There’s not much that compares to the first cool morning of September. You don’t have to crank the car AC all the way to full blast on your 8 am drive to work. The beer shelves begin to trade pale ales for pumpkin spice. The world class breweries, apple harvests, and giant swaths of colorful forested canopy make a Carolina autumn something to behold. It’s time to trade fireworks at the lake for fall festivals. From beer to Bar-B-Que, these are some of the biggest and best events to celebrate the season around the Queen City.
1. Festival in the Park
Sept 19 – 21
Since 1964, this artist focused event has brought together painters, photographers, performance artists, and so on. Average attendance to this event, conveniently located in one of the prettiest urban parks around, is more than 85,000. Expect to find dozens of food options, from funnel cakes to falafels, as well as more free live music than seems possible to cram into 3 days. Entrance is free but bring some funds to grab something from any of the thousands of artistic pieces available.
2. Charlotte Oktoberfest
NC Music Factory
Strap on your pretzel necklace and your beer drinking shoes, the granddaddy of Charlotte beer festivals makes its sophomore appearance at its NC Music factory digs. After 16 years the Carolina Brew Master event is just hitting its stride. This year features over 350 beers from 100+ international, national, and local breweries. This nonprofit event has raised more than $500,000 for local charities. Your ticket gets you a 5 ounce tasting glass with unlimited samples. The organizers limit attendance to a little over 5000 people so you’re not waiting in super long lines and can actually speak with the crazy talented brewers.
3. New Belgium Clips of Faith Tour
New Belgium brings its fan generated film tour to Independence Park on Oct. 3. They’ll be serving up the sometimes hard to find Lips of Faith beer series plus all the standard NB brews. Entrance is free and funds from beer sales help support two charities dedicated to supporting local cyclists; the Charlotte Area Bike Alliance and Trips For Kids Charlotte .
4. Lexington BBQ Festival
Travel and Leisure magazine has dubbed the Lexington BBQ Festival as one the top ten food festivals in the US. Some 200,000 people will visit the event. Be one of them this year! Besides the tons of ridiculously tender and tasty BBQ, the festival offers a car show, rock climbing wall (wait 30 minutes after eating), rides, and hundreds of vendors.