To-Do List: September’s Five Essential Dates


September 1-4

Celebrate Labor Day with the 25th-annual Matthews Alive Labor Day Festival. The weekend-long festival in downtown Matthews is family-friendly and includes a parade, fair rides, games, food trucks, arts and crafts, and more. The annual event also supports local nonprofits and has donated over $1.5 million to area organizations. Free to attend.


September 7

At Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden’s annual Chinese Lantern Festival, more than 800 handmade lanterns will fill 12 acres around the gardens. The illuminated art forms—think life-size panda bears, lions, flamingos, and other fauna—are made by masters of the craft in Zigong, China’s center of lantern heritage. Cost is $22 for adults and $15 for children in advance. Located at 6500 S. New Hope Road, Belmont.


September 9

Support a great cause with a little exercise at this year’s South End Shuffle. The event includes a 5K, a one-mile family run, and a post-race festival with live music, beer from Wooden Robot Brewery, and team competitions. Races start on Summit Road and head onto the Charlotte Rail Trail. All participants get finisher medals. Proceeds benefit the Rail Trail and the Purple Promise Foundation, a not-for-profit raising awareness of melanoma and skin-cancer prevention. Cost is $30 for the 5K and $10 for the one-miler.

September 16

The 10th-annual Pitchin’ for Wishes Cornhole Tourney, sponsored by Andrew Roby and Harris Teeter, will feature an NCAA bracket-style cornhole competition, food, drinks, music, and family-friendly activities. All proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central and Western North Carolina. Free to attend; cost is $60 for a team of two to register. All players get a free T-shirt, and the top two teams will win cash prizes.

September 19

On the eve of the one-year anniversary of the police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott and the ensuing riots, The Levine Museum of the New South (200 E. 7th St.) is launching a “Breaking Bread” dinner and dialogue series. The goal: to start conversations around challenging community issues over a hearty meal, served family style. Cost is $25 a person. The event starts at 6:30 p.m.