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101 cool things to do this fall

2015 Fall Guide

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Cooler weather is finally here.

So, what are you going to do — sit in the house and couch surf the season away? Hell no! You're gonna get out there and check out all of the amazing stuff your city has to offer. From the season's first games by the Panthers, Hornets and Checkers to concerts by Chvrches and Stevie Wonder, from art exhibit openings to ridiculous races, from cooking classes to the primary election, we're sure there's something for everyone regardless of attitude or interest. Who says there's nothing to do in Charlotte?

Below are the odds and ends listings that didn't quite fit into a category of their own based on the sections of the newspaper. Also, see the links at the bottom of the page for news, arts, music, food and film events.

SEPTEMBER

SEPT. 12-NOV. 1 — Get lost in Rural Hill's annual Amazing Maize Maze. The seven-acre corn maze with more than two miles of interconnecting paths is fun for the whole family. If you're up for a real challenge, go during the evening/night to explore the maze in the dark (BYOF — that is, "f" as in "flashlight"). Admission also allows you to explore Rural Hill Farm. Live music and bonfires on select nights. $7-$15. ruralhill.net

Scarowinds
  • Scarowinds

SEPT. 18-OCT. 31 — If you enjoy being scared shitless in any number of haunted houses throughout the park or just want to ride one of your favorite rollercoasters after dark, SCarowinds Halloween Haunt has been unnerving people for decades. The park is open on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights through the listed dates. $53. carowinds.com

Carolina Panthers
  • Carolina Panthers

SEPT. 20 — Are you ready for some football?! The Carolina Panthers' first home game is against the Houston Texans. While the team has to overcome the loss of Kelvin Benjamin, they recently acquired Seahawks WR Kevin Norwood to help fill the gap. $43-$430. carolinapanthers.com

SEPT. 20–27 — The Hornets Nest Region chapter of the Antique Automobile Club of America holds the Charlotte AutoFair at the Charlotte Motor Speedway every April and September, at which thousands of collector-car enthusiasts gather to buy and sell unique vehicles, parts and restoration supplies and many exceptional items that can only be found at this event. The AACA has hosted this event for more than 35 years, and it draws attendees from all over the world. $10. www.charlotte-autofair.com

SEPT. 26 — The Color Rave Glow Run is a nighttime 5K combined with dancing, glow sticks and electronic music. $25-$47.50. thecolorrave.com

SEPT. 26 — The inaugural Queen City Crown Rugby Tournament, hosted by the Charlotte Royals Rugby Club at the Athletic Rugby Center, will be the first International Gay Rugby tournament held in North Carolina. The Charlotte Royals rugby team was founded in 2004 and now has more than 20 players. The team, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, seeks to break down perceptions of masculinity within the gay and straight communities by demonstrating the legitimacy of a gay men's rugby team. $20/player, $5 admission. www.queencitycrown.com

SEPT. 26 ­— Charlotte is one of nearly 40 cities around the country participating in this year's National Beer Mile, a mile-long run/walk that involves a beer break at every quarter-mile. This year's "race" will be held at the N.C. Music Factory. Ready your legs and liver for a fun run with an even better after party, to be held at VBGB and featuring live music, bar games and more. If you want to add a little flair, costumes are encouraged. $40–$70. www.nationalbeermile.com

OCTOBER

OCT. 2 — Even if you didn't vote, you can still celebrate with us at the 28th Annual Best of Charlotte Party at the Harvey B. Gantt Center. Tickets include food and drinks as well as live performances by Ancient Cities and the Mayhue Bostic Group and more. $30-$40. www.clclt.com/boc2015

OCT. 2 — Break out your best polka-dot and plaid for the 2nd Annual Bad Pants Open charity golf tournament to benefit Corona Cares. $99. www.eventbrite.com /e/2nd-annual-bad-pants-open-tickets-18155689155

OCT. 10 — The annual 2015 Ballantyne Festival, titled Autumn in the Park this year, is a day-long festival for families at Ballantyne District Park behind the Morrison Family YMCA. The event will feature a chili cook-off, games, inflatables, pumpkin painting, hayride, performances, crafts and more for kids. For the adults in the crowd, live music kicks off in the afternoon, along with an oyster roast, beer and wine served into the evening. Free. www.ballantynefestival.org

OCT. 10 — Sometimes you have to get out of Queen City, and what better way than to visit King's Mountain? Try not to do anything to change the future when you travel back in time during the annual Gateway Festival, which features trolley service throughout downtown King's Mountain to different exhibits depicting life during the Revolutionary War. It's not all about folks stuck way, way, way in the past though. Attendees can also enjoy live bluegrass, folk, old-time gospel and Americana roots music. Free. cityofkm.com

OCT. 10 — Go fast, turn left as the chase for the Sprint Cup continues at the Bank of America 500. And you might want to get there early — to avoid the horrendous traffic — and for the Hunter Hayes pre-race concert. $49 and up. charlottemotorspeedway.com

OCT. 10-11 — In celebration of its 25th anniversary, the Latin American Festival expands to two days filled with delicious food, delightful dancing and plenty of music, which is always diverse and from must-hear artists. This year's lineup is no different, includes the rock and pop of Aterciopelados, Chilean hip-hop singer Ana Tijoux, Cuban singer Diana Fuentes and local rockers Bakalao Stars $10-$15. latinamericancoalition.org

