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Cheap Thrills

Renaissance festival, Fresh Fest 2006

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CAROLINA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL Though the original Renaissance took place over 500 years ago, the Carolina version celebrates its thirteenth anniversary. In keeping with the spirit of its European origins, our festival features a medieval amusement park, a 9-stage theater, a 20-acre circus, an arts and crafts fair, a jousting tournament and a feast. The grounds are located at 16445 Poplar Tent Road, Huntersville. Merriment is only held on weekends, Saturday-Sunday, 10am-5:30pm. $5-$17. Info: 704-869-5544.

CHARLOTTE COMEDY THEATRE Have ya been moping around, feeling a little blue? Then here's the thing for you! Check out Sunday's Open Mic Jam, a combo of comedy, spoken word, music, you name it. Show at 7pm; $3. The location is 1308 D the Plaza. Call for reservations 1-866-467-7681. Web: www.charlottecomedy.com.

FRESH FEST 2006 Outdoor breakdancing event featuring Charlotte Bobcats Breakdance Team and Shadow Kings Poppers. Food, vendors, graffiti artists, music & DJs. Contest & Festival features Crew vs Crew (3 on 3) and PopNLock Singles with cash prizes. After party til 2am inside; 21 and over -- $5. Sunday, Oct. 8, starts at 5pm. Breakfast Club, 225 N. Caldwell St. Call 704-374-1982.

SPORTS CONNECTION The ultimate cheap thrill is, of course, sports! Among the conventional sports offered at this complex are unconventional (and cheap) games like laser tag and skating. For $5, future Tony Hawks can skate all day -- and Star Wars fans can play laser tag. Go online www.sportsconnectionnc.com or call 704-583-1444.

LEARN TO MEDITATE Take it from loyal practitioners of meditation: There's nothing like it to take the stress of your workday off your shoulders. That's why the Pain & Rehab Institute is offering a free class in the breathing techniques and imagery used in ancient qi gong meditation (betcha didn't know there was more than one kind). The office is located at 128 E. Plaza Drive in Mooresville. Classes are Thursdays at 7:30pm. Call 704-649-1629 to get started on the path to serenity.

DREADHEADS: PORTRAIT OF A SUBCULTURE 77-minute documentary by Atlanta filmmakers Steven R. Hurlburt and Flournoy Holmes that follows these modern-day hippies as they form a familial caravan of ganja and Gaia on the heels of bands that envoke the aura of Jerry Garcia's Grateful Dead like (aptly named) The Dead, Phish, and Widespread Panic. Screening begins at 8pm; tickets are $5. Q & A with Hurlburt to follow. Neighborhood Theatre, 511 E. 36th St. 704-358-9298.

SALSA NIGHTS Be Shakira for a night and prove that your "Hips Don't Lie" at the free Latin-style dance lessons offered at the Loft, 1526 Elizabeth Ave. Learn salsa, merengue, bachata and more. Touting "celebrity instructors," this joint gets hips swiveling every Wednesday night at 8pm. Hit www.hispanos-usa.com or call 704-333-5898.

TANGO & TAPAS Patou and the Charlotte Tango Society host this free informal lesson on the Argentinian tango, perfect for making friends. Learn this sensual dance and improve existing skills with instructor Daniel Arredondo. Monday nights at 7pm. Patou, A French Bistro, 1315 East Blvd. Call 704-376-2233 or visit www.patoubistro.com or www.passionfortango.com.

U.S. DISC GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP For four days, players will vie for the largest purse in disc golf history. Highlights -- Friday, Oct. 13: Miller Lite Player Party w/ live music from Fudd & Cito, Wingate Inn and Sunday, Oct. 15: Spectator Appreciation Day presented by CL and benefitting Habitat for Humanity. Winthrop University, Rock Hill, S.C. Oct. 11-14. Free for 12 and under; Day Pass $5; VIP $25. For info: 803-323-2399 or www.usdgc.com.

GLOVER MICROCINEMA A new series featuring the "The Films of Ingrid Bergman Directed by Roberto Rossellini" on Tuesday nights. Final title: The Chicken/Jeanne d'Arc au bucher (Oct. 10). The regular screening times are Sunday afternoons at 4pm and Tuesday nights at 7:30pm. The Glover Microcinema is located in the Art House on 3103 Cullman St. For full details: www.glovermicrocinema.blogspot.com

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