DCP Pavilion Undergoes Improvements

The Pavilion at Durham Central Park is getting a major update:

Painting begins at the DCP Pavilion today, January 19, 2022, and will continue throughout the next month! Yes, this means the pavilion will be periodically closed off to park patrons. Because of weather, rentals, and the painting process, the painting of the pavilion will take place intermittently. So be sure to check if the pavilion has caution tape out before heading to the pavilion for recreation. If the pavilion is roped off and there are painters under the pavilion please enjoy the many other attractions at DCP like the pollinator garden and bee hotel, Mt. Merrill, the Pixel Wall, Barnaby D. Troll and more on the east side of the park.

We will be closing off the pavilion intermittently. Please avoid the highlighted area when you see the pavilion entrances roped off with caution tape.

The Pavilion at Durham Central Park opened with a grand celebration in 2007. Since then, it has hosted weddings, classes, festivals, events, and of course, the Durham Farmers’ Market. The market and other rentals will continue to be open while the painting process goes on, but during the week, we will be restricting access to the pavilion.


Gonzales Painters and Contractors, Inc. Begins painting in the Durham Central Park Pavilion
Gonzales Painters and Contractors have begun painting the DCP Pavilion

We’d like to thank Gonzales Painters and Contractors Inc. for providing quality improvement to our beloved pavilion! This will be the first time since the DCP Pavilion opened that we’ve done painting improvements. Routine maintenance is key to keeping our well loved park a safe, dynamic, and fun place to be!


Like the improvements we’re making?

Support the work we do to keep the park amazing by donating todayDurham Central Park Inc. is a 501(c)3 that relies on donations and sustainers to maintain, program, and fund this beautiful green space downtown Durham.

Parties For The Park: LocoPops Give Back Week

Sundries @ LocoPops is giving back 10% to Durham Central Park for all online and in person purchases* the week of 11/1 through 11/7. Here’s some great ideas to making the most of this opportunity and supporting DCP:

Grab an after school treat
Nab some specialty ingredients to kick your at-home dinner scene up a notch
Stock up on essentials from your favorite local producers
Snag a great card or gift for someone special
Pick up a 6 pack or bottle of something tasty to go with dinner
Bring home a new puzzle – winter is coming!
Sundries@LocoPops is open for in-person shopping Tues-Sun 1:00-7:00PM at their location at 2618 Hillsborough Rd. Or shop online at shop.ilovelocopops.com for in-store pickup or delivery.

* gift certificate purchases not included in offer

Parties For The Park: Treat Your Sweet Tooth on the Roof!

Enjoy a delicious array of sweets, dessert wines and coffees on the Church+Main Rooftop in the heart of downtown with lots of room and its 360 views of Durham!  After your Friday dinner, save room for mouthwatering desserts prepared by Monuts, Sweets By Shayda and Ninth Street Bakery.  Dessert wines provided compliments of D B Sutton & Co Wine Shop and coffees served courtesy Little Waves Coffee Roasters. It promises to be a sweet fall evening!

(If by chance, we need to make this a ‘take-out’ event because of Covid, we are making this a ‘tickets for two’ event…that way we can send you home with a bottle of wine! Hopefully this won’t happen…but just in case.)

Hosts: Ann & Lex Alexander and Charlie Witzleben


130 East Main Street, Downtown Durham

October 22, 8:00 – 10:00p.m.

20 Tickets for 2


Dress: Casual

Menu: A fabulous and delectable assortment of desserts accompanied by delicious dessert wines and coffees.

