Charlotte: Fire up those grills this weekend for Memorial Day 2017. 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.
Charlotte area Memorial Day Events
- Live music at USNWC: Sunday, May 28th, 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 is free and so are the fireworks that follow.
- Circle K Speed Street Presented by Coca-Cola: Thursday, May 25th through Saturday, May 27th, in Uptown Charlotte. Live music, drivers’ appearances, kids activities, and much more. Note: The headlining concerts on Friday and Saturday night are not free this year. It’ll cost $15/night.
- Mint Hill Madness: Friday through Sunday. This festival features a parade, carnival, live music and kids’ activities.
- Carowinds Military Days: Sunday and Monday. Active, inactive or retired United States Service men and women with a valid military I.D. can get into Carowinds for free.
- Memorial Day Ceremony at Birkdale Village: Birkdale Village in Huntersville will host a ceremony on Monday, May 29th, at 11 a.m.
- Kannapolis Memorial Day Parade: The parade, on Monday, May 29th, will start NC Research Campus parking deck at 11:30 a.m., and travel down Main Street, ending at Veterans Park, where a ceremony will be held.
- Memorial Day Weekend Luau and Pool Party: NoDa Company Store is putting up a full-size temporary pool out back. The party will include pool games, Hula contests, Luau food and drinks. It’s free to attend. At the end of the weekend someone will win the pool. Saturday and Sunday.
- 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 Memorial Day through Labor Day.
- Memorial Day Weekend Crawfish Boil: Birdsong Brewing is hosting a Crawfish Boil Sunday, May 28th. Free admission, pay for the crawfish by the bucket. Live music by River Ratz.
- 74 Village Memorial Day Celebration: Saturday, May 27th, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. At 74 Business Village in Indian Trail. Free admission. Music, games, car show. $1 sno-balls, hot dogs, ice cream cones.
- The Spirit Market’s Memorial Day Cookout: Saturday, May 27th, from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Spirit Market, 2604 N. Brevard Street. Grand re-opening of the market. Food and beverages on the house. If you have something you’d like to put on the grill, feel free to bring it.
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 29th.
- Hickory Tavern: Veterans and active duty personnel will receive a free burger on Monday, May 29th. There are several different signature burgers to choose from and the offer includes a side of fries, tavern chips, tater tots or broccoli.
- Firebirds Restaurants: Dine with a veteran or active duty military member and their entrée. (Of equal or lesser value than your entrée purchase. Locations at Northlake Mall and Stonecrest Shopping Center.
- Hooters: This Memorial Day, Monday, May 29th, all veterans and active-duty military personnel are invited to enjoy an entrée on the house by presenting a valid military ID at any Hooters location across the nation. Military personnel can choose their favorite entrée from the Hooters Memorial Day Menu, including 10-Piece Traditional Wings, 10-Piece Boneless Wings, Buffalo Chicken Sandwich, Buffalo Chicken Salad and Hooters Burger
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 27, 2017 to Sunday, May 28, 2017, 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.
Cashiers Village Green, Highway 64 and Highway 107, Cashiers (155 miles from Charlotte)
Mountain Sports Festival
Friday, May 26, 2017 to Sunday, May 28, 2017
Whether you’re a hardcore athlete or a newbie trying an event for the first time, the annual Mountain Sports Festival in Asheville offers something for you. There are events for kids and adults, and also plenty of live music to enjoy. Free.
Carrier Park, 220 Amboy Rd, Asheville (130 miles from Charlotte)
Friday May 26th, 2017, and Saturday, May 27th.
Enjoy a parade, live music, crafts, and, of course, lots of catfish. Free admission. You pay for the catfish.
Downtown Ware Shoals, SC (130 miles from Charlotte, just below Greenville, SC)