Destination SunFest

Detination SunFest graphic banner with green field background and sunflowers
Dix Park Logo

You're invited to join us for a SUN-sational family-friendly festival: Destination SunFest at Dix Park!  Enjoy the Ferris wheel, carousel, food + drinks, live entertainment, history hayride tours along with art, craft and other fun activities for kids and adults!  All rides, games, and activities at the event are FREE. 

Destination SunFest is a celebration of the completion of the Master Plan and welcome party for the entire community to visit the sunflowers, connect with the land and become part of the next phase of Dorothea Dix Park!

Please RSVP Registration is not required, but it does help us to know how many guests to expect and we can contact you with important event information. This event is free to the public thanks to Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy donors.

RSVP Today



During the master planning process, our community shared a diverse array of ideas for the types of experiences they wish to have in the future of Dix Park. The Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan categorizes these ideas into themes that will come to life throughout the park:

  • Wellness and Play – For All Ages, For All Visitors
  • Arts and Culture – Memorable Experiences
  • Food and Community – Bringing Together Groups and Families
  • Gardens and Ecology – Inspired by the Land and the Region
  • History and Reflection – Connect the Past to Today

The uses and activities that together create these various experiences at Dorothea Dix Park will change as Raleigh grows and as the needs of the community evolve. These themes will help anchor our community’s vision for what the park should offer as it develops over time.

Join us to celebrate the Master Plan, connect with the land and community, and become a part of the next chapter of Dorothea Dix Park. 

Giant Ferris Wheel and vendors at Destination Dix
Giant Ferris Wheel and vendors at Destination Dix

Activities + Rides

At Destination SunFest, activities throughout the  festival celebrate the programmatic themes in the Master Plan – offering something for everyone.

Destination SunFest Festival Map

Clink on MORE to display activity descriptions.

Wellness and Play

  • Amusement Rides – Celebrate the child within by experiencing the Ferris Wheel, carousel, fun slide, swings, and inflatables. 
  • Putt Putt – Enjoy a healthy game of miniature golf, getting your steps in as you walk the course.
  • Bubble + Water Play – Chase bubbles as you hop and skip through the field and cool off with a water slide.

Arts and Culture

  • Live Music – Sit back and enjoy local musicians performing all day long. 
  • Air Brushing + Balloon Twisting – Display your creative side with air brush body art or a creative inflated design.
  • Scrap Exchange – Craft a unique art project with upcycled materials. 
  • Art Activity – Get creative through an interactive art experience with Kid Lab artists.

Food and Community 

  • Local Food and Beer – Experience local fare from some of the triangle’s favorite vendors with seating areas to mingle with neighbors.
  • Yard Games – Gather with friends and meet new people over a friendly game of cornhole, connect 4 and more. 
  • Raleigh Police and Fire Department – Connect with your local police officers and fire fighters who work hard to create a safe community for us all.

Gardens and Ecology

  • Sunflower Field – Visit the 5 acres of sunflowers planted at Dix Park.
  • Garden Activity – Ask a Gardener for at-home plant care tips and take home a giveaway from our Raleigh Parks team.
  • Mobile Biofuel Processor – Watch as City of Raleigh makes biodiesel from the sunflowers harvested by Public Utilities.
  • Vendors - Hear about other City of Raleigh environmental initiatives with Sustainability and Stormwater staff including pollinator habitat and water conservation. 

History and Reflection

  • Historic Hayrides – Take a hayride around beautiful Dix Park that highlights views of historic buildings and unique landscapes. Guided tours will be offered each half hour. 
  • History Display – Explore the past with portions of the current exhibit at the City of Raleigh Museum, From Plantation to Park: The Story of Dix Hill.

Visiting the Sunflowers: 

  • Please stay on the paths in the field and keep children from straying into the sunflowers.
  • Walking up hills, in grass and on uneven surfaces will be necessary. We recommend closed-toe shoes!
  • Please do not pick the flowers or eat the sunflower seeds. Public Utilities will be harvesting them for use after they have bloomed.
  • Remember you are outside, so are bugs and other critters. Be prepared!
  • Tag us in your photos on social media: @dixpark  and use #DixPark
  • ..and enjoy the beautiful blooms!


Park visitors enjoying walking through the sunflower field during Dix Park's SunFest event
Park visitors enjoying walking through the sunflower field during Dix Park's SunFest event

Getting There + Parking

This is going to be a BIG event! To maximize safety and to provide the best experience for everyone at the park, there is no parking on Dorothea Dix Park campus for this event. Free vehicle parking will be available on NC State Centennial Campus with a free shuttle running between the parking lots and Dorothea Dix Park. You can also walk or bike into the park.

NC State Centennial Parking Map for Destination Sunfest

Cars+ Vehicles

  • All event parking will be on NC State Centennial Campus
  • You can access event parking lots from Centennial Parkway
  • You can access Centennial Parkway from Lake Wheeler Road and I-40 or from Avent Ferry Road
  • There will no parking on Dorothea Dix Park campus 6 am - 11 pm on July 13
  • Free parking shuttles will be available near parking lots
  • You are welcome to walk from parking lots to the festival

Parking Shuttles

  • Shuttles will begin running at 1:00 pm and will continue until 11:00 pm

Ride Share 

  • Drop-Off + Pick-Up for Ride Share will occur on Partners Way on NC State Centennial Campus
  • Ride Share vehicles will not be allowed on Dorothea Dix Park campus

Bikes + Scooters

  • Bike and Scooter parking will be available in the Williams Building parking lot.
  • Enter the park on Hunt Drive and follow the signs. See map above and look for the bicycle icon.

Entertainment + Music Schedule:

2:45 – 4:00 pm – Africa Unplugged
4:30 – 5:30 pm – The Sunday Special
6:00 – 7:00 pm – Hammer No More The Fingers
7:30 – 9:00 pm – 120 Minutes

Female musician performing on stage at Destination Dix
Female musician performing on stage at Destination Dix
Food Vendors:

Queso Monster NC
Poblanos Tacos
Gussy's Greek
Jay's Italian Ice
Lake Pine Brusters
Brooklyn Boys Pizza
Mr Softee Wake
Taco Grande
Hotcakes and Chicken
Jam Ice Cream
Beefy Buns
Curry in a Hurry

Beverage Vendors:

Lynnwood Brewing
Carolina Brewing
Trophy Brewing
Bull City Ciderworks
Compass Rose Brewing
Fortnight Beer
Raleigh Brewing
Big Boss Brewing

Vendor tents at Destination Dix
Vendor tents at Destination Dix

Know Before You Go

What Can You Bring

  • Chairs + Blankets
  • Food + Non-alcoholic Drinks
  • Refillable Water Bottles

What is NOT Allowed

  • Dogs + Pets
  • Smoking
  • Drones + Other Aerial Devices


Dorothea Dix Park continues to work to be accessible and welcoming for visitors with disabilities and limited mobility. Planning to attend and have questions about accessibility? Contact Joseph Voska, Programs and Operations Supervisor, at 919-996-6688 or

  • Accessible parking with reserved spaces are available in all lots.
  • Accessible port-a-johns will be located near the event location.
  • Portions of the Dorothea Dix Park that have uneven surfaces are not ADA accessible.
  • This event will take place on grass, uneven surfaces, and across all forms of terrain.

There is no parking on Dorothea Dix Park campus for this event. Free vehicle parking will be available on NC State Centennial Campus with a free shuttle running between the parking lots and Dorothea Dix Park. See more information above.

Questions? Please contact or call 919-996-6688

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