Jun 24, 2021 - Things to Do

20 biggest events in Charlotte this year, including Charlotte Shout and Ren Fest



It looks like October is going to be the most epic month for events in Charlotte’s history.

Don’t worry, there’s plenty happening throughout the year, too. Here are 20 of the biggest events happening in Charlotte in 2021.

Charlotte Fair 

Details: Go for a ride on all of your favorite fair rides, catch a performance from Rattlesnake Dave, and of course, fill up on some delicious fair food at the Charlotte Fair. Now in its 11th year, the Charlotte Fair is an exciting summer outing that the entire family can enjoy.

When: June 17-27

Cost: $5-$36+; Ride tickets/wristbands sold separately

Immersive Van Gogh

Details: Immersive Van Gogh is one of the hottest tickets in town this summer with limited availability through the rest of its three-month run. The exhibit showcases over 500,000 cubic feet of projections and animated brushstrokes, allowing you to step into Van Gogh’s famous works like Sunflowers and The Starry Night.

Situational awareness: The nationally touring show has done pop-ups in big cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. It blew up in popularity after an appearance on the Netflix hit series “Emily in Paris.” The Charlotte stop is presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts and Lighthouse Immersive.

When: Now through September 12

Cost: Tickets start at $39.99 for adults and $24.99 for children.

[Related story: 7 quick takeaways from my visit to Charlotte’s Immersive Van Gogh exhibit]

van gogh exhibit camp north end charlotte
Socially distanced viewing circles where visitors can sit and watch the projections. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

Rich & Bennett: Americrawl, Halloween and NYE Bash

Details: Rich Saner and the late Jeff Bennett are known for their iconic day parties that would flood the streets of Uptown. They were the guys behind the annual St. Patrick’s Day Crawl. The pandemic and the untimely passing of Jeff Bennett, fondly known to many as Bennett put festivities on hold for a while. But this year, the legacy of Rich and Bennett’s will live on. There are three events lined up for the rest of 2021 with the next one being Americrawl, Charlotte’s most patriotic bar crawl, on June 26.

When: June 26, October 30, and December 31

Cost: Tickets start at $10 and increase up until the event date. Cost includes drink specials, cover charges, commemorative koozie, and giveaways.

Charlotte Pride

Details: In-person pride festivities will return in August and run through November this year after being canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic. The four-month celebration will include events, some familiar and some with a twist, so be sure to mark your calendars.

Event lineup:

  • Charlotte Pride Weekend of Service (Aug. 21-22)
  • Charlotte Pride Interfaith Service (Sept. 12)
  • Pride Night! A Charlotte Pride Concert Event (Sept. 17 )
  • Charlotte Pride’s Pop-Up Pride Festival (Sept. 18)
  • Charlotte Pride Parade (October 24)
  • Reel Out film festival (Nov. 5-7)
  • Charlotte Pride Community Empowerment Conference & Job Fair (Nov. 13)

When: August through November

Cost: Prices vary

Charlotte’s “Weekend of Sports

UNC Charlotte vs Duke: UNC Charlotte plays Duke at home on September 3. You can get a bundle of tickets to three games, including the Duke game, starting at $75. Details.

Around The Crown: The 10K race around Uptown, which closes off a portion of I-277, is the morning of September 5. Details.

Yiasou Greek Festival

Details: The Yiasou Greek Festival started back in 1978 and has become one of Charlotte’s largest cultural events. The Festival features authentic Greek cuisine, homemade pastries, live music and dancing and plenty of other fun activities that the entire family can enjoy.

Fun fact: “Yiasou” is the Greek word for Hello, Goodbye and Cheers.

When: September 9-12

Cost: Festival admission $3; children 12 and under are free

Fall Fest at Sycamore Brewing

Details: Put on your wide-brimmed hats and blanket scarves (even though it’ll probably still be hot out) because Fall Fest is back at Sycamore. You can follow along on Facebook for more details closer to the event.

When: September 17-19

Cost: Free

Charlotte SHOUT!

Details: You may remember Charlotte SHOUT! from the giant glowing bunnies that took over social media back in 2019. Well, the multi-week festival is back and better with hundreds of events including art installations, concerts featuring local musicians and discussions with internationally known public figures.

When: September 17- October 3

Cost: Most of the events are free and open to the public.

