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Cheerwine Festival set for return to downtown Salisbury on Saturday

The South’s favorite cherry soda and its hometown to welcome tens of thousands of fans
The last live Cheerwine Festival brought thousands of people to downtown Salisbury in 2019.
Published: May. 19, 2022 at 6:13 AM EDT
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SALISBURY, N.C. (WBTV) - Cheerwine, the iconic 105-year-old soft drink, and its hometown of Salisbury will host one of the most popular events in the Carolinas when The Cheerwine Festival returns Saturday, May 21, from noon to 10 p.m.

Festival goers will enjoy live entertainment from local and national musical acts, including Grammy-winning Blues Traveler and multi-platinum recording artist Spin Doctors; Cheerwine-inspired food, drinks and crafts from Carolinian vendors; kid-friendly activities; and plenty of ice-cold Cheerwine.

Since the inaugural event in 2017 (to celebrate Cheerwine’s 100th anniversary), the festival has welcomed tens of thousands of fans from across the South and boosted the city’s economy with an estimated impact of more than $1.5 million.

“I mean there were 20,000 people here, something like that, we said hey, let’s do it again next year,” said Salisbury City Councilman David Post.

It was bigger in 2018, even bigger in 2019.

“And they say there were 30,000 people that came, and I believe once I saw the pictures of what North Main Street looked like that night at the concert. I’ve never seen that many people in downtown Salisbury,” said Pam Coffield of the Stitchin Post.

Downtown merchants have been told to expect the biggest crowd yet.

At Fuller’s Market where they sell a lot of Cheerwine and Cheerwine swag, they’re bringing in extra help.

“We’ve had to pull from friends, and family, their kids, students, old employees, we’ve got a small staff of 3, you just can’t do this event with 3 people, we’ve grown from 3 to 12,” said owner Justin Wells.

They’ll be selling everything from Cheerwine lip balm to lanyards, Cheerwine slushies, Cheerwine cake, Cheerwine jelly, Cheerwine barbecue sauces, Cheerwine syrup, Cheerwine shirts, and, oh yeah, bottles of Cheerwine. Most businesses in downtown have gotten into the spirit, saying it will be great for them.

“Downtown Salisbury is not a mall, it’s not a destination, yet when you can bring 20-30-40-50,000 people to your doorstep it’s good for the downtown business merchants,” Post added.

“I think this year is going to be real busy with the estimated 60,000 people coming,” Coffield said, “don’t let that keep you away folks…hahaha.”

The festival is free.

For more information on the festival, please visit http://cheerwinefest.com.

Due to artist illness, Blues Traveler will not be able to perform at this weekend’s Cheerwine Festival. However, all the other musical acts, including the Spin Doctors, as well as a replacement act, will entertain festival goers throughout the day.

Revised Music Lineup:

Nearly 40 vendors from across the Carolinas will offer dishes, many featuring Cheerwine, including bacon on a stick, tacos, kettle corn, sno-cones, barbecue and more.

Festival goers can also try a variety of culinary creations at Food Lion’s “Carolina Brands” experience, which will highlight unique regional flavors from popular brands like Cackalacky.

Beer Garden:

The Cheerwine Festival Beer Gardens will host 10 local breweries. Select vendors, including New Sarum Brewing and Cabarrus Brewing Company, will serve Cheerwine-infused craft beer.

Additional activites

  • F&M Bank Kids Zone, which includes activities and entertainment for children.
  • Local arts and crafts, including unique Cheerwine merchandise, from over 45 vendors.
  • F&M Bank Trolley Tours through historic downtown Salisbury, featuring a number of interesting Cheerwine sites.
  • Cheerwine historical exhibit at the Rowan Museum.
  • Relaxation Station on E. Fisher St., which features Troutman rocking chairs, a second beer garden and performances from local buskers.

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