I'd heard the radio ads for the Carolina Renaissance Festival for years, but somehow never got around to going until the start of November. For one thing, I wasn't quite sure where Huntersville was (answer: just north of Charlotte), for another I didn't know if there would be enough there to be worth a weekend.
In the event, I was quite pleasantly surprised. The place is a couple of miles east of I-77 and has an interesting air of semi-permanence about it. The parking lot is obviously a pasture or some such non-graded space, and the buildings are all open to the air with porta-johns providing the facilities, but yet they are permanent structures, and the festival is now in its 20th year.
The crowd is an interesting mix. There are the standard parents-with-kids families out for a day of face painting and low-tech carnival rides, then there are the Society For Creative Anachronism types, the "healing crystals" and New Age crowd and the Celts and fairies crowd. One comic storyteller commented that there was a lot of crossover with engineering and science-fiction fandom types (and indeed SCA is strongly correlated with SF fandom..) such that he could tell Rene Descartes jokes ("Rene Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender asks him if he wants a beer. 'I think not', says Descartes and vanishes..")
The show people were great. Everyone had a line of patter to draw in a crowd (the fire eater: "I'm not that good. Come watch me, I might hurt myself!"), and kept up rapid fire comedy bits while swallowing swords ("You can only swallow a sharp sword once!"), walking the tightrope, abusing the peasants or juggling.
It was also a "something for all ages" event. As I mentioned there were plenty of kid friendly activities, but there was also a bit of a bawdy side for the grownups at events labeled LC ("loose cannon").
Here's a few videos.
From the sublime:
To the freaky:
To the dangerous:
To the NSFW:
And the even less SFW:
The Fair runs weekends through the rest of November.
Lots more after the jump.
Well, we've pre-discussed this closing here, but the actual event finally took place on Saturday 9 November 2013 when this store closed as a Pig at 3PM.
As it happened, I was there a bit after 2PM, and found the store surprisingly well stocked. The entire right quadrant of the store, with produce, the bakery, the cafe and Dream Diners was empty, but the non-perishable isles were still pretty well stocked. I suppose the idea is that it probably cost the Pig less, or perhaps even made a little money, to transfer then to Bi-Lo rather than go through a drawn out sale, or trying to get them back to the warehouse.
As commenter Matt mentions, the store brand stuff did go on sale at deep discounts, because, well, Bi-Lo can always sell Dixie Crystals, but can hardly carry Pig Swig or other Pig branded items.
The store is to reopen next Friday, 15 November 2013 as Bi-Lo.
With this closure, the Garners Ferry closing and the Litchfield Beach closing, all the "nice" Pigs that I have personal experience with are gone. The one on Devine appears to be one of the older, smaller layouts, and is a bit of a drive anyhow.
Beltline Auto Brokers certainly wasn't the first operation in this sort of sprawling building on Beltline just past the old Kim's Beauty, but it is the most recent.
Interestingly, I am not able to locate a listing in the phonebooks I have at home to say when it closed. Also interestingly, surprisingly few businesses have "Beltline" in their name.
This little Barber & hair and nail salon sits in a strip mall almost at the intersection Decker and Faraway.
I like those old style spinning barber poles, though you never actually seem them spin anymore.
Unless I am missing the entry somehow, this storefront busness center to the right of Food Lion in the strip mall at the corner of Pine Belt & Two Notch Roads seems to have opened and closed without being listed in a yearly phonebook.
The name is a bit vague, but I believe they offered impromptu meeting and office space and services.
Here's another Wilson Boulevard location. I have no real idea what this was, but noticed as I was driving down the street that the old parking lot for *something* is now being used as an impromptu 18-wheeler pull-off.
The shape of the sign seems vaguely familiar, but I can't really come up with anything concrete, and there is currently no street address posted that I could query.
I have noticed this old fashioned little house across Broad River Road from Boozer Shopping Center off and on over the years, and have suspected for a while that Ethel's Uniforms was closed, something I recently verified by stopping by, and finally remembering to check the phonebook. It seems to me that the place may have closed earler than 2012, but it is listed up to that point, so that's what I'm going with.
This property valuation suggests that the house was built in 1930, and that sounds about right from the look of it. There are lots of old houses like this on Broad River road, and it's hard to imagine the rural setting they must have been built in. Looking at the listed owner of the property, suggests that the original "Ethel" may have sadly passed away though I hope that is not the case.
The real estate sign and this LoopNet listing suggests the Ethel's building may be part of the surrounding strip mall property.
Judging from google and the sign over the front door, this little convenience store on the North side of Wilson Boulevard rebranded from AM PM Quick Stop to Quick Stop & Go shortly before closing. You can also see from the gas pump that they apparently disaffiliated from Exxon as well, as the only brand on the pump is now XX (though the famous tiger remains).
I forgot to get a picture but there was some sort of business license in one of the left windows dated, I believe from June of this year (2013), so I'm saying this closing was sometime this summer.
After eating at Moe's last week, I noticed that Universal Copies in the little bi-level University Corner strip-mall, is closed and papered up.
Then, when I went to make this post, I looked back on the University Corner post and realized that I had missed the closing of the place before Universal: Bits & Pizzas.