With 2017 just a couple of days away, we wanted to take a few minutes to look back at our favorite moments from 2016. It’s been an eventful year, to say the least. And we’re sure you have your own favorite moments, which we hope you’ll share in the comments.

So here they are, in no particular order: Our 10 favorite moments of 2016.

(1) Fans lining up for the Panthers Super Bowl sendoff in February. Three words: Cam. Newton’s. Pants.

Who says athletes can’t sport Versace?

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(2) The moment we found out Kitten Snuggles was a legitimate beer.

At first we thought this was just a run-of-the-mill April Fools joke. We even mentioned it in a spoof piece, detailing how Brad Shell, owner of the Unknown Brewing Co., was working with dry-hopped cat nip flowers to produce said beer. Well, that beer was released in May.

kitten-snuggles-bottles(3) Toussaint Romain standing between a barricade of police in riot gear and emotional protesters.

The white dress shirt and striped tie definitely got attention during the protests that erupted in Charlotte after the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. Images of the 39-year-old public defender trying to keep the protests peaceful circulated around the world via CNN.

(We caught him on the CharlotteFive Podcast, too.)

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(4) When Tryon Street was shut down for a feast.

For the second year of Culture Feast, the Arts & Science Council shut down Tryon Street between Sixth and Seventh streets in September. The celebration of cultural community in Charlotte brought people together to share a meal, break down barriers and, of course, dance.

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(5) When Abari (finally) opened.

We’d been hearing about this place since early 2015 but it finally opened in March — and it was everything we hoped it would be.

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(6) When water bottle flipping guy got famous.

You’ve seen it all over the internet and on TV. It was even featured in the New York Times. But the bottle-flipping craze that swept the nation started right here in Charlotte, when Ardrey Kell high schooler Mike Senatore nailed it during a talent show and brought the house down. Never forget.

(7) Artists painting the boarded-up windows at Hyatt House Uptown.

With just a few brush strokes, artists turned something ugly into something beautiful, with messages of healing a broken city.

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(8) When the Kindreds announced a second restaurant.

If you haven’t been to Kindred Restaurant in Davidson, go right now. Then plan to go to the new spot in the old Rusty Rudder location when it opens next year.

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(9) When Marriott City Center unexpectedly became an uptown hot spot.

Sure, there’s The Punch Room in the Ritz-Carlton, The Asbury in The Dunhill, and Evoke in Le Meridien, but does anyone else have quite the lineup as the Marriott uptown withStoke restaurant and bar, Coco and The Director and The Dock?

Photo by Michael Tulipan
Photo by Michael Tulipan

(10) Feeling like the center of the political universe — if only for just a little while.

And we’re not talking about HB2. Leading up to the November election, it felt like some political bigwig was visiting just about every day: From President Barack Obama to President-elect Donald Trump, First Lady Michelle Obama to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, and everyone in between. It was nice to feel needed. Sure made us feel like a world-class city.

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Photos: Robert Lahser/Charlotte Observer, Donato Pizzuti, Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer; Remy Thurston; Diedra Laird/Charlotte Observer

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