53rd Annual Festival in the Park
September 22-24, 2017
A long-standing local favorite, Festival in the Park returns to Charlotte September 22 – 24, but where did it all begin?
It was John Belk, once president of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, and Grant Whitney, an insurance executive with Belk Stores Services, who first thought of Festival in the Park, Myers Park’s annual free arts-and-crafts exhibition. Held in Freedom Park, just off East Boulevard, the city’s inaugural fest took place in September 1964. Since then, the weekend-long family-friendly event has been a beloved end-of-summer staple, welcoming more than 85,000 attendees last year alone.
The festival’s mission is simple: Bring local purveyors of arts, crafts and entertainment to as many folks as possible, free of charge. Typically featuring more than 150 artists and craft exhibitors, the event showcases original artwork in mediums such as mixed media, sculpture, glass, jewelry and acrylic. More than 1,000 entertainers—blues, jazz, Latin, reggae, and rock musicians as well as local youth troupes—perform on stages and in the family entertainment zone throughout the weekend.
A lot of this is made possible through philanthropic art and community advocates. The festival, which receives no government funding, is in part financially supported by charitable donations from “Friends of the Festival.”
Fall in love with the festival yourself during its 53rd iteration, which takes place from Sept. 22 to 24.