Entertainment

Your 5-minute guide to the best things to do in Charlotte | May 25-31

Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which opens Friday.
Alden Ehrenreich as Han Solo in “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” which opens Friday. Lucasfilm Ltd.

Friday

▪ The 24th Annual Circle-K Speed Street Festival presented by Coca-Cola continues to dominate downtown from noon-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday with meet-and-greet opportunities with NASCAR drivers, BMX shows, fan challenges, driver Q&A panels, giveaways, contests and concerts. On Friday, Travis Dennen, Easton Corbin and former Hendrick Motorsports crew member Chase Rice will perform on the Coca-Cola Stage at Romare Bearden Park. On Saturday, Lindsay Ell, Brett Young and Dustin Lynch will headline the same stage. Tickets are $25 per night. There’s also free entertainment on the Mello Yello stage, with ’80s cover band Gump Fiction and Chairmen of the Board among the acts.

▪ There’s no bigger box-office draw this weekend than the origin story of arguably the most beloved “Star Wars” hero this side of Princess Leia. So hang on to your light sabers as you zip into light speed to grab tickets for “Solo: A Star Wars Story”. Check theaters for times and prices.

▪ If “Star Wars” isn’t your thing, Spirit Square hosts free family-friendly flicks outdoors on Friday and Saturday during Movie Nights in the Square. Friday’s feature stars Kevin Bacon (whose band, The Bacon Brothers, is coincidentally scheduled to play Spirit Square’s McGlohon Theater next week) as a rebellious teen who teaches one town to dance in “Footloose.” Saturday belongs to Disney’s “The Lion King.” Showtimes are at 8:45 p.m. nightly. Bring your own lawn chair. Concessions will be available.

Saturday

▪ Grammy-winning gospel music veteran Fred Hammond, award-winning innovator Tye Tribett, singer and pastor Tasha Cobb Leonard, and comedian Bone Hampton join Vashawn Micthell, Anthony Brown and Group Therapy, and the Walls Group for Joyfest. The annual gospel entertainment festival is held annually at Carowinds, where you can spend most of the day riding the rides then get some church starting at 4 p.m. at the Paladium. $55.55.

▪ Willie Nelson heads up this classic country and roots music lineup at the Outlaw Music Festival at PNC Music Pavilion. Also on the impressive bill: Grammy winner Sturgill Simpson, folk-rock powerhouse Brandi Carlile, Old Crow Medicine Show and S.C. native Mitchell Lee. Elvis Costello, who was originally scheduled to appear with the Imposters, cancelled due to surgery. 4:30 p.m. $35-$199.50.

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In this Jan. 7, 2017 photo, Willie Nelson performs in Nashville, Tenn. Mark Humphrey AP

Sunday

▪ The U.S. National Whitewater Center kicks off its annual Memorial Day Celebration with a trail race at 9 a.m. and SUP Yoga at 9:30. The latter is a true test of balance; instead of a traditional yoga mat, you’ll steady your tree and channel your warrior atop a standup paddleboard floating in the flatwater of the Catawba River. Other land-based styles of yoga follow throughout the morning and afternoon. The party escalates with live music at 6 p.m. from the Artisanals and N.C. folk act Mandolin Orange, and closes with a fireworks display at 9:30 p.m. General admission is free; tickets for terrace viewing are $45.

▪ Local artists Laura McRae Hitchcock, Jonathan Grauel, Diane Pike, Jean Cauthen and Amily Andress will paint as patrons stroll through the grounds sipping cocktails at The Ballantyne during Art Live, which runs from 4:30-6:30 p.m. The event is part of the Ballantyne’s Memorial Day Weekend, during which guests can enjoy lawn games, drink specials, the outdoor pool, and live music and a cookout on Saturday and Sunday.

▪ Although his three years on “Saturday Night Live” were cut short, there’s no forgetting a name like Finesse Mitchell, who has spent the 12 years since bouncing from standup stages and comedy specials to film (“Who’s Your Caddy”) and TV (Disney’s “A.N.T. Farm”). He even wrote a dating advice book for women, before marrying a second time and having kids. He’ll perform at The Comedy Zone at 7 p.m. $20-$25.

Wednesday

▪ Carlos Valencia is a standup comic on the rise, one who counts Patton Oswalt as a fan and who’s toured with Doug Stanhope and Tom Segura. He asks the questions you didn’t know you were thinking and says things that may initially sound absurd but often make sense. You can catch his act at The Comedy Zone for just $10, which you’ll remember as bargain when he’s playing bigger clubs for more money. 8 p.m.

Thursday

▪ One of the funniest, most consistent homegrown productions around, the annual musical comedy extravaganza Charlotte Squawks begins a 3-1/2-week run of its 14th installment: “O Fourteena”. Creators Mike Collins (of WFAE’s “Charlotte Talks”) and attorney Brian Kahn send up local government, pop culture, sports, current events and issues facing the QC with a cast of singers, dancers and actors. 7:30 p.m. at Booth Playhouse, with additional shows there June 1-24. $24.50-$64.50.

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