Aug 29, 2023 - Partners

The Charlotte International Arts Festival will return September 15–October 1

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Produced in partnership with Blumenthal Performing Arts.

Charlotte will celebrate top international and local creatives for 17 days this fall as the Charlotte International Arts Festival returns for its second year.

The background: Organized by Blumenthal Performing Arts, the annual festival exceeded expectations for its inaugural year in 2022. 

The deets: CIAF will run from September 15–October 1 this year, featuring more than 200 mostly-free events in Uptown and Ballantyne’s Backyard.

  • Expect public art installations, international food and vendors, live music, theatrical performances, film screenings and more.
  • The Festival of India and the Latin American Festival are now part of CIAF, too. 

What Blumenthal is saying: “The festival uniquely blends artists from around the world and around the corner,” said Blumenthal Performing Arts President and CEO, Tom Gabbard. “This year, we are really elevating the focus on international artists and organizations right here in Charlotte.”

Here are six (of many) can’t-miss attractions

Fantastic Planet

  • Dates: September 15 – October 1.
  • Location: Ballantyne’s Backyard.
  • Cost: Free.
  • The deets: Large-scale illuminated humanoids inspired by the French/Czech film “Fantastic Planet.” The installation is by Australian artist Amanda Parer and the studio that brought the beloved giant bunnies to Charlotte in previous years. 
  • More info.

Festival Biergarten

  • Dates: September 15 – October 1.
  • Location: Levine Avenue (Uptown).
  • Cost: Free to enter.
  • The deets: Open-air biergarten with food and drinks available for purchase, including Brush Stroke, Blumenthal’s signature beer developed in partnership with Heist Brewery. Next to a live music stage, the Biergarten will be open Mondays–Thursdays from 3–10pm, Fridays from 3–11pm, Saturdays from 11am–11pm and Sundays from 11am–9pm.
  • More info.

GAIA

  • Dates: September 15–October 1.
  • Location: Founders Hall (Uptown).
  • Cost: Free.
  • The deets: A giant inflatable of the earth created by artist Luke Jerram from NASA imagery. The installation will hang from the ceiling of Founders Hall, symbolizing the global community CIAF seeks to bring together with the festival.
  • More info.

Birdmen

  • Dates: September 15 – October 1; various times.
  • Location: Ballantyne’s Backyard.
  • Cost: Free.
  • The deets: From the Netherlands, these large bird puppets operated by humans will rove around Ballantyne’s Backyard for weekend evening performances.
  • More info.

Festival of India

  • Date: Saturday, September 23 from 12–8pm.
  • Location: Belk Theater.
  • Cost: $6.
  • The deets: Celebration of Indian culture with dance, food, art, and music. Get a henna tattoo, see a yoga demo, dance to live music and more.
  • More info.

Latin American Festival

  • Date: Saturday, September 23 from 12–8pm.
  • Location: The Amp Ballantyne.
  • Cost: Free.
  • The deets: A showcase of Latin American culture with internationally-renowned musical acts, cuisine, a community-organized village showcasing Latin American culture, an authentic marketplace, dance performances and more.
  • More info.

International Bazaar

  • Dates: September 29–30.
  • Location: Founders Hall (Uptown).
  • Cost: Free.
  • The deets: 75 merchants and vendors representing local cultural groups and nonprofit organizations will sell art, food and goods.

Plan your visit and follow CIAF on Instagram to stay in the know.

Produced in partnership with Blumenthal Performing Arts.

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