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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 Saturday-Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. $5-$17. Oct. 7 through Nov. 19. 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 7 p.m.; $3. The location is 1308 D the Plaza. Call for reservations 1-866-467-7681. Web:

ALIVE AT 25 Have you ever considered that handing Jimmy the keys to the car just because he passed some bogus test and charmed the instructor at the DMV could constitute as negligence? It's true. But, thanks to the folks at Alive at 25 you (parents!) know there's a way for Jimmy to get the proper hands-on instruction he needs. A survival course developed by the National Safety Council to prevent traffic fatalities, collisions and violations, Aa25's taught exclusively by off-duty State Highway Patrol, Municipal Police Officers and Deputy Sheriffs. Wednesday, Nov. 1, 4-8:30 p.m. at Highland School of Technology, 1600 N Morris St., Gastonia, N.C. Phone: 704-922-6215. Web:

GIDEON: TUBA WARRIOR VeggieTales premiere to celebrate the episode's release in retail presented by Verse One and Big Idea. Gideon is a "reluctant, tuba-playing warrior" who learns a lesson about trusting God in this retelling of the amazing Biblical story. Tickets are available at Verse One, 2215 Ayrsley Town Blvd, Ste C. $4 ADV/$5 at the door. Screening takes place Saturday, Nov. 4 starting at 10 a.m. Ayrsley Grand Cinemas 14, 9110 Kings Parade Blvd. 980-297-7788.

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 7:30 p.m. Call 704-649-1629 to get started on the path to serenity.

ART WORKS 945 Fifth annual event highlighting the creative talents of Charlotte's homeless community in the form of paintings, drawings, ceramics and other mediums. Learn the stories behind the art with a chance to meet the artists and those involved by purchasing the work during the auction as all proceeds benefit the Urban Ministry Center which in turn provides services to the homeless. Held at the UMC, 935 N. College St. on Saturday, Nov. 4, 5 p.m. Phone: 704-347-0278. Web:

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 8 p.m. Hit 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 7 p.m. Patou, A French Bistro, 1315 East Blvd. Call 704-376-2233 or visit or

SERVICES EXCHANGE The Marines' "Toys for Tots" program has garnered a new sponsor. Manchester Automotive and Tire Center will donate a free oil change service to any person that brings in a toy for the annual drive, Nov. 1 through Dec. 15, no strings attached. Toys must be in original packaging and unwrapped. Business hours are Mon-Fri, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; address is 10001 Albemarle Road. Call 704-545-4597.

GLOVER MICROCINEMA"The Complete Terence Davies" series ends this week. Final title: The House of Mirth (Nov. 7). Experimental Film: 9 Signposts: Sundays, 4 p.m. Upcoming titles: Jack Smith - Normal Love Introductions & Flaming Creatures. The Glover Microcinema is located in the Art House on 3103 Cullman St. For full details:

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