Family & Pets

Best Things To Do Labor Day Weekend In Charlotte

August 15, 2014 8:00 AM

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Labor Day marks the official end of the summer, so why not put an exclamation point on the season at one of these outdoor celebrations in the Charlotte region? Our list includes parades, street festivals, family fun, Revolutionary War battle reenactments, a farewell to the Boys of Summer and, of course, fireworks. Whether your tribute to summer involves dancing the shag or a final swim, a picnic by the lake or one last ball game, Charlotte has something to offer that will close out the season in style.
Matthews Alive Festival And Parade
Trade, John and McDowell Streets
Matthews, NC 28105
(704) 905-7609
Date: Aug. 29 to Sept. 1, 2014

Now in its 22nd year, the Matthews Alive Festival celebrates small town life with four days of festivities in and around historic downtown Matthews, with all proceeds benefiting local non-profit organizations. The annual parade, the largest Labor Day parade in the Southeast, takes place Saturday morning at 10:30 a.m., with floats, bands and many community groups marching from Matthews-Mint Hill Road down Trade Street to the Matthews United Methodist Church. Kids will enjoy the many carnival rides and the Kid Connection area with a craft pavilion, pony rides, train and a stage with jugglers, magic acts, clowns, puppets and more. Live music is a major part of the festival, with the main stage in Stumptown Park featuring top acts, including the Tams and Catalinas on Beach Music Friday, Tribute Saturday with headliner Bruce In The USA, a top Springsteen tribute band and Little Texas topping off Country Music Sunday. Other activities include an art show, basket weaving demonstration and quilt show at the Hendrick Arts & Crafts Pavilion in the Matthews Community Center, an indoor acoustic stage hosting Songwriter Sunday, and the Auto and Motorcycle Show at the Town Hall Green on Monday.

Related: Best Spots For A Picnic In Charlotte

Charlotte Knights Season Finale
324 S. Mint St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 357-8071
Date: Aug. 31 to Sept. 1, 2014

If you haven’t experienced the Charlotte Knights playing America’s sport—baseball—in their new Uptown ballpark, this is your final chance this year. The Knights close out the 2014 season with a two-day home stand against traditional rivals, the Gwinnett Braves. Monday’s game is one of the rare afternoon games, with the first pitch thrown at 2:05 p.m. Sunday’s 7:05 p.m. game will be capped with a fireworks show.

Related: A Guide To Charlotte Knights Baseball

Charlotte Labor Day Parade
N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 877-6916
Date: Sept. 1, 2014 at 11 a.m.

Charlotte’s 15th annual Labor Day Parade honors the men and women who struggled to establish the rights and benefits workers enjoy today, including Social Security, the 40-hour work week, weekends off and health care. The parade includes bands, dance groups, political candidates, community and labor groups and businesses, all marching to honor the American worker. Stepping off at 11 a.m., the parade travels down Tryon Street from 9th Street to Third Street. Labor Day has been a national holiday since 1894, and is celebrated in all 50 states.

Latta Plantation Revolutionary War Reenactment
5225 Sample Road
Charlotte, NC 28078
(704) 875-2312
Date: Aug. 30 to Aug. 31, 2014

Historic reenactors dressed in the authentic costumes of British and Patriot forces will recreate the 1780 Battles of Charlotte and McIntyre Farm on Labor Day weekend, an annual event at Historic Latta Plantation. In addition to watching the battles, visitors can tour the 18th century-style camps of both forces and watch military and musket firing demonstrations. The historic site is part of the Latta Plantation Nature Preserve on the shores of Mountain Island Lake, with picnic sites, a nature center, trails, an equestrian center and the Carolina Raptor Center offering a full day of family fun. You can picnic and hike at the park for free; entry to the reenactment and plantation house is $8, free for children ages five and under.

Related: Best Hiking Trails In Charlotte

U.S. National Whitewater Center Labor Day Celebration
5000 Whitewater Center Parkway
Charlotte, NC 28214
(704) 391-3900
Date: Aug. 31, 2014

End the summer with a splash at this Olympic trial facility on Charlotte’s western edge. You can run the whitewater rapids on the man-made river in a raft or kayak, enjoy a peaceful paddle on the Catawba River or enjoy the ziplines, climbing wall or mountain bike trails all day. Live music runs on the outdoor stage from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., with fireworks at dark. Admission to the festival is free with a $5 parking fee; a variety of activity passes, plus plenty of food and drink, are available.

Related: Best Lakeside Beaches Near Charlotte

With 15 years of experience covering restaurants in Charlotte and the Carolinas, and two regional guidebooks under her belt, Renee Wright examines the dining scene with enthusiasm plus a deep knowledge of food trends and outstanding local eating ops. Her work can be found at

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