OCT. 11 — Kasey Kahne doesn't just drive fast and turn left. This year, he is out to prove again that he can also run fast and take all sorts of turns in urban territory. We joke, but Kasey's Five Kahne 5K has been raising money for local youth causes since 2010. This year's race will feature a brand-new route through Uptown, with rights AND lefts. $25-$35. kaseykahnefoundation.org

OCT. 16-18 — Carolina Balloon Fest, all the way up in Statesville, is worth the commute. Hot air balloons will line the sky over the course of the three-day event. It's a sight to see or experience — as long as you don't have a fear of heights. There's also a beer tent, live music and other activities throughout the fest. carolinaballoonfest.com

Purgatory
  • Purgatory

OCT. 17 — It's time for Purgatory 66: Haunted Hospital. Single Cell Productions signature BDSM event returns with this haunted hospital theme. Naughty nurses outfits are in order and Dr. Spankenstein will be upstairs offering his alternative medicine — a good spanking. During the night there will be plenty of music, fetish performances and the chance to get tied up and dangle in the air via rope suspension. $12-$15; VIP also available. amossouthend.com

OCT. 17 — In its 40th year, the International Festival takes you all around the world to explore the sights, sounds and smells that other countries have to offer. It's a cultural feast that features music, dancing, displays, food, and arts and crafts throughout the day. Stick around for the evening's "Parade of Nations" and fireworks display. Free. ifest.uncc.edu

OCT. 17 — The Black Light Run 5K is more about fun than about sweat and tears. Black lights dominate the course and glowing powder will be thrown onto participants at various intervals throughout the race. It's a good time for some pretty far out photo ops, too. $40 and up. blacklightrun.com/charlotte-nc/

OCT. 23 — TEDx conferences have been praised for being a unique platform of thought-provoking conversations. This is why the Charlotte chapter of the event, TEDx Charlotte, is one you'd better mark on your calendars. It's an all day, idea extravaganza that will feature an assortment of folks sharing their ideas and stimulating discussions. Just be there. $50. labelcharlotte.com

OCT. 24 — If you're going to take a tour in the greater Charlotte area, you might as well make sure you'll feed the folks who came before you while you do it. The History Walk to Defeat Senior Hunger, just over the South Carolina border in Lancaster, helps raise funds for nearly 100 local senior citizens on a waiting list for meals. $10-$30. www.scliving.coop/events/history-walk-to-defeat-senior-hunger-2/

OCT. 24 — Instead of pouring GlowPaint all over yourself in an effort to take a good Facebook photo, try a 5K that's going to be an actually great experience. The Insane Inflatable 5K race, coming to Winthrop University, mixes nostalgia with fitness. A 3.1-mile race with inflatable obstacles standing in your way throughout; because you always knew as a kid in a bounce house that you were training for something. $59-$100. www.insaneinflatable5k.com

NOVEMBER

NOV. 1 — The first home game for the Charlotte Hornets takes place on a Sunday afternoon. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist needs to show he's worth that recent contract extension while the rookies need to prove their worth, as well. We're looking at you, Frank the Tank. www.nba.com/hornets

NOV. 1 — The annual Día de los Muertos or Day of the Dead celebration, held at the Levine Museum of the New South, features food, arts and crafts, dancing and activities for all ages. Free. latinamericancoalition.org

NOV. 7 — It's the start of the Charlotte Checkers' 2015/2016 season, but it also marks the hockey team's first performance in its new home at Bojangles' Coliseum. Though the Checkers started out at the venue off of Independence Boulevard, they formerly occupied Time Warner Cable Arena for nearly a decade. Be there to support the team for the Charlotte Checkers vs. Manitoba Moose game. And give Chubby a high-five while you're at it. bojanglescoliseum.com

NOV. 21 — "Y'all wanna see a dead body?" OK, so the return of Dr. Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS is a breakthrough in science far-removed from Boyz N the Hood quotes, but you get the picture. The November arrival of von Hagens' latest installment of his world-renowned exhibit, BODYWORLDS & The Cycle of Life, is its east coast premiere and the first retºurn to Charlotte for BODYWORLDS since 2008. $20-$24. www.discoveryplace.org

NOV. 28 ­— It's the Novant Health Thanksgiving Day Parade. You know what this is all about. Gobble, gobble. Free. novanthealththanksgivingparade.com

DECEMBER

DEC. 3 – 5 — What better way to end your autumn than to get an early jump on Christmas shopping at Christmas in Davidson, a three-night event including a Holiday Village full of vendors. If you get your shopping done on December's first weekend, you can basically spend the entire remainder of the month partying and sleeping. Free. christmasindavidson.com

DEC. 5 — It's possible a team from North Carolina could make it to the ACC Championship Game, but Duke was a bit of a fluke, wasn't it? We're guessing this game will likely feature Clemson or Florida State, but it's up in the air as the season hasn't even started yet. $25-$199. www.theacc.com/page/championship_m-footbl

DEC. 6 — This Winter Edition of Charlotte Comicon is yet another chance for you to shop for comics and toys. And you'll probably want to get started on that costume now if you want to compete in the cosplay contest $5. charlottecomicon.com

DEC. 12 — Do you feel like nobody truly understands your affection for your pet iguana? Or do you just enjoy seeing all sorts of different reptiles without having to clean up after them? Repticon, the leading reptile show in the country, is for you. It's been held at the Cabarrus Arena and Events Center since 2009, and gets more popular every year. $5-$12. repticon.com/charlotte.html

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