Jody Mace

I am a freelance writer in Charlotte, North Carolina who writes for magazines and websites. Find me at Google+

Jun 242016
 June 24, 2016  Posted by  Food and Drink, Free Events, Music No Responses »

not just coffee grand opening
Celebrate the grand opening of Not Just Coffee’s first standalone shop, at Packard Place, 222 South Church Street. The grand opening will take place Saturday, June 25th, 2016, starting at 5 p.m. There will be a full coffee bar until 7 p.m. Also there will be some free beer, but you are also welcome to BYOB, because when Not Just Coffee’s beer is gone, it’s gone. Enjoy music by Solis at 8 p.m. and purchase vegan tamales from the Masa Casa cart.

This location’s regular hours, starting Monday, will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., 7 days a week. And they will have some food too, once they’re fully open.

Jun 232016
 June 23, 2016  Posted by  Free Events 2 Responses »

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Plan your weekend on the cheap with this list of free events around Charlotte, from Friday, June 24th, 2016, to Sunday, June 26th. If you’re not doing this already, you can subscribe to Charlotte on the Cheap’s daily emails (just one a day), and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Make sure to click on each link for details, because some events require pre-registration.


9:00am: Presidential artifacts on display at Founders Hall
11:00am Yoga for cancer patients and survivors at Yoga For Life
12:00pm: Music Box Lunch at Romare Bearden Park
12:00pm: Music Box Lunch at First Ward Park
1:30pm: World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
2:00pm: Improv class for kids at The Last Word
5:00pm: Food Truck Friday in Matthews
5:30pm: Live music at Tin Roof at EpiCentre: Kalie Shorr
6:00pm: Friday Night Festival at Unknown Brewing Company–live music, and movie “Outlaw Josie Wales”
7:00pm: Live music at The Wine Vault
7:00pm: Pineville Rockin’ and Reelin’ concert series: Gal Friday
7:00pm: Downtown Gastonia Concert Series: Gary Lowder  & Smokin Hot
7:00pm: Tyris Live Jazz Series at Crossing Paths Park in Indian Trail
7:00pm: Stonecrest Summer Concert Series: Leslie and Friends
7:00pm: Blakeney Summer Concert Series: Loafers Band
8:00pm: Outdoor movie in South End: Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
8:45pm: Movies In the Park in Kannapolis: The Martian
10:00pm: Live music at Tin Roof at EpiCentre: Brandon Stiles (arrive before 10 for free admission)



Free Yoga classes at local libraries
9:00am: Class at Pike Nurseries: Attracting hummingbirds and butterflies
10:00am: LEGO Quest2NINJAGO obstacle course
12:00pm: Kaleidoscope Cultural Arts Festival in Kannapolis
6:00pm: Freedom Summer Jazz Concert Series: Matt Marshak, with Groove Masters
7:00pm: River Jam at U.S. National Whitewater Center: The Floorboards
7:00pm: Live music at The Wine Vault
7:00pm: Stonecrest Summer Concert Series: Bonejazz
7:00pm: Blakeney Summer Concert Series: Loafers Band
7:00pm: Matthews Summer Movies: Minions (activities start at 7. Movie starts at dusk)
7:00pm: June Tunes in Mint Hill: Horsefly
7:30pm: Comedy Open-Mic at Smelly Cat Coffeehouse
8:15pm: Charlotte Symphony at Bailey Park in Cornelius


10:00am: LEGO Quest2NINJAGO Obstacle Course
10:30am: Dog training class at Sycamore Brewing
2:00pm: Brewery tour at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (also at 3pm, 4pm)
5:00pm: Play Pickleball for free at Nano Center in Matthews
7:00pm: Organ Summer Recital Series at Sardis Presbyterian Church


Jun 232016
 June 23, 2016  Posted by  Free Events, Music, NoDa, The City No Responses »

Charlotte based psychedelic rock band Ancient Cities is releasing their second album, Supermoon Blackout, Friday, July 1st, and are giving you a chance to listen to it a day early on Thursday, June 30th, 2016, at 7 p.m., at NoDa Company Store, 3221 Yadkin Avenue, in NoDa. Artwork by band member Stephen Warwick will be displayed at the event too. Enjoy beer, wine and homemade sangria at NoDa Company Store.

Jun 232016
 June 23, 2016  Posted by  4th of July, holiday No Responses »
SkyShow Charlotte

SkyShow Charlotte

Plan your Charlotte area 4th of July 2016 festivities with this list of free and cheap July 4th events. These events include fireworks, parades, live music, historical presentations, water fun and much more. Follow each link to find the important details that you will need. Unless I’ve mentioned a price it’s free. And make sure to check the date, because some are not on the 4th. And I’ve put “fireworks” in red so you can find them easily. This is a growing list, so keep checking back! If you know of a free (or very cheap) 4th of July event, please let me know about it. And don’t forget that to subscribe to Charlotte on the Cheap’s email list. 

charlotte 4th of july fireworks

4th of July Festival at US National Whitewater Center
Festival begins on Sunday July 3rd and continues to Monday July 4th. Includes live music followed by a fireworks display each night. Live music includes The Wood Brothers, The Congress, Hollis Brown, and more. Admission is free. Parking is $5.

Patriotic Concert: Sunday, July 3rd, 5 p.m. Community in Christ Lutheran Church, 7621 Norman Island Drive in Cornelius. Free, and free refreshments following.

Carowinds Military Days
Free park admission to any active, inactive, or retired United States Service men and women with a valid military ID on July 2nd, 3rd and 4thFireworks July 3rd and 4th.


4th of July Celebration at BB&T Ballpark
Skyshow Fireworks Spectacular follows the July 4th  game between the Charlotte Knights and the Pawtucket Red Sox. Buy tickets for the game here. If you’re not attending the game, you should be able to see the fireworks from any place adjacent to the ballpark, like Romare Bearden Park. Here’s some more information. There will also be a free street festival from 2:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in front of the ballpark. Live music by PUSHH, as well as carnival rides, bounce houses and more. There’s a charge for some activities at the festival.

Waxhaw 4th of July Celebration
In downtown Waxhaw. Saturday, July 2nd. Parade at 10 a.m.; Beach party 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Fireworks at dusk.


Coulwood Community 4th of July Parade and Celebration
Monday, July 4th. Parade starts at Coulwood Middle School at 9 a.m. and ends at Paw Creek Elementary School. The celebration continues at Coulwood Community Park, 506 Coulwood Drive, and includes games, music and a lunch until 1 p.m. All are invited to swim, for free, in the swimming pool from 1 p.m. to 7 p .m.

4th of July Festival at Birkdale Village
Activities take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 4th. Festival includes stage performances, face painting, balloon art, bounce houses, craft tables, bike decorating & patriotic bike ride, music, roaming entertainment and more! Plus, the annual Huntersville Fire Department water fight at 12:15 p.m.

Charlotte Symphony
Charlotte Symphony plays at Symphony Park at SouthPark. This is not free. It costs $16. Friday, July 1st. Gates open at 5 p.m., prelude performances start at 7 p.m. Charlotte Symphony performs at 8:15 p.m. Fireworks follow.

Charlotte Museum of History 4th of July Celebration
Monday, July 4th, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This is not a free event. It costs $5. Free for museum members. This event will feature lectures, kids’ crafts, tours of the Hezekiah Alexander home site, and ringing of the American Freedom Bell. Register here.

Tega Cay 4th of July Celebration
Festival begins with a land parade at 9 a.m. July 4th, followed by a canoe joust, a boat parade, the Carolina Ski Show Team’s performance and a fish fry. At 9:30 p.m. there will be fireworks.

Lake Wylie Fireworks
Fireworks will be viewable from near the Buster Boyd Bridge around 9:15 p.m.

plaza midwood pig pickin


15th Annual 4th of July Pig Pickin’ in Plaza Midwood
July 3rd from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Harrisburg 4th of July Celebration
3 day celebration at Harrisburg Park.
Thursday, June 30, 2016
4:00 pm: Miss July 4th Pageant

Friday, July 1, 2016
4:00 pm: Harrisburg Park Opens
5:00 pm: Emily Minor Band
7:00 pm: Opening Ceremonies
8:00 pm: Part Time Party Time Band
10:00 pm: Fireworks
Park closes following fireworks.

Saturday, July 2, 2016
9:00 am: Parade on Highway 49
4:00 pm: Harrisburg Park Opens
4:15 pm: Mayor’s Invitational
Cornhole Tournament
5:00 pm: Chicago Reloaded
8:00 pm: Da Throwback Band
10:00 pm: Fireworks
11:30 pm: Park Closes

Davidson Independence Day Celebration
Sunday, July 3rd, there will be a parade for all to participate in, starting at McEver Field on South Street at 5:15 p.m., proceeding to the town Green, where the band Ted Vigil will perform at 6:00 p.m.

Kannapolis Intimidators’ ballpark
Saturday, July 2nd. Gates open at 6 p.m. with a youth baseball game at 7:05 p.m., an All-American parade for kids around the field at 8:30 p.m., and fireworks set to patriotic music at 9:30 p.m. Tickets for the whole evening are just $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and for kids under age 12.

