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Arts & Culture
Each Thursday, WFAE checks in with a local arts and entertainment reporter about things to do in Charlotte during the upcoming weekend.

Here’s How To Celebrate The Fourth Of July In Charlotte

fireworks close 2017 ziggy sloke flickr-min.jpg
Ziggy Sloke
Flickr/Shutter Idiot
Fourth of July fireworks are seen over uptown Charlotte in 2017.

It’s somehow July already. Fortunately, there’s a lot to do in the Charlotte area this holiday weekend to help you ring in the Fourth of July. We have details on concerts and events around town — and there are tons of spots in the Charlotte area to watch fireworks. Dashiell Coleman, co-writer of WFAE’s arts & entertainment newsletter, Tapestry, joins us to help preview these events.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi, Dash.

Dashiell Coleman: Hi, Gwen. How are you today?

Glenn: I’m great. So Dash, let's start with Independence Day. The U.S. National Whitewater Center is hosting a two-day event Saturday and Sunday to celebrate the Fourth of July. Let’s play a bit of Con Brio’s music. They will be performing there on Saturday.

[Music from Con Brio plays.]

Coleman: Saturday’s events at the Whitewater Center kick off with yoga sessions at 9 and 11:30. San Francisco soul and rock band Con Brio takes the stage at 9 p.m. They’re known for energetic soul music, psych rock and R&B. They’re also just encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the center’s activities over the weekend, like rafting and climbing and all the trails.

[Music from Dane Page plays.]

Glenn: That’s Dane Page of Charlotte, who will take the stage at the Whitewater Center on Sunday. Dash, tell us about him and his style of music

Coleman: Yeah, so Dane Page is a Charlotte singer and songwriter, and his songs are known for their deep lyricism. He released an EP called “City to City” a few years back. Expect a mellow, relaxing storytelling vibe when he plays at the Whitewater Center.

Glenn: And there are other artists performing at the Whitewater Center. In addition, Moon Taxi will be performing on Sunday, the concerts start at 6 p.m.; fireworks both nights at 9:30. So, let’s go to Huntersville where the 17th annual “Wet Down” will be held at Birkdale Village. What is this, Dash?

Coleman: Gwen, this is actually an event that almost didn’t happen this year. It’s been going on since 2002. Basically, people ring in the Fourth by going to Birkdale Village where the Huntersville Fire Department sprays water for people to just splash around in.

Glenn: Wait a minute. Sprays water? From firehoses?

Coleman: Yeah, actually. But safely, of course. And there’s music playing — it’s just a lot of people having a good time, especially kids with all that water. The property’s management company briefly canceled it this year, but there was a public uproar. Now it’s back on. As the Huntersville Fire Department put it, it went from a “let down” to a “wet down.”

Glenn: That sounds like a lot of fun, and I understand it attracts a huge crowd every year. Any limits on the crowd capacity and do you know what safety measures will be in place?

Coleman: Yep, lots of people, for sure, and there’s also a bike parade and a block party for kids. I don’t know about any crowd capacity limits, specifically. They don’t mention that, but it’s an outdoor event, so there should be plenty of distancing opportunities.

Glenn: OK, and what time does everything start?

Coleman: It all starts Sunday at 11:30.

[Music from BRAVE plays.]

brave facebook-min.jpg
BRAVE Entertainment/Facebook

Glenn: That’s Ladies of BRAVE, who will be performing at QC Social Lounge for the First Friday Concert Social. Tell us about them and the event.

Coleman: Yeah, BRAVE is an R&B duo based out of Monroe. It’s Raven Stevens and Britney Hughes — they’re both in the group. They’ve released four singles over the last few years, and they’re known for adding a gospel touch to their music.

Glenn: And what time?

Coleman: That’s going to be Friday at 6 p.m., and the concert starts at about 7:15.

Glenn: Another big event that kicked off Thursday and is going through July 11 daily is the annual Queen Charlotte Fair in Concord. There are lots of family-friendly events going on there. Tell us about it.

Coleman: It’s going to be at the Route 29 Pavilion near Charlotte Motor Speedway. There’s the usual fair stuff, like turkey legs and treats and small rides like merry-go-rounds, a Ferris wheel. There’s also a magic show.

But on Sunday only, there’s a rodeo people can watch, and on Saturday and Sunday nights, there will be a laser show — just full of colors.

Glenn: Times and place?

Coleman: The fair opens at 4 p.m. on weekdays and at noon on the weekend. Everything closes up by around 11.

Glenn: Let’s get back to the Fourth of July fireworks events, which most people love to watch. What’s happening at Optimist Hall on Saturday? Dash, the HC Oakes Band will be out there. What else can you tell us?

[Music from HC Oakes Band plays.]

Coleman: Yeah, so Optimist Hall is this renovated mill campus just north of uptown. It’s really blown up over the last few years, Gwen. It’s got a lot of food stalls and a few shops and even a brewery. This Saturday, they’re going to have the HC Oakes Band from Cornelius out there. They play blues and Southern rock music. They’ll be playing original songs. They’re also known for covering popular songs by people like Tom Petty and Jason Isbell. And of course, the night will close out with fireworks.

Glenn: That’s the HC Oakes Band you hear in the background. And it goes until what time?

Coleman: It starts at 6 p.m., and Optimist Hall is on North Brevard Street, just a few minutes from uptown.

Glenn: And that’s all on Saturday?

Coleman: That’s all on Saturday.

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Optimist Hall
One of Optimist Hall's outdoor courtyards is seen.

[Ray Charles’ version of “America the Beautiful” plays.]

Glenn: Sounds great. Other places to see fireworks this Fourth of July weekend include Merchant & Trade’s party in uptown Charlotte Sunday with barbecue, cocktails, live music and DJs. The city of Belmont is hosting its Red, White and Belmont celebration on Saturday starting at 6:30. And there’s a parade, live entertainment and fireworks at Harrisburg Park Saturday and Sunday. The city of Gastonia is having its celebration at Rotary Centennial Pavilion, and the Gastonia Honey Hunters baseball team is having fireworks, American flag pin giveaways and a U.S. Air Force flyover during their Sunday and Monday games. Rock Hill has events and fireworks from 4 to 10 on Saturday and fireworks at dusk at Lake Wylie on Sunday. Also this weekend, the DJ Kool All White Party will be held Saturday night at Morehead Tavern.

That’s a lot. Dash, thanks for joining us for Weekend in Entertainment.

Coleman: Gwen, thanks for having me. Happy Fourth of July.

Glenn: Same to you. Dashiell Coleman is a co-writer for WFAE’s arts and entertainment newsletter, Tapestry.

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