The eighth-annual Red White and Bluegrass Festival unites ears at Catawba Meadows Park with the floating notes of 40 different bluegrass acts over five days (including the free "Fan Appreciation Day" acts on June 30). Bring a blue lawn chair and delight in the high, lonesome sound of such headliners as Larry Sparks & the Lonesome Ramblers, JD Crowe & The New South, and Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, which will close out the festival just before the fireworks. Half of the bands in the 2011 lineup have never performed at the festival, while the other half have been playing a collaborative art piece together since the festival's inception eight years ago.
Grammy-nominated country-bluegrass performer Dierks Bentley takes the stage at this year's Appalachian Summer Festival, an annual outdoor concert and arts celebration held in Appalachian State University's football stadium. Bentley croons his way through songs from his latest album, Up on the Ridge, and plucks audience heartstrings while revisiting career-defining tracks such as “What Was I Thinkin’,” and “Lot of Leavin’ Left to Do." Bring a blanket and watch firework displays with awed eyes, or thumb-wrestle aggressive praying mantises encroaching on your sandwich plate.
Located within the Q Athletic Performance Center, CrossFit APC helps people get into the best physical shape of their lives. But it doesn't do it the normal way. Instead of the machines, treadmills, and unrippable floorboards that challenge people elsewhere in the gym, CrossFit APC focuses on a broad base of general fitness achieved by functional movements. Depending on the particular Workout of the Day, coaches may have their charges training with medicine balls, deadlifting barbells, and flipping tires. Through it all, a strong team dynamic encourages exercisers to push themselves (and each other) longer and harder than they may have thought possible, resulting in significant gains across a wide spectrum of physical health, from waist size to overall strength.
Located about 22 miles north of Charlotte, Davidson College offers 21 Division I intercollegiate sports, including the domesticated southern conference Davidson Wildcats. The team is looking to defend home-court domination after last year’s regular-season series loss to conference rival Appalachian State. Returning senior and round-ball renaissance man Brendan McKillop will try to leap closer to 1,000 career points as he hammers the hardwood in a battle with the North Division–favorite Mountaineers and team high scorer Donald Sims. Coach Bob McKillop, the school and SoCon’s all-time winningest Donkey Kong champion and basketball coach, is closing in on a milestone of his own with his 400th career victory rolling around the rim.
The Big E ? Entertainment Outlet combines the joys of a movie theater, bowling alley, indoor playground, and full arcade into one location. The full movie theater shows the latest releases on eight screens. The bowling alley hosts both league and public play, as well as dedicating every Friday and Saturday night to proper cosmic bowling events where they turn down the lights, turn up the music, and chuck bowling balls at the stars to try to knock them from the sky.
The FunE Business Playland and Arcade occupies the rest of the complex, combining an indoor playground with an arcade. Here, the playground features slides, climbing equipment, and a Ball-O-Sity Blast Center where kids can shoot foam balls from little cannons, running and playing in an environment designed specifically with safety in mind. They can also take the bumper cars for a spin. The arcade, on the other hand, challenges visitors with tandem vehicle racing, Guitar Hero, and other modern favorites, as well as classic installations such as ski ball. Like at any good arcade, the games dispense tickets based on performance, and electronic points can be exchanged for prizes including MP3 players, All-Terrain Vehicles, or an equal number of tickets in a different color.
Since 1936, the historic Gem Theatre has moved movie lovers to laughter and tears with films in an elegant, comfortable single-screen vintage theater. Peruse current showtimes and choose a first-run film, which may include a romantic romp, a superhero adventure, an independent feature, or Casablanca II: Electric Boogaloo. Guests pick up their sodas and popcorn at the concessions stand in the carpeted lobby, whose ornate table lamps cast soft light on potted plants and flowers. In the red and gold 916-seat amphitheater, upholstered floor seats beckon audience members and balcony perches provide a sky-high view behind marbled wood rails. Before the film, guests watch wrought-iron vines curl around colorful birds in sculptures flanking the screen. Sumptuous gold curtains hide the big screen until showtime, allowing staff members to finish reenacting each film’s climactic scene in private.