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These articles were excerpted from Tapestry, a weekly newsletter that examines the arts and entertainment world in Charlotte and North Carolina.

Matthews Alive festival returns after two year hiatus

Courtesy Matthews Alive
Matthews Alive festival on Trade Street in Matthews.

The streets of downtown Matthews will once again fill with crafters, carnival rides and giddy kids with their families for the annualMatthews Alive festivalas the event returns this weekend from a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

As in past years, the festival will encompass four blocks of Trade Street and surrounding side streets in downtown Matthews, transforming the area into a colorful spectacle of light, music and atmosphere from Friday evening through Labor Day.

Among this year's offerings are more than 100 local crafters, a kids' stage, a Queen tribute band, live entertainment, and the usual carnival games and rides.

“We’re excited to have everybody back together,” said former Matthews Mayor Jim Taylor, now chairman of the festival’s board of directors. “You have all the smells, the sounds, the wonderful atmosphere and the carnival rides and seeing the kids enjoy the rides and the parents enjoying the music.”

More than 2,000 volunteers from local nonprofits will help man the festival, taking turns selling ride tickets and soft drinks, or picking up trash and helping set up or take down.

When the festival ends, proceeds will be split among the local groups. They include local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts troops, the Matthews Woman’s Club Service League, the local Masonic Lodge and booster clubs for Butler, South Mecklenburg and East Mecklenburg High Schools.

Roughly $1.9 million has been distributed to local groups over the festival’s previous 29 years, Taylor said, and organizers hope to surpass the $2 million mark this year.

The festival will get underway Friday, Sept. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. It will reopen Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. and on Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The annual Labor Day parade will start at 9:30 a.m. Saturday with more than 100 parade entries. The theme for this year’s parade is “Labor (Day) of Love.”

Roughly 150,000 people have attended the four-day event in previous years and Taylor said a sunny, mild forecast this weekend might help them break attendance records.

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Nick de la Canal is an on air host and reporter covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal