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Weekend In Entertainment: Panthers Fantennial, Greek Festival, Hootie And The Blowfish & More

Ken Fager/Panthers Fans

Festivals and more festivals are on the agenda for this edition of Weekend in Entertainment. There’s the Charlotte VegFest, the Yiasou Greek Festival, and the Panthers Fantennial Street Festival on Saturday. There are also live performances from legendary artists.

Joining host Gwendolyn Glenn to talk about these and more arts and culture events around the city is Sarafina Wright, WFAE's "All Things Considered" producer.

Gwendolyn Glenn: Hi Sarafina.

Sarafina Wright: Hi Gwen.

Sarafina Wright
Sarafina Wright, producer, WFAE's All Things Considered

Glenn: Let's start with the Greek Festival, which kicks off tonight. Its been around since 1978 and since then has become one of Charlotte’s largest cultural events. Tell us about it and what we can expect?

Wright: You can expect cultural exhibits, authentic Greek cuisine, and homemade pastries, entertainment, live music and dancing, wine tastings, art, shopping and more. It’s one of the more popular festivals that happen every year. It’s a great event for the entire family. They have things for kids to do and it's just one of those staple Charlotte events.

Glenn: And thousands turn out for this. So tell us when, where and how much?

Wright: The Greek Festival is at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral on East Boulevard, so that's just right off of uptown Charlotte. The Festival runs through Sunday, the admission is only $3 and children are free. 

Glenn: Great. Now there is also a festival for vegans and veggie lovers. The 2019 Charlotte VegFest. What's in store there?

Wright: Yeah, the VegFest has become a pretty big deal in recent years. It started in 2011 and since then it has really grown. This Saturday, it will be held from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Freedom Hall at The Park Expo. And you can expect obviously lots of veggies from dozens of food vendors, but also cooking demos highlighting vegan dishes. There will also be dog adoptions taking place on-site, so if you're looking to rescue a dog you can do that there. 

Glenn: Wow...finding homes for dogs is a nice addition. And there are some extras for those who get there early right?

Wright: Yes, so the first 200 attendees will receive goody bags with some cool items in them. Not sure exactly what, but of course vegan themed. There will be activities for kids and there’s a VegFest after-party at Heist Brewery for those who want to keep the fun going. 

Glenn: And there’s one more festival...specifically for Panther fans. North Carolina rapper Petey Pablo. He will be performing at the Panthers Fantennial Street Festival. That’s kicking off the team’s 25th season ahead of their home opener on Sunday against the LA Rams. So Sarafina, what else can those attending look forward to besides Petey Pablo? 

Wright: The Fantennial opens up Saturday morning at 10 a.m. Located on Mint Street outside of the east-facing Lowe's Gate. There will be Panthers entertainment groups, pretty sure the TopCats, and then also you'll have visits from current and legendary Panthers players, maybe Jake Delhomme will stop by. He's kind of come back down this way to join the Panthers and their media broadcasting team. So probably him, Steve Smith may show up. Hopefully, our more popular players - Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly. We will see, but there are also a variety of food and drink vendors. It's just a great way to kick off the season. 

Glenn: And tickets?

Wright: No tickets. Everyone of all ages are welcome. Just walk on up towards the Panthers stadium, either from the light rail or where ever you're coming from and you'll see the fun and can join in. 

Glenn: Great. Free is always good. The legendary rock band Hootie and the Blowfish is in town tonight with their tour Hootie & The Blowfish: Group Therapy at the PNC Music Pavillion. And I'm sure it will be a packed house.

Wright: Yes, Hootie and the Blowfish are extremely popular, especially around these parts. They started just down the street in Columbia, South Carolina in 1986 with Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, so you may know them from hits over the years like, Hold My Hand, Let Her Cry, and Time. So country, rock fans are in for a treat this evening. This is a big deal.

Glenn: And apparently there are some restrictions with purchasing right?

Wright: Yes, sales to this event will be restricted to residents within a 200-mile radius of the venue, according to Live Nation. The residency will be based on your  credit card billing address, so if you live outside of the radius your tickets won't go through and they'll just refund your purchase. 

Glenn: That's a new twist, but I guess they're looking out for the local fan base and I'm sure they appreciate that.

Wright: Yes, because Hootie and the Blowfish are so popular and they have these amazing fans from all over the country, so in order for people in this area to be able to get tickets because they go extremely fast they decided to do this. I've never heard of this, but I'm pretty sure it's common.

Glenn: So another weekend of great events. Thanks, Sarafina.

Wright: Thank you Gwen. 

Glenn: Sarafina Wright is "All Things Considered" producer. 

Gwendolyn is an award-winning journalist who has covered a broad range of stories on the local and national levels. Her experience includes producing on-air reports for National Public Radio and she worked full-time as a producer for NPR’s All Things Considered news program for five years. She worked for several years as an on-air contract reporter for CNN in Atlanta and worked in print as a reporter for the Baltimore Sun Media Group, The Washington Post and covered Congress and various federal agencies for the Daily Environment Report and Real Estate Finance Today. Glenn has won awards for her reports from the Maryland-DC-Delaware Press Association, SNA and the first-place radio award from the National Association of Black Journalists.