CARY — Downtown streets will be saturated again on Saturday with the artists, shoppers, gawkers and special attractions that make up Lazy Daze, the town’s biggest event of the year and one of the most popular arts festivals in the country.
Last year’s event drew an estimated 70,000 people in all. About 385 vendors are expected to set up shop this weekend.
Among them will be a unique group: Cary’s own youth film scene. Midway through the day of the event, the Cary Youth Video Project will present films made by a half-dozen young filmmakers.
Set to make their premiere at 1 p.m. at the Cary Arts Center, the artists will be on hand to talk about their films and answer questions. The town also will screen previous years’ films beforehand.
Outside, visitors will find the usual boggling array of art and performers at the 37th annual iteration of the event, from a chainsaw art competition to a well-dressed Canadian crying greetings.
The festival also will host its first aerialists, two women who will perform on silks suspended from a giant tripod.
“You want to make sure it’s new and fresh,” said Joy Ennis, the festival’s coordinator. “The good news is that we have a lot of really creative people on staff, and somebody’s always coming up with some idea.”
Planning your visit
This year’s booths will include bird baths, giraffe-shaped plates, rainbows of quilts, stuffed bears and thousands more pieces.
The event runs 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking downtown can be difficult, so the town offers free shuttles from the Cary Towne Center mall at 1105 Walnut St. Buses run every 15 minutes from the exit near the Sears store to downtown.
Be warned: Last year’s surge in attendance led to waits of up to 40 minutes for the shuttle, according to attendees. Ennis said the town hadn’t expected the record-breaking crowd, which she attributed to cool weather.
If this year’s weather is looking particularly nice, the town may add a bus or two to the fleet of vehicles running shuttle service. Visitors also have a good chance of finding a spot, she said, in the parking deck by Cary Town Hall at 101 Wilkinson Ave.
Kenney: 919-460-2608; Twitter: @KenneyOnCary