The Matthews Alive Festival is celebrating its 25th year with several special elements for attendees to enjoy. Matthews Alive is an annual four-day family festival over Labor Day weekend in downtown Matthews. This year the festival kicks off Friday, September 1, concluding Monday, September 4.
2017 Event Design
The poster design for 2017 has once again been commissioned by Carol Hambridge of Matthews. “Matthews Alive 25th Anniversary” depicts many elements of the Matthews Alive festival in a dramatic collage, made especially for the festival’s milestone year. Carol’s design will be placed on posters, flyers, ads, sponsor merchandise, and t-shirts to promote the festival.
Parade Grand Marshal
The Grand Marshal for the 2017 Matthews Alive Parade has been selected. Former Matthews Mayor Lee Myers will lead the 25th anniversary parade on Saturday September 2nd at 10:30am. Myers served as Matthews mayor from 1991 to 2009, and was key in forming the board that began as ‘Matthews Alive’ in 1993. He is credited with revitalizing the decades-old festival, and pushing it forward into its modern era. Myers will be riding with his wife, Lucinda, and his grandson, Robert.
25th Anniversary Specialties
- Look for a special flyover, inflatable walking characters, and more in this year’s parade. Groups, individuals, and businesses that create their own float with a 25th anniversary theme will be able to enter the parade for free.
- Three social media contests will take place via the Matthews Alive Facebook page:
- Twenty-five VIP Backstage passes to meet the event music headliners
- Twenty-five Thursday night VIP Party Passes allowing winners an all-you-can-ride night in the carnival as well as a picnic dinner with festival VIPs.
- Twenty-five VIP Parade Viewing Passes on bleachers at the emcee stand, with 25 festival-branded seat cushions
- The Arts & Crafts Vendors’ Booth Contest will add a 25th Anniversary Interpretation Award this year.
- 25th anniversary balloons will be handed out throughout the weekend.
- Anniversary t-shirts and posters will be available for sale on the Matthews Alive website.
- Lighted foam wands will be given out Saturday night at the main stage for the headlining performance.
- A fireworks show will top off Saturday night, beginning at 10pm from the MARA ballfields. The MARA and Matthews United Methodist Church parking lots will be the best viewing locations. Rain date is Sunday night, Sept 3, at 10pm.
- The Chairmen of the Board will bring high energy beach music fun on Friday night, September 1.
- Pop/Rock night on Saturday, September 3 brings two incredible ‘experiences.’ The Classic Rock Experience will rock the park with its 70s arena rock-tacular. And The Purple Xperience headlines the evening, with an incredible tribute to Prince.
- Country music fans will love Sammy Kershaw, headlining Sunday night, September 3, when he brings his “Cadillac Style” to Matthews!
- Monday, September 4 will be a mix of R&B, go-go, and dance/party bands. The main stage hosts Painted Man, Uptown Swagga, and The Next Level Band of Charlotte from 11:30am until 5pm.
- The indoor stage welcomes back a ventriloquist, magician, and hypnotist lineup on Saturday. Songwriter Sunday returns to this stage, showcasing local musicians and their original material: Ang Medlin, Cory Wells, Cammie, Jason Jet, and Lisa De Novo.
The a capella ensemble from Carolina Voices, Impromptu, performs two shows on Monday.
Enjoy all of these special shows in the air-conditioned Fullwood Theater.
- Vibrant Wings will bring their butterflies to the Kids Connection – guest can walk among free-flying butterflies in their enclosed exhibit. The Xcite Mobile Gaming Truck will also be on hand Saturday through Monday. And Silent Disco will host an afternoon dance party for kids and an evening dance for teens near the fire station on Saturday.
All concerts are free. Some exhibits and Kids Connection attractions require purchase. Carnival rides and kids’ inflatable games require tickets. See the full entertainment lineup at matthewsalive.org.
Important Note for Matthews Alive Street Closures
For the second year, an early closure of South Trade Street will be in effect during festival set-up. Beginning at 9 a.m. on Friday September 1, South Trade Street will be closed from the intersection of John Street to McDowell Street. In past years, the closure occurred later in the afternoon. This change will allow vendors to set up safely without the concern for vehicular traffic.
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. The Matthews Police Department will be on hand during afternoon pick-ups to assist drivers and buses through the closure.
The Matthews Alive Festival hosts over 160 regional artisans, a Family Fun Zone with rides, games and amusements, the Kids Connection with crafts, ponies and train rides, a wide array of food vendors, the Southeast’s Largest Labor Day Parade, and much more! The festival attracts more than 150,000 attendees each year and continues to grow.
More information about the full entertainment lineup and the Matthews Alive Festival can be found at www.matthewsalive.org.