Beer festival coming to Rural Hill

Along with hours of live entertainment, more than a dozen N.C. breweries will be featured at the inaugural N.C. Brewers and Music Festival May 14 at historic Rural Hill in Huntersville.

The event, headlined by N.C. band Chatham County Line, is scheduled to run from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., said Jeff Fissel, executive director of the heritage homestead site.

"We want to highlight and celebrate brewers from North Carolina," Fissel said. "They are creating a culture, a craft-brewing culture. There is a movement away from national beers, and we are celebrating local and regional brews."

Eager to add to its festival lineup in support of its anchor event, the Loch Norman Highland Games, Rural Hill officials are counting on local beer lovers to answer the call.

The festival is the first to exclusively celebrate North Carolina's great craft breweries, said Fissel, adding that designated-driver and under-21 tickets are available.

"We are looking for a couple of new events to show new people of the history we have here," he said.

Rural Hill Inc. is the nonprofit organization that maintains and promotes the historic Rural Hill site, its programs and activities.

On land leased from Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation, Rural Hill encompasses 265 acres of rural vistas, a variety of farm animals and walking trails. Eleven historic buildings and reconstructions provide a setting for cultural heritage events such as the Loch Norman Highland Games.

The festival also will bring in other musicians with Carolina ties, including Eric Lindell, Charlotte's New Familiars, Moonshine Racers, Sol Driver Train, The Mantras and Do It To Julia.

Chatham County Line bassist Greg Reading, a Huntersville resident, won't have far to drive to work that morning.