Parties For The Park: Hot-n-Spicy Hootenanny Swap Meet ft. Cajammers & Larry Mangum

Close your Zoom app, turn off your pad! Join Tess in the big backyard of her 1923 farmhouse for gumbo, jalapeño cornbread, dirty rice and more NOLA-inspired fare to enjoy with two glasses of craft beer or wine.
To DCP staffer Tess, a hootenanny is where folk music can mean country, soul, Cajun or hip hop, so get ready for Cajammers, live! We’re talking Cajun waltzes, two steps, zydeco, blues, and other Louisiana-inspired tunes, including songs in Cajun French. Special Guest songwriter Larry Mangum will be there too.
Throw in a swap meet and everyone goes home with unforgettable memories and a new treasure. Each ticket holder should bring 1-2 sanitized personal items to swap and the story that goes with them. A zero waste event.
Tickets: $45, tips encouraged!
Guests: 20, masks and vaccinations required

Parties For The Park: Oh Mexico!

Hosts: Plum Restaurant 

Lisa Callahan, owner, with chef Trent Shank


Come join us at Plum for an autumn fiesta. Chef Trenton Shank cut his culinary teeth working and eating at taco trucks around Dallas, his hometown.  The deep impression it made on him gets full expression in our dinner to benefit Durham’s Central Park.  

We will start the evening with cocktails: margaritas for sure; and some delicious sparkling wines from our local wine hero, Andre Tamers and his company; De Maison Selections.  We will pass chicharrones with lime and chili and arrange chips and salsa around the room for everyone to enjoy.  Then the feast begins with a favorite special here at Plum: aquachili; a delicious Mexican ceviche; albondigas; meatballs in a rich tomato sauce, and the addictive, delicious Mexican street corn; roasted ears of corn with queso and spices.  

The main dishes include handmade brisket tamales in a BBQ mole and a traditional chicken in cream sauce with roasted winter squash and salsa verde.  The final course will be our pastry chef; Emma Spalding’s version of pastel de tres leches.

We hope this will be a meal and an evening to remember.  Join us and help us keep our beloved Central Park growing and evolving with Durham.  We look forward to serving you this very special dinner for the park at Plum.  

501 Washington Street, Downtown Durham

6:00 cocktails, 6:40 dinner 

24 Tickets


Dress: Casual

FAQ for Parties For The Park: Tickets on sale Friday!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Parties for the Park?

It is a series of parties and event from September to November that DCP enthusiasts host at their home, restaurant or other venues. The parties have different themes, prices, and numbers of attendees. All the parties are donated by the hosts and the ticket sales go straight to DCP, Inc.

Who gets the money from the Parties for the Park ticket sales?

All of the money from the ticket sales goes directly to Durham Central Park, Inc.

What is the money used for?

The funds raised through Parties for the Park make up about 1/3 of DCP Inc.’s annual operating budget. The money pays for DCP staff, maintenance and improvements of park structures, free programming and special projects.

What are this year’s special projects?

In 2020, we will focus our efforts on re-making the Sister Cities Grove (the area north of the Pavilion). That area has been in flux for the past 2 years with recent construction and city waterline upgrades. To make this area of the park comfortable and welcoming, we will be installing new trees, new benches & tables and updated signage. In 2020, we will also be installing plantings in the newly built terraced planting beds behind the Pavilion. In addition to supporting DCP’s operating funds, money raised through the 2019 Parties for the Park will support these special projects.

Is my ticket considered a tax-deductible donation?

No. The laws surrounding this are complex. We work with the hosts to price the events close to fair market value. We will continue to explore this and may be able to change it in the future.

What is the processing fee?

In order to use ticket processing services, like Eventbrite, there are fees associated with safe processing of information. Since these events are fundraisers for DCP, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization, we truly appreciate your support in paying the processing fees in order to ensure that the funds from the ticket sales are used to support the operation, programming, and improvement of Durham Central Park!

Do I need a physical ticket for the events that I’ll be attending?

No. When you purchase your tickets through Eventbrite, your name will be added to the guest list. All of the hosts will have the guest lists and will welcome you when you arrive.

After I purchase my tickets, will I be sent any additional information?

Yes. The week of the event, we’ll send you additional info about your event, where to park, how to get there, and any other pertinent information that you may need to easily and successfully get to your event. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Erin at [email protected]

Who do I contact if I have questions about the event?

