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.
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.
At Aerial Space, workouts unfold in midair. Practitioners weave through suspended silks, flow through yoga poses supported by hammocks, or practice acrobatic moves on the static trapeze and lyra, a suspended hoop. Aerial Space's aerial circus-arts classes, offered privately and for groups of children and adults, instill equal parts grace, fitness, and newfound skill.
As the resident company at New York’s 92nd Street Y Harkness Dance Center, Doug Varone and Dancers strive to tell emotionally resonant stories through original, technically complex modern dance pieces. During "Lux," the graceful, athletic bodies of the troupe's eight dancers, including Waynesville native and Carolina Day School graduate Erin Owen, overleap imaginary potholes and fire hydrants to the music of renowned Candyman II composer Philip Glass. Spectators slotted into the Diana Wortham Theatre's 500 comfortable seats can also squint at the footnotes of "Chapters From a Broken Novel," which intertwines several short-story vignettes, or wave farewell to "Boats Leaving." Those seeking extra background and insight into the routines can attend a 7 p.m. pre-show discussion free to ticket-holders and left-footed ballerinas.
Cinebarre combines a slate of first-run movies with a courteous, alcohol-enhanced atmosphere and crave-worthy kitchen concoctions. The menu features items with movie-inspired names, allowing cinephiles to pick a dish that aligns with their preferred genre or favorite Bill Paxton performance. Take teeth to the made-from-scratch pizza playground with the Chicken Run, topped with grilled chicken, caramelized onions, cheese, and barbecue sauce ($13). The Blue Velvet Burger––ground in-house––piles a juicy half-pounder with blue cheese, buffalo hot sauce, burger toppings, and a kick of chipotle mayo ($10). Appetizers, such as Some Like It Hot Wings ($9) and Lord of the Onion Rings ($7), make arduous journeys to melt into a copious selection of wine and local craft beers, as well as mixed drinks, including the Lolita Margarita ($6).