Autumn is right around the corner, and with the beautiful fall foliage comes a ton of spectacular Charlotte festivals. Starting in September, you can find a festival almost every weekend where you can enjoy great food and beverages, art, culture, and much more. These 7 festivals are ones you don’t want to miss in the Queen City. Make sure to mark them on your social calendar!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Yiasou Greek Festival - September 7th-10th
The Yiasou Greek Festival is a Charlotte tradition and has been a staple in the community for 40 years. Hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, the Greek Festival is a much anticipated event and promises Charlotte residents an amazing Greek experience.
One of the major draws to the Greek Festival is the authentic cuisine you'll find there. Traditional lamb gyros, spanakopita, Greek salads, chicken pitas, and baklava are only a few tasty things on the menu. Festival-goers have the choice of attending a full sit-down dinner in Father C Hall or dining a la carte from the food tents set up outside. The festival even offers drive through service, so if you want to skip the activities and pick up some dinner, that's an option too!
In addition to the food, the festival has many fun activities for the whole family. Rides and games are set-up in the courtyard and various vendors sell jewelry, art, and other items in booths throughout the festival. Each night, there are folk dancing shows and live music, as well as other great activities like wine tastings, cooking demonstrations, and more.
If you haven't been to the Yiasou Greek Festival, you must check it out in September. It's guaranteed to be the experience of a lifetime.
The Yiasou Greek Festival is located at 600 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203
2. Oktoberfest - September 9th
If you are a craft beer lover, Charlotte's Oktoberfest is a must see! A festival that celebrates brews from all over the world, this event will feature beverage selections from 75 craft breweries and cideries. The 18th Annual Charlotte Oktoberfest will take place on September 9th at Symphony Park. Patrons have the choice of purchasing a Premium ticket at $65 a piece, which will allow entry from 12:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., or a General Admission ticket at $45 apiece, which allows entry from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Food vendors and food trucks will be on site and festival goers get a free tasting glass to make the rounds and sample as many craft beers as they desire throughout the day. The event happens rain or shine and is one of Charlotte's most popular festivals in the fall. This year, Oktoberfest happens the same weekend as the Yiasou Greek Festival, so make it a festival weekend and attend the Greek Festival on Friday and Oktoberfest on Saturday.
Oktoberfest will take place at 4400 Sharon Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211
3. Festival in the Park - September 22nd-24th
Festival in the Park is one of Charlotte's oldest traditions. Hosted every fall in Freedom Park, Festival in the Park offers a weekend of food, beverages, art, entertainment, and more - all in one of the city's favorite parks. This year will be the 53rd Annual Festival in the Park, so if you have yet to experience this festival, it's about time to make an appearance. Concessions like the Bavarian Catering Company, Lobster Dogs Food Truck, Sugar n' Spice Funnel Cakes, Gus's Greek Foods, and more will be set up throughout the park and ready to serve lunch or dinner to festival attendees.
There will be numerous entertainment acts each day that include Charlotte folk dance, a youth stage with entertainment acts, clowns, face painters, and a magician. Another great thing about this festival is the famous Art Walk, which allows visitors to stroll through a variety of different exhibits, speak to the artists behind the masterpieces, and purchase paintings, sculptures, and other works of art. Festival in the Park is a great event to take the kids to, and i's a historic event you don't want to miss!
Festival in the Park is held at 1900 East Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203
4. The Carolina Renaissance Festival - September 30th - November 19th
If you enjoy a good Renaissance Festival, you must take a weekend to attend the Carolina Renaissance Festival in Huntersville. Considered the largest costume party in the Carolinas, this festival doesn't disappoint. When you visit the Renaissance Festival, you will be transported back to the Renaissance period and will witness everything from knights in shining armor, jousting on horseback, sword fights, and even the lost art of falconry - an ancient sport that was enjoyed by Kings and Queens.
The food offered at the Renaissance Festival fits the theme and includes various meats on-a-stick, turkey legs, Renaissance-era stews, and sweet confections for dessert. The Artisan Marketplace is a fun place to wander if you are interested in shopping for souvenirs, and there are plenty of games and rides that the kids will enjoy! This festival is put on each weekend from the end of September until mid-November, so make sure to schedule some time to head out and enjoy the 16th and 17th centuries.
The Carolina Renaissance Festival is held at 16445 Poplar Tent Rd., Huntersville, NC 28078
5. UNC Charlotte's International Festival - October 14th
The 42nd Annual International Festival, hosted by UNC Charlotte, happens this October and is an amazing festival that represents the cultures of more than 50 nations. Booths are set up on campus featuring arts, crafts, and costumes from various countries. Festival-goers can wander through the quad and purchase international food, learn about the cultures on display, and see great entertainment put on by members of the international community.
The International Festival is an event for the whole family and offers a number of unique elements like mimes, face painting, and games for children and teens. As an event that celebrates the growing diversity of our city and positively showcases the differences in various cultures, this festival is not only a great weekend of fun, but also serves as a wonderful learning experience for the Charlotte community.
You'll find UNC Charlotte's International Festival at 9201 University City Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28223
6. Dilworth South End Chili Cook-Off - October 15th
The Dilworth South End Chili Cook-Off is a neighborhood event that is hosted every year to raise money for charities like the Alzheimer's Association, the Parkinson's Association of the Carolinas, and Charlotte Engine and Ladder. The event starts at 11 a.m. and judging for the chili cook-off competition begins at 12 p.m. Tickets are $10 and kids get in free. This festival is the perfect way to get into the mood for fall, as patrons will get to sample all the warm chili they can handle from local restaurants and individual teams.
Festival-goers will also find pumpkin painting, a community bake sale, tons of live music, a corn hole tournament, and an event raffle to keep you entertained. This is a wonderful way to spend your Sunday while also supporting local charities in the process.
The Dilworth South End Chili Cook-Off will take place at 1930 Camden Rd., Charlotte, NC 28203
7. Greystar South End Wine Fest - October 21st
This Charlotte festival is for all of you wine lovers out there! General admission tickets are on sale now for $35 per each, and will get you unlimited wine tastings from more than 25 vineyards. Local food trucks make sure festival-goers are well fed, and there is great live music to keep everyone entertained all day long. Proceeds benefit Classroom Central, a local non-profit that is on a mission to ensure students living in poverty are able to experience positive learning opportunities that otherwise may not be available to them.
The festival starts at 2 p.m. and lasts until 6 p.m. It is a great way to experience amazing local wines while supporting a great cause. If you are an avid wine drinker, you don't want to miss this festival in October!
Greystar South End Wine Fest will take place at 308 W. Carson Blvd., Charlotte, NC 28203
What’s you favorite festival in Charlotte? Let us know in the comments.