Center for Dramatic Art, enjoy interactive workshops, local food trucks, live music, backstage tours, kids’ activities and a chance to mingle with staff and performers. “We throw the doors wide open — this is our opportunity to welcome folks back to Chapel Hill after summer and meet newcomers to the area,” says associate artistic director Jeffrey Meanza. “Our hope is that the event underlines our belief that PlayMakers is a theater for all North Carolinians.”
Aug. 26 | 12 – 3 p.m. Free; 120 Country Club Road, Chapel Hill; playmakersrep.org 

Spend the Day in Cary for the Lazy Daze Arts & Crafts Festival

At this two-day festival in downtown Cary, enjoy live music, a beer garden, 20 different food vendors, kids’ activities and shopping creations from 300 artists from all across the country. Make your mark on the Pixel Wall, a mural that will develop throughout the festival as folks color in the blocks or catch a nap in one of the Lazy Lounge Hammocks. “The festival was founded to celebrate the lazy days of summer and bring the community together,” says Jenna Kostka, festivals and events supervisor with the town of Cary’s Parks and Recreation department.
Aug. 26 & 27 | 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Free admission; downtown Cary; carync.gov

This article originally appeared in the August, 2023 issue of WALTER magazine.