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A Southpark tree lighting 

Getting ready for the holiday

In case you didn't get the pun, the title references that favorite of holiday TV viewing traditions, A Charlie Brown Christmas. Yes, the awareness that Thanksgiving isn't even upon us yet and already the yuletide events keep on piling up has sunk in. That said, how about an escape into the posh luxury of SouthPark mall (let's be real for a minute, po' folks -- you're probably only there anyway to compile your wish list for the grandparents) for their annual tree lighting? It's affordable and festive. An ice-skating rink will be available from 4-9 p.m. for $5 including skate rental. The pre-show starts at 7 p.m. at Symphony Park (that place with the stage that completely ripped off the Sydney Opera House in Australia) followed by "the Tree Lighting Show" at 8 p.m. Even better than a jolly, fat man dressed in red, Lancaster, S.C. native, Mercury recording artist, and new spokesperson for Clinique Happy Julie Roberts (pictured right) is also scheduled to make an appearance after the fireworks display to officially ring in the holiday season.

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  • On Saturday, Oct. 21, hundreds gathered at Camp North End on Statesville Avenue for Charlotte's first black alternative music festival. We captured some of the bands in action on stage, but mostly we surveyed the grounds as fans, families, vendors and more lounged around the sprawling, colorful Camp North End site. It was a great day of music, food, fun, and sweet, autumn sunshine. (Photos by Mark Kemp)
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