MATTHEWS – Matthews is throwing a four-day, family-friendly celebration of music, food and fun activities as the town hosts the 26th annual Matthews Alive Festival in downtown this weekend.
Officials expect over 150,000 people to visit the festival over the four days.
The event kicks off Aug. 31 and runs through Sept. 3. The annual Labor Day festival includes a parade and live entertainment on three stages. There will be over 30 food vendors, numerous amusement rides and carnival games, arts and crafts, a petting zoo, train rides and a kids’ zone.
Proceeds from the festival benefit nonprofits in the Matthews community.
All the indoor and outdoor concerts are free. Outdoor concerts will be held on the main stage in Stumptown Park. The indoor music venue is in the air-conditioned Fullwood Theater. The music schedule in Fullwood Theater will feature a jazz fest Sept. 1-3 with two groups performing. A full entertainment lineup can be found at www.matthewsalive.org.
One of the outdoor entertainment headliners will be country music star Terri Clark, who will perform Sept. 2 at 7:30 p.m. Clark has been named CCMA Entertainer of the Year eight times and CCMA Female Vocalist of the Year five times. She has had six No. 1 hits, including “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me” and “Girls Lie, Too.” She has sold over five million albums and is the only Canadian female artist to be a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
The Arts and Crafts Pavilion is near the Matthews Elementary School and the Matthews Community Center and will feature over 160 booths that feature works including textiles, pottery, painting, photography and woodwork. It is open Saturday through Monday.
New this year will be a Lego exhibit sponsored by Play-Well TEKnologies, which will be on display Saturday through Monday in the air-conditioned Matthews Community Center. On Sept. 1, festival-goers will be able to assist in the actual building of a Lego exhibit in the shape of the state of North Carolina. The finished product will be on display for the duration of the festival. Festival visitors can also learn more about Lego-inspired engineering classes and sign up for classes.
Friday will be all-you-can-ride wristband night at the carnival. Wristbands cost $15.
Another highlight is the annual festival parade and this year’s theme is Peace, Love and Harmony. The parade starts at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 1 and winds through downtown Matthews. The grand marshals are Iris Devore and Harvey Boyd.
DeVore has worked tirelessly in the nonprofit and senior communities of Matthews working to establishing clubs, facilities and resources for both groups since 1972. She led the efforts for the establishment of the Matthews Help Center and the Levine Senior Center, and has promoted thousands of hours of senior programming, awareness and activities for decades.
Boyd is an activist and historian in his native Crestdale community, where he promotes the preservation of its art and storytelling as well as its revitalization and growth in the future. He is also an advocate for the preservation of the historic African-American cemetery off Monroe Road.
Angie Lee with Matthews Alive said she expects several thousand people to line the parade route at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 1.
“I’m expecting between 3,000 and 5,000 people,” Lee said. “We will have military vehicles, self-made floats, marching bands, police cars and fire trucks. We will have a little bit of everything.”
Featured Entertainment Schedule
• Hip Pocket and the Tams; High energy beach music beginning at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 31
• U2 tribute band LA Vation: 7:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 1
• Terri Clark: Classic country music legend 7:30 to 9 p.m. Sept. 2
Free public parking is available by the train tracks at North Trade Street and Charles Street. Matthews Station offers parking in front of and behind town hall. Parking is also available at many businesses along John and Trade Streets, Matthews Presbyterian Church on John Street and Matthews United Methodist Church on South Trade Street, which is accessible from Fullwood Lane off N.C. 51.