Call your friends, buy your tickets and loosen your belt. For the next few days, Charlotte is serving up some mouthwatering events. From enjoying local craft brews to indulging in authentic Carolina fare, consider this your handy guide to getting a taste of the town this weekend.
Battle of the Brews
The Scoop: Ten of Charlotte’s top breweries battle it out for a good cause at this annual event benefiting Friendship Gardens, a local charity providing those in need with healthy produce.
The Scene: Taste the brews and cast a vote for your favorite. The festivities will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. at 100 W. Park Ave., in the same South End lot as “Food Truck Friday.”
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The Snacks: Chow down on food truck fare alongside your beer from popular trucks like Dan the Pig Man, Curbside and Wingzza among others.
The Sips: Ten local breweries will contend, including Charlotte staples like Birdsong Brewing Co., NoDa Brewing Company and Olde Mecklenburg Brewery.
$40 per ticket. www.charlottebattleofthebrews.com
The Scoop: This three-day festival includes trail racing, kayaking, scavenger hunting, bouldering, paddling, bike racing and even a dog jumping competition – not to mention music from famed artists like Jason Isbell and, of course, plenty of craft beer.
The Scene: From early morning races to late night tunes, the center will likely be bustling all weekend. Activities like a family adventure race and kids obstacle challenge draw a family-friendly crowd for the fun.
The Snacks: The U.S. National Whitewater Center offers food at The Market, the River’s Edge Bar & Grill and at the Pump House Biergarten. Check out the pump house’s new USNWC Food Truck and enjoy a bite on its Belmont Abbey Island.
The Sips: The USNWC is serious about its craft beer. Grab a pint at the new Pump House Biergarten, which offers sixty different craft beers on tap.
Admission is free, parking and activity fees vary. www.tuckfest.org
Taste of the Carolinas
The Scoop: A theme park may not be where you’d expect to find samples of regionally authentic fare, but Carowinds plans to change that with this new festival launching on weekends now through May 17. The event offers guests the chance to try 40 different food samples from nine different regions around North and South Carolina.
The Scene: The family-friendly events include cooking demos, live music and other playful demonstrations like ice carving or cupcake decorating.
The Snacks: This goes way beyond barbecue. Look for dishes like smoked trout rillettes flatbread, Coastal Carolina crab soup, sweet potato dumplings and homemade moon pies.
The Sips: Check out Carolina-centric wine and beers including tastings from spots like Childress Vineyards in Lexington or Benford Brewing in Lancaster, S.C.
$20 for the tasting only, $57.99 for admission and tasting. www.carowinds.com/taste
Rural Hill Scottish Festival and Loch Norman Highland Games
The Scoop: There are bagpipes, highland dancing, traditional Scottish games and even Viking demonstrations at this 22nd-annual everything-Scottish weekend festival at the Historic Rural Hill.
The Scene: With more than 65 competitions on site in addition to music, food and drink, this festival is always a favorite. While most visitors come for the day, camping is also available and the field opens for the events at 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
The Snacks: There are a variety of food vendors at the festival, including those serving traditional Scottish fare like meat pies, sausage rolls and homemade short breads.
The Sips: Indulge in a pint of the official beer of the highland games, D9 Brewing Company’s Scottish Loch Norman Ale. Plus, be sure to check out the single malt whisky seminar for a taste of the country’s famed spirit.
$21.50 for adults on Saturday. www.ruralhillscottishfestivals.net
Beer Me Brew Fest
The Scoop: When your Sunday involves live music, games and four hours of sampling craft beer, it definitely qualifies for “Funday.” And you can feel good about it because this Sunday afternoon fest in South End supports Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte.
The Scene: In addition to local live music and games like cornhole and “giant beer pong,” the festival includes more than 20 craft breweries, including several Charlotte options.
The Snacks: Grab a bite from local food trucks like Papi Queso, Chrome Toaster and Sal’s Roadside Eatery, all perfect for pairing with your brew.
The Sips: You’ve got your usual suspects like OMB and Heist Brewery, but also look out for other North Carolina craft brews like Big Boss and Highland Brewing Company as well.
$25 for general admission ticket. www.beermebrewfest.com