Break out the beers and bathing suits. It’s the first official summer month and when it’s set to be sunny, pesky details like work and chores take a back seat. There are beaches to hit, trails to hike and cold drinks to sip.
No need to waste your precious summer hours searching for fun — we’ve found the month’s top 10 things to put on your calendar now.
You can’t officially call yourself a Charlottean until you’ve spent a summer Sunday evening in Symphony Park. Here’s how to kick off this cultural rite of passage:
– Order your $12 tickets online
– Arrive with your blanket at 5 p.m. to snag a spot
– Bring your own dinner and drinks (or grab some from the food trucks and NoDa Brewing on site)
– Settle in for the soothing sounds of the symphony under the stars.
Let’s be honest — The US National Whitewater Center is basically a grown-up playground. From zip lines to whitewater to obstacle courses, it puts those kiddie swings and sandboxes to shame. For this fifth-annual festival, mix in live music and the chance to sample a large selection of regional and national craft beers. Just consider June 18 the best recess ever.
Break out the sunscreen! Mecklenburg County’s long-awaited first public beach has finally opened at Ramsey Creek Park. The 0.34-acre beach with a 5- to 6-foot deep swimming area holds up to 500 people. Pack a picnic to enjoy in one of the park’s shelters, bring the family for a swim (lifeguards patrol from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.), or just grab your towel and sunglasses for a day by the water.
— Xavier Walton (@xmanwalton) May 28, 2016
Forget your bathing suit season diet for a day. More than 50 food trucks from around the state — including your Charlotte favorites — will line South End’s Camden Road for this afternoon of eating. The food truck feast, in its first year, will go from 2-10 p.m. June 18 as part of the Art & Soul of South End festival, which also includes free trolley rides, live local music, an art show and more.
Charlotte’s most well known bartender, the Ritz-Carlton Punch Room’s Bob Peters, mixes it up each month with his Mixology Lab at Earl’s Grocery. He’s dubbed this season’s classes, “Summer of Locals” and is showcasing other local talent and tastes.
At 2:30 p.m. June 11, Peters pairs with local barista Lindsey Pittman and local roaster Pure Intentions Coffee for Summer Coffee Cocktails 101. Can’t make that class? No problem. You’ll miss the tasty on-site sips, but for the first time Peters will be streaming the class live from his Facebook page this month.
Whether you’re a serious climber or just prefer the occasional stroll down a local trail, you’ll want to lace up your hiking shoes for this free celebration at McAdenville’s South Fork Trail on June 4.
Hosted by the Carolina Thread Trail, the family-friendly day features guided nature hikes, free kayak rentals for paddling on the Catawba, lawn games, live bluegrass music, and food and drinks available from Papi Queso truck and Riverman Brewing Company.
Need to get your Cam Newton fix before the season starts in September? For $5 you can watch the NFL MVP, his teammates and other local celebs compete in a kickball tournament at American Legion Memorial Stadium June 10. This second-annual game raises money for Newton’s foundation, which helps children economically, educationally and emotionally.
Pull on your elastic waistband pants — there are more than 100 samples from local restaurants at this three-day uptown festival June 10-12. Sure, there’s other entertainment: You’ll find live music, street performances, shopping, and various kids activities. But the focus here is food. Admission is free and coins are available for purchase to use for tasty samples of bites and beverages.
Crawfish for Cancer may have started in New York City, but this all-you-can-eat seafood boil June 11 is as Southern as it gets. This year is Charlotte’s first taste of this Cajun-flavored afternoon party, which raises money for Multiple Myeloma Research—and you’ll want to come hungry. Your $55 ticket covers five hours of unlimited crawfish consumption, as well as other lowcountry boil fare, beer, Firefly spirits, and live music at the NC Music Factory’s Fountain Plaza.
Did you know that over the past two decades more than 10,000 new refugees have been welcomed into Charlotte? Join in the international celebration of refugees on June 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Central Avenue’s Galilee Center. The free event is focused on raising awareness of refugees in the region — and celebrating their many cultural contributions. Can’t make it that date? Check the Facebook page for plenty of events leading up to it, including cultural movie nights at the center on June 3 and 10.
Photos: Charlotte Observer file; Remy Thurston