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Spring Guide 2012: Party on (and off) the water 

A day at the lake can be more than boozing and boating. Here are some upcoming events happening in the coming months.

Charlotte Dragon Boat & Asian Festival In its 13th year, this festival celebrates Asian culture with music and dance, a beauty pageant, cultural displays, food vendors, arts & crafts and the impressive dragon boat race (an ancient Chinese tradition of racing with canoe-like vessels that hold up to 24 paddlers). For more information, visit May 5. Ramsey Creek Park, 18441 Nantz Road, Cornelius.

Wake the Lake Presented by IcyWakes Surf Shop, this annual Lake Norman event lets wakeboarders and wakeskaters compete in varying divisions determined by skill level. Family-friendly activities are also offered throughout the day. Held in September. This year's date hasn't been announced yet, but for upcoming details, visit Vinnie's Sardine Grill & Raw Bar, 643 Williamson Road, Mooresville.

Queen's Landing Cruises on Catawba Queen and Lady of the Lake For those looking for a more relaxed, luxury-style evening on Lake Norman, these cruises offer a ride through the waters with the whole dining experience. Sounds great, as long as you don't get motion sickness. Pricing varies on sightseeing tours, lunch and dinner packages. Queen's Landing, 1459 River Highway, Mooresville. 704-663-2628.

There's even more to do just off shore around Lake Norman.

19th Annual Rural Hills Scottish Festival and Loch Norman Highland Games This family-friendly event includes a professional Scottish heavy athletic competition, amateur heavy athletics, piping and drumming, highland dancing, Scottish country dancing, children's activities, demonstrations, and Rural Hill's historic encampment. April 20-22. Rural Hill Farm, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville. 704-875-3113.

2nd Annual North Carolina Brewers and Music Festival The fest features beer tastings from N.C. craft breweries and live music by Steep Canyon Ranger and other bands. For complete information on the brewers, a concert schedule and advance tickets, visit May 12, 12 p.m.-10 p.m. Rural Hill Farm, 4431 Neck Road, Huntersville. 704-875-3113.

Art on the Green This juried art festival features an assortment of arts and crafts, in addition to live music and food vendors. April 21, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; April 22, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Davidson's Village Green, Main Street and Concord Road.

The Comedy Zone Lake Norman March 13: Spanky Brown; March 20: Saints & Sinners Tour featuring Matthew Lumpkin and Patrick Jolle; March 27: Darren "DS" Sanders; April 3: Mo Alexander; April 10: Mark Klein; April 17: Valerie Storm; April 24: Ron Feingold; May 1: Ken Evans; May 15: Pauly Shore. Galway Hooker Irish Pub, 17044 Kenton Drive, Cornelius. 704-895-1782.

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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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