36th Annual Lazy Daze Festival in Cary This Weekend

Story by Lindsey Chester. File photo by CaryCitizen.

Cary, NC – Last year, a hurricane forced the Town of Cary to cancel Lazy Daze for the first time in its 35 year history. This weekend, Lazy Daze returns to Downtown Cary. Get all the details about Cary’s biggest festival right here.

36th Annual Lazy Daze This Saturday

The 36th annual Lazy Daze festival is this Saturday, August 25th from 9 AM-5 PM in Downtown Cary.

John Webster, Cary’s Town Crier will be officially open the festival at 8:45am. 385 booths will line Academy and Chatham Streets,  filled with hand-made arts and crafts, each artist selected through a jury process. Our festival draws national attention and is the largest arts and crafts festival of its kind in the Southeast. Artists travel from as far away as Wisconsin, Texas and Delaware to exhibit.

80% of Artists and Vendors Return from Last Year

This year, the Town invited all juried artists back, waiving their fees due to that hurricane cancellation.

Festival Director Joy Ennis said about 80% are coming back – and hopefully the weather will cooperate.

Preview the Art Online

Want a sneak peek of who’s coming to exhibit? The online artist portal  organizes the artists by category and links to the artists (if you have a Mac – like me – it downloads a pdf). Festival goers can then plan their day by checking the map for artists’ booth locations.

This feature proved very useful to artists who could not show last year and several reported sales due to their additional exposure. This website is not an e-commerce site, however, and if people are interested in buying anything they see or cannot make Lazy Daze, they are encouraged to directly contact the artists.

Video Project Premier

This summer Page Walker Arts and History Center hosted several Town of Cary camps in which campers created documentary videos. These six videos will premier at 1pm during Lazy Daze in the theater inside the Cary Arts Center. Afterwards the students will be available to answer questions. I have a personal connection to this one, my daughter Emma participated in one of the camps and created a video about trains!

Art Demonstrations Include Chain Saw Sculpting

There are always plenty of artists’ demos – this year several of these will be taking place inside the Cary Arts Center. The Clay Cooperative will demonstrate wheel and hand-building clay techniques in the downstairs pottery studios. Other groups include: The Wood Turners Guild of North Carolina (in the wood shop, also downstairs) ,  NC Society of Goldsmiths, Carolina Designer Craftsmen, NC Gourd Society, and Cary Photographic Artists.

Outdoors on the Performance Green (corner of Dry and S. Academy), three North Carolinian artists will be creating large-scale sculptures with chain saws. These creations will be judged at 3:30pm, and Joy Ennis said she expects that artist will probably create at least two pieces.

Look for 5 of these dolls at the Lazy Daze festival and you could win some prizes!

Win Prizes When You Find Little Jerry

Another fun idea, that was originally planned for last year, was the Little Jerry Doll project. Five handmade “Little Jerry “dolls (named for festival creator and Cary documentary artist,  Jerry Miller) will be hidden throughout the festival, including one inside a Downtown Cary business.

As festival-goers find the dolls they pick up tickets to prove they have found a doll. If you collect all five tickets, head back to the Information Tent and register your name to win one of many prizes donated by local Cary businesses.

Kids World

The children’s area, known as Kids World, will be full of make-and-take projects and its own entertainment. This is located near Park Street along S. Academy where the Downtown Farmer’s Market usually takes place. (the market will move to the corner of Walker & Walnut for the day). Here’s the Schedule:

Kid’s World Entertainment Schedule

  • 10 AM Clown Camp Revue
  • 11:15 AM Big Bang Boom
  • 12:15 PM Magic of Michael Creech
  • 1:00 PM Mountain Marionettes
  • 2:00 PM Academy for the Performing Arts
  • 3:15 PM Mountain Marionettes

Clean & Green at Lazy Daze

That’s right. In addition to being more aware of recycling our drinking cans and bottles at receptacles around downtown Saturday, composting of waste will be encouraged.

Lazy Daze visitors can help divert some of the trash generated at the festival by placing all food and paper waste in event compost bins. Volunteers will be stationed at disposal sites to help guide visitors to correct bins when disposing of their trash, recycling and compostable materials. The Town’s SPRUCE Program aims to make Lazy Daze greener!

Learn From the Pros

Joy Ennis is a member of the NC Association of Festivals and Events- this year they hold their Fall meeting here in Cary. This hands-on seminar will pair folks from other towns with our festival organizers to shadow them during the day to see first hand how we manage all aspects of Lazy Daze.

Enjoy Free Bus Transit (and a Map)

The Town closes down the Academy Street from Cedar to Dry and closes Chatham from Walker to Harrison. Parking can be tight in the available lots (the deck behind Herb Young Community Center is a great option) – but the town will be running frequent FREE shuttles from Cary Town Center (behind Sears) round trip to center of town dropping patrons at Cary Elementary School. In addition all day all C Tran buses are free on all their normal routes.

Visitors from out of town are also encouraged to take the train for the day which will have brochures this week featuring the festival and a new Downtown map will also be available courtesy of the Town and the Heart of Cary Association.

Below is a pdf of the Lazy Daze map for reference when planning your day.

Lazy Daze Map

Post Your Pics to Our Facebook Page

Plan to visit Cary’s Biggest and Best festival and then post some photos to our CaryCitizen Facebook page– we’d love to share them!


Events coverage on CaryCitizen is sponsored in part by Cary Visual Art.