We're celebrating over a century and a half of Durham this year.
With over 150 events planned during this 150th year of Durham's existence, you're going to need to stay on top of that calendar! Between the Durham 150 Opening Celebration Presented by Aetna, NC Beer Month, Durham Bulls Baseball, and major festivals, the action will be non-stop. Scroll down to find special events scheduled for the jam-packed Durham 150 anniversary weekend as well.
Make this April in Durham your best one yet!
Estimated read time: 3 minutes
The Durham Bulls will host their first home game on Thursday, April 11 against the Columbus Clippers, and all of the things you love and have missed about baseball season will finally be back in full swing. Over 20 post-game fireworks shows are planned this season, along with 'affordable-eats Thursdays,' bark in the park games, food truck Fridays, a "Star Wars" night, and Latino heritage weekend, among many other promotional events.
Additionally, the Durham Bulls will feature a variety of new food items at Durham Bulls Athletic Park for the 2019 season, highlighted by the team’s Wiener Waffle, Mac and Cheese Dog, Patty Melt, Waffle Mac and Mushroom Swiss Burger. All items have been created by Bull City Hospitality, the Bulls’ food and beverage company.
Additionally, as the City of Durham celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2019, the Durham Bulls are throwing it back to 1902. That year, the Durham Tobacconists took the field as Durham's first professional baseball team, with the name an ode to the agricultural industry at the time. As no images of the Tobacconists team of 1902 can be found, the Bulls are proud to unveil a modern take on these "fauxback" uniforms. (Although the North Carolina League disbanded after just over a month of play in 1902 — and with it the Durham Tobacconists — we honor the City's first professional baseball team.
Be there when the Durham Bulls transform into the Durham Tobacconists for five games in 2019, including a celebration of all things @durhamnc150 on Saturday, April 13 at 6:35 p.m. presented by Amica. Get those tickets now!
Major's 15th Birthday Celebration: April 12
To help mark his 15th birthday during Durham’s year-long sesquicentennial celebration, the community’s beloved Major the Bull sculpture in CCB Plaza will be receiving new, bronze signage, in both English and Spanish, and the Bull City is invited to the celebration.
Hosted by the City of Durham and Liberty Arts, the event will take place in front of the Bull sculpture at CCB Plaza, which is located at the corner of Corcoran and West Parrish Streets in downtown Durham, on Friday, April 12 at 11 a.m. At this event, community members will have the opportunity to meet the artist team behind the sculpture, Leah Foushee Waller and Mike Waller, and hear them speak about creating the Bull, and what the sculpture means to Durham today. Mayor Steve Schewel also will speak and Liberty Arts representatives will be giving out free cupcakes.
The Museum of Durham History is hosting this free, family friendly event on Friday, April 12, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to mark the opening of their Durham 150 exhibit series.
New exhibits include:
–"150 Faces of Durham": a showcase of 150 photographs of diverse groups and individuals who helped create Durham’s heritage from 1869 to the present;
–"Our Bull City: Exhibits from the Community": a series of three-to six-week-long pop-up exhibits by community curators, starting with "Made in Durham" (a look at the family-owned Durham Brazing and Welding, whose work is still found throughout the Triangle in artifacts such as the Victory Bell for Duke Football vs. North Carolina Tar Heels), and;
–"Durham A-Z": a kid-focused series in the museum's redesigned kids area, beginning with 'A is for Ann Atwater' to commemorate the newly released film, "The Best of Enemies." New Durham themed toys and costumes will be added, as well as a green screen photo booth with historic images of Durham.
In honor of North Carolina Beer Month and the 150th anniversary of Durham, six Durham-based breweries, collaborated with other local partners to produce some incredible birthday brews. On April 12, Fullsteam plans to put all seven Durham 150 beers on tap.
(Just one day earlier on April 11, The Glass Jug Beer Lab will host the collection of Durham 150 beers at their tap takeover.) The party doesn't stop there: Fullsteam will host a super-fancy-dress-up dance party on April 13 from 9 p.m.-12 a.m., complete with jazzy music, retro costumes, and continued service of Durham 150 beverages and fancy food.
How Sweet It Is: Recreating The Sugar Shack on April 12
A moment in time immortalized itself on canvas after an experience in Durham. Over a half-century later, we're still talking about it. Luckily for you, the chance to experience history is here.
On Friday, June 27, 1952, a 13-year-old Durham native Ernest Barnes, Jr. (1938–2009) walked a mile from his home in Durham’s “The Bottom” neighborhood to sneak into the Durham Armory, located downtown. There, he saw his first dance party. The scene he took in on the dance floor inspired him to create an iconic painting in the early 1970s “The Sugar Shack.” One of the most recognizable works of art created by an African American artist, the painting served as the cover art for Marvin Gaye’s 1976 “I Want You” album and appeared in the opening and closing credits of “Good Times” for three seasons — and it has inspired dancers and visual artists for generations.
Attend the Good Times at The Sugar Shack: Celebrating Earnie Barnes event and celebration on April 12 at 7 p.m. Expect incredible performances and join in the dancing! Purchase tickets here.
Events at the Pinhook: April 12-13
Can you say weekend? Pinhook will host an Eyes Up Here Comedy Showcase on April 11, The Conjure two-year anniversary party on April 12, and The House of Coxx early bird show (family friendly!) with dance parties to follow on April 13 at 8:30 p.m. They'll also have a later House of Coxx Amature Drag Competition on the same night (doors open at 9 p.m., and the drag competition begins at 10 p.m.)
Haven't you heard? It's the year of the Bull (City, that is).
We can't celebrate Durham's birthday without you!
The Durham 150 Opening Celebration Presented by Aetna is where Durham's dynamic community and 150 years' worth of the city's treasured history meet.
You're going to want to be there. Read this post about everything you can expect to go down at the biggest birthday party we've had in 150 years ... and what you'll need to be there to see firsthand.
A self-proclaimed celebration of all things Durham, this relaunch of Golden Belt’s Arts and Industry Campus is free, and there's plenty to see and do. Head there to enjoy Golden Belt Warehouse artists and Durham Art Guild open studios, as well as food trucks, a record label showcase, live music and hiring fair. Get your tickets here.
Drop by the Duke Arts Annex as artist Dare Coulter finishes a new mural on the grounds! Coulter, a Triangle-based artist, sculptor, and muralist combines distinct aspects of color, culture, and creativity to re-imagine communities of color in joyous and powerful spaces.
Pick up a brush and help Duke students mural the pathway to the Arts Annex, and check out a dance workshop by one of Duke’s talented dance groups.
Stop by for some snacks and picnic under one of the colorful satellite dish murals in Satellite Park—and be sure to pick up a Mural Durham pocket guide to explore public art in and around downtown Durham! Everyone welcome; no registration required!
Join local bike enthusiasts for the largest event celebrating the flavor and style of biker culture in Durham. This event is absolutely free to attend, and all types of bikes welcome! Feel free to drive, park and walk through the Brightleaf Square area to take it all in. The rally will have fun games and giveaways, vendors, food trucks, a custom bike show, live music and much more!
Moogfest is about the feeling.
Not just the ‘good vibes' kind of feeling. We’re talking about the feeling — the tingling in your fingertips, rhythm through the pavement beneath you, can’t-stop-shaking-my-head-because-this-beat-is-so-good kind of feeling. There’s another sentiment that permeates the air when Moogfest comes to town — anticipation. It’s the eager expectation that what you’re about to see hasn’t been seen before. This gathering of innovative sights and sounds is actually a piece of history being synthesized right before your eyes… and you need to be in Durham for it.
National Beer Day is April 7, which coincides nicely with North Carolina Beer Month every April ... except that this year, we're also celebrating Durham's birthday. The fact that Durham has been around for 150 years was more than enough inspiration for a five special breweries to create libations specifically for this momentous occasion.
That not all - Durham Distillery also partnered with nearly a dozen Durham spots to create cocktails for Durham 150. Read on to discover the brews and mixed drinks we'll be sipping this month. Cheers to bubbles, brews, and a momentous birthday.
Truly, there's far too much occurring in April to list in a single blog post! Click below to discover both major and minor Durham cultural happenings, festivals, and entertainment options for you to plan a trip around.