“This year’s festival offers 180 arts and crafts exhibits, 5 stages, and more than 1,000 entertainers–and we’ve made some exciting changes,” explained David Dalton, Festival board chair. “We have consolidated some of the stages to increase the number of exhibiting artists and retired our old wooden stages to make way for new ones with state-of-the-art lighting.
“Additionally, we have recreated the Family Fun Zone, which replicates the feel of an old-time traveling carnival,” continued Dalton. “We’re still proud to be considered among the best of area family festivals, and we were again recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the Top 20 Events in the Southeast.”
Entering Freedom Park from Princeton Avenue, Festival-goers encounter the Anne Reynolds Belk Artists’ Walk, this year featuring over 60 exhibitors of fine arts and crafts. Then while strolling along the Lake Walk, patrons can peruse the wares of traditional arts and crafts purveyors. A variety of savory food offerings and interactive children’s activities, along with the continuous soundtrack provided by some of the area’s finest musicians, rounds out the Festival’s sensory feast.
This year’s Main Stage offerings spotlight the soulful pop sound of Lauren Light; Chuck Johnson, Charlotte Music Awards Best Singer Songwriter for 2012; and the true country act of The Loose Lugnuts on Friday evening. Saturday’s lineup includes Carrie Marshall; Celtic-world-folk fusion band Gael Warning; and perennial Festival favorites The Spongetones. David Childers; Jim Avett & Jim Garrett; the Charlotte Symphony Youth Orchestra; and Sonny Skyyz & The Rainmakers cap off the event Sunday.
Children will be enchanted by the ongoing shows at the Carolina Clowns Stage; and local youth aged 5-18 will have a chance to showcase their talent on the new combined Youth and Variety Stage. Dozens of different acts are also scheduled to perform on this stage, offering vaudeville, puppetry, storytelling, mime, comedy, spoken poetry, and musical excerpts.
The Charlotte Folk Society Stage will present old-time, bluegrass, Celtic, singer/songwriters, drumming groups, storytellers, and contemporary folk. Hannibal the Magician will perform on The Magicians’ Stage Sunday and will also be roving the festival performing up-close “street magic” on Friday and Saturday. The Carolina Raptor Center will also be presenting on this stage Friday and Saturday.
Named one of the nation’s top festivals by Sunshine Artists Magazine, the Festival boasts an outdoor open-air amphitheater unrivaled in the area. The Festival has also been honored as Best Charlotte Festival by Charlotte Magazine.
For more information on acts and activities, visit the website at www.FESTIVALinthePARK.org
Festival in the Park FACTS:
Dates: September 21-23, 2012
Hours: Friday, 4:00–9:30 p.m.; Saturday, 10:00 a.m.-9:30 p.m.; and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Location: Freedom Park, 1900 East Boulevard, Charlotte
Admission: FREE, and each performance is guaranteed family-friendly.
Parking at Festival in the Park
Each year as thousands of people congregate in Freedom Park for the annual Festival, the question of parking is paramount in festival-goers’ minds.
Parking is available Friday after 5 p.m. and all day Saturday and Sunday at:
* CMC-Myers Park (East Boulevard at Kings Drive).
* Holy Trinity Catholic Middle School (Park Road and Princeton Avenue).
* Myers Park Traditional School (Radcliffe Avenue near Queens Road).
* Cost is $10 per car; proceeds benefit the respective schools.
* Free shuttle transportation for paid parkers to the Festival.
The “Light Rail” shuttle to Festival in the Park:
* Running from the East/West light rail stop on Camden at West Blvd.
* Shuttle will be running during Festival hours.
* $2 roundtrip fee per rider.
Festival-goers are asked to please be considerate of park neighbors; do not block their driveways, and do not intrude upon their property. Police will be issuing citations and/or towing for illegal parking.
Festival in the Park is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported by “Friends of the Festival.”
This project was made possible, in part, with funding from the Arts & Science Council; the North Carolina Arts Council, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources; and the National Endowment for the Arts, which believes that a great nation deserves great art.
Festival in the Park is hosted by Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation.