Charlotte: Get ready to fire up those grills later this month for Memorial Day 2019. Also check out some of these special Memorial Day events going on in the Charlotte area. All are free or really cheap. Read about even more free events on Charlotte on the Cheap’s Free Event List. If you haven’t signed up for daily emails from Charlotte on the Cheap, you can sign up now. Keep checking back. This list will be updated with more items as they’re announced.
Also, scroll down for some Memorial Day Weekend road trip ideas, freebies and a big list of stuff to do this weekend.
Charlotte area Memorial Day Events
- Live music at USNWC: Sunday, May 26th, 9 a.m. until after dark. The U.S. National Whitewater Center’s Memorial Day Celebration kicks off with trail races at 9 a.m., and there is a charge for participating. However, live music by Ryan Montbleau and Anders Osborne is free, and so are the fireworks that follow. Parking is $6.
- Salute to the Services: Sunday, May 26th, 7 p.m., at Calvary Church, 5801 Pineville-Matthews Road. Free concert by Youth Orchestras of Charlotte, with members of Charlotte Symphony Brass.
- Circle K Speed Street Presented by Coca-Cola: Thursday, May 23rd, through Saturday, May 25th, in Uptown Charlotte. Live music, drivers’ appearances, kids activities, and much more. Note: The headlining concerts, in Romare Bearden Park, on Friday night (Brothers Osborne) and Saturday night (Styx) are not free this year. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 the night of the show.
- Mint Hill Madness: Friday, May 24th, through Sunday, May 26th. This festival features a parade, carnival, live music and kids’ activities. Admission is free. Rides, and some other activities, do have costs.
- Carowinds Military Days: Sunday, May 26th, and Monday, May 27th. Active, inactive or retired United States Service men and women with a valid military I.D. can get into Carowinds for free.
- Blue Star Museums: Several local museums participate in the Blue Star Museum program, which grants free admission to active military members and their families from May 18th (Armed Forces Day) through Labor Day.
- Memorial Day Ceremony in Huntersville: Monday, May 27th, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., join the Town of Huntersville at Veterans Park, 201 Huntersville-Concord Road, Huntersville, for the ribbon-cutting for this park, followed by the annual ceremony to honor our fallen troops.
- Freedom Festival in Lowell: Friday, May 24th, and Saturday, May 25th: At just 17 miles to the west of Charlotte, Lowell’s Freedom Festival is worth the visit for the live music, dinosaur shows and mobile gaming. Buy tickets or an armband for rides.
- Kannapolis Memorial Day Parade: Monday, May 27th, 11:30 a.m. After the parade there will be music by the Reggie Sadler Group, and a ceremony honoring the oldest living female WWII Marine vet.
- Memorial Day Oyster Roast at NoDa Company Store: on Saturday, May 25th, enjoy live bluegrass music from Tobacco Road Revival Band while you feast on oysters ($2 per oyster) from Oysters Carolina. Indulge in them raw or grilled with a butter/garlic/parmesan/parsley topping.
Memorial Day freebies and deals
Keep checking back for food deals and freebies for military personnel. Here’s what’s been announced so far, but more will be added soon.
- McCormick & Schmick’s: Monday, active members of U.S. military and National Guard, as well as veterans, get a free lunch or dinner entrée. Monday, May 27th.
- Firebirds Wood-Fired Grill: Treat a hero to a free meal on Monday, May 27th. Dine with a veteran, active duty service member or Gold Star family member and their lunch or dinner is free. Receive one complimentary military entrée equal or less to your entrée purchase.
- Ace Hardware: On Saturday, May 25th, all participating locations of Ace Hardware are giving away free American flags, while supplies last. They’re giving away one million flags across the country. This is for anyone, not just military personnel.
- Goodyear Auto Service: From May 23-27, Goodyear Auto Service and Just Tires locations nationwide will offer active and retired military FREE car care checks and 10 percent off of Goodyear Tires. For the first 2,000 free car care checks scheduled, they’ll make a donation up to $10,000 to military support organization, Honor and Remember. This discount can be used in conjunction with up to $275 in tire-related rebates. Military members can book their appointment at www.JustTires.com/military and www.GoodyearAutoService.com/military. As long as qualifying guests make their appointment by May 27, they can take advantage of this deal through June 13.
- Check back soon for more!
Memorial Day Weekend road trips
Want to get out of town for a bit? Here are some ideas for Memorial Day Weekend road trips, all within three hours or so of Charlotte.
Jordan Lake State Recreation Area has the largest population of bald eagles in the eastern U.S., and the best time to see one is during the spring migration (April-June). Arrive early morning or near dusk to increase your chances of spotting our national bird and to find a location that gives you a wide view of the lake. Don’t forget your binoculars. The park offers a variety of activities such as camping, hiking, boating, fishing, swimming and more. Free admission.
280 State Park Road, Apex, North Carolina (134 miles from Charlotte)
Rotary Arts & Crafts Fair, Cashiers
Saturday, May 25, 2018 to Sunday, May 26, 2018, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
See works of 90 of the finest artisans from the Southeast on the Village Green in Cashiers. Find ironwork, woodcraft, textiles, cakes, jams, pottery and more. Free admission, but donations accepted. $3 to $5 is suggested.
Cashiers Village Green, Highway 64 and Highway 107, Cashiers (155 miles from Charlotte)
Wednesday, May 22nd, 2018, through Saturday, May 25th.
Enjoy a parade, live music, crafts, and, of course, lots of catfish. Free admission. You pay for the catfish and carnival rides.
Downtown Ware Shoals, SC (130 miles from Charlotte, just below Greenville, SC)