Enjoy the Sweet Life at Cheerwine Festival

At the annual Salisbury, N.C., festival, visitors will find funnel cake and a variety of Cheerwine-infused treats.

If you are a fan of the “Nectar from North Carolina,” head to Salisbury, N.C., this weekend for the annual Cheerwine Festival.

Just a two-hour drive away, downtown Salisbury will host the free event on Saturday, May 18, from noon to 10 p.m. You can browse local craft vendors and artisan booths, grab some food and have a refreshing beverage — the Cheerwine is free, but you’ll have to pay for the craft beer.

There will also be kids’ activities, street performers and live music. Multi-platinum band Smash Mouth, best-known for its hit “All Star,” will headline the festival. In addition, two Carolina-based bands, Livehouse and StellaRising, and Nashville-based band The Southern Gothic will perform.

The 2017 and 2018 Cheerwine Festivals attracted more than 60,000 attendees.

“Salisbury is proud to be the birthplace of Cheerwine. The soft drink company has called our city home for more than a hundred years,” said Al Heggins, mayor of Salisbury. “We’re delighted to present this third annual celebration of all things Salisbury and Cheerwine.”

Cheerwine, with its distinctive cherry flavor, was created in 1917 by L.D. Peeler. It is manufactured by the Carolina Beverage Corporation, a 102-year-old company that is still privately owned and managed by the same founding family. The soft drink is available in much of the Southeast, but is best-known in the Carolinas and Virginia.

There’s no alcohol in Cheerwine — the name coming instead from the drink’s burgundy color and the “cheerfulness drinkers experience after that first sip,” according to the company website. Fans can discover more facts at the Rowan Museum’s free Cheerwine exhibit, which takes fans through the soft drink’s last 102 years.

“We’re proud of our Carolina roots, and we co-host this event with the City of Salisbury to celebrate the region’s uniquely Southern tastes, sounds, culture and amazing people,” said Joy Ritchie Harper, vice-president of marketing for Cheerwine.

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