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It’s a blue ribbon weekend of free fun in Charlotte, from Panthers to a beach festival

By Jody Mace
Jody Mace
Jody Mace is a freelance writer based in Charlotte, where she lives with her husband, two kids, and a dog, Shaggy.

Football

Panthers Draft Party

Noon-5 p.m. Saturday. Bank of America Stadium, 800 S. Mint St. panthers.com.

NFL fans are invited to the Carolina Panthers Draft Party. Rounds 4-7 of the NFL Draft will be shown live on large LED screens in the Morehead Street parking lot outside the stadium and on the video screens inside the stadium. Panthers players will meet fans and sign autographs at 12:30. Fans can tour the team locker room and go on the playing field for the Play 60 Kids’ Combine, featuring field goal kicks, quarterback/wide receiver challenge and more. Top Cats, Sir Purr, Mick Mixon and the Carolina Panthers Drum Line will also appear. Live entertainment by Early Ray, Sol Fusion and Simplified.

Festival

Beach Fest Matthews

6-10 p.m. Friday. 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday. Stumptown Park, 120 S. Trade St., Matthews. beachfestmatthews.com.

The beach comes to Matthews this weekend. Enjoy live beach music, shag dancing, sand volleyball, full-sized carnival rides, crafts, kids’ activities and more. There will also be cornhole and beach volleyball tournaments and the Sandy Feet 5K (all for a fee). Friday night musical entertainment will be provided by The Fantastic Shakers, Ken Knox and The Company; on Saturday it’s DJ Darryl Elkins, Band of Gold, The Extraordinaires and The Tams.

Art

Kings Drive Art Walk

11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday. Little Sugar Creek Greenway, next to Kings Drive and Metropolitan. festivalinthepark.org.

Kings Drive Art Walk will feature more than 60 visual artists and musicians along Little Sugar Creek Greenway. You’ll see painting, drawing, sculpture, pottery, metal, stone, wood and glass works. Enjoy roaming musicians and jazz.

Soccer

Community Street Soccer Challenge

Noon- 4 p.m. Saturday. 320 E. Ninth St. centercity.uncc.edu/events.

UNCC Center City is hosting the Community Street Soccer Challenge. Street Soccer 945, UNCC 49er’s soccer teams and alumni and La Raza soccer teams will face off in a round robin tournament. There will also be youth soccer clinics, autograph signing by the 49ers men’s and women’s soccer teams, competition stations, DJs and giveaways. Guests can contribute to a community mural. Food trucks will be on site. To register for the soccer clinics, email dstinesj@uncc.edu. Space is limited.

Festival

South End SOUL

2-10 p.m. Saturday. Camden Road between South Tryon Street and Park Avenue. historicsouthend.com.

Celebrate culture through music, art, fashion and food at South End SOUL. Activities include Ping-Pong on Camden Road, a bouncy castle and cornhole. Live music will be provided by Replicas, Thompson Brothers Band, The Business People, Chasing Pedestrians and Mr. Invisible.

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