16 Charlotte-area fall festivals to put on your calendar

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Fall festival season in Charlotte is here. As the weather cools, prepare to load up on fried food, carnival rides and local art. If you’re a power festival-goer, October 21 is your day to circle in red on your calendar.

Yiasou Greek Festival

Dates: September 7-10
Location: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 600 East Blvd.
Details: Tickets are $3, but kids 12 and under are free. One of Charlotte’s premier festivals for good reason. Step inside for choral performances, lectures and cathedral tours or stay outdoors for food, entertainment, rides and games.
Pro tip: Ride the light rail and show your ticket for free admission.

Cabarrus County Fair

Dates: September 8-16
Location: Cabarrus Arena & Events Center, 4751 N.C. Highway 49 North
Details: Tickets range from $3.25 to $7.50, and children 5 years old and younger are free. Rides, fair food, petting zoo, a youth horse show and chainsaw art are among the attractions.
Pro tip: Check for daily ticket specials, including free admission Sunday September 10 with four canned food items per adult or two per child.

Lincoln County Apple Festival

Date: September 16, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Location: Downtown Lincoln, 115 W. Main St.
Details: Events include a 5K, musical entertainment and the annual apple recipe contest.
Pro tip: Visit the Kids’ Orchard.

Festival of India

Dates: September 9-10
Location: Belk Theater, 130 N. Tryon St.
Details: Children younger than 10 are free. Tickets are $6 in advance or $7 at the door. Sponsored by the India Association of Charlotte, it features performances, art and cultural and historical resources.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the Charlotte Idol singing competition.

Festival in the Park

Dates: September 22-24
Location: Freedom Park
Details: Admission is free. A can’t-miss festival that includes work from local artists, performances, children’s rides and festival food.
Pro tip: Take the free shuttle to avoid parking headaches in Dilworth/Myers Park.

Denver Days

Dates: September 22-23
Location: Rescue Squad Park, Denver, N.C.
Details: Free. Rides, entertainment, food, local craft and artisan vendors.
Pro tip: Check out the free Special Needs Fun Day on Friday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. or compete in a disc golf tournament Saturday.

Indian Trail Cultural Arts Festival

Date: September 23, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Chestnut Square Park, 320 Chestnut Parkway
Details: Free. Artists, food and family activities.

Downtown Davidson Arts Festival

Date: September 30 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Location: Downtown Davidson
Details: Free. Browse work by local artists, sample beer/wine, enjoy live music. Kids art area included.

Carolina Renaissance Festival

Dates: September 30-November 19
Location: 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville
Details: Grab a turkey leg and head to this popular festival north of Charlotte. Mingle with costumed cast members and enjoy entertainment, jousting battles and more.

Hola Charlotte Festival

Date: October 7
Location: North Tryon from Trade Street to 8th Street
Details: Free. Charlotte’s official Hispanic Heritage Festival. Cultural exhibits, food and other displays.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the Latin America Cultural Village.

UNC Charlotte International Festival

Date: October 14
Location: Free. UNC Charlotte Student Activity Center, 9201 University City Blvd.
Details: Browse booths that represent cultures from more than 50 nations. Arts, crafts and costumes are featured.

Pineville Fall Fest

Dates: October 20-21
Location: Pineville Lake Park
Details: Music, craft vendors, rides, food, games and a pie eating contest are all featured.

Carolina Balloon Fest

Dates: October 20-22
Location: 260 Hangar Drive, Statesville, N.C.
Details: Tickets range from $5 to $25, and packages are also available. Celebrate and watch hot air balloons, browse vendors and eat festival food.
Pro tip: Children 12 years old and younger are free.

Apple Harvest Festival

Date: October 21, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: Windy Hill Orchard, 1860 Black Highway, York, S.C.
Details: Tickets are $8. This 24rd annual festival includes hard and regular cider, hayrides and apple doughnuts.
Pro tip: Your admission ticket will either get you a hard cider or hay ride.

Nest Fest

Date: October 21
Location: The White Barn, 3202 River Road, Midland, N.C.
Details: Popular blogger Myquillyn Smith will open her Midland farm for a day filled with more than 50 vendors, book signings from several authors, music (think banjos) and food trucks.
Pro tip: Check out Smith’s Nesting Place blog to get a feel for her “cozy minimalist” style.

South End Wine Fest

South End Wine Fest

Date: October 21, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Location: 308 W. Carson Blvd.
Details: General admission is $35 for four hours. (Designated drivers are $10.) Wine samplings from 25 vineyards, food trucks and live music.
Pro tip: Proceeds benefit Classroom Central, so you can feel good while you get boozy.

Feature photo via Cabarrus County Fair

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Erin Dunn
Charlotte Agenda Writer