Speed Street, Adult Prom, Kiss Anchor Island Kickoff, Day Parties, and More Memorial Day Weekend Events (May 22-25)

Photo credit: facebook.com/600FestivalAssociation
Free concerts highlight the annual three-day Speed Street festival in Uptown.
Memorial Day weekend is always a festive time in the Queen City. Here’s a list of 25 social events and parties… get in where you fit in! 

Coca-Cola Speed Street (Thursday-Saturday)

This is the 20th year for Charlotte’s largest annual event (held each year to celebrate the Coca-Cola 600 NASCAR race). Hundreds of thousands of people will hit the streets of Uptown over three days for the free outdoor concerts by 10 different bands and musicians, interactive games and exhibits, food vendors, NASCAR driver appearances, and more. The headliners: Thursday, Who’s Bad, the Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band; Friday, Thompson Square; and Saturday, 38 Special. Noon-11 p.m. each day. Free admission. NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, corner of Brevard St. and Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., and surrounding streets, 600festival.com/speed-street.

Thursday, May 22

Alive After Five (weekly event)
Expect the Speed Street crowds to spill over into this weekly, after-work party. Live performance by On the Border on the rooftop stage. And this week, actor RJ Mitte from Breaking Bad will make a special appearance, signing autographs and taking pictures (7-9 p.m.; ticketed event). Plus, when AA5 ends, your wristband gets you into after-parties at several surrounding venues. 5 p.m. Free admission. EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St., aliveafterfives.com/the-epicentre.
Overtime – The Professional Happy Hour (weekly event)
Mix and mingle over martinis and small plates, at this recently opened Uptown bar and lounge. Presented by C Squared Events. 5:30-9 p.m. Free admission; RSVP requested (c2entevents.com). Sydney’s Martini and Wine Bar, 401 N. Tryon St., sydneysmartiniandwinebar.com.
Weekend Warmup (weekly event)
If you want to avoid the Uptown crowds this evening, kick back in South End and enjoy good food and drink specials, and live music by Who Rescued Who. Bar Athletes will also be on hand to lead cornhole and other games. A portion of the proceeds will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. 6-8 p.m. Free admission. Icehouse South End, 2100 South Blvd., icehousecharlotte.com, historicsouthend.com.
Strike and the City Presents: Ladies Night
Several vendors will be set up to cater to the ladies, including Flex + Fit (yoga), More Than Rubies (shoes), Southern Cake Queen (desserts), and Scentsy Fragrance. There will also be raffle prizes, drink specials such as half-price martinis, and complimentary shoe rentals if you bowl. 7-9 p.m. Free admission. StrikeCity, at EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St., strikecitycharlotte.com, facebook.com/strikecityclt.

Friday, May 23

Friday Live At the Factory (weekly event)
This outdoor party and live music series has become a tradition for many to kick off their weekends during late spring/early summer. Live music this Friday by Cracker and Simplified, there’ll be several mobile bar stations set up, and the doors will be open to surrounding venues such as Osso, Wet Willie’s, Small Bar, and VBGB. 6-11 p.m. General admission, $5 in advance, $10 day of; VIP, $40. Fountain Plaza at NC Music Factory, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., ncmusicfactory.com, ncmusicfactory.ticketleap.com.
NASCAR Bartender and Live Music
Party under the stars, and possibly meet a few. NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski will serve as a special guest bartender, and the night will also feature a live performance by country singer/songwriter Trent Tomlinson. A DJ will also spin. 7 p.m. Free admission. Rooftop 210, at EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St., facebook.com/Rooftop210.
Adult Prom Night: A Diamond Studded Affair
Come dressed to impress with your date or a group of friends, or go stag. Specials include $7 cocktails, select wines, and spiked punch, and you’re welcome to make dinner reservations. A DJ will play (beginning at 9 p.m.), and prizes will be given away. 8 p.m. Free admission; RSVP requested (sullivanssteakhouse.com/prom). Sullivan’s Steakhouse, 1928 South Blvd., facebook.com/SullysCharlotte.
NASCAR Fan Appreciation Night
What better bar to show its appreciation to racing fans than the one owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr.? There’ll be NASCAR trivia in between songs, hosted by DJ Boss Austin, with prizes given away. RSVP for complimentary admission to the early cocktail hour, party@whiskyrivercharlotte.com; free admission all night with race ticket. Whisky River, at EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St., whiskyrivercharlotte.com.
Memorial Weekend Party (Friday and Saturday)
This 1980s and ’90s-themed nightclub is catering to the Speed Street crowds this weekend. Party inside the two-level space and on the outdoor patio, while enjoying $2 beers, $5 Fireball shots, and $5 mixed drinks. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Admission cost varies. Roxbury Nightclub, 116 W. 5th St., facebook.com/Roxburync.
Trance Mission USA with Paul Oakenfold
EDM legend Paul Oakenfold takes over the turntables on this night. Presented by Disco Donnie and Sugar Society. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. General admission, $10 in advance; VIP admission, $30. Label, 900 NC Music Factory, labelcharlotte.com, sugarsociety.com.
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Saturday, May 24

