MINT HILL – The 37th annual Mint Hill Madness, which usually takes place in May to celebrate the town’s founding, has been rescheduled to Aug. 6 to 8 due to uncertainty with COVID-19.
Organizers could have canceled the family-friendly festival altogether, but decided to push it back instead, citing a need to give people “something to look forward to.”
“People need it. People are going to need something to get out and do,” said Sheryl Smith, executive director of Mint Hill Events. “They need that sense of community.”
Mint Hill Events is a nonprofit responsible for planning and executing events hosted by the Town of Mint Hill. The group has been putting on Mint Hill Madness since 2014, when the town took it over from the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce.
Smith said her team wrestled with the idea of canceling this year’s festival but decided it would be better for the vendors, musical guests, sponsors and attendees to reschedule. It would also reinvigorate a sense of community that’s been somewhat lost as people social distance and stay at home.
“Right now, when you go to the store and you’re walking down the aisle, you tend to avoid people. Mint Hill Madness brings people together,” Smith said. “There’s such a need for that right now. There’s a need for people to connect.”
The event will be held from 4 to 10 p.m. Aug. 6 and 7, and from noon to 11 p.m. Aug. 8 at Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park, 8850 Fairview Road. Smith said August, while not ideal, was the best option to avoid conflicts with fall events. She knows it will be hot, but she’s hoping additional evening hours will alleviate some of the heat.
There will also be a misting tent and misting stations throughout the grounds, as well as a special area for people to rest if they’re feeling overheated.
This year’s festival will include the Mint Hill Family Olympics, which Smith described as a series of water games to help cool everyone down. Of course, there will still be favorite attractions, such as carnival rides, games, boardwalk-style food, arts and crafts vendors, and the Fireworks Extravaganza.
Smith said the budget for the fireworks this year has been increased, meaning it’ll be the biggest show the town has ever seen.
“They’ve always been amazing in the past, so I can only imagine what they’re going to be this year,” she said.
Groove Machine, a 1970s party band will add some bounce to Friday night. Saturday’s entertainment includes The L.A. Maybe, a five-piece rock band; “The Voice” contestant Jake HaldenVang; and On the Border, an Eagles tribute band.
As far as cleanliness goes, Smith said there will be hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer at the festival. Volunteers will be wiping tables and food vendors will be practicing good hygiene, as always.
Social distancing at Mint Hill Madness will be difficult, as the event usually sees 20,000 attendees over the course of the weekend. However, Smith encouraged people to still come out, if they can.
As of now, it remains unclear if large events and festivals like Mint Hill Madness will even be allowed by August.
Mecklenburg County’s stay-at-home order was extended on April 16, the same day it was set to expire. The order is now in effect until April 29. However, given the county recently announced the newly anticipated peak date to be June 8, there’s a chance the local stay-at-home order may be extended again.
Smith said she’s hoping that doesn’t happen and Mint Hill Madness is held in August as planned.
“The whole thing is so fluid,” she said. “We’re hoping we’re OK but at this point, I don’t think there’s any promises from anybody. We just wanted to give people something to look forward to … Fingers crossed.”