Top off the summer with a quick trip to one of these great festivals and events taking place within driving distance of Charlotte. Whether you prefer wine, beach music, fireworks, old-time fiddling or alien encounters, we have the Labor Day getaway for you.
Sippin' and Chillin'
Pinehurst Food and Wine Festival at the Pinehurst Resort: Celebrating its 26th year, this Labor Day weekend tradition features a full schedule of seminars, tastings and culinary demonstrations, plus a gala dinner created by celebrity chef Norman Van Aken, owner of Norman’s at the Ritz-Carlton in Orlando, named one of the Top Ten restaurants in the U.S. by Conde Nast magazine. Packages including accommodation and meals begin at $295. Aug. 29 – Sept. 1.
Swirlfest at the Grove Winery in Gibsonville: Greensboro’s favorite Bruce Piephoff returns to the Grove for his annual Labor Day Swirlfest concert. Located in Guilford County north of Greensboro on the banks of the Haw River, the Grove offers tastings of its award-winning viniferous wines daily. Tickets to the outdoor concert are $10 at the door. Sunday, Aug. 31, 6 p.m.
Music and Gelato at Raffaldini Vineyards: Enjoy an afternoon of music by the Nita B Jazz Duo and handmade gelato from the Cafe Gelato of Winston-Salem while sipping one of Raffaldini’s award-winning Chiantis. Located in Rhonda, NC, the vineyard occupies a lovely Tuscan-style villa overlooking hills filled with grapevines. Wine tastings and lots of deli items for a picnic are available. Monday, Sept. 1, noon to 4 p.m. Free.
Get Out of Town
Dragon Con in Atlanta, GA: The world’s largest convention of science fiction and fantasy pop culture fans includes a Saturday parade of conventioneers dressed as their favorite characters at 10 a.m. down Peachtree Street in downtown Atlanta. Aug. 28 – Aug. 31.
Lowcountry Jazz Festival in Charleston, SC: The 6th annual edition of this music-packed festival held at the North Charleston Performing Arts Center features four nights of concerts by top jazz acts including Norman Brown, Bobby Caldwell, Najee, Brian Culbertson, Pieces of a Dream, Jazz Attack, Nick Colionne, and Boney James, plus a Sunday afternoon Jazz Cruise with Alex Bugnon. Aug. 28 – Aug. 31.
Catawba Valley Music Revival Gospel Fest in Cherryville, NC: The Pioneers, Plans View Worship Band, Heartstrings of Fairview, Three 16 Band, Leon Everette & the Faith Riders and Michael Combs play country gospel, bluegrass gospel and southern gospel on Saturday, Aug. 30 beginning at noon. On Sunday, Aug. 31, the Three 16 Tent Jam begins at 4 p.m. with contemporary Christian music by Jody Lee Hager, Mercy Heart and Three 16 Band.
The DC Mix 2014 in Washington, DC: Join urban professionals from around the country for a weekend of sophisticated parties in the nation’s capital. The schedule of meet and greets, comedy shows, historic tours, plus day and evening parties, culminates in the 4th annual All Black Presidential Affair hosted by the “Love King” Raheem DeVaughn. Aug. 29 – Sept. 1.
At The Beach
Beach, Boogie & BBQ Festival in Myrtle Beach, SC: Held on the Horry Georgetown Technical College campus at Grand Park at The Market Common at the southern end of Myrtle Beach, this two-day festival, now in its ninth year, promises fun for all ages. While teams compete in the official BBQ championship of South Carolina, festival goers enjoy a wine and beer garden, BBQ tastings, arts and crafts vendors, a car show, cornhole tournament, kid’s activities, a dunk tank, rock climbing wall, and a full schedule of live music, featuring top regional acts playing beach, country and rock, including headliners the Fantastic Shakers. Friday, Aug. 29, 6-10 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 30, noon to 10 p.m. Free admission.
More Labor Day weekend events in the Myrtle Beach region:
Summer Breeze Music Fest at La Belle Amie Vineyard, Little River, SC: Music by Grace’s The Sound of Summer, and The Party Favor Band. Aug. 30, noon to 6 p.m. $8.
Labor Day Sand Sculpture Contest in Ocean Isle Beach, NC: Saturday, Aug. 30 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the beach behind the Ocean Isle Beach Community Center. Free.
In The Mountains
Smoky Mountain Folk Festival at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center: This conference center near Maggie Valley presents two evenings of concerts featuring old-time and bluegrass music, clogging teams and buck dancing in Stuart Auditorium, as well as a free outdoor festival with jam sessions and dancing. Accommodation packages, including meals and concerts, are available beginning at $125. Tickets to the indoor concerts are $12 at the door. Admission to the outside festival is free. Aug. 29-Aug. 30, 5 p.m.
Historic Happy Valley Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention in Lenoir, NC: Set along the Yadkin River in the valley where Tom Dooley once lived, this community festival enters its 10th year celebrating bluegrass and old-time music and flatfoot dancing. Friday night features a free concert and dance. On Saturday, musicians and dancers compete in a dozen different categories, while Sunday’s concert features an all-day lineup of some of the best musicians in the region including the Wayne Henderson Guitar Extravaganza and Laura Boosinger. Other activities include a children’s area with cucumber races, a mini tractor pull, corn shucking and arts and crafts, plus a luthiers’ demonstration and flatfooting workshop. Primitive camping is available onsite ($10). Tickets to the Saturday and Sunday concerts are $10 each. Aug. 29 – Aug. 31.
Shindig on the Green in Asheville, NC: The final concert of the 48th season of this free music series features house band The Stoney Creek Boys plus regional bluegrass and old-time string bands, ballad singers, storytellers, cloggers, big circle mountain dancers, and smooth dancers, onstage at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville. Saturday, Aug. 30, 7 – 10 p.m. Free.
Lake-A-Looza Lake Celebration At Fontana Village Resort & Marina: The summer season at Fontana Village comes to an end with the 5th annual festival featuring live music by the Josh Fields Band plus lake games, a cookout and kayak and paddleboard races at the Fontana Marina, followed by fireworks and more live music on the Village Green. Saturday, Aug. 30. Free.