You don’t have to travel far this season to enjoy great music, delicious food and kid-friendly events. All over the Lake Norman area you’ll find festivals that celebrate everything from international heritage and the thrilling world of NASCAR to local artists and musicians. No matter what your interests are, you’re sure to find a fun event this season.
Food Lion AutoFairEvery year thousands of car aficionados descend upon the Charlotte Motor Speedway for the annual Food Lion AutoFair. This four-day auto extravaganza features more than 1,500 classic, hot rod, custom and muscle cars. And making an appearance this year direct from Graceland will be one of Elvis Presley’s cars, a 1956 Lincoln Continental Mark 2. More than 100,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event, which will also feature bounce houses, rides and games for children. When: April 4-7Where: Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy., South, ConcordAdmission: $10 for adults, children 13 and under are freeMore Info: www.charlottemotorspeedway.com
Rural Hill Scottish Festival and Loch Norman Highland GamesNow in its 20th year, this event at Historic Rural Hill showcases Scottish heritage, traditions and food. Special events this year include the debut of Tannahill Weavers, a renowned Celtic band that’s not to be missed. Also be sure to check out a special performance in which all the festival’s bagpipe bands get together and play the same tune, creating an incredibly rich and moving sound. Afterward, watch the caber toss, an old Scottish athletic competition during which men throw large tree trunks end over end. Then, grab some traditional Scottish fare like meat pie or haggis at the vendor booths.When: April 19-21Where: 4431 Neck Road, HuntersvilleAdmission: $7 for children, $20 for adults on Saturday and $10 on Sunday; adult weekend pass is $25. More Info: 704-875-3113; www.ruralhillscottishfestivals.net
Art on the Green Every year Davidson celebrates local artists with the Art on the Green Festival, held in the heart of downtown next to the Davidson College campus. This popular event also includes musical performances from local and regional bands as well as onsite food vendors. Before the event kicks off, residents can enjoy the town’s gallery crawl, which takes place the Friday before on April 12. Artists will set up their work in different retail establishments around town, including South Main Square. When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 20 and noon to 4 p.m. on April 21Where: Davidson Village Green and various retail establishments around townAdmission: FreeMore Info: 704-892-7591
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Dragon Boat FestivalEvery year folks are able to experience various Asian countries without spending a dime or even boarding an airplane. During the Dragon Boat Festival teams of 40-plus participants race each other on the sparkling waters of Lake Norman in a magnificent symphony of colorful vessels, ancient traditions and fierce competition. The race coincides with the Asian Festival, considered the largest Asian-organized festival in the Carolinas, which showcases the culture, art, music, dance and food of seven countries. There’s also the popular Ms. Asian Carolinas Pageant.When: May 4Where: Ramsey Creek Park, 18441 Nantz Road, CorneliusAdmission: FreeMore Info: www.charlottedragonboat.com
Concerts on the Green Throughout the summer months, Davidson hosts this concert series on the first and third Sunday on the Davidson Village Green. Concerts feature a diverse selection of music, from Davidson College students to regional groups. To kick off this popular music series, the Davidson Symphony Orchestra will play on April 21. Other bands scheduled to play include the popular Band of Oz, a beach music band that formed in 1967. Be sure to arrive a little early and claim your spot with chairs and blankets. It’s not unusual for some 2,500 people to attend the concerts. When: April to September Where: Davidson Village GreenAdmission: FreeMore Info: 704-892-7591; www.concertsonthegreen.com
The Race City FestivalHistoric Downtown Mooresville comes alive every summer with this family-friendly arts and crafts festival, which also celebrates the town’s racing heritage. The event features two entertainment stages, two food courts, beer garden, numerous vendors for everything from wooden toys to fresh produce, along with amusement rides for the kids. Held on the same day as the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, the event is always popular among fans looking for something fun to do before the big race. Last year nearly 18,000 people attended.When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 18 Where: Main and Broad streets, Downtown MooresvilleAdmission: FreeMore Info: 704-664-3898; www.mooresvillenc.org
Lowe’s YMCA Summer CelebrationLowe’s YMCA in Mooresville celebrates Independence Day every year with one of the area’s biggest fireworks shows, along with kids games, bounce houses, food vendors and more. Don’t miss Lake Norman Orchestra’s performance, which pays tribute to our country’s military. It’s a perfect way to spend a fun-filled day with the family.When: 4 to 10 p.m. July 3Where: Lowe’s YMCA, 170 Joe Knox Ave., MooresvilleAdmission: FREEMore Info: 704-716-4000
Carolina BalloonFestCelebrating 40 years, Carolina BalloonFest is held at Statesville Regional Airport the third weekend of October. The festival features more than 50 hot-air balloons, live entertainment, arts and crafts vendors, kids’ activities, food, and beer and wine tasting. When: Oct. 18-20Where: Statesville Regional Airport, 260 Hangar Drive, StatesvilleAdmission: $12More Info: 704-873-2892; www.carolinaballoonfest.com