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More Fun Times Sans Alcohol 

From parks to arts, there's plenty going on in the Q.C.

In high school, my nickname was "Split-knee" -- derived from the fact I always had fresh scabs on my knees from countless (laughable) rollerblading injuries. I have since mastered the art of remaining vertical on wheels, and retained the hobby as exercise.

As I was rollerblading through Freedom Park, as I do most afternoons, some chick shouted, "1992 called and they said they want their rollerblades back." Apparently, there are both bitches and pythons in Freedom Park. I instinctively turned to look at her without slowing down and proceeded to roll over a rock, which sent me flying ass first into a tent.

The tent was set up for Freedom Park's Festival in the Park. Such festivals are cultural enrichment for Charlotte, with art serving as the main attraction ... as opposed to alcohol. Eureka! Another means of socializing without a liquid lubricant. Other ways to have a nightlife, or life in general, without impairing your judgement ...

• Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation offers outings such as the Sunset Jazz Cruise coming up on Oct. 6. Last week, they had the White Water Festival at the Whitewater Center where you could partake in rafting, kayak races, mountain biking, a stroller fun run and climbing -- all while being serenaded by live bands.

• Go out to cook at Super Suppers where you can gather with friends and assemble gourmet meals you freeze until ready to eat, which only requires throwing in the oven. And the best part about it is you don't even have to do the dishes.

• Check out a show with CAST (Carolina Actors Studio Theatre), a film and theater company that most recently played Autobahn.

• Migrate to South Charlotte to the Zuma Fun Center for some more sober mini golf, batting cages, go-karts, and bumper boats. Or paint the town red with paintball at Paintball Central on Pineville-Matthews Road.

• Drive up to the Belmont Drive-In Theatre.

• Join Sports Connection and partake in some intramural sports like kickball or flag football.

• Learn to salsa with Queen City Mambo.

• You could even go to a high school football game and scout out the next Chris Leak.

Cason point: Just because an event or venue is dry in terms of alcohol, doesn't make it dry. You can make the DMV fun if you strike up a conversation with a stranger. Drinking is not required for sustaining a social life. Besides, alcohol is not the main attraction at a bar; it's the music, ambiance, and people. You don't need alcohol to intermingle -- you merely need the situation. And perhaps the balls to speak to a stranger would help.

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