By Bernie Petit
September has long been considered the unofficial start of the cultural season.
What better way to kick off the season than cultural festivals that engage the community in the arts?
The Arts & Science Council (ASC) will invest $42,500 in festival sponsorships in 2014-15 to help increase access and strengthen the quality of cultural programming in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Here’s a look at festivals taking place in September and October that are supported by ASC grants, as well as some other community festivals. Admission is free unless noted.
Festival of India
When: Noon-7 p.m. Sept. 13-14.
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 festival goers, traditional dances in front of Belk Theater on North Tryon Street and more.
Admission: $5 online, $7 at the door, free for kids 9 years old and younger.
Festival in the Park
When: 4-9:30 p.m. Sept. 19, 10 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Sept. 20 and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 21.
Where: Freedom Park, 2435 Cumberland Ave., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: For more than 50 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 an outdoors fair-like atmosphere. Festival in the Park features 180 artists and craft exhibitors and nearly 1000 entertainers.
24th Annual Latin American Festival
When: Noon-8 p.m. Oct. 12.
Where: Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road, Charlotte.
What’s Happening: The 24th Annual Latin American Festival will feature internationally renowned musical performances from Colombian electro-tropical band Bomba Estéreo, Puerto Rican sensation and masters of contemporary bomba and plena Plena Libre, the Latin Grammy award-winning Panamanian Ska-rock group Los Rabanes and more. The festival also features traditional and contemporary dance performances, Latin food, a marketplace with authentic handmade crafts and a Plaza de Artistas featuring some of North Carolina’s best Latino visual artists.
Admission: $5, free for children 8 and younger.
‘Tawba Walk Music and Arts Festival
When: 2-8 p.m. Sept. 13.
Where: Oak Street Mill, 19725 Oak St., Cornelius.
What’s Happening: The community-inspired street festival will include 60+ vendors, eight bands, special performances, a kid zone, food trucks and local breweries.
39th Annual UNC Charlotte International Festival
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sept. 20.
Where: Barnhardt Student Activity Center at UNC Charlotte, 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: UNC Charlotte’s longest running tradition attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year to experience the sights, sounds, dances, food and cultures of the world. Visitors can wander through tents of brightly-colored displays, tasting authentic cuisine from around the world and enjoying an atmosphere of song, dance and story.
The Downtown Davidson Art Crawl
When: 6 p.m. Sept. 20.
Where: downtown Davidson.
What’s Happening: The crawl features the work of over 20 local artisans displaying and selling their handmade work ranging from fine art to functional art to wearables. Also featured are several live musicians, wine and beer tastings, food trucks and crafts for kids.