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From Japanese culture to NASCAR parade, there’s plenty of free fun around Charlotte this week

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.


Bon Odori

Sat 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Wells Fargo Atrium, 301 S. Tryon St.

Bon Odori Festival returns for the 29th year, bringing Japanese culture to uptown Charlotte. Enjoy Japanese dance, music, food, calligraphy and origami. There will be a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, dance performances by students of Waddell Language Academy, a Japanese kendo sword martial art exhibition and Matsuriza, a drumming troupe from Walt Disney World.


Hymn sing

Sun 5:30 p.m. Myers Park United Methodist Church, 1501 Queens Road. 704-376-8584.

This popular hymn sing will feature congregational singing; audience members can request their favorites. If you play an instrument, please bring it, but email Nancy Hamff at if you plan to do so. When the last hymn is sung, all are invited to stay for a free hot supper.


Parade of Power

Wed Noon. Bruton Smith Blvd., Concord. 704-455-3200.

Get a taste of NASCAR excitement. Starting at noon, vehicles will set off from Concord Mills and parade down Bruton Smith Boulevard, ending at Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Avenue of Flags. The parade will include a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series car, Nationwide Series car, World of Outlaws late model, monster truck, NHRA Top Fuel dragster, Funny Car, Pro Stock and Pro Modified cars, speedway Toyota Camry pace cars and several classic automobiles.


Lego mini-build

Tue 5 p.m. Lego Store, Concord Mills.

The first Tuesday of every month, Lego stores host a free mini-build, where kids ages 6-14 can build and bring home a small Lego creation.


Movies on the Green

Fri Dusk. Providence Road and Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

Promenade on Providence continues its series of free outdoor family movies with “Rise of the Guardians,” rated PG. The movie will start when it gets dark. Get a coupon for free popcorn here:

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