What better time or place for outdoor festivals than fall in North Carolina? Festivals are coming up so you can get some fresh air – without sweating your bum – and socialize. It’s hard to say what we crave more.
September 9th and 10th
Yiasou Greek Festival
From September 9th to 11th, tens of thousands of visitors will enjoy live entertainment, games, vendors and fresh food at Greek Fest. And while you can get items like baklava at multiple locations around town, it doesn’t get any more handmade than the hour-long baking sessions and preparation of church volunteers. 600 East Blvd., $5 (free for children 12 and under).
58th Annual Festival in the Park
It’s one of Charlotte’s longest-standing traditions, a fixture since 1964: three days in early fall when Freedom Park, the city‘s largest, teems with food stalls, art exhibits and workshops, live music and other fun. This year’s schedule: 4pm – 9pm Friday 16 Sept 10am – 9pm Saturday 17 Sept 10am – 5pm Sunday 18 Sept Be warned: Skateboards, skates or dogs, bicycles and scooters are not allowed to be walked .
16 Sept-Oct 2
CLT International Art Festival
More than 200 attractions, many of them free, comprise this massive arts festival. Look for performances and exhibitions at Romare Bearden Park, Ballantyne’s Backyard, Belk Theatre, Booth Playhouse and other venues. Some of the high profile events include the debut of Blackstar Symphony, The Music of David Bowie, We Are Hip Hop outings, The Wood Brothers and more. Prices and venues vary.
30 Sept-Oct 1
Breakaway Music Festival
This traveling multi-genre music festival tailors each venue’s headliners to its market. For his fifth year in Charlotte, these include Illenium, Tiësto, The Kid Laroi and Quinn XCII. zMAX Dragway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Concord. Tickets start at $79.
1 Oct-Nov 20
Carolina Renaissance Festival
Hear, hear! Lords and ladies, take your butts to the mock village of Fairhaven and party like it’s 1399. You’ll discover 25 acres of music, theater, comedy, food and drink, arts and crafts, craft shows, games, rides and more . Hooray! Saturdays and Sundays, 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville. Tickets start at $32 for children 13 and older.
Saturday October 8th
Charlotte Dragon Boat Race and Asian Festival
Teams from Charlotte and beyond will board sleek boats shaped like mythical, fire-breathing reptiles and speed across Lake Norman. The Asian Festival includes a cultural heritage showcase, retail vendors, food, live music, dance performances and more. Ramsey Creek Park, Cornelius. Free.
Carolinna Balloon Fest
If you haven’t pumped up enough, hot air balloons of all shapes and colors will be released at the 47th Annual Carolina BalloonFest. Expect morning and afternoon liftoffs, tethered balloon rides, a wine and beer garden, live music, food, craft vendors, a kids’ zone, and more. It won’t let you down. 260 Hangar Drive, Statesville. Tickets start at $10.
Hola Charlotte Festival
The 10th edition of this annual Latino heritage celebration showcases Latin American culture and traditions with a cultural village, music, dance, food and drink, art, family activities and more. Tryon Street, Uptown. Free.
Bay Haven Food & Wine Festival
Greg and Subrina Collier, owners of BayHaven Restaurant Group (Leah & Louise, Uptown Yolk), are hosting a festival to celebrate Black Foodways for the second time. The five day Festival begins with a carnival and hosts events featuring celebrated black chefs and industry members. Camp North End and different places. Tickets start at $75,
We leave you with something absolutely healthy: BooFest. (Boo.) Stowe Park in downtown Belmont, a half-hour drive west of Charlotte on Interstate 85, is the traditional center of what locals charmingly refer to as “A Nightmare on Main Street.” It’s pretty mellow as far as nightmares go: music, art and food vendors, costume contests, games, carnival rides, a “scary photo booth,” and plenty of candy for trick-or-treating. Belmont (the Gaston County town, not to be confused with the Charlotte neighborhood) retains its small-town character even as Charlotte, like The Blob, creeps towards it. BooFest is a slice of old innocence that you might want to enjoy while you can. It runs from 2pm to 7pm Saturday October 29th. And to you a happy and healthy All Saints’ Day and harvest time. Free, downtown Belmont.
Nonprofit Sustain Charlotte’s annual fundraiser sends cyclists with “passports” on a two-wheeled scavenger hunt to visit local businesses. There they collect stamps and learn about bicycle safety. At the after-party at Triple C Brewing in the South End, they exchange the stamps for tickets and chances to win. 12:30pm-6:30pm Triple C Brewing Co. Tickets start at $25.