South Charlotte

Matthews Alive! festival offers town a chance to show off

The 22nd Matthews Alive! festival will kick off at 6 p.m. Aug. 29 in downtown Matthews and run through Labor Day weekend.

“This is our chance to showcase our town,” said Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor. “We can share with others what we enjoy every single day about living in Matthews.”

With more than 170 carefully vetted arts and crafts vendors, 25 food vendors (new additions include several food trucks featuring crab cakes and pastries, among other unique edibles), games and rides, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

The real beauty of Matthews Alive!, Taylor said, is that its much more than just a weekend’s worth of entertainment: Each year, once all bills are paid, the remaining money goes to the groups that work the festival.

Over the past 21 years, the organization has returned about $1.1 million to Matthews nonprofits.

Matthews Alive! Executive Director Lee Anne Moore said they are counting on record numbers to attend this weekend: The more money the festival raises, the more they can give back.

“Our board has really worked hard to make this the best Matthews Alive! yet,” Moore said. “There’s something new everywhere.

“We are so blessed by the support of the town and our sponsors. They are responsible for taking the festival to the next level.”

Highlights will include:

• Friday evening’s “All You Can Ride” armband night for $15. Armbands go on sale at 5:30 p.m. Rides open at 6 p.m.

• Beginning Saturday, the Matthews Community Center will feature an art show, quilt display, basket display and work by local woodworking and woodcarving clubs.

• Live entertainment runs nonstop throughout the weekend. The Catalinas and The Tams play Stumptown Park on Friday night. Saturday night features Bruce In The USA, a Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band tribute band. Sunday is country day, with Grammy nominated Little Texas performing that evening.

• Kids crafts and shows start Saturday.

• Saturday kicks off with a flyover by Tinker Bell, a vintage World War II aircraft, at 10:29 a.m., followed by the Matthews Alive! Parade through downtown Matthews. The parade’s grand marshal will be former NBA Hornets basketball star Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues.