Sure, this summer’s heat may have left you vowing not to venture beyond air-conditioned spaces for the foreseeable future. But you’re going to want to brave the warm weather just a little longer. August is set to heat up your social life with fun festivals, concerts and events you don’t want to miss. Lucky for you, a few even include air-conditioning — and most come with an ice cold drink.
(1) Kick up your boots at PNC Pavilion
Dust off the cowboy boots and hat, y’all. Nothing says summer in the South like a country music concert under the open sky. This month, Charlotte’s PNC Pavilion plays host to Dixie Chicks (Aug. 13), Keith Urban (Aug. 18), and Darius Rucker (Aug. 27). So load up the truck for a tailgate and practice your best twang for singing along.
(2) Catch local flicks at a film festival
Sure, we’re not exactly East Coast Hollywood, but Charlotte has some serious talent when it comes to film. This month, one of the hottest spots check the big screen is on Aug. 5-6 in Fourth Ward at the 7th-Annual Joedance Film Festival, which benefits rare pediatric cancers in honor of the late Joe Restaino. Movie lovers can catch two nights of screenings of 14 original films by Charlotte filmmakers — and enjoy mingling with the local talent at a nightly reception.
(3) Say cheers to 10 years at the Whitewater Center
It’s been 10 years since the U.S. National Whitewater Center admitted its first recreational visitors in search of outdoor fun. This month, you can raise a glass of craft beer to celebrate the center’s birthday with live music and plenty of activities at Festival X Aug. 13. While all whitewater activities are temporarily suspended, the festival will include water activities on the Catawba, yoga, a cornhole tournament, bike challenge, live music and, of course, plenty of that craft beer.
(4) Sip wine and watch the sunset at Daniel Stowe
It would be hard to find a better place around town to take in the outdoor beauty of the season than Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. To soak in the end of summer (and your day), head to the garden from 6-9 p.m. Thursday evenings for Sip and Stroll, when you can sip your wine as the sun sinks. After a stroll though the fragrant blooms and fountains, grab a bite of food truck fare and catch live music in the Hillside Theatre.
(5) Show your pride at the Pride Festival & Parade
Breakout your rainbow-colored best for this two-day cultural festival featuring musicians, bands, entertainers, exhibitors and food. The fest, which takes place on uptown’s Tryon Street, includes entertainment throughout the weekend on its Wells Fargo Stage. Don’t miss the fourth-annual Bank of America Charlotte Pride Parade, which will bring thousands of people alongside floats and marching attendants down Tryon from Ninth to Trade Street.
(6) Take a stroll through the gardens at Duke Mansion
If you’ve never wandered through the 4.5 acres of gardens surrounding Duke Mansion in Myers Park, you’ll want to while summer is still in full bloom. There are more than a dozen inviting garden vignettes, which are open to the public when they’re not booked for events. The best way to soak in the posh-meets-lush scene though is with the Mansion’s Picnic in the Garden package ($75) featuring a chef-prepared picnic for two and a bottle of wine or champagne to enjoy in the shade.
Or check out the free Duke Mansion Home and Garden Tour Aug. 21. RSVP required, and the tours fill up quickly.
(7) Toast National IPA Day at Legion Brewing
Prefer your brews with high hop flavor? Then you’ll want to mark your calendar for Aug. 6 when Midwood’s only brewery (for now) is celebrating IPA Day in a big way. Sample your way through the popular India pale ale in the brewery’s parking lot where other craft brewers will join Legion in pouring samples of their top IPA brews. Food from neighborhood restaurants and live music make this a sure-to-be-popular Saturday afternoon beer fest.
(8) Sip and sample one-of-a-kind bourbon in Ballantyne
Whether you prefer it on the rocks, neat, or shaken and strained, bourbon is the star of the bar at The Ballantyne Hotel this month. Maker’s Mark teamed with hotel to create a custom blend. You can get the first sip Aug. 12 at its release party ($85), which includes dinner with a variety of Maker’s Mark bourbon pairings, live music and words from the brand’s ambassador, Jane Connor. Can’t make it to dinner? The custom bourbon will be available at Gallery Restaurant following the dinner — until the barrel is gone.
(9) Celebrate four years of Triple C with beer and bites
You know who throws the best birthday parties? Breweries. It’s basically impossible not to have fun celebrating a brewery at a brewery. Toast Triple C Brewing’s 4th anniversary Aug. 20 with food truck fare, live music from Yarn, and a cold pint — or two — of the South End spot’s limited anniversary ale.
(10) Cheer for the home team at a Panthers preseason game
It’s technically preseason, but for the team and its fans that have been craving a win since February, football season has officially kicked off. Get into the spirit on Aug. 5 at the Carolina Panthers Fan Fest featuring TopCat performances, Sir Purr, music, fireworks and a laser show at Bank of America Stadium. Then return to the stadium in your black and blue on Aug. 26 to cheer on the Panthers against the New England Patriots in their first preseason home game.
Photo: Diedra Laird/Charlotte Observer