I am a native Charlottean who has been going to the Festival in the Park ever since I can remember. When I was little, my favorite memory was painting pictures on the wooden easels with tempera paints. We would put on baggy men's shirts as smocks. Once the masterpiece was finished, they were hung on a clothesline to dry.
Being outside in the dark, walking around the lake with the tents and the lights, was such a treat for me as a young girl. They also had a swinging rope bridge that went across part of the lake that people could try to tackle. I was always too scared to try, as many would fall into the lake (although I think some did it on purpose!).
Once I was married and had children, it became a tradition for our family to go each year. When my son was younger, his favorite part of the Festival was the magic shows and my daughter enjoyed the Carolina Clowns and having her face painted. The kettle corn was and is still a family favorite; we eat it until we can't eat anymore.
I also taught my kids to lay and roll down the hills in front of the band shelter – they are too old to do that now, but I still see myself rolling down the hills every year when we walk by them. So many great times have been spent at the Festival.