[Related read: The city’s biggest festival Charlotte Shout returns this fall]

Festival in the Park

Details: Now in its 57th year, Festival in the Park is a three-day outdoor art festival that takes place in Freedom Park and features works and wares from more than 200 artists and vendors.

When: September 24-26

Cost: Free

Breakaway Music Festival

Details: After more than a year of very few live and in-person music performances, Breakaway Music Festival is making up for lost time with an epic lineup of artists including headlining group The Chainsmokers, plus Martin Garrix, G-Eazy and Blackbear among others.

When: October 1-2. The zMAX Dragway at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, 6570 Bruton Smith Blvd, Concord.

Cost: Two-day passes start at $104.99. Single-day passes TBD. Tickets can be purchased here.

Courtesy Prime Social Group.

Tuck Fest at the Whitewater Center

Details: Tuck Fest is a multi-day festival that celebrates the outdoor lifestyle through competitions like trail running and kayaking, exhibitions, demos, and live music.

Fun fact: “Tuck Fest” was coined from the historical Tuckaseegee Ford and Trail landmark located at the Whitewater Center.

When: October 1-3

Cost: Tuck Fest is free to attend; parking is $6. If you would like to participate in a race/competition or all 35+ events, Tuck Fest race registration is a one-time flat fee that grants access to all races and competitions throughout the three-day festival.

Taste of Charlotte

Details: Make your way to Truist Field to sample delicious food from hundreds of Charlotte-area restaurants at the three-day Taste of Charlotte food festival.

When: October 1-3

Cost: Free to attend. Festival coins for food samples can be purchased on-site at the various booths or pre-purchased for pick up.

Moo + Brew Festival

Details: It’s a craft beer, burger and music festival all sandwiched into one fun event. Festivities include unlimited tastings of more than 75 local, regional and national breweries, a burger competition between 15 Queen City restaurants plus musical selections from Of Good Nature, Jukebox Rehab, Yesterday’s Wine, Ancient Cities and J. Overcash. This event is 21+ and using Uber, Lyft or a designated driver is encouraged.

When: October 2

Cost: VIP tickets are $55; General admission tickets are $45. Both include beer samplings of hundreds of great beers.

Carolina Renaissance Festival

Details: Ren Fest has been a Charlotte-area tradition since 1993. More than 1,000 artists (including 500+ interactive costumed characters) bring the fictional village of Fairhaven to life with performance stages, hands-on games and rides, an artisan marketplace and plenty of food.

When: October 2 to November 21

Cost: Day passes are $17 for kids and $27 for adults. Season passes go on sale August 15 and are $90 for kids, $160 for adults.

Speed Street

Details: Expect live performances, giveaways, interactive displays, kid-friendly activities and access to some of racing’s biggest stars.

When: October 7-9

Cost: Free

Hola Charlotte

Details: National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15, Hola Charlotte is the Queen City’s largest Hispanic Heritage celebration. Festivities include music, food, dancing and art that all recognize Latin American culture and all its richness.

When: October 9

Cost: Free.

[Related read: 17 Hispanic- and Latino-owned restaurants to visit for Hispanic Heritage Month]


Details: Every year, Carowinds transforms from “theme park” to “scream park” for its annual SCarowinds Halloween attraction. The event features 500+ monsters, ghosts and goblins roaming the grounds plus haunted attractions and shows.

When: October (exact dates to be announced).

thanksgiving day parade

Cost: TBA

Bay Haven Food & Wine Festival

Details: More than 75 Black chefs, artisans, farmers, brewers and distillers from the region and across the country will come together for one epic food festival. The three-day event is meant to celebrate Charlotte’s diversity in the food and beverage space with vendors like two-time James Beard-nominated chef Gregory Collier of Leah & Louise and “Top Chef” alum chef Tiffany Derry of Roots Chicken Shak and Roots Southern Table.

When: Oct. 22- 24. Camp North End, 301 Camp Road.

Cost: $10-$900

Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade

Details: One thing we’ll be thankful for this Turkey Day is the return of beloved traditions, like the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade, which dates back to the 1940s.

  • Details for this year’s celebration are still being firmed up. Tickets and more information will be available closer to the event.

When: November 25, 2021

Christmastown USA

Details: Residents set up more than 500,000 lights, creating a display that attracts national attention — it’s been going on for 66 years.

When: December 1-26

Cost: Free


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