MATTHEWS – While Matthews Alive is about three months away, organizers have released some details about what to expect during the downtown festival that spans Aug. 31 to Sept. 3.
Here’s what the more than 150,000 people stopping by the festival can expect at this year’s 26th annual event:
• Parade: Organizers bill the event as the Southeast’s largest Labor Day parade. This year’s parade will have a “Peace, Love & Harmony” theme. Self-made floats that incorporate the theme will earn entry fee refunds for extra incentive. Giveaways representing the theme will be handed out throughout the weekend.
• Grand marshals: Iris DeVore and Harvey Boyd will serve as grand marshals for the parade for their service to the community. DeVore has been instrumental in the Matthews Help Center and Levine Senior Center, while Boyd has been an activist and historian in the Crestdale community.
• Outdoor music: Festival bands Hip Pocket and The Tams kick off the festival with beach music on Aug. 31. Other performers include U2 tribute band LA Vation, country artist Terri Clark, Natty Boh, Flat Tire Trio and Colby Dietz. Concerts during the weekend are free.
• Indoor stage: Hate the heat? A special indoor stage will feature two jazz groups performing on stage Saturday, Sunday and Monday in the air-conditioned
• Street closures: South Trade Street will be closed during festival set-up, beginning 9 a.m. Aug. 31, from John to McDowell streets. This will allow vendors to set up safely. Matthews Elementary afternoon pick-ups and bus travel will still be possible from McDowell, from the access road from Sadie Drive to church parking lots and from lower South Trade. Police will help drivers and buses through the closure.
• Design: Carol Hambridge, of Matthews, has created a poster design for the festival that depicts its focus on entertainment, family activities and downtown Matthews – with a retro twist. The community can see the design on posters, flyers, advertisements and T-shirts promoting the festival.
• Sheer size: Organizers expect more than 160 regional artisans at this year’s festival. Let’s not forget the Family Fun Zone with rides, games and amusements; Kids Connection with crafts; petting zoo; train rides; and food vendors.
Visit www.matthewsalive.org for details about the festival. Email lamoore@mat thewsnc.gov for details about sponsorships.