MINT HILL, NC – Mint Hill Madness is back and better than ever!
Billed as a festival to celebrate the founding of the Town of Mint Hill, Mint Hill Madness started in 1984 as a one-day event. For nearly three decades, Mint Hill Madness was the Mint Hill Chamber’s major fundraiser, but after years of just breaking even, The Chamber made the decision to step away from managing the event in 2012.
Knowing how important the annual event was to the town, Mayor Biggers and the Board of Commissioners decided to keep it going. Nonprofit organization Mint Hill Events, Inc, was formed to manage it, and more changes followed. As both the crowd and the fireworks show grew, Mint Hill Madness moved from the downtown area to Veteran’s Park. “I was hired in 2014 and came with years of experience of event planning,” says Assistant to the Town Manager Sheryl Smith. “When I first heard about Madness, I invited myself to a planning meeting and have been planning events for the Town ever since!”
Longtime Mint Hill Madness goers will recall that for several years now the event has been held on Memorial Day weekend. In the midst of the initial wave of the COVID pandemic, Mint Hill Madness was canceled for May of 2020. Unable to host the event again in May of 2021 and reluctant to skip another year, the Town made the decision to postpone it to October. With many people embracing the cooler Fall weather, it has yet to be determined if the date will stay in October or move back to May.
As an all-outdoor event, Mint Hill Madness is inherently safer from a COVID perspective than a largescale indoor gathering, and Smith and her team have gone above and beyond to make sure patrons are as safe as possible. All carnival rides will be open-air this year, which means no bounce houses, laser tag, tunnels, or other “closed” spaces. Rides will be sanitized with micro-antibacterial spray regularly, and