Please feel free to get in touch with Erin Kauffman, Durham Central Park’s Executive Director. She can be reached at 919-794-8194 or [email protected]

Can I host a Party for the Park next year?

Absolutely! If you are interested in learning more about hosting, please get in touch with Lee Ann Tilley, the Parties for the Park Chair at [email protected]

2019: will you help build on this success and sustain the park into the future?

Thanks to your generosity through the years, Durham Central Park has become a unique, welcoming gathering space in the heart of our growing city.

Just a little over 20 years ago, Durhamites worked together to envision an urban park to engage the community and be a place to enjoy natural beauty, public art, community events, and playing in nature. Durham Central Park is different from other city parks. The city owns the land, but the park is managed, developed, and programmed by DCP, Inc, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. We do not receive public funding. Friends of the park, like you, have generously supported the park every step of the way to transform five weedy, underused acres into this wonderful park.

As the skyline around the park continues to change, DCP, Inc. remains committed to our mission of Providing Space for Community. It is critical that Durham has a gathering space in the heart of the city where everyone can feel welcome. This year, along with the hard work of maintaining the park and continuing our free, inclusive programming, we have been able to make some great improvements. In November, we installed our new interactive pixel art wall where park-goers make new art every day. We planted 30 new trees. Moving into the winter, we will be installing a pollinator garden around the bee hotel, planting more trees, and adding several new benches.

In 2019, we will undertake the hard work of updating our strategic and master plans. In the park’s short history, with the constant support of the community, we have been able to build a great park. But, it is time to look towards the future and ensure that the park lives up to its full potential and becomes the jewel of downtown Durham that was envisioned from the start.

Will you help build on this success and sustain the park into the future? Your year-end gift, of any size, will help to safeguard this space and all that it means to you and your family.

·         Make a Year-End Gift by mailing a check or donating through our website

·         Become a Park Sustainer by making monthly, quarterly or annual gifts at durhamcentralpark.org/donate

We look forward to seeing you at the Park soon!

Erin Kauffman, Executive Director

Durham Central Park, Inc.

Parties for the Park tickets ON SALE AUGUST 10!


Parties for the Park is the new name for Durham Central Park’s annual fall fundraiser Meals from the Market. The new name captures the vibrancy of the park and the energy that everyone who visits the park brings. This series of fundraisers is expanded in vision yet similar in format to what we have done before. We hope that you will join in on the fun and attend a party to support Durham Central Park – a place for Durham to be Durham.

This fall, Parties for the Park is 17 exciting parties – dinner parties, pool parties, cocktail parties, dance parties and more! Our generous hosts invite you into their homes and businesses to enjoy a good time and raise money to support Durham Central Park.


Durham Central Park is a 5-acre city-owned park along Foster Street in the heart of downtown Durham. Our organization, DCP, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization holds a management agreement with the City of Durham to operate, develop and sustain this invaluable community asset. We rely on contributions (both money and time) from the community to keep the park the open, thriving, and welcoming space that it has become over the years. DCP, Inc. is made up of a 28 member volunteer board and three staff members.


For 20 years, we have built the infrastructure that makes the DCP beautiful, accessible, functional, comfortable and welcoming to the entire community. We provide high quality, free programming including the PLAYlist Concert Series, Food Truck Rodeos, Fourth of July Parade, Free Movies, and Free Yoga. We work closely with the city to advocate for the needs of the park as the downtown develops and changes. We also provide affordable rental space for local groups and non-profits to use, including the Durham Farmers’ Market.


The funds raised from Parties for the Park have supported many projects over the years including:

  • the expansion of  our PLAYlist Concert Series 
  • the installation of benches, tables and trees
  • the construction of Mt. Merrill

Additionally, the funds help to cover the usual costs for staffing, maintaining, and  programming the park. This fall, a new art installation will be installed on the east side of the park overlooking the lawn and a water fountain will be installed at Mt. Merrill.

None of this would be possible without your generous support!