Charlotte is Giving You Plenty of Reasons to Visit

Over the past five years, the Downtown Development Authority’s Summer Concerts on the Square free music series has become one of the most sought-after performing venues in mid-Michigan. It offers the highest-caliber musical acts of any free community concert series in the region. Audiences and performers agree that Thursday evenings in July and August should be spent in Charlotte.

There are many other opportunities for entertainment in downtown Charlotte, too. The historic Eaton Theater offers first-run movies for affordable prices with two state-of-the-art digital projection systems. Downtown pubs, coffee shops and art galleries also offer live entertainment throughout the year.

Thursday events on the historic 1885 Courthouse Square expanded this year with the Charlotte Artisans & Farmer’s Market. A Saturday morning market has operated for more than 10 years on the Courthouse lawn, but this new weeknight market has attracted both new vendors and new customers.

The Courthouse Square is Charlotte’s downtown focal point and regular gathering place; it is home to Eaton County’s museum, and plays host to everything from weddings and festival events to community theater productions. This fall, it featured a first for Charlotte — a ghost-hunting event enjoyed by more than 30 people, with close to 100 names on a waiting list for future ghostly excursions though local history.

The annual Celebrate Charlotte Festival held on Father’s Day Weekend continues gathering steam, with 2015’s festival featuring a rejuvenated Father’s Day Fly-In at the Charlotte Airport. The active pilot’s club attracted many new modern and antique aircraft to the fly-in, as well as classic cars, police and fire equipment, a University of Michigan Survival Flight helicopter and special kids’ games and activities. The pancake breakfast at the fly-in served nearly 1,000 meals this year. This year’s Celebrate Charlotte Festival also featured a ‘Michigan Brews & Blues’ event at Beach Market — a unique, open-air downtown venue that generated a lot of excitement.

A new community group hoping to bring some wintertime excitement to Charlotte is planning the first Michigan Nordic Fire Festival for the last weekend in February 2016. This new festival will have a medieval, Nordic theme and will feature a historic Viking encampment and activities, along with more fantasy-oriented fun, including cardboard long-ship sled races, strength games, children and adult costume contests and a community bonfire. This is the first new festival planned in Charlotte in close to 15 years, and it’s garnering a lot of online attention. The Michigan Nordic Fire Festival can be followed on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular social media sites. Use the hashtag #beaweekendviking.

This winter will also feature several new local events at the Charlotte Performing Arts Center, all based on popular television shows — Charlotte’s Got Talent, Charlotte Idol and Dancing with the Charlotte Stars will allow residents to exhibit their best acts and vocal talents to friends, family and visitors. These showcases for local talent will be joined this season by several professional acts including Roy Rogers’ Riders in the Sky, the Berenstain Bears, Matt Jernigan and Hot Peas & Butter, among others. Of course, the Charlotte Performing Arts Center is also home to such annual local traditions as the student Band Bounce and Cabaret. Learn more at charlotteperformingartscenter.com.

The newly formed Andromeda Community Theater brought several new stage shows to Charlotte in 2015, its second year of operation. To Kill a Mockingbird was staged in an historic downtown courtroom, and for Halloween it produced a version of Bram Stoker’s Dracula at The Country Mill. You can learn more about this active new theater group at andromedaplayers.org.

Local recreation is also getting a shot in the arm, with renovated tennis courts in 2016 and a newly planned softball complex on the city’s north side joining recently improved facilities at Lincoln Park. Charlotte is especially well-suited to active lifestyles, having been named one of only two established Walkable Urban Places, or WalkUps, in mid-Michigan by Smart Growth America. It’s traditional streets with friendly walking infrastructure, combined with an active local advocacy group and a new experienced-based health park called Al!ve has helped Charlotte establish and maintain a focus on issues related to active living and non-
motorized transportation.

We hope you will give Charlotte a second look when you are looking for something to do this year.

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