East to west. North to south. Summertime will soon be upon us and the Carolinas certainly aren’t lacking in a diversity of fun and engaging events, festivals and daytrips to interest every member of your family and circle of friends.
With door prizes and plenty of food and drinks, the Sixth Annual Old Time Fiddlers & Bluegrass Convention, slated for May 10 in Mocksville, N.C., is a sure bet for any heritage music lover. Enjoy competitions including categories for best bands, fiddlers, mandolin players and guitarists. Registration starts at noon with competitions running all day and into the evening.
Clement Grove Picnic Grounds
201 Poplar St., Mocksville, NC 27028
$8 adults, $2 children six-12, Free children under six
The first-ever Charlotte Fine Arts Show by Hotworks Arts and Crafts Shows will be held in the Queen City May 10-11. Over 150 artists from across the nation and Canada will present sculpture, painting, fiber, clay, glass, print making, multi-media, metal, jewelry, wood, photography and other art pieces.
Charlotte Merchandise Mart
2500 E. Independence Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28205
$5 general admission
Since 1986 folks from the Carolinas and across the South have joined together to celebrate traditional Lowcountry Carolina culture and heritage highlighted by authentic arts and crafts, exhibits in the Black Inventions Museum, Gullah presentations, music, workshops, dance and food. The Gullah Festival runs May 23-25.
Northern End, Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park
Beaufort, SC 29901
Cherokee Pow Wow
Join members of the Carolina Cherokees for their Memorial Day Pow Wow May 23-25. Native dancers, dressed in elaborate regalia, from across the U.S. and Canada will compete for prizes and prestige.
This annual event draws more than 200 dancers and 2,000 spectators. Men, women and kids of all ages (some as young as five) compete within their age groups for thousands of dollars in cash and other prizes. Pow Wows are popular social gatherings within Native communities and a year-round Pow Wow circuit keeps dancers on the move. These events play an important role in preserving tribal traditions and are an entertaining way for non-natives to learn about the diversity of Native American cultures.
Cherokee Indian Fair Grounds
$10 daily admission,
Free children six and under
Round and round she goes
Take a trip to Lowes Motor Speedway for one of the most anticipated NASCAR Nextel Cup Series races all season. The Coca-Cola 600, scheduled for Memorial Day weekend, draws big crowds and lively parties. If you can’t make it to the track, fire up the TV and the grill and party closer to home.
Lowes Motor Speedway
5555 Concord Pky. S., Concord, NC 28027
‘If you were gay…’
But wait… you are! “Avenue Q” is Broadway’s smash-hit 2004 Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Best Score and Best Book that’s running July 22-27 in Charlotte. A hilarious show full of heart and hummable tunes, “Avenue Q” is about trying to make it in New York City with big dreams and a tiny bank account. Called “one of the funniest shows you’re ever likely to see” by Entertainment Weekly, “Avenue Q” features a cast of people and puppets who tell the story in a smart, risque and downright entertaining way. For mature audiences: contains strong language and full puppet nudity.
Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
30 North Tryon St., Charlotte, NC 28202
Join ’70s Night Out in historic downtown Salisbury Aug. 8. Shops will be open late with musical entertainment around downtown, a children’s area and a meet and greet with Lord Salisbury.
Downtown Salisbury, NC
‘Shaggin’ on the Boulevard’
In August the air will be filled with the sounds of beach music for the Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival. The Beach Music and Shag Preservation Society will bring 12 of the best Carolina Beach Music bands to the Lowcountry and teach free shag lessons to the public. The Society’s mission is to promote and preserve South Carolina’s state dance and the state’s most popular music. Events run Aug. 21-24.
J.B. Pivots Beach Club
1662 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407
The Holliday Citadel Alumni House
Hagood Ave., Charleston, SC 29409
For more information, visit www.pivotsbeachclub.com/charlestonbeachmusicandshagfestival.
Up, Up and Away!
More than 70 hot air balloons will make mass ascensions every morning and evening at the Great Southeast Balloon Fest in Anderson County, S.C. The event will include the U.S. Air Balloon Championship, where 40 of the nation’s best balloon pilots will compete to represent the U.S. in the World Championship. There will be a children’s activity area, the largest fireworks show in Anderson County and concerts by major performing acts. The festival runs Labor Day weekend, Aug. 29-31.
Anderson Sports & Entertainment Center
3027 Mall Rd., Anderson, SC 29625
For more information, visit www.greatsoutheastballoonfest.com.
— Are you aware of other great summer events you want to share? Post them in a comment below. You can also email the details to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.