Why This Matters: Cultural festivals provide access to arts, science, history and heritage experiences in neighborhoods and towns across our community.
By Bernie Petit
Greenspaces and greenways will be transformed into hubs of cultural activity in the coming weeks by the arrival of springtime festivals.
An abundance of arts, science, history and heritage experiences highlight many of these annual events, which provide families across our community with incentive to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather and longer days.
It’s why ASC supports festivals throughout the year, primarily through Town Initiative and Cultural Festival grants that increase access to and strengthen the quality of cultural programming in neighborhoods and towns across Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
Here’s a look at five upcoming festivals to look forward to in April and May supported by your investment in ASC, as well as several other community festivals.
ART ON THE GREEN
When: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 16 and noon-4 p.m. April 17, 2016.
Where: Main Street and town green in downtown Davidson.
What’s Happening: The North Mecklenburg festival brings thousands of people to Davidson to enjoy art, live music and food. The juried art festival features booths filled with art works from artists throughout the region. The weekend also includes musical performances by a variety of local talents and a host of food choices from on-site vendors and area restaurants.
RURAL HILL SCOTTISH FESTIVAL AND LAKE NORMAN HIGHLAND GAMES
When: 8 a.m. April 16 – 4 p.m. April 17, 2016.
Where: Historic Rural Hill, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville.
What’s Happening: The two days of cultural fun includes Highland dancing, bagpipe bands, Highland athletics, a kid’s zone, Scottish merchants, haggis, historic reenactments, Scottish country dancing, a Sunday church service, hearth cooking, local beer and wine, whiskey tastings, kilted running events, Scottish clan societies, long bow and blowgun demonstrations, battle axe throwing and more.
Admission: $8 children 5-12, $20 ages 13 and older on April 16 and $10 ages 13 and older April 17; early bird specials and two-day passes available.
KINGS DRIVE ART WALK 2016
When: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. April 30 and 11 am – 5 pm May 1, 2016.
Where: Little Sugar Creek Greenway on Kings Drive, 600 South Kings Dr., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Presented by Festival in the Park, the annual event focuses on fine and emerging artists. Dozens of artists, ranging from clay and metal to mixed media and painting, will have their work on display and available for purchase. There will also be crafts, music and family entertainment.
2016 ASIAN FESTIVAL & DRAGON BOAT RACES
When: 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. May 14, 2016.
Where: Ramsey Creek Park, 18841 Nantz Road, Cornelius.
What’s Happening: The family-oriented event, which takes place during National Asian Heritage Month, celebrates Asian cultures, diversity, ethnicity, roots and history. The event is highlighted by the annual Dragon Boat races featuring more than 40 community teams. There will also be a variety of cultural exhibits, stage performances, food and vendors.
When: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. May 14, 2016.
Where: Discovery Place KIDS, 105 Gilead Road, Huntersville.
What’s Happening: Huntersville’s annual downtown event focuses on art, music and STEM. It will feature local artists and musicians, art demonstrations and hands-on activities in STEM.
Other Community Festivals
SENSORIA: A CELEBRATION OF LITERATURE & THE ARTS
When: April 8-16, 2016.
Where: Multiple venues on the campus of Central Piedmont Community College, 1201 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: Originally conceived as a spring literary festival in 1993, Sensoria has grown into an event that draws about 15,000 people annually and features more than 50 events celebrating literature, music, visual arts, history, culture and food.
Admission: With the exception of some ticketed performances, most events are free.
CHARLOTTE JAZZ FESTIVAL
When: April 18-23, 2016.
Where: Knight Theater at Levine Center for the Arts, 430 S. Tryon St., Charlotte
What’s Happening: A multi-day event, the festival features two main stage performances by the critically-acclaimed Jazz at Lincoln Center under the leadership of musical director Wynton Marsalis, as well as free shows and club performances.
Admission: A mix of free and ticketed events; ticketed event prices range from $19.50 to $89.50 depending on the event.
MATTHEWS EARTH DAY CELEBRATION
When: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. April 23, 2016.
Where: Stumptown Park, 120 S. Trade St., Matthews.
What’s Happening: The educational and family-friendly event will include activities for children, interactive exhibits, animals, recycling, educational presentations and more.
LEVINE CENTER FOR THE ARTS COMMUNITY FESTIVAL
When: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. May 21.
Where: Mint Museum Uptown, 500 S. Tryon St., Charlotte.
What’s Happening: All three Levine Center for the Arts museums – Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art; and Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture – will open their galleries for free access during regular museum hours. Docents from all three museums will offer community tours. Food trucks will be on hand along Tryon Street and interactive activities will be available at all three locations. Beginning at 6 p.m., settle down for a picnic to enjoy a free plazacast of the Charlotte Symphony’s collaboration with Charlotte Ballet for Romeo & Juliet (performance begins at 7:30 p.m.).
MINT HILL MADNESS
When: 4-11 p.m. May 27, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. May 28 and noon-6 p.m. May 29, 2016.
Where: Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park, 8850 Fairview Road.
What’s Happening: The festival, which celebrates the town’s founding, has something for everyone in the family: food, music ranging from country to rock, a carnival, an arts/crafts fair, a parade, and a fireworks display at 9 p.m. May 28.