Lake Norman & Mooresville

What events make downtown Cornelius so popular?

The Tawba Walk in Cornelius is entertaining for thousands, and an economic boost to the more than 100 local artists, musicians and vendors who line the streets of Cornelius.

Davidson resident Skyla Smith, 8, was giggling as she hung upside down from the hammock, trying her best to learn aerial yoga while the blood was rushing to her head. Sterling Frierson, with Gotta Yoga of Cornelius, was guiding her with gentle instructions as the other children waited in line.

Skyla came with her family to the 13th Tawba Walk arts and music festival in Cornelius on April 29. Several arts festivals are planned this year, including a Second Friday festival May 12 and another Tawba Walk in September.

Huntersville resident Holly Reinhardt was picking out several bracelets and a necklace at the local jeweler’s MADDJewels Tent. “Mother’s Day shopping,” said Reinhardt, “for me ... and my mother.”

MADDJewels owner Lee Hill said that she attends some of the other smaller events put on by the Cornelius Cultural Arts Group, who sponsored the festival, throughout the year, but this is the biggest draw. “I always do well here (at the festival) and I will definitely come back to the next one.

For Davidson residents Cole and Sydney Barton, their first time visiting the festival was an enjoyable one. They had walked to the festival from Davidson and thought it was a great time. Cole said she loved the music, food trucks, “and lots of opportunities to buy local art.”

Sydney said he was glad to see so many people supporting the arts in Cornelius. “This is a great community resource. We need more things like this,” he said.

Case Warnemunde, founder and owner of Bella Love Inc. — the host — said the name Tawba came from an abbreviation of Catawba, as in Catawba Avenue, the main thoroughfare where the festival takes place. “Our goal is to have residents and visitors all come out and walk the streets of Old Town Cornelius and enjoy the exceptional artists, performers and businesses we have right here in our hometown,” he said.

The festival was initially a quarterly event, five years ago, when Warnemunde, as a live performance and artist promoter with his company, began “Meeting so many passionate people, who are so talented, and just deciding that we needed to all get together at one time and celebrate,” he said.

After the first two years they changed it to twice a year, “to really capture the essence and the magnitude of this event in a larger fashion,” he said. “It’s grown from 1,000 people five years ago to now going on to about 6,000,” said Warnemunde.

Marty Price is a freelance writer:

Want to go?

Upcoming Art Events in Cornelius:

▪ Old Town Cornelius’ Second Friday series kicks off on May 12 and continues every second Friday of the month for six months, June 9, July 14, Aug. 11, Sept. 8 and Oct. 12 . One those days, you’ll find art on the street, live musical performances and businesses offering specials and incentives.

▪ Old Town Cornelius Jazz Festival, 3-9 p.m. May 20, features talented improvisers on one stage along with food trucks, craft beer and wine, live artwork, kids activities and street vendors.

▪ Cornelius Food Truck Invitational, 2-8 p.m. June 17. The 5th Annual Cornelius Food Truck Invitational features a competition between 15 of the area’s food trucks who battle it out to be crowned champions. Visitors can vote for their favorite trucks in categories such as Most Creative Menu, Best-Looking Truck and People’s Choice while a panel of celebrity guest judges decide who will win the coveted Critic’s Choice trophy. Festivities also include multiple local craft breweries, vendors and a special awards ceremony with trophies made from local artisans.

▪ The next Tawba Walk is on Saturday, Sept. 16. Details:

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