Two towns, three festivals

Matthews, Mint Hill bustling April 21

by Kara Lopp

Looking for a way to celebrate Earth Day this weekend? Consider taking a field trip to Matthews or Mint Hill. There are three festivals planned between the two towns Saturday and admission is free for all.

Here’s a look at what’s coming:

Earth Day Festival

Free raffles and recycling opportunities are among the higlights of this year’s Earth Day Festival in downtown Matthews. The fifth annual event is sponsored by Matthews’ Habitat and Wildlife Keepers, the Town of Matthews, Organic Plant Health, the N.C. Science Festival, Goodwill and Harris Teeter.

From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Stumptown Park, 120 S. Trade St., area residents can drop off “oddball” recyclables such as used batteries, cell phones, wine corks, ink cartridges, compact fluorescent bulbs, eyeglasses, fishing line and more at a booth manned by HAWK members. The Matthews Police Department will collect expired or unneeded medications as part of the national Operation Medicine Drop and Goodwill will collect computers and clothes. American Legion Post 235 representatives will collect soda can pull tabs to recycle as a fundraiser for Charlotte’s Ronald McDonald House. Shred-It will provide free onsite document shredding, too.

The event will include children’s activities, food and raffles. Festival goers can register for free to win donated prizes including: gardening books, Habitat in a Box (bird feeder and seed, birdhouse and birdbath); Earth Fare basket of environmentally-friendly products; Autobell car wash tickets, reusable shopping bags and a Carson’s Adventure Pack for Kids featuring binoculars, flashlight, compass, whistle and identifier cards). Tickets for a quilt and table runner will be sold for $1 each or six for $5, with all proceeds to benefit the Matthews Naturally program so organizers can buy items needed to create a wildlife habitat to add to the town’s certified wildlife habitat list.

“Each year we try to make our Earth Day event as family-friendly as possible,” HAWK member and festival organizer Debbie Foster said. “We want participants to have a great time and get environmentally-friendly ideas for things they can do in their own homes to make a difference. We also want to make it easy for people to do the right thing by offering opportunities for recycling.”

For more information about the festival, call 704-841-1372.

Discover Mint Hill

The fifth annual Discover Mint Hill Festival will give participants a chance to win one of five $100 prizes, courtesy of Monarch Mortgage, during a treasure hunt.

The 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. event in “Discovery Square,” the intersection of Bain School and Matthews-Mint Hill roads, will include activities and giveaways presented by community organizations, Civil War re-enactors and gold panning at the Carl J. McEwen Historic Village, “make it and take it” pottery from Pottery 51, display art and drama presentations from Mint Hill Arts, face painting, story time with Mint Hill Library staff and more.

One-hour historical tours of the Mint Hill area on a double-decker bus will be available for $3. Residents also can visit with Mint Hill police officers and firefighters, who will have vehicles onsite for children to explore.

A rain date has been set for Sunday, April 22, from 1 to 5 p.m.

This year’s festival also will include a nod to the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., who are celebrating the organization’s 100th birthday, festival coordinator Dixie Helms said. The Mint Hill Historical Society’s historic village will offer an exhibit featuring Girl Scouting through the years, she said.

With the adoption of a mission statement this year, the goal of the festival is clear, Helms said.

“We want to foster co-operation between the civic groups and make people aware of the cultural and civic opportunities in Mint Hill,” she said. “There are people who have lived in Mint Hill for years and are just not aware of what all is available in town.”

For more information, visit www.discoverminthill.org or call 704-573-0726.

Christ Our Shepherd Spring Fest

“Follow the Yellow Brick Road” to Matthews nonprofit Christ Our Shepherd Ministries, 230 W. John St., for its annual spring fest and open house featuring guest appearances by “The Wizard of Oz” crew: Dorothy, Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion.

Children’s games, bounce houses, live entertainment, food, bake sale, raffles and a silent auction will be available.

Tickets for children’s activities are 50 cents each or $15 for an individual pass or $25 for two passes for the same family. A free ticket will be given to those who bring two nonperishable food items. Child development center tours will be available.

Christ Our Shepherd provides financial, spiritual and educational assistance to area single parents and their children.

For more information, visit www.­cosministries.org or call 704-845-4673.

Help keep Matthews clean
As part of Earth Day festivities, Matthews needs volunteers to join in the annual Litter Sweep from 8 to 10 a.m. Register at Stumptown Park, 120 S. Trade St., to get an assigned area in the town to clean. Trash bags will be provided.

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