Queen’s Landing
Fireworks on July 2nd at 9 p.m. It’s free but there are also many river cruises available for a fee. There are also carnival rides, food trucks, and a showing of the movie “Independence Day” after the fireworks. 1459 River Highway, Mooresville.

Kings Mountain
The city of Kings Mountain is celebrating with music provided by the Chris Marks Band from 6:00-9:00 pm, and a variety of food vendors available at Walking Track Park. In honor of the turning point of the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Kings Mountain (fought just south of town) a scene from “Liberty Mountain – The Revolutionary Drama” written by Bob Inman will be performed by the cast. All will lead up to the big event, the fireworks show

Red, White, and Belmont
In downtown Belmont Friday, July 1st. Starts with concert by The Tams at 6 p.m. on Main Street. Followed by fireworks at 9:30.

Matthews People’s Parade
Matthews People’s Parade meets at the Town Hall Green at 5 pm July 2nd, and parade begins at 5:30 p.m. Followed by concert from Too Much Sylvia at 7 p.m. at Stumptown Park.


hickory grove parade

Hickory Grove Parade and Celebration
The 47th Annual Hickory Grove Parade and Celebration is the largest block party in East Charlotte. Monday, July 4th.  The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. at Hickory Grove Recreation Center, 6709 Pence Road, and proceeds to The Grove Church, 5735 East W.T. Harris Boulevard, where the celebration continues until 2:30 p.m., with live music, games, food and contests.

Red White and Boom
Sunday, July 3rd, 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., in Old Town in Rock Hill, South Carolina. There’s a kids’ zone (there’s a fee for this) a free concert and fireworks at 10 p.m.

Jun 212016
 June 21, 2016  Posted by  Free Events, Kids No Responses »

apple camp
Registration is open right now for free summer camps at Apple Stores. These camps fill up quickly so do not delay in registering. You’ll find Apple Stores at Northlake and SouthPark Malls in Charlotte. The camps this year are “Coding Games and Programming Robots,” “Stories in Motion with iMovie,” and “Interactive Storytelling with iBooks.” The camps are for kids age 8-12. They are FREE to attend but space is limited. Even though I JUST got the email saying registration was open, many are already filled up. The camps each run for three days, for an hour and a half each day. There are four weeks to choose from for each camp. Register now.

Coding Games and Programming Robots
Who wouldn’t want to create their own games and program their own robots? Kids will learn visual block-based coding for games, applying logic skills such as pattern recognition and problem solving. Then they’ll use what they’ve learned to program their own robots to perform tasks, challenges, and much more.

Stories in Motion with iMovie
Campers will learn everything they need to create their own movies. They’ll storyboard ideas, shoot video, and delve into other aspects of the filmmaking process. Then they’ll edit their new epics in iMovie on a Mac.

Interactive Storytelling with iBooks
Campers will create their own interactive books and learn about the elements of writing a story, from idea to storyboarding. They’ll draw illustrations using an iPad, then add sound effects and Multi-Touch features using iBooks Author on a Mac.

Jun 212016

patriotic concert
Community in Christ Lutheran Church is hosting a free patriotic concert on Sunday, July 3rd, 2016, at 5 p.m. The church is at 7621 Norman Island Drive in Cornelius. The concert is about an hour long and will feature familiar music along with some special performances. There will also be an armed services salute celebration and recognition of all the veterans. Refreshments will be served afterwards.

Jun 212016

ethan  uslan
Ethan Uslan, 3-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest, is performing at a free event at Plaza Midwood Library, 1623 Central Avenue, on Monday, June 27th, 2016, at 6 p.m. He will be providing live music to accompany Charlie Chaplin’s “The Pilgrim,” a silent film. Learn about films and music of the era while enjoying an entertaining show. Registration required.

Here’s a video of Ethan Uslan:

Jun 202016
 June 20, 2016  Posted by  Food and Drink, Free Events, Kids No Responses »

free breakfast lunch kids charlotte meck schools

Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, is once again, in 2016, providing free breakfast and lunch to children age 1 to 18 this summer. The meals will be served at 52 CMS schools. This is not something parents have to apply for. All children are eligible. Last summer over 200,000 breakfasts and 355,000 lunches were served to local children. To see which schools are participating, check out this list. Or call Child Nutrition Services at 980-343-6041. The start and end dates vary by school, and some schools serve meals Monday through Friday, while others serve meals Monday through Thursday. Visit this site to see the summer menu, as well as allergen and nutrition information. CMS’s Summer Food Service Program is funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and administered through the NC Department of Public Instruction. CMS is reimbursed for the cost of the meals served to eligible children.

Not in Mecklenburg County? Visit this site to see if there are participating locations in your community.