Charlotte International Arts Festival: 14 Must-See Events


The Charlotte International Arts Festival, a 17-day event with live performances and art installations all over the city, kicked off over the weekend.

From cultural dance to poetry, various cuisines and music acts from all over the world, there are plenty of events and interactive exhibits to become immersed in.

Here are 14 events – one for each day of the festival – to check out:

Monday, Sept. 18 – Sky of Bubbles

Have you ever seen bubbles that don’t pop? Well, now you can with this neat pop-up. This collection comprises 50 bubbles or “translucent spheres” that reflect light to produce vibrant colors.

Where: Levine Avenue | Cost: FREE | Time: Varies based on date; ends Oct.1

Learn more.

Tuesday, Sept. 19 – Tour de Ballantyne: The International Roller Skate Party

Enjoy a night of roller skating while vibing to the latest music. Each night boasts a different theme, including Taylor Swift, 70s and Michael Jackson.

Where: Ballantyne’s Backyard | Cost: $5-20 | Time: Varies based on date; ends Oct.1

Get tickets.

Wednesday, Sept. 20 – 100 Tiny Things

Bring out your inner child on this interactive walk. “100 tiny things” are placed in an 8-minute loop. See if you can find them all!

Where: Ballantyne’s Backyard | Cost: FREE | Time: Anytime; ends Oct.1

Learn more.

Thursday, Sept. 21 – Tablao Flamenco

If you’ve never been to Spain, you’ll get a sneak peek with this dynamic performance of dance and music similar to the nightclubs found in Andalusia, Spain.

Where: Stage Door Theater | Cost: $37.50 | Time: Varies; ends Sept. 23

Get tickets.

Friday, Sept. 22 – CIAF Poetry Slam & Showcase

Watch some of the best wordsmiths worldwide go head-to-head. May the best storyteller win.

Where: Wells Fargo Auditorium | Cost: $10 | Time: Varies; ends Sept. 23

Get tickets.

Saturday, Sept. 23- Festival of India

In partnership with the Indian Association of Charlotte, get a taste of Indian culture through food, music and dance. Get a henna tattoo, try some Indian cuisine and enjoy the sounds of traditional Indian music.

Where: Belk Theater | Cost: $6 | Time: 12 p.m.; one day only

Get tickets.

Sunday, Sept. 24- Sincerely, Charlotte: A Love Letter to Old Charlotte

Join Charlotte native and storyteller Mia Love Live as she takes you back through the history of Charlotte and honoring its past through performance.

Where: Belk Theater | Cost: $20 | Time: 7 p.m.; one day only

Get tickets.

Monday, Sept. 25- Gaia

Most of what you have seen of the earth are photographs, but now, you can view an up-close three-dimensional recreation of our planet.

Where: Founders Hall | Cost: FREE | Time: Anytime; ends. Oct. 1

Learn more.

Tuesday, Sept. 26 – Mentalgassi

The trio of German artists, known as Mentalgassi, blow up photographs and install them outside. This installation features five faces of Charlotteans.

Where: Ballantyne’s Backyard | Cost: FREE | Time: Anytime; ends. Oct. 1

Learn more.

Wednesday, Sept. 27 – Charlotte Film Festival

Established in 2006, the Charlotte Film Festival showcases the talent of local filmmakers. The festival has evolved to include filmmakers from around the world as well as industry professionals.

Where: Independent Picture House | Cost: FREE | Time: Varies; ends. Oct. 1

Learn more.

Thursday, Sept. 28 – MJ: The Musical

Witness the lasting legacy of the acclaimed King of Pop, Michael Jackson, as his sound, style and stage presence are commemorated and recreated.

Where: Belk Theater | Cost: $25+ | Time: Varies; ends Oct. 8

Get tickets.

Friday, Sept. 29 – Charlotte Chess Center

Enjoy a beer or soda and learn from chess pros as they guide you through the classic game of chess.

Where: Levine Avenue | Cost: FREE | Time: 4:30 p.m.; one day only

Learn more.

Saturday, Sept. 30 – PopBridge Creative Arts

, where- Ballantyne’s Backyard, time- 11 a.m., cost- free: Wrap up CIAF with some family-friendly fun. Create in the printmaking lab, listen to interactive stories, visit Freida’s Flower Shop and more. For more info: https://www.charlotteartsfest.com/events/detail/popbridge-creative-arts

Sunday, Oct. 1 – Birdmen

Explore these large, illuminated puppets as they roam the streets of Charlotte.

Where: Ballantyne’s Backyard | Cost: FREE | Time: 5:30 p.m. or 8:15 p.m.

Learn more.



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