By Bernie Petit
Authentic North Carolina adventures are at your fingertips with the N.C. Arts Council’s arts tourism trails. Photo credit: blueridgemusicnc.com.
Bookmark this, print it, tweet it, share it on Facebook – whatever you have to do.
You’ll want to refer back to this throughout the summer.
Whether your plans include staying close to the local pool or traveling from Murphy to Manteo or anywhere in between, this will be a quick reference for how you can enjoy the arts, science, history and heritage experiences that makes North Carolina special.
Consider it your red-hot cultural guide to the summer.
No matter where you are in the state, there’s always something fun to do. Here are our tips for making the most of your summer vacation closer to home.
BE A CULTURAL TOURIST IN YOUR OWN STATE
The North Carolina Arts Council has developed North Carolina Arts Trails, web-based guides to authentic experiences from music, craft, literature and other traditions found in the Tar Heel state.
The seven trail guides featured are: the Blue Ridge Music Trail, the Cherokee Heritage Trails, Discover North Carolina Craft, Historic Happy Valley (a legendary home to the arts, storytelling and living traditions), HomegrownHandmade (focused on authentic folk artisans, farmers and creative entrepreneurs rooted in the state’s rural countryside), Literary Trails of North Carolina, and the African American Music Trail.
Each guide typically includes a calendar of upcoming events, fun facts and tidbits and interactive maps – the Literary Trails guide offers instructions for walking tours of uptown Charlotte, for example.
You can find all seven North Carolina Arts Trails at http://www.ncartstrails.org/.
FREE MUSEUM ADMISSION FOR OUR TROOPS
The fifth annual launch of Blue Star Museums will offer free admission to more than 2,000 museums across America to the nation’s service members, including National Guard and Reserve, and their families through Labor Day 2014.
Participating Blue Star Museums in Charlotte are:
The Blue Star Museums program is a collaboration between the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and the Department of Defense.
For a complete list of participating museums in the U.S., visit http://arts.gov/national/blue-star-museums.
ENJOY SOME COOL SUMMER POPS
The Charlotte Symphony Orchestra’s Summer Pops series kicks off June 8 with “A Night on Broadway,” where the orchestra will play some of the most memorable music of Broadway, including selections from My Fair Lady, Chicago, Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera.
Series concerts take place at Symphony Park, 4400 Sharon Road (behind SouthPark Mall), Charlotte, with prelude performances at 7 p.m. and symphony performances at 8:15 p.m. If you go, get there early (gates open at 5 p.m.) and take a picnic.
This season’s Summer Pops schedule includes:
- June 8: A Night on Broadway
- June 15: Orchestra Americana
- June 22: Instrumental Opera
- June 29: That’s Amore
- July 3: Celebrate America!
Tickets are Adults $10 and free for children younger than 18 for June performances and $15 adults and free for children for the July 3 performance. An adult summer pass to all five concerts is $40. For tickets or more information, visit charlottesymphony.org or call 704-972-2000.
ENJOY SOME MORE OUTDOOR SUMMER CONCERTS
One of the ways the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra provides greater access to symphonic music is by performing outdoor summer concerts throughout northern and southern Mecklenburg County. This year the symphony will also perform at Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte.
Performances are from 8 to 9:30 p.m. The symphony’s outdoor summer concert schedule includes:
- June 14: Music of the Movies, Romare Bearden Park, uptown Charlotte
- June 20: Music of the Movies, Energy Explorium, Lake Norman
- June 21: Music of the Movies, Stumptown Park, Matthews
- June 28: Celebrate America!, Bailey Road Park, Cornelius
- July 1: Celebrate America!, Belle Johnston Park, Pineville
The Arts & Science Council (ASC) is partnering with Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation to offer the Music Box Lunch Series in the Park. The series will feature live music from noon to 1:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays in late May and June at Romare Bearden Park.
- May 30: Roy Daye
- June 3: Tom Billotto
- June 6: John Alexander
- June 10: Caution! Blind Driver
- June 13: John Franklin
- June 17: Jeff Brown
- June 20: Dave Haywood
- June 24: Alan Barrington
- June 27: Colby Dobbs
LET CHARLOTTECULTUREGUIDE.COM BE YOUR GUIDE
Whether you’re looking for something free to do with the kids, making last minute plans, looking for the perfect pre- or post-date activity or taking a break from the pool, CharlotteCultureGuide.com is your ultimate resource of everything cultural happening in and around Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
You can also sign up for CulturePicks!, a weekly email highlighting upcoming arts and cultural events in Charlotte-Mecklenburg.
To stay up-to-date on all the events, festivals, concerts and things to do in the Charlotte region, just visit www.CharlotteCultureGuide.com.