Sunflowers, Stars, Safaris and Stretching: Summer Events Galore at Dix Park

<p>Dorothea Dix Park will host several events this summer and fall.</p>

Author: Mimi Tomei

The field of sunflowers at Dorothea Dix Park will be the focus of SunFest on Saturday, July 14. 

July 10, 2018 – If you’ve seen more traffic than usual along Hunt Drive, you’re not alone. 

The short stretch of two-lane pavement that connects Dix Park and the DHHS campus to Western Boulevard south of downtown Raleigh is the principle route for sightseers seeking a daylight photo op with row upon row of sunflowers. Hundreds of individuals and families have made their way, cameras and smartphones in hand, to discover the sunflower field is tucked away on a slight rise, bordered by soccer fields and parking to the north and Hunt Drive on its east side. 

The tall plants with six- to eight-inch diameter yellow blooms – which organizers say will be at their peak this weekend – are the star of the SunFest at Dix Park event, on Saturday, July 14. The free event will feature food trucks, live music, arts and crafts and local vendors. The celebration runs from 2 p.m.  – 7 p.m.

SunFest is among several events planned at Dorothea Dix Park this summer and fall.

On Thursday, July 19 at 11 a.m., the park is hosting a bug safari, complete with games, songs, crafts and stories to help kids learn about insects in the park. The free event is open to kids ages 2 – 6 and their parents.  

Those looking for relaxation after work should check out the free one-hour yoga classes on the field near the Williams Building at 6 p.m. every Wednesday through October 10. Registration is strongly recommended. Participants are asked to bring water, a towel and a yoga mat. 

Since the City of Raleigh bought the property in 2015, many have wondered what the finished Dix Park will look like. Some of those questions might be answered at the YNPN Dix Park Breakfast at the Flower Cottage on Friday, Aug. 3 from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. The free breakfast will feature a presentation by Kate Pearce, the Dix Park project manager for the City of Raleigh, who will discuss how the future of the park will incorporate the property's history as a mental hospital.

On the evening of Sunday, Aug. 12, the park itself won’t be the centerpiece – the sky above it will. The Perseid Meteor shower will be at its peak that weekend. The Morehead Planetarium and Science Center, Chapel Hill Astronomical and Observational Society (CHAOS) and Raleigh Astronomy Club (RAC) will bring telescopes visitors can look through and also be available to help viewers understand what they see. In addition to the meteors, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will also be visible. The free skywatching event will take place from 9 p.m. – 11 p.m. on the big field across from the Adams Building and will be the second skywatching event at Dix Park this summer.

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