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SPARKcon 2010 

How many SPARKs are in SPARKcon 2010? The answer is a record 14: art, bazaar, circus (new), cyber (new), dance, design (new), fashion, film, graffiti, idea, music, poetry, tasty and theater. All have multiple events planned on the main stage in City Plaza, the music stage in front of The Raleigh Times (14 E. Hargett St.) in various clubs and galleries on or around Fayetteville Street and on Fayetteville Street itself.

A few of the music events have cover charges. Everything else is free.

There's street painting for kids of all ages; demonstrations and lessons for budding magicians, aerialists, clowns and, yes, fire dancers; poetry readings; panel discussions; art exhibits; photo galleries; a cocktail mixing contest la Iron Chef; and food—lots of it—in a street bazaar that also features 40 juried crafts vendors and the 25 clothing designers from fashionSPARK.

For a complete listing of events, with times and locations, see www.sparkcon.com. Some highlights:

Thursday, Sept. 16

designSPARK: Open 10 a.m.–7 p.m. at City Museum, 220 Fayetteville St. A juried exhibition of the best architectural, graphic, furniture, interior, landscape and industrial designers at work in the Triangle. Continues Friday and Saturday, 10–7, and Sunday 10–4.

ideaSPARK: 7:30 p.m. at the new Kings, 14 W. Martin St. A dozen people with ideas present them PechaKucha-style—that is, no more than 20 slides for 20 seconds each before the gong sounds. Among the presenters: Ashley McClelland of Triangle Hackerspace, Christopher Sopher of youngerthinking.com and state Rep. Deborah Ross, D-Raleigh. The 250 seats were free; all have been reserved.

Local Band Local Beer: 10 p.m.–2 a.m., Tir na nOg, 218 S. Blount St. Featuring Inflowential and Ha Lo.

Friday, Sept. 17

Bike to fashionSPARK: Gather at the N.C. State University Bell Tower on Hillsborough Street at 7 p.m. Valet parking for your bicycle will be available downtown.

fashionSPARK's Fashion Show: 8 p.m. on the main stage at City Plaza, Fayetteville St. On the runway, models wearing the work of 25 area designers. Seats and standing room free; seats can be reserved via the SPARKcon website. Followed by a danceSPARK flash mob and party on City Plaza.

Saturday, Sept. 18

sipSPARK: 2–4 p.m. at the Marriott City Center, 500 Fayetteville St. Head-to-head competition among bartenders using a common ingredient they didn't know about beforehand.

theaterSPARK: 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Lichtin Plaza (in front of the Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts). Seven local theater companies do a bit of everything from Shakespeare (abridged) by Theater in the Park to an open call for "warm-up acts" by, among others, Hot Summer Nights at the Kennedy. At 4 p.m., the North Carolina Theater Conservancy does "Thriller" along with some hits from Hairspray and Little Shop of Horrors.

circusSPARK's Parade, Aerial Show and Fire Conclave: All at and around the circus tent on Fayetteville Street. Parade is at 6 p.m., Aerial Show 8:15 p.m., Fire Conclave 11 p.m. The last is billed as something never before seen in Raleigh: a mystifying performance of light, sound and heat.

Sunday, Sept. 19

Farmers Market on Fayetteville: 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Brunch on Fayetteville is 11–2.

filmSPARK's 48-Hour Challenge: 4–5 p.m. at Artspace, 201 E. Davie St. Filmmakers show their work, produced in two days after they've learned what the secret (required) ingredient is.

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