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Hi y'all,

No matter how many parties or events you’ve planned, when your guest list is a bunch of babies and toddlers, the logistics are a little different. 

Last year, for my son’s first birthday, we did brunch in our Downtown Raleigh apartment, with Benchwarmers bagels and mimosas for the adults, applesauce and other puréed snacks for the little ones.

This year, with a walking and talking trucks/trains/tractors/animals enthusiast on my hands, I wanted to do something a little different.

In my exploration of kids party options, I discovered Raleigh AND Wake County parks have picnic shelters for rent.

Pullen Park (hello, train!) was our first choice, but the (very responsive) team there told us his birthday weekend and the following. There are tons more park options to choose from.

Wake County's online system for picnic shelters reservations at four of its parks is even more convenient. 

What are your Raleigh kid party tips? I’ll share some in future emails if I receive a few!

To community in conversation,
Sarah Day

📸: Devin Desjarlais Photography
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Converging Stories: The first live storytelling event shares stories around first love

Words + photo by Taylor Corlew

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, four community members told stories Monday night centered around a new live storytelling series’ first theme, “The First Love.

A sold-out crowd of 60 gathered in Transfer Co. Work Hall for Converging Stories: The First Love, from Raleigh Convergence x Transfer Company.

Organizer Raleigh Convergence shared in an earlier post: “Live, first-person storytelling is a rich tradition to build empathy, understanding and community between neighbors.”

Community members are coached to tell their true story for one of the live storytelling nights.

Each storytelling event will host 10-minute stories on different interpretations around a theme. 

Converging Stories: The First Love gave a platform to four women to tell their stories centered around the night’s given theme.

The night was emceed by Raleigh Convergence editor and publisher Sarah Day Owen Wiskirchen, who is also one of the storyteller coaches.

Alexus Rhone, founder of Truth Meet Story LLC and Converging Stories’ second storytelling coach, was the first storyteller. Alexus shared a tale of childhood romance and fallout that changed her relationship with her mother.

The second storyteller to take the floor was Mackenzie Ames, a freelance writer based in Raleigh. Ames told about her girlhood first love, Mike, who she jokingly referred to as her “personal Backstreet Boy.” Mackenzie’s story was about unrequited love and learning to love oneself. 

The third storyteller to take the mic was Sharon Desjarlais. Sharon, a hypnotherapist and business coach, gave an account of her college boyfriend and what she playfully labeled “Project Girlfriend.” “Project Girlfriend” involved making herself the seemingly perfect girlfriend. This culminated one night when she edited one of Bob’s papers, prompting her love of editing. That love helped her step into her power, leaving “Project Girlfriend” behind.

The fourth and final storyteller was Dana Phelps, owner of Clairemont Communications, a PR agency in downtown Raleigh. Dana shared her funny yet heartwrenching story of her first love, Larry, who she met at a church lock-in. While the two did not work out romantically, Larry was her best friend. After Larry passed away, Dana’s friendship with his wife continued.

The Converging Stories series will continue with three more events this year:
🎙️ May 4: What If?
🎙️ Aug. 10: Coming home
🎙️ Oct. 26: Fear

Interested potential storytellers can submit 100-word story pitches to

Taylor Corlew is a student at Shaw University, pursuing his degree in communications.
Cary proposes indoor sports complex

As reported at WUNC, Cary leaders are seeking interlocal funds for a multipurpose indoor sports complex just over the Cary line from Raleigh.

It would be one part of the redeveloping Eastern Cary Gateway, within the Cary Towne Center redevelopment, which would transform the traditional mall and surface lots to a mixed use "urban grid." [previously]

The indoor sports complex aims to attract and host "new youth, collegiate, and amateur sports events to Wake County," and town leaders are seeking interlocal funding, which means Raleigh's City Council and Wake County Commissioners must agree to allocate the tourism tax funds. 

The News & Observer reports this project would be in a different category for interlocal funds consideration than Downtown South. [News & Observer]


Rolling Stone wrote about Raleigh's music scene, but when they say Raleigh they really mean the whole Triangle. [Rolling Stone]

North Carolina is land of the longleaf pine and Wake County is home to a 60-acre longleaf forest at Harris Lake County Park, but the native species is at risk. Private landowners are one key to its sustainable future. [Southerly]

Raleigh Police stopped using a controversial facial recognition software after reporting that said the technology pulled images from social media without users' consent. [WRAL]

Bean Sprouts is open as Marbles' new cafe. [Go Ask Mom]

Tips or topics you're curious about? Tap reply or email
☑️ Go vote early beginning today! You can also register and vote at the same time during early voting. You can go to any of these sites. 

🗳️ Learn more here in our guide to voting [Raleigh Convergence

🗳️ INDY Week has its list of endorsements for Wake County [INDY Week]

🗳️ And you can see who's running for what here [News & Observer]

☑️ Wake County BRT Southern Corridor Kickoff Meeting: Next Thursday, Feb. 20, you can learn about the plans for a bus rapid transit (faster, more efficient bus service).

Now, transit leaders are talking about the route that connects Wake County going south, too, into areas like Garner. It will be at the Garner Senior Center from 4-7 p.m. with a presentation at 5:30 p.m. [info]
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