6 Essential Festivals Returning in Charlotte This Fall
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Yiasou Greek Festival
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 600 East Blvd.
UPDATE: This event has pivoted to a drive-thru experience for this year. More details coming in the days ahead.
This four-day festival, founded in 1978, features Greek cuisine, live dancing and music, rides, and cathedral tours. Each year, volunteers at the church band together for hourslong baking sessions to assemble the baklava, spanakopita, and tiropita for which the event is famous.
Charlotte SHOUT! Festival
Sept. 17-Oct. 3
Various uptown locations
The multi-week effort—which spans major art installations, live events, and dining—brings back the popular inflated bunny sculptures of Intrude and light-up seesaws of Impulse. This year’s event adds new art installations; Belk Theater appearances from Antoni Porowski, Esther Perel, and Spike Lee; a Lindsey Buckingham concert at Knight Theater; and much more.
Festival in the Park
Freedom Park, 1908 East Blvd.
This Charlotte fixture returns to Freedom Park with live music, hundreds of artists and craft exhibitors, fair rides, and an array of food vendors that range from seafood and barbecue to classic funnel cake. The event began in 1964, and in recent years, organizers have recorded more than 100,000 attendees.
U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Parkway
Tuck Fest combines outdoor competitions and live music. Those of us who don’t want to swim, bike, climb, or kayak can take in a full slate of performers: Dawes, Hiss Golden Messenger, Ida Mae, Steep Canyon Rangers, and more.
Carolina Renaissance Festival
Oct. 2-Nov. 21
16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville
Fantasy fans can see the Huntersville property once again transformed into a 16th-century utopia. Grab a turkey leg and beer, and head to the jousts, where knights vie for the queen’s favor. Don’t be afraid to come in costume: Carolina Renaissance Festival organizers estimate that 40% of attendees come decked out in medieval garb.
Charlotte Dragon Boat Festival and Asian Festival
Ramsey Creek Park, 18441 Nantz Road, Cornelius
Here be dragons, again: On October 16, leviathans descend upon Lake Norman for the 15th annual Dragon Boat Race, part of the annual Charlotte Asian Festival at Ramsey Creek Park. The team competition is part of a Chinese tradition that’s more than 2,000 years old. COVID canceled last year’s event, but organizers from the Carolinas Asian-American Chamber of Commerce and the Charlotte Dragon Boat Association confirm that the 200-meter bout is back for 2021.