Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | Sept. 8-14

Chinese lanterns take surprising forms at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.
Chinese lanterns take surprising forms at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Hanart Culture

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...


▪ The Chinese Lantern Festival at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont features about 800 illuminated plants, animals and other objects created in the ancient art of lantern making. Other aspects of Asian culture, including entertainment, food and crafts, are included. Sept. 7 through Oct. 29; www.dsbg.org. – NB

Slow Drip_02
“Slow Drip,” 2014, by Bob Trotman. He’ll be at the opening of his work at Projective Eye Gallery. David Ramsey

▪ Meet Bob Trotman, whose work was recently on view at the Mint Museum’s “State of Art,” and will be shown soon in two area exhibitions. He’ll be at the opening receptions for both: first, 6-8 p.m. Sept. 8 at UNCC’s Projective Eye Gallery (then 7-8:30 p.m. Oct. 19 at Davidson College’s Van Every/Smith Galleries). He’ll also give an artist talk Nov. 2 at UNC Charlotte’s Center City Building. – LN

▪ Sure, you could go to the annual Yiasou Greek Festival at Dilworth’s Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (through Sunday) for its cultural lectures, music, dancing and art. But let’s be honest, we’re there for the baklava sundaes – delicate phyllo, drenched in honey, served atop vanilla ice cream and topped with chocolate sauce. It’s the kind of cultural experience we can all get behind. – Charlotte Five

▪ The Charlotte Ideal Home Show brings design, renovation, landscaping, building experts and ideas to The Park Expo & Conference Center through Sunday. Matt Muenster of HGTB’s “Bath Crashers” and local culinary expert Chef Alyssa of Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen are among the guests and there’ll be 200+ exhibitors including local craft breweries serving up samples. $10, free for 12 and younger. – CD

▪ The annual Hopscotch Music Festival in downtown Raleigh technically kicked off Thursday, but continues through Sunday with indie up and comers, alternative vets Afghan Whigs and the Makeup, and hip mainstreamers Run the Jewels, Big Boi and Solange. Joining acts like Angel Olsen and the Oh Sees are Charlotte acts Faye and Mineral Girls (both Saturday). $45 and up. – CD

▪ The 119th Annual Central Carolina Fair kicks off in Greensboro and runs through Sept. 17 with rides, carnival games, festival food, circus performers, farm animals and nightly entertainment. $6-$8. Some concerts free with admission. – CD

▪ Charlotte Ballet will help the Bechtler bring its current exhibition, “Celebrating Jean Tinguely and Santana,” to a close by reprising its “The Machine” and “Matisse” ballets, performed during the opening of the exhibition. The ballets are choreographed by Mark Diamond and preceded by a talk by Bechtler curator Dr. Jen Sudul Edwards on the Swiss kinetic artist’s collaborations with theater designers and choreographers. $8 members, $10 guests. – CD


Woodfired natural ash glaze sculptural vase, by Akira Satake, who’ll be at Saturday’s Potters Market Invitational at the Mint Randolph. Akira Satake

▪ Get to the 13th annual Potters Market Invitational early: It’s one day, once a year, in which more than 50 N.C. potters offer their wares for sale on the lawn of the Mint Museum Randolph. It’s a great opportunity to see some of the best ceramics being made – and, most importantly, to purchase works directly from the artists. You will find both functional wares and sculptural works by some of our favorites, including Akira Satake, plus a pop-up café, live music and clay demonstration. A $10 ticket also provides entry to the Mint Museum Randolph and Uptown for the day. – LN

▪ Take a peek inside seven of SouthPark’s midcentury modern homes during the Charlotte Museum of History’s sixth Mad About Modern home tour. Built predominantly in the `50s and `60s, the homes’ unique touches include an original cone fireplace, floating kidney-shaped stairs, a moving library bookcase wall and a Connery-era 007-themed bathroom. There’s also the first showcase home. $20 for museum members, $25-$30 for nonmembers. – CD

A dance performance at last year’s Festival of India. Alpesh Suthar

▪ The 23rd Annual Festival of India brings the rich culture of India to Belk Theater and the surrounding streets during this two-day arts and culture festival. From traditional to Bollywood dance performances; painting, pottery, and crafts; a street market with clothing and jewelry; music; henna; yoga; and food. $7, children under 10 free. – CD


▪ The Laps for Life Blood Drive recognizes the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. After a moment of silence at 9:32 a.m., volunteers can donate blood through the American Red Cross until 7 p.m. and enjoy an on-site block party. – CD


▪ The Mecklenburg Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution hosts a dinner with Revolutionary War-era Cherokee Chief Attakullakulla. Retired Capt. Robert K. Rambo, who earned his MA in Cherokee Studies at Western Carolina, will play the part of the legendary chief, the peace chief of the Cherokee Nation for almost 30 years. $27 for adults, $15 for children; at the Charlotte Executive Park Hilton. – CD

▪ Garrison Keillor – who recently celebrated his 75th birthday – brings his folksy Prairie Home “Love And Comedy” Tour to Belk Theater at 7:30 p.m., with Heather Masse, Fred Newman and Rich Dworsky & the Road Hounds in tow. – TJ

▪ Grammy-winning vocal chameleon and stellar showman Bruno Mars glides into the Spectrum Center on his 24K Magic Tour, ready to dole out hit after danceable pop, soul, doo-wop, and hip-hop-tinged hit. – CD