Why This Matters: ASC supports cultural festivals throughout the year that increase access to arts, science, history and heritage offerings and the quality of cultural programming in neighborhoods and towns throughout Mecklenburg County.
By Bernie Petit
If you want to check out a cultural festival in the fall, you’ve got eight straight weekends in September and October to do it.
Fall festival season returns with several long-running festivals and a handful of newer ones that emphasize arts, culture and heritage.
ASC is supporting several such events throughout the year by investing $45,000 in festival sponsorships between July 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017, to increase access to arts, science, history and heritage offerings and the quality of cultural programming in neighborhoods and towns throughout Mecklenburg County.
Here’s a roundup of upcoming festivals supported by ASC grants, as well as other local festivals taking place this fall. Admission is free unless noted.
Festival of India
When: Noon-6 p.m. Sept. 17-18.
Where: Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Presented by the India Association of Charlotte, the Festival of India showcases the diversity of Indian food, art, dance, music and Bollywood entertainment. There will be yoga demonstrations, henna tattoos available for festivalgoers, traditional dances in front of Belk Theater on North Tryon Street and more.
Admission: $6 online at carolinatix.org, $7 at the door, free for kids 9 years old and younger.
Festival in the Park
When: 4-9:30 p.m. Sept. 23, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sept. 24 and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 25.
Where: Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Ave., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: For more than 51 years, this Charlotte tradition has been seen as the last push of summer and a celebration of the fall to come. Local artisans, bands and crafts of all sorts are presented in a fun outdoors fair-like atmosphere. The festival features 180 artists and craft exhibitors and nearly 1000 entertainers.
Welcoming Week: Winterfield Community Festival and Concert
When: 1-4 p.m. Sept. 24.
Where: Winterfield Elementary School, 3100 Winterfield Place, Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Community School of the Arts art activities, live music, a Winterfield Community Garden celebration and a concert by the Charlotte Symphony.
26th Annual Latin American Festival
When: Noon-8 p.m. Oct. 8.
Where: Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road, Charlotte.
What’s Happening: The 26th Annual Latin American Festival will feature musical performances from Nicaraguan Grammy-winning Salsa singer Luis Enrique with Venezuela’s ska superstars Desorden Publico and Mexican-American Grammy Award winners La Santa Cecilia. The event also features Latin American food, handmade crafts, visual artists, and an interactive street festival environment.
Admission: $5, free for children 8 and younger.
Yiasou Greek Festival
When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 8, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sept. 9-10, noon-7 p.m. Sept. 11.
Where: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 600 East Blvd., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: The festival features authentic Greek cuisine, homemade pastries, live traditional music and dancing as well as shopping and cultural exhibits.
Admission: $3; children 12 and younger free when accompanied by a parent or guardian.
When: Sep 16, 2016: 3-10 p.m. Sept. 16 and 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sept. 17.
Where: Johnson C. Smith University, 100 Beatties Ford Rd., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Live music, food and craft brews on the Liston Hall Lawn of JCSU during this inaugural, two-day music festival presented by Historic West End Initiative.
Admission: Free, but RSVP requested.
Downtown Davidson Arts Festival
When: 5-9 p.m. Sept. 17.
Where: Sanctuary of Davidson, 108 S. Main St.
What’s Happening: Spend an evening strolling the historic streets of downtown Davidson at an event showcasing over 40 makers. Art crawlers will also be treated to live music on the Davidson Green, outdoor food and beverage sales, and an interactive children’s art area.
41st Annual UNC Charlotte International Festival
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 24.
Where: Barnhardt Student Activity Center at UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: UNC Charlotte’s longest running tradition is a celebration of people, places and culture vibrantly displayed through exhibition booths arranged in colorful marketplace style representing the cultures of about 50 nations. Art, crafts, costumes, food, music and dance combine to create the illusion of having traveled the globe in a day.
23rd Annual Carolina Renaissance Festival
When: 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays, Oct. 1-30.
Where: Carolina Renaissance Festival, 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville.
What’s Happening: History comes alive at the annual festival where hundreds of costumed characters re-create a 16th century European marketplace. It’s a 22-acre village nestled in the forest and meadows, complete with castles, cottages, kitchens and pubs, filled with activities. You’ll find music, comedy and theater, food and drink, fine hand-made arts and crafts, artisan demonstrations, games and rides.
Admission: $14 – $24; free for children 4 and younger.
When: 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. Oct. 15.
Where: First Ward Park, 301 301 E. 7th St., Charlotte, and throughout First Ward.
What’s Happening: The celebration of the power of words will include poets, memoirists, novelists, scriptwriters, playwrights, storytellers and lyricists. The interactive festival also will offer panels and workshops, as well as a book market and author signings. The focus will be on performances and pairings that mix genres and media.