Sometimes referred to as The Paris of the Piedmont, Chicarrboro, or The Seattle of the South , the town of Carrboro has carved out a niche for itself as far more than a sleepy southern town. Great things happen in Carrboro.
With a population of around 19,000, Carrboro is said to be the most densely populated town in North Carolina. We are home to a community of artists, farmers, musicians, laborers, writers, performers, creative minds, forward-thinkers, and just plain folks. We embrace people who are different and believe variety is the spice of life. Our community encourages creativity and innovation. From festivals to Farmers' Markets and everything in between, Carrboro strives to be a place where folks from all walks of life can work together to make it the best it can be.
Located a stone's throw from the UNC (the University Next to Carrboro) campus, what started out mainly as a railroad depot for visitors to UNC eventually evolved into a mill town and home to workers for the University. In the twenty-first century it has transformed into a hub for artistic creativity, cultural diversity, and free thinking.
Carrboro Town Commons is home to the Carrboro Farmers' Market, one of the top ten Markets in the nation, on Saturday mornings and Wednesday afternoons. In 2008, the Saturday Market began operating year round, to the delight of locavores.
For folks who need stuff but don't have money, or want to get rid of stuff but don't care if they make money off of it, the Really, Really Free Market happens the first Saturday of every month at the Town Commons. Leave your wallet at home, it's all free for the taking.
Carrboro/Chapel Hill city buses are free to ride and bikeways are greatly used.
The PTA runs a local Thrift Shop, grossing over $1 million in sales annually and pumping many of these dollars back into the Carrboro/Chapel Hill City School System.
We play host to the largest day long free music festival in NC on the last Sunday in September, the Carrboro Music Festival. In 2013 over 175 acts performed on 25 stages all over Carrboro, all for free.
Speaking of music, Carrboro also has it's very own volunteer-run FM radio station, WCOM. Local programming and talent are featured, as well as community affairs and Spanish language programming, at 103.5 FM, where programming is streamed live 24 hours a day. Carrboro even has it's own rap video: It's Carrboro!
In October, Carrboro hosts The West End Poet's Weekend, bringing poets and performers of all ages together for an event focusing on the spoken word. The Town of Carrboro features many spoken word events throughout the year. We have our very own Poet Laureate, currently District Court Judge, Jay Bryan.
In addition to numerous arts and crafts galleries, many of our fine local restaurants and businesses also exhibit and sell local area art. Carrboro Town Hall and the Century Center regularly host art exhibits featuring local and international artists through the efforts of the Carrboro Art Committee. The Carrboro Branch Library at McDougle Schools hosts ongoing art exhibits in one of the largest exhibit spaces in Carrboro, coordinated by volunteer (and artist) Nerys Levy.
Carrboro, along with Chapel Hill, also features the 2nd. Friday Art Walk, a monthly event showcasing art galleries and exhibits in Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Carrboro is home to The ArtsCenter, Cat's Cradle, NC Crafts Gallery, The Clay Centre, Glazed Expectations, Cameron's, Womancraft and A Remix Art Gallery. Dirty South Improv (DSI), Carrboro's comedy club, plays host to the NC Comedy Arts Festival each Feruary at its location in Carr Mill Mall, and also hosts many community fundraisers. Also a generous contributor to many local happenings, Open Eye Café is host to musical and poetry events throughout the year.
Weaver Street Market is a gathering place for events and has become known as "Carrboro's front yard."
Thursday evenings and Sunday mornings, free music events happen here from spring to fall. A community owned grocery store and cafe, Weaver Street Market is also a large contributor to community events in Carrboro and sponsor or co-sponsor of countless activities here. They are a home-grown business and a great partner who gives back to their community. Not only that, even on the hottest days in Carrboro, you can relax here under the trees, enjoy a gentle breeze, and it just doesn't feel as hot!
Carrboro plays host to the annual Community Dinner, celebrating our diverse community with food from Mama Dip's Country Kitchen, The Carolina Inn and numerous local restaurants and supporters, and entertainment representing various cultures within our community. This event occurs at McDougle Schools Cafetorium, in 2014 on April 27, and is a great opportunity to samples dishes from some of the 25+ local restaurants who contribute, all in one place. Funded by both Carrboro and Chapel Hill, private donors support the dinner with financial contributions that pay for over half of the attendees tickets, thereby allowing folks from all walks of life and income levels to gather for a day of fellowship. Ours is a very giving community.
When the spring winds start to blow, Carrboro's Annual Kite Fly occurs, filling the sky above the back field at Anderson Park with colorful kites.
Carrboro Day is the first Sunday in May. There's live music, books, plants and history. Carrboro Branch Library has a used book and food sale and Carrboro Community Garden Club has a free plant exchange. Fun and games for all!
We have a free Fishing Rodeo every year in June at Strayhorn Pond, where the Town provides poles and bait, handing out prizes in a variety of categories, followed by a free hot dog lunch. There is also a series of Horseshoe Tournaments offered by the Town during the summer months. Carrboro Rec & Parks offers more info on these and other events.
Then comes a huge Fourth of July celebration that begins at Weaver Street Market with opportunities to create hats and other patriotic stuff, decorate yourself, your bike, your wagon, your stroller or anything else you want. There's live music, a costume contest, and Carrboro's Community Parade down Weaver Street to Town Hall. Once there you'll find more live music and performances, and loads of other fun stuff, with fireworks that night at dusk at Kenan Stadium on the UNC Campus, in conjunction with the Town of Chapel Hill.
We have a fun free Halloween Carnival on October 31 that features games, prizes and awards for outstanding costumes. They sell cider, popcorn and other refreshments. This family-friendly event is a great alternative to Chapel Hill's annual Franklin Street celebration, geared toward folks with younger kids, but lots of fun for people of any age.
2006 brought a new event to Carrboro, the Carrboro Film Festival, featuring the work of area filmmakers, which debuted on the Sunday before Thanksgiving in November. This event screens numerous films in a day long event that brings standing room only crowds to Century Hall at the Century Center.
The second Saturday in December we join Chapel Hill for our annual holiday parade, beginning at Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill and ending at Carrboro Town Hall.
In 1975 the old hosery mill in the heart of downtown Carrboro, known as Alberta, was purchased, and after an $8.5 million renovation was converted into Carr Mill Mall, which opened in 1977. Today it's home to a number of art galleries and shops featuring unique, high quality merchandise.
In the late 90's the old Carrboro Baptist Church in the center of downtown was purchased by the town, renovated, and in 2001 opened as the Century Center, a community center that is the host to many classes, events and gatherings, and is available for rental.
It features several meeting rooms, a large auditorium with a stage, grand piano, dance floor, and plenty of space for events. In addition to the Carrboro Branch Library, located in McDougle Middle School, in 2004 The Cybrary opened in the Century Center, giving folks a high tech library to go to downtown.
These are just some of the things that come to mind when I think about what Carrboro has given me, my family and friends. If you have information about Carrboro that you think people would find interesting or informative, e-mail carrboro.com. We need your info!
It's our goal to use this site to bring back some of the community values that are so often lacking in modern America. We are a community of people who want to live in a place where we can feel safe walking down the street at night. With a community effort, we have strived to make Carrboro that kind of town. In Carrboro, we like to look out for one another, get to know and learn from our neighbors, and help anyone who's willing to help themselves.
If you think places like this don't exist anymore, you're wrong. We may be small, but in the words of author Stephen Batchelor, "It is also possible to imagine a community of friendships in which diversity is celebrated rather than censured. In which smallness of scale is regarded as success rather than failure."
This is Carrboro.
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