This Saturday, people who always say, “There’s nothing cool to do in Charlotte” will be proved right – until 9:59 a.m.
After that, free access to culture rolls out across the county in more than two dozen venues. Museums open their doors. Artisans show techniques and invite you to get your hands dirty. Drum circles thump, dancers whirl, blacksmiths hammer (cooled off at the forge by free ice cream). The Arts & Science Council’s Connect With Culture Day will be in full swing.
Wells Fargo has underwritten this event and the rest of the Cultural Free for All, as the ASC has dubbed this mid-September period.
The Free for All gets kicked off for the weekend with a not-free event: Culture Feast, an evening of dinner, drinks and cultural experiences open to the 21-and-older crowd on Tryon Street between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Levine Avenue of the Arts.
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The $25 ticket at CarolinaTix buys a dinner of baby arugula salad, mesquite grilled chicken breast, cheddar grits, cider braised collard greens, mustard greens, Swiss chard, baskets of buttermilk biscuits, cornbread with honey butter, fresh banana pudding and select beer and wine. (Vegetarian options can be had.)
Diners who stay conscious after this carbfest will be entertained by Charlotte Museum of History, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra, Inspire the Fire, Opera Carolina and Carolinas Latin Dance Company. After that, a free street dance at Levine Center will feature music by A Sign of the Times and a cash bar.
Then we’re on to the free stuff, some of which you should register for in advance.
Charlotte Ballet’s Alessandra Ball James will read her favorite children’s books on Matthews Town Green, outside the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library’s Matthews branch. (Kids are encouraged to dress as ballerinas.)
Carolina Raptor Center in Huntersville will introduce you to buzzards, owls, hawks and other birds rehabilitated at its facility in Latta Plantation Park. (Park entry is also free.)
Uptown museums will be open: Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, Levine Museum of the New South, McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Mint Museum Uptown (and the Randolph Road Mint), Wells Fargo History Museum.
In South End, Donna Scott Productions and Theatre Charlotte team for a “Backwards Broadway” revue at Charlotte Art League, as men and women sing each other’s famous show tunes.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s touring company (formerly Tarradiddle Players) will do “Commedia Princess and the Pea” at First Baptist Church West on Oaklawn Avenue.
And music will range from a High Ridge Pickers performance at Cornelius Arts Center to Charlotte Folk Society at Charlotte Museum of History (where the blacksmith and ice cream will be) to Opera Carolina’s Opera Xpress doing “How Nanita Learned to Make Flan” at Midwood International & Cultural Center.
The ASC divided the county into 14 segments for this weekend. Some have multiple events at the same venue: Folks who drop by the West Boulevard Library will hear Charlotte Ballet’s Raven Barkley read her favorite children’s stories from 2 to 3, followed by a drum circle by Drums 4 Life from 3:30 to 4:30.
To find out everything you need to know, visit artsandscience.org.