The 22nd annual Speed Street is underway in uptown Charlotte and runs noon-11 p.m. through Saturday. Although there are plenty of food vendors and some ticket-only music performances, you can still find lots to do for free. After spending the afternoon checking out the festival, here are highlights.
Best free item
Tire gauge on a key chain. This seems among the most useful of the free items on hand. You get it from State Farm by entering their raffle for a free DSLR camera, so it’s really a win-win here.
Coolest raffle entry
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Free tandem skydive with Skydive! Carolina. Located in Chester, S.C., the drive is about an hour from Charlotte. But the winner will jump from 14,000 feet for what is sure to be an awesome experience. (Know this, you’ll be asked for email and other contact information to enter raffles.)
Weirdest free item
Build-your-own birdhouse from State Farm. The company has markers and stickers, so you can decorate to your heart’s desire. This is a great activity for families, and it only took a couple minutes to assemble.
Best free sample
Heinz barbecue sauces. The sauces come on either chicken or pulled pork (a good amount of meat, too), and you can try one of many flavors, including the classic sweet and thick or the tangy Carolina vinegar style.
Best free dessert
Turkey Hill ice cream. We tried caramel peanut butter. It was a great way to cool down on a hot day.
Check street closings
Some 250,000 people are expected to attend this year. Be sure to check out street closings before driving over. And if you get too warm walking around, Geico is giving out free frog fans to keep you cool.