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Life and Religion

Sandwich festival creates community of cultures on eastside
Aldersgate’s annual event adds taste of spring
Published Thursday, April 11, 2019 10:46 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

The annual International Sandwich Festival embraces the cultural mix of families, shops and restaurants.

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Aldersgate Senior Living Community’s sandwich festival has become synonymous with springtime.

The fourth annual International Sandwich Festival returns to East Charlotte on April 27 from noon until 6 p.m. (3800 Shamrock Drive). Admission and parking are free, with food and drinks available for purchase, and CATS Bus Route 23 will transport attendees directly to the festival.

Organizers encourage participants to bring blankets or lawn chairs to make an afternoon of it.

“We don’t call Aldersgate a ‘retirement home,’” Aldersgate CEO Suzanne Pugh said in a statement. “That label doesn’t apply. We’ve created a vibrant community where seniors live, play and learn. Our residents embrace the cultural mix of families, shops and restaurants we have in this neighborhood. The intergenerational aspect of this festival isn’t something we do for a day. It’s integral to our identity.”

Said Aldersgate’s Director of Mission Advancement Erin Barbee: “We decided we needed to expand our offerings in every single area. The area was the most obvious, and that was food trucks. Last year we had five food trucks, and this year we have 10 offerings. We’ve doubled in size because everyone was in line last year.”

Featured food options include Felix’s Empanadas (Venezuelan), Hiya Food Truck (Korean), Kat-n-Around (German), La Michoacana (Mexican), Marathi Tadka (Indian), Yummi Banh Mi (Vietnamese).

“We added an American option, which is Papi Queso,” American grilled cheese, Barbee said.

Barbee decided to expand offerings for kids based on the number children who attended last year. The kids area is free and will feature inflatable slides, face painting, henna tattoo, and a sandwich making station.

The festival has grown into a lot more than bread and something in the middle. There’s the inaugural job fair on April 26 from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Aldersgate partnered with the City of Charlotte, where attendees will have an opportunity to weigh in on the Charlotte 2040 Future Plan.

“They will work with anyone who visits the festival to help dictate and inform the city on how it should look in 2040,” Barbee said.

Scheduled festival performances:

12:15-1 p.m. – Carolina Camaraden (German Oom-pah Band) 

1:05-1:15 p.m. – Turban tying. Learn how to tie and wear a turban, the traditional head covering for Sikhs and Shia Muslims. The United Indian Community Forum (uicforum.org), a nonprofit with a mission of uniting diverse Indian communities and promoting cultural understanding, and Turbans for India will demonstrate and educate.  

1:15-2 p.m. – Mickey Mills & Steel Regga band)

2:05-2:35 p.m. – Rumbao Latin Dance

2:40-3 p.m.– Voices of Eden (UNCC Gospel Choir)

3:05-3:35 p.m. – Flavors of India Dance Group

3:40-4 p.m.  – Nepali DancE, sponsored by OurBRIDGE for Kids  

4:05-4:35 p.m.  – Gary Mumford Rhythmology African drums and dance

4:35 – 5 p.m.– International Capoeira School (Afro-Brazilian martial arts)

5:10 – 5:55 – Reinaldo Brahn Band     


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