Kiss Anchor Island (weekly event kickoff
Kiss 95.1 FM, Ragin’ Uptown, and Luxury Yacht Charters host this annual boat party series on Lake Norman, each Saturday from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, which means this is the kickoff for the year. There’s music, food, a cash bar, radio personalities, games, and a water slide. $10 for kickoff week; $20 each Saturday after. 8:30-9:45 a.m. Registration and shuttle pick up, Mojos Grill and Pub, 19901 Holiday Ln., Cornelius; cruise, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., kissanchorisland.com.
[Photo credit: kiss951.com]
Backspin Hip Hop Brunch
Order from a delectable brunch menu—chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, eggs, and more—and a special juice bar featuring $5 mimosas and bellinis. There will also be hookah, and music by DJ iQUE and the Listen Up Kids Band. Presented by Prive Marketing Group. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Free admission with RSVP (hiphopbrunchember.eventbrite.com). Tanner’s Bistro & Lounge, 505 E. 6th St., tannersbistro.com, privegroupevents.com.
It’s billed as the largest neon bar crawl in the country, and it makes a stop in Charlotte on this evening. Crawlers will receive a custom, neon tank top to wear, which grants admission and drink specials at each of the participating bars. The purpose of the event is to help fight cancer, so proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society. 5 p.m. $33-$38. NC Music Factory, 1000 NC Music Factory Blvd., ncmusicfactory.com, crawl2cure.com/charlotte.
Memorial Day Weekend (Napa)
The restaurant gets rave reviews, and its bar and patio are equally pleasing. Live music (6-9 p.m.) on the patio, there’s an updated cocktail menu and one of the city’s most selective wine lists, and the chef is offering some specials in honor of the holiday. 6 p.m. Free admission. Napa On Providence, 110 Perrin Pl., napaonprovidence.com.
1, 2, 3 Memorial Day Weekend
Hit up this Montford Drive lounge for $1 Jello shots, $2 beer special, and $3 Fireball shots. And dance to your favorite tunes played by DJ Wylie. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Free admission. Southside, 1600 Montford Dr., southsideclt.com.
Memorial Weekend Celebration (Phoenix)
Three popular party promoters are coming together for this party at one of Uptown’s largest nightclubs. Music by DJ Loui Vee. Presented by NXL21 Charlotte, Sol Kitchen, and RoundTable Ent. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Free admission before 11 p.m. with RSVP; $10 in advance; VIP tables available. Phoenix, 300 N. College St., phoenixcharlotte.com, memorialweekend2014.eventbrite.com.
Cocktails | Dance
This South End hotspot typically reaches capacity on Saturday nights, so early arrival is suggested. Music by DJ Edward Shouse. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Free admission; for VIP tables, yussra@oakroomclt.com. Oak Room, 200 E. Bland St., oakroomclt.com.

Sunday, May 25

Memorial Day Celebration (USNWC)
The daylong festival kicks off with five-mile and eight-mile trail races, followed by food and drinks, live music all day, and a spectacular fireworks display over the world’s largest man-made whitewater river. 9 a.m., races begin; 11 a.m.-10 p.m., festival. Free admission to festival; $37 to register for races. U.S. National Whitewater Center, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., usnwc.org.
Fourth Annual Memorial Day Block Party
Spend the day bar-hopping and relaxing in the Elizabeth neighborhood. There’ll be drink specials, music, and a cornhole tournament with a $200 cash prize (4-7 p.m.), hosted by SportsLink. Noon-midnight. Free admission. Kennedy’s Premium Bar & Grill, Jackalope Jack’s, and The Philosophers Stone Tavern, corner of 7th St. and N. Caswell Rd., kennedyscharlotte.com
Cruisin’ for a Cause
Enjoy an afternoon on Lake Norman, while supporting a great cause. The Ragin’ Uptown party bus will transport guests (from either of two pickup locations) to the dock where they’ll board the boat for a three-hour cruise. Amenities include one hour of open bar (cash bar afterwards), appetizers, a cornhole tournament, and other outdoor games. Presented by Guys with Ties Charlotte, and all proceeds will go to the Foundation for Respect Ability, which works to stop bullying in schools. 1-5 p.m. $40 in advance; $60 at the door. 19901 Holiday Ln., Cornelius, guyswithtiescharlotte.com.
Coca-Cola 600 Viewing Party
If you aren’t making the short trek up the road to the speedway, then you might want to watch the NASCAR race here. There’s plenty of seating and TVs inside the bar and on the rooftop patio. Drink specials: $5 loop-D-loop shots and $10 redneck mimosa pitchers. 5 p.m. Free admission. Whiskey Warehouse, 1221 The Plaza, whiskeywarehouse.com.
Synergy: The Day Party
Experience this posh champagne bar and lounge during the daytime, at this special holiday weekend event. Order from the food and drink menus, and dance to music by DJ Paradime. Presented by Eddietainment and Moxie Society. 2-8 p.m. Free admission before 4:30 p.m. with RSVP printout; general admission, $10; VIP tables available. Bubble, at Epicentre, 210 E. Trade St., bubblecharlotte.com, synergydayparty.eventbrite.com.
Dayhem: Memorial Day Weekend Edition
Rest another time—there’s a day party. Music by DJ DR and DJ Skillz. Presented by NXL21 Charlotte. 2-7 p.m. $10 in advance; VIP tables available. Suite, at EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St., suitecharlotte.com, dayhem.eventbrite.com.
Summer Kickoff Party
Get into summer mode at this dueling piano bar, with drink specials such as $3 Miller Lite bottles, $5 Skyy vodka, and $20 Rum Runner buckets. 7 p.m.-2 a.m. RSVP for free admission. Howl at the Moon, at EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St., howlatthemoon.com/charlotte.
Beach Party
Hang out on the north side, and enjoy drink specials, half-price appetizers, cornhole, and music by DJ Andre. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. Free admission. Fox and Hound – Northlake, 9325 Center Lake Dr., facebook.com/FoxandHoundNorthlake.
Label On Sunday: Memorial Day Weekend Finale
This weekly party turns it up a notch with music from DJ Don Cannon. Presented by The Sol Kitchen. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. $10; ladies free before 11:30 p.m.; VIP tables available, shawn@labelcharlotte.com. Label, 900 NC Music Factory Blvd., labelcharlotte.com, thesolkitchen.com.
Memory Lane
Relive good times from summers past, as you embark on the start of a new one. Music by DJ Complete. Presented by Blue Goose, King Entertainment, and Status Inc. 10 p.m.-2 a.m. General admission, $10 in advance; VIP tables available. Suite, at EpiCentre, 210 E. Trade St., suitecharlotte.com, kingentevents.com.
Verify dates, times, prices, and other info at the web addresses listed for each event.
Be sure to bookmark www.charlottemagazine.com/Blogs/Dusk-Till-Dawn to stay plugged into Charlotte’s nightlife and social scene. Click here to sign up to receive the weekly Dusk Till Dawn e-newsletter. Follow me on Twitter @HollidayInk; email me at jarvish@grownpeopletalking.com.
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