Ah, April. It’s basically impossible not to love this time of year in the Carolinas —unless you have allergies, in which case, consider this a preemptive “bless you” for the rest of this brutal month. Pollen aside, it’s the perfect month to enjoy warm days filled with fun events around town.
From festivals and farmers markets, to picnics and pop-ups, we’ve found 10 you don’t want to miss.
(1) Turn up the competition — and the tunes — at Tuck Fest.
There is literally nothing about this three-day outdoor festival April 21-23 that doesn’t sound fun. There’s daily live music from famed bands like The Revivalists and Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats. You can participate in (or, in the case of those of us who are less athletically inclined, happily watch) land and water competitions including trail runs, mountain biking, kayaking and even whitewater stand up paddle boarding. And the whole thing is held at the Whitewater Center where there’s plenty of craft beer and good food to enjoy between activities.
5000 Whitewater Center Parkway.
(2) Bend it like Buddha at Wanderlust.
Charlotte is about to get seriously centered. Wanderlust festival April 8 in Romare Bearden Park features a 5K followed by yoga and meditation as part of a “mindful triathlon.” Then, in the afternoon, there’s an organic picnic followed by classes like hooping and aerial yoga. Ready to hit the mat and get your om on? The cost for the day ranges from $21 to $45 and tickets are available online.
300 S. Church St.
(3) Pack or purchase a picnic at The Pop-up Picnic in Freedom Park.
Catawba Lands Conservancy is hosting its inaugural community picnic April 28 in Freedom Park. Focused on eating local, the family-friendly Pop-Up Picnic features live music, local beer, and gourmet picnic baskets that have been prepared by top Charlotte restaurants including spots like Bonterra, Barrington’s, Reid’s and Dogwood Southern Table. Indulge in one of these (proceeds from their sales benefits Catawba Lands Conservancy) or bring your own basket to enjoy the evening outdoors.
1900 East Blvd.
(4) Chow down at Moo & Brew Festival.
This third-annual craft beer and burger-loving festival is back. On April 22 at the Music Factory you can taste some of Charlotte’s best burgers from spots like Pinky’s Westside Grill and Bang Bang Burgers — and then wash them down with samples of some of the region’s best beers. Tickets are $35 ($45 at the gate) for the fest, which also includes live tunes from various artists throughout the day including headliner Blues Traveler.
1000 NC Music Factory Blvd.
(5) Snag seasonal fare at local farmers markets.
’Tis the season for finding fresh farm fare at local markets. Seasonal markets open this month from Kings Drive to Kannapolis and these are the region’s Saturday morning hot spots. At urban versions like Atherton Market or 7th Street Public Market you can sip your local latte while you shop. While small-town stops like Davidson and Matthews feature chef demos, tastings and even contests during weekend markets.
(6) Celebrate spring with Cajun flair and toast to local breweries at OMB.
This month, Olde Mecklenburg Brewery is beckoning beer drinkers with several sure-to-be-fun events. On April 7, spend the evening in the brauhaus saying cheers to craft beers with samples from 11 breweries around town at the Craft Freedom Festival. Then, bring out your bayou best and let the bon temps rouler at the brewery’s Seventh Annual Louisiana Spring Fest on April 22-23. Complete with boiled crawdads and bluegrass, the family-friendly event is held in the brewery’s tree-filled biergarten.
4150 Yancey Road.
(7) Take in the tunes at Charlotte Jazz Festival.
Whether you can distinguish between Miles and Coltrane, or just enjoy the sax melodies you hear in your favorite coffee shop, Charlotte Jazz Festival 2017 hits all the high notes. In addition to famed trumpeter Wynton Marsalis performing with Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra at the Knight Theater, the festival from April 20-23 features lunchtime jazz concerts, late-night jam sessions, a jazz brunch and even finale picnic in Romare Bearden Park.
(8) Put on your pastels for The Queen’s Cup Steeplechase.
It’s time to pull out the sundresses, dramatic hats, khakis and bowties. This annual horse race April 29 is set on rolling, green farmland just south of town and is technically a sporting event. But anyone who has spent an afternoon at this picturesque racecourse knows that half the fun of this day in the sun comes from its elaborate tailgates and colorful fashions.
6103 Waxhaw Highway, Mineral Springs.
(9) Shop ’til you drop at Girl Tribe Pop Up: Spring Break Edition.
If spring’s sunny days are inspiring you to try some fresh styles, you’re going to want to snag a ticket to this full-day pop up shop featuring more than 60 women-owned businesses. Held April 22 at Sugar Creek Brewing Company, the day also includes cocktails, coffee, donuts, and, of course, plenty of craft beer to indulge in while you shop.
215 Southside Dr.
In just a few Saturdays (April 22), we will host our first #girltribepopup of the year! What makes our pop ups special? We designed the pop ups to focus on local, women-owned businesses. We want you to walk in the door and be able to see your favorite shops, designers, calligraphers, jewelry makers and artists all in one place. Giving space for women-owned business to flourish and putting them front and center is our passion. Also, our #girltribepopup shops are so fun, like really really fun. We have some surprises and tricks up our sleeves for April 22 at @sugarcreekbrewing, too! So stay tuned! Grab your ticket and RSVP via the link in profile! 🏝✌️ #girltribe #pinksocialgirltribe
(10) Soak in the arts scene at BOOM festival.
If you’ve ever complained that Charlotte is too mainstream banker-y (that’s a word, trust me), it’s time to let this cutting-edge and experimental festival prove you wrong. Held in Plaza Midwood April 28-30, BOOM is an artist-led festival featuring a showcase of a variety of contemporary visual and performance artists. Look for 36 ticketed performances at Snug Harbor, The Rabbit Hole and Petra’s Bar, as well as free events at spots like International House and Twenty Two Gallery.
Photos: Charlotte Observer file