Memorial Day is the official kick-off to summer for most Americans, which means Memorial Day Weekend is often marked by festivities ranging from simple backyard barbecues to elaborate vacation getaways. Charlotte LGBTs who opt to stay close to home for the holiday will find plenty to do around the Queen City.

The major homo-centric offering of the weekend is Twirlicious, a multi-location celebration comprised of a half-dozen events — two on each of Friday, Saturday and Sunday — collectively dubbed “Adventures In Wonderland.”

Twirlicious is presented by Just Twirl, a party and events promotion company founded and operated by life partners Jason McCraw and Zuni Johnson. A great deal of thought was put into organizing the second annual affair, Johnson told qnotes, to ensure its appeal to a wide cross-section of the LGBT community.

With the Coca Cola 600 comes Food Lion Speed Street, taking over Uptown Charlotte on Memorial Day Weekend.

“Twirlicious 2011 will feature a variety of events all around town,” Johnson explained. “There will be plenty of music and fun, of course, but we didn’t want the weekend to be all dance parties this year. We feel like we’ve planned something for everyone with the six events we’re promoting.”

Twirlicious begins Friday night with a special 8 p.m. production of “Chess: The Musical” presented by Queen City Theatre Company, followed by the “Down The Rabbit Hole” party at The Bar at 316. The fun resumes Saturday at noon at Loft 1523 with “Eat Me, Drink Me” — two hours of free mimosas and a waffle bar. That evening revelers will travel “Through The Looking Glass” for a dance party at Marigny nightclub featuring renowned NYC DJ Joe Gauthreaux. You’ll need your water wings Sunday for “House Of Cards,” a chartered party boat cruise around Lake Norman that sets sail at 1 p.m. The festivities conclude with the “Mad Hatter’s Tea” at Dharma Lounge beginning at 6 p.m.

Folks looking for more mainstream jollity can spend the weekend partying with 400,000 of their fellow citizens on Food Lion Speed Street. Now in its 17th year, Speed Street will once again transform Uptown Charlotte into a showcase of motor sports “with non-stop entertainment on two stages, appearances by top Sprint Cup Drivers, dynamic exhibits for all ages and an amazing assembly of NASCAR show cars and simulators.”

Scheduled festival performers include country star Josh Turner (“Why Don’t We Just Dance”), classic rockers Eddie Money (“Take Me Home Tonight”) and Starship (“We Built This City”) as well as legendary R&B bands Rose Royce (“Car Wash”) and Midnight Star (“Operator”).

The Coca Cola 600, the impetus for Food Lion Speed Street, takes place Sunday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

For more information on Twirlicious, visit twirlicious.com. Full details on Food Lion Speed Street can be found at 600festival.com. : :

David Stout

David Stout is the associate editor of QNotes. He can be reached at editor2@goqnotes.com.