You may know Charlotte’s NoDa neighborhood for the wide variety of popular restaurants, bars and breweries you can find there. But NoDa is hailed as Charlotte’s historic arts and entertainment district for a reason — it was once home to galleries and artists of all kinds, and it was known for its ongoing tradition of neighborhood gallery crawls.
“There would be 300 people in the street on Gallery Crawl night, with a drum circle outside of Jack Beagle’s and all of that,” said Scott Lindsley, native Charlottean and owner of NoDa Company Store along with his partner Joey Hewell.
That sense of community and connection built through Gallery Crawls was lost for a time, as gallery after gallery closed up shop throughout the neighborhood. But local businesses are working together to bring back that energy and excitement with a new neighborhood tradition: monthly NoDa Costume Crawls.
Don’t be surprised when North Davidson Street is filled with folks in 1970s and 1980s attire this Thursday as the first installation in the NoDa Costume Crawls series commences.
“These Costume Crawls are an ode to those former Gallery Crawl days, but with this unique twist of self expression through costuming,” said Jamie Brown, who owns Haberdish, Crepe Cellar, Growler’s Pourhouse and Reigning Doughnuts — all on NoDa’s 35th block — along with Jeff Tonidandel.
Tonidandel added that the teams at each of his and Brown’s restaurants are working on themed features to “play” with each of the themed crawls. For this first one, that means specials relating back to the ‘70s — think flower power — and ‘80s.
Every business in NoDa is encouraged to get creative and use the event to help drive traffic to their location and to the neighborhood in general. Beyond potential restaurant and bar features, NoDa is bringing back street vendors, street performers and even drum circles to add to the festivities.
“The vision for the crawls is for visitors and locals in NoDa to be able to express themselves through costuming and have a fun, unique experience interacting in our neighborhood,” Brown said. “A high-energy, enjoyable night each month where costumed individuals mix with others and everyone gets a laugh, takes some pictures and enjoys the street scene in our town even a little more.”
You can look forward to this monthly NoDa Costume Crawl on the second Thursday of each month, starting at 6 p.m. The crawls will each be themed as follows (although you should expect to see some very liberal interpretations on the theme directions, of course — it’s NoDa, after all):
- March 14: 1970s and 1980s Throwback
- April 11: Wedding / Prom Night
- May 9: Heroes
- June 13: Woodstock
- July 11: Holidays in July
- August 8: Toga Party
- September 12: The Renaissance
- October 10: Drag
- November 14: Charlotte VOTE (This month will be put up to a social media vote, for the people of Charlotte to choose the November theme.)
- December 12: Movies
The only thing to note: the NoDa Neighborhood and Business Association asks that participants avoid wearing masks for the safety of everyone involved. Otherwise, your costuming decisions are entirely up to you.
Keep an eye out for posts using the #NoDaCostumeCrawl and #CostumeCrawl hashtags during Thursday’s event and those to come.