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Cheap Thrills 

HAPPY RE-BIRTHDAY It's been thirty years since the Hezekiah Alexander Homesite was given a little help for aesthetics' sake. In honor of this magnanimous occasion, a Museum By Moonlight event with costumed docents, a birthday cake and a cash bar is scheduled for Thursday, July 27, from 5-9pm. Guests will also be led on a tour through the house museum. Charlotte Museum of History, 3500 Shamrock Drive. For more information, call 704-568-1774 or visit www.charlottemuseum.org.

SUMMER RETRO FILM SERIES Check out film classics all summer long at the Ballantyne Village Theatre, 14815 John J. Delaney Dr. Get the complete schedule at www.ballantynevillage.com, and order tickets online or by calling 704-369-5101. July 28-30: Jaws; Aug. 4-6: Billy Madison. June 9-Aug. 6, Friday-Saturday, 10pm and midnight; Sunday, 1pm. $5.

FAMILY CULTURAL APPRECIATION DAY This free event was made for the family as an annual community arts festival. Starting off is an open forum with new AACC President & CEO G. Deon Bradley. Then, there's plenty of live entertainment, including a fashion show, music, food and family-friendly activities. It begins Saturday, July 29, at 12pm. Afro-American Cultural Center, 401 N. Myers St. For details, go to www.aacc-charlotte.org or call 704-374-1565.

FROM BUSBY TO BOLLYWOOD: CLASSIC MUSICALS The Main Library's Summer Film Series will present its latest season at its new viewing venue in ImaginOn's Wachovia Theatre. Films throughout the summer will be shown at 2pm Sundays. Remaining titles: Hair (July 30); Devdas (August 6). Admission is free. For further info, call 704-336-6217 or go to www.plcmc.org.

PARTY IN THE PARK Summer is the perfect time for outdoor dining. How about a picnic in one of Charlotte's beautiful parks, complete with a serenade of live music to help with that digestion? The YMCA of Greater Charlotte is sponsoring this event for the whole family. Games and activities are available for all ages. No picnic is required, but it's free for those who bring their own. Friday, July 28, at 6:30pm. $5 adults/$3 for children. Call 704-716-4600 for more info. www.ymcacharlotte.org.

SUPER SATURDAY Theme: Taking Steps Toward Better Health. This weekend's health fair sponsored by the Association of Black Cardiologists, Inc. is vital for members of the African-American community especially in light of the alarming statistics of cardiovascular disease. Bring friends, relatives and yourself to this fair for free screenings, interactive fitness and cooking demos and more to get on the right track for your health. Saturday, July 29, from 10am-6pm. Eastland Mall, 5471 Central Ave. 704-537-2626.

SHINDIG ON THE GREEN Put on your dancing ... clogs and hike on up to Asheville for the 40th season of music and dance, Appalachian-style. Shindig on the Green celebrates the rich heritage of this great region with showcases featuring folk musicians and dancers, old-time string bands, ballad singers (reminiscent of O Brother Where Art Thou), storytellers and, of course, cloggers! Bring a lawn chair or blanket and cuddle up to the sounds of the mountain. The show will be held this year at Martin Luther King Jr. Park in downtown Asheville. Runs Saturdays: July 15, 22; Aug. 12, 19, 26; and Sept. 2. Reserve your tickets at 828-258-6101 ext. 345. Web: www.folkheritage.org.

SALSA NIGHTS 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.

SUMMER SHOOTOUT SERIES Here's something to do this summer the kids will love. Does this sound like a plan: watching a school bus hurtling towards another one on a one-way collision course? The rundown: 10 races (June 16-Aug. 8) with character-themed race cars, Legends Car, Thunder Roadster and Bandolero racing. Race to Lowe's Motor Speedway. Hit 'em up at 1-800-455-3267 or www.lowesmotorspeedway.com. $5 adults/$3 children (ages 6-12).

= Free!

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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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