What is there to do in Charlotte this weekend? Here’s our experts’ picks on everything from entertainment – movies to music to theater – to food and wine, beer and restaurants. And shopping, of course...
▪ Circle K Speed Street presented by Coca-Cola will host two huge country-music shows on Friday and Saturday night in Romare Bearden Park. Billy Currington, with 11 No. 1 hits to his credit, is joined on the Coca-Cola stage Friday night by Granger Smith. Saturday night, chart-topper Jake Owen takes over the Coca-Cola stage with support from Southern rockers The Cadillac Three and country trio Levon. – TJ
▪ Other Speed Street highlights include: The Tailgate Zone, where fans can play games, relax and charge their cell phones, enter to win prizes, check out the No. 20 Circle K Toyota driven by Matt Kenseth, and take a photo to commemorate their visit; appearances by NASCAR drivers, including Darrell Wallace Jr., Austin Dillon, Joey Logano and Daniel Suarez; and the Kids’ Zone (at Tryon Street and Levine Avenue of the Arts), which will offer bounce houses, games, slides and a variety of activities to keep the youngsters entertained from noon-8 p.m. daily. All the details: http://600festival.com. – TJ
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▪ Celebrate the founding of the town of Mint Hill at Mint Hill Madness, a festival featuring live music, rides, music, fireworks and more. Starts at 4 p.m. today through Sunday at 6 p.m. Info: minthillmadnessfestival.org – CB
▪ Billed as the biggest a capella music festival in the Southeast, Charlotte Harmony Fest comes to McGlohon Theater at 7:30 p.m. featuring performances by international medalist Throwback and college quartet world champs The Newfangled Four. Also featuring Charlotte’s own Zero Hour, Impromptu, and The Gold Standard Chorus. Tickets from $25-$35. – CB
▪ Real Friends – which performs at 6:15 p.m. at The Underground in the AvidXChange Music Factory – has proudly picked up the pop-punk mantle where bands like Jimmy Eat World and Brand New left off in the ’90s. Since 2010, this Illinois five-piece has made zippy emo by combining snappy choruses, sugary three-chord punch, and heartfelt, sometimes amusing lyrics about growing up, struggling, and self-acceptance. – CD
▪ Tour de Fat, New Belgium Brewing’s Fat Tire event, comes to town from 4-9 p.m. at the Charlotte Metro Credit Union Amphitheatre at the Music Factory. Expect music (headliner: A Thousand Horses), plus vaudeville acts, magicians and, yes, beer. The whole benefits BikeWalk NC, which supports safe human-powered transportation. Tickets: $25. Details: www.newbelgium.com. – KP
▪ Sounds like a nice afternoon for a wine party. From 4 to 8 p.m., Bonterra Dining & Wine Room will host Kelly Fest, a celebration of winemaker Kelly Kehoe of Robert Foley Vineyards (and Foley’s wife). The party will combine Southern foods (fried chicken, barbecue, etc.) paired with Foley wines and Triple C Brewing beers, and music from the Robert Foley Band. Tickets are $100. Reservations: 704-333-9463. – KP
▪ Jimmie Johnson has been an avid mountain biker for years now, but Memorial Day weekend will put the NASCAR Cup champion’s love of being on two wheels to a major test. Sunday night, it could be close to 10 o’clock when he finishes the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. About 10 hours later, he will be at Anne Springs Close Greenway in Fort Mill, S.C., at the start line of a four-hour mountain bike race that’s part of the new Jimmie Johnson Foundation Fit Fest. The Fit Fest also offers 5K and 8K trail running races (as well as a Spartan Kids Race for ages 5-12), and an option to split the mountain bike race into halves with a partner. But Johnson signed up for the latter by himself. The event – which also includes food trucks, DJs and live music – starts at 8 a.m. Monday. Details: www.jjfitfest.org. – TJ
▪ Meanwhile, another famous athlete is also hosting a Memorial Day race: The Steve Smith Family Foundation’s annual Lace Up Son Family 5K takes place at 8 a.m. Monday at Stumptown Park in Matthews, and the former Carolina Panthers/Baltimore Ravens receiver will be out there pounding the pavement with the masses. Details: www.stevesmithfamilyfdn.org. – TJ
▪ Heirloom chef Clark Barlowe will team up with a special assistant, 13-year-old Jasmine Bell of “Master Chef Junior,” to cook a five-course tasting dinner to benefit Chefs Collaborative, a nonprofit group that helps chefs work together to improve the food system. The dinner is $53.74 (plus tip and tax) and starts at 6 p.m. Tickets: 704-595-7710. – KP
▪ German electro folk-pop duo Milky Chance was barely out of high school when global hit “Stolen Dance” broke big; now they’re back with sophomore album “Blossom,” and will kick off the U.S. portion of its Blossom Tour at The Fillmore in Charlotte. Showtime is 8 p.m. Each ticket purchase comes with a digital download of the new album. – CD
▪ Make it a Taco Wednesday instead of Tuesday for a great cause: Parker Cowherd is an 8-year-old battling a rare tumor. To raise money for his treatment, Babalu is holding a pop-up, Parker’s Taco Shop, with a taco designed by Parker (corn tortilla with fried chicken, queso roja and smoked corn). A dollar from every taco sold at Babalu that day will go toward helping Parker’s family with the medical bills. Learn more at www.poundingforparker.com – KP
▪ It’s the end of an era for Charlotte Ballet president and artistic director Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux: The three-night run of “Inspired Works” – which includes George Balanchine’s “Rubies,” Mark Godden’s “Angels in the Architecture” and more – marks the final performances of his 20-year tenure with the company. Shows are 7:30 p.m. June 1-3 at Knight Theater. – TJ
▪ “Charlotte Squawks” returns for another round (this is the 13th year!) of biting satire that touches on pop culture, sports and politics both locally and nationally – meaning everything from the Panthers to President Trump are fair game. The premiere of “Charlotte, We Have a Problem” is at 7:30 p.m. at Booth Playhouse; host Mike Collins and producer-lyricist Brian Kahn will give 20 more performances throughout the month of June. – TJ
▪ Opening night for the ninth annual GayCharlotte Film Festival is free, showcasing LGBTQ short films and giving the audience a chance to vote on the best; screenings start at 7 p.m., at Johnson C. Smith’s New Science Center. charlottelgbtfilm.com/tickets/.