Cooke Street Carnival 2011: The Sideshow with The Small Ponds, The Tomahawks, Nests and More

September, 20, 2011, by Jedidiah

Cooke Street Carnival 2011: The Sideshow with The Small Ponds, The Tomahawks, Nests and More
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Cooke Street Carnival is back for another day of block party fun in Downtown Raleigh. This year's event, its third, will take place on the afternoon of October 15th, 2011 from 1-6pm on Cooke Street (between Lane and Jones streets - MAP) located in the Idlewild Neighborhood, just a few blocks East of the Governor's Mansion in Downtown Raleigh. The event was inspired by the Notting Hill Carnival in London and Mardi Gras in London, as well as your typical Fall Festivals/Carnivals that happen all around the South each year.

Each year, the Cooke Street Carnival brings together thousands of Raleigh's citizens to celebrate local arts, culture and music. Over 30 Raleigh art vendors, local food trucks, a beer truck, multiple bands and a large group of artists and circus performers are expected to participate in the event. Local folk rock bands The Small Ponds, The Tomahawks and Nests will headline the entertainment which will also include a dunking booth (Bonner Gaylord has already volunteered to get dunked), kissing booth, pie eating contests, new art photo-opp boards (by local artists Raines Thompson, Kristin Matwiczyk, Sara Phoenix and Jessica Robinson), activities for the kids and other carnival inspired antics. A drum circle will keep rhythm at one end of the street while Johnny Swank plays his guitar (made from a metal Frito Lays lunch box) up and down the block throughout the day. Oh, and Mr. Tony Woodard will once again return as the emcee.

The Small Ponds

Caitlin Cary (Whiskeytown, Tres Chicas) is a violin player and songwriter by nature. Matt Douglas (The Proclivities) is a Fulbright scholarship recipient, saxaphone player and songwriter in his own right. The Small Ponds are eagerly poised to share their songs with a wider audience. New, fast friends, Cary and Douglas are busy creating delightful new music based around their combined talents and their penchants for clear-headed, clear-spoken lyrics, precise, knowing arrangements, wide-ranging, emotionally packed songs—all brought to life by a tender vocal interplay that may inspire new entries to the dictionary definition of “duet.” Check out more about The Small Ponds over at their website.

The Tomahawks

Nick Jaeger (guitarist in both Roman Candle and Max Indian) steps to the forefront in the throwback folk rock band The Tomahawks. The band is full of nostalgia evoking AM radio appointments that can carry your thoughts between surf rock and southern hospitality in the same track. Bouncy chompy piano keys and drifting harmonies hurry to announce the album as upbeat and winsome while sure footed electric guitar work firmly label it rock. You can download their great 2010 album, Cut Loose, over at their Bandcamp Page.


In September of 2010, Jeremy Walton began a project called Nests. Simple and raw, it would be Jeremy’s first foray into songwriting. The end result finds the music residing somewhere between post-country and shoegaze. These sometimes eerie, always intimate songs capture the imagination of the listener with the help of collaborators and friends, Benjamin Eales, Raymond Finn, Nathan Price and Brian Corum. Nests is recording for a release on DiggUp Tapes in the Summer of 2011…Fall at the latest.

Food vendors will include Only Burger, Klausie’s Pizza, Slippin’ Sliders, Aviator Brewing, The People’s BBQ, Crumb, Pie Bird, Escazu Chocolate and coffee from Joe van Gogh with more to come. Artists and local businesses will line Cooke Street early in the morning to promote their ventures throughout the day. The carnival is an event originally started to foster community interaction and promote local artists, musicians and businesses. Compost Now, Good Girls Studio INC, Adam Peele, Metamorphosis Metals, Epona and Oak, City Blox, Amplified Art, DiggUp Tapes, Kinder Soles and City Fabric are just a few of the businesses that will be on hand selling and laying out their products for the community. Each of these are great examples of what it means to be a small business making their way in a big city.

The theme for this year's event is Cooke Street Carnival 2011: The Sideshow. Having played second fiddle to the NC State Fair each year, the carnival has decided embrace its sideshow nature and attempt to bring out as much Circus Sideshow themed activities as possible. Look for circus freaks all along the street and bring your own interpretation of what it means to be a 21st Century Sideshow freak. There will be a stilt walker, hoola hoopers, a bearded lady, a tarot card reader and more to entertain throughout the day. Also, costumes are encouraged.

Here is the music lineup (all bands and times are subject to change, but hopefully won’t):

5:45pm - Contest winner announcements

4:45pm - The Small Ponds

4:20pm - Pie Bird pie eating contest - Savory

3:30pm - The Tomahawks

3:10pm - Pie Bird pie eating contest - Sweet

2:15pm - Nests

Djs before, after and between bands


Each year, The Cooke Street Carnival picks a locally based charity to sponsor and this year it will be the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. So bring out your canned foods and look forward to having a fun Fall time at a carnival in the street.

Check out more info on becoming a vendor and more at the Cooke Street Carnival website and for full information on the event, see the Cooke Street Carnival 2011 Event Page over at Facebook.

Disclaimer: I am one of the organizers of this not-for-profit event. All proceeds from each year's event go to host the next year's event.

Fatt Legg graphic by Brittain Peck.


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Entertainment, Other posts by Jedidiah.


Cooke Street CarnivalThe Small PondsNests


  • Brent
    09/20 09:56 AM

    We were so stoked to be apart of this last year. Such a stellar event. + another stellar lineup for ‘11. Excited.

  • Stephen
    09/21 10:24 AM

    Sign me up for some deep-fried cigarettes.

  • arthurb3
    10/11 02:52 PM

    Sounds like fun!

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