When Springtime comes to Charlotte, there is no turning back to cold climates. It’s the ideal time of year to go out and marvel at nature in full bloom or linger outside to see the sunset. Whether you prefer walking through street festival or enjoy going to the theater with plush seating, here are some great activities to chase away every vestige of the winter blues.
2700 E. Independence Blvd.
Charlotte, NC 28205
Date: March 19-31
The Blumenthal Center for the Performing Arts has brought back “Wicked” at the insistence of their patrons. The back story of two young witches living in the Land of Oz, destined to become Glinda the Good and Elphaba, the Wicked Witch of the West, is a hot ticket. When it first toured in Charlotte three years ago, the production quickly sold out. “Wicked” combines spectacular scenery and costumes with great tunes. Be forewarned that the musical is recommended for ages 8 and up, and children less than 4 years old will not be admitted.
Center City Building at UNC Charlotte
320 E. 9th St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Date: April 4, 2013
In its sophomore appearance, the Ulysses Festival, a one-month series of arts events, returns with a new theme — “Brave New Worlds: Technology and Art.” Festivities kick off on April 4 with a panel discussion dubbed “Technology & Art: Gimmick or Transformation” which is free to the public. It ends with NC Dance Theatre’s “Contemporary Fusion” on April 27. Other collaborating organizations include Opera Carolina, Charlotte Symphony, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Wingate University, Charlotte Jewish Film Festival, the Light Factory and McColl Center for Visual Art. Look for links to technology in their concerts and exhibits.
McGlohan Theater at Spirit Square
345 N. College St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
Date: April 7“Bra” Hugh Masekela, as he is affectionately called, is considered a beloved elder statesman in his native South Africa. His introduction to the trumpet in secondary school was initiated by Father Trevor Huddleston in 1954. While living in exile from home and the apartheid regime, Masekela made his musical mark in 1968 with “Grazing in the Grass.” He has fronted his own bands through the years and he joined Paul Simon for the renowned Graceland Tour. Still going strong at 74 years of age, expect an entertaining evening filled with energy and the lush sounds of Hugh’s horn.
725 Crest St.
Rock Hill, SC 29730
Date: April 11-20Nearby Rock Hill’s “Come See Me Festival” started in 1964 as a warm invitation to family and friends to witness the beauty of azaleas in full bloom at Glencairn Garden. It has grown to become a 10-day festival with arts, sports and children’s events happening all over the city. A sampling of last year’s artistic offerings included music of every description, theater, dance, pottery, a Catawba Indian Pow Wow and a big parade. This event has been recognized many times as 1 of the South’s Top 20 Spring Festivals with attendance topping 100,000. Look for Glen the Frog, a festival mascot, in his new 2013 incarnation.
Related: Best 2013 Museum Exhibitions To Look Forward To In Charlotte
Little Sugar Creek Greenway
600 S. Kings Drive
Charlotte, NC 28204
Date: April 27 to 28This springtime event is an offshoot of the venerated, 48-year-old Festival in the Park, which takes place in the Fall. Entering its third year, the Kings Drive Arts Walk is growing. The Pearl Street Bridge will be closed off to connect the Promenade strip and the Metropolitan, a Kings Drive landmark. The work of more juried artists will be shown this year, and a greater variety of food offerings will be available. Charlotte’s Jazz Arts Initiative will return to serenade festival goers in what promises to become one of the area’s finest arts festivals.
Food Lion Speed Street
E. 3rd St. and S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC, 28202
Date: May 23 to 25
Prior to Memorial Day, Food Lion Speed Street takes over Tryon Street, the heart of Uptown Charlotte’s business district, to promote NASCAR’s Coca Cola 600 race event. The opening day parade features NASCAR drivers, impressive vehicles and some of Charlotte’s most popular marching units. Visitors can check out the interactive NASCAR Hall of Fame, take their little ones to the Food Lion Kids Zone, get ideas for dinner at the Taste of Food Lion Stage, or test drive a Chevy. Attracting more than 400,000 visitors, Speed Street is a powerful distraction for workers on lunch break — there are 2 jamming music stages, street vendors, and so many things to check out. Those needing more time to take in everything can return after work and spend more time, since final music acts take the stage around 9:30 p.m.
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Jacquelin Celeste Peters has produced award winning radio programs at WPFW Pacifica-Washington. She is a Culture and Events Examiner in Charlotte, North Carolina, which she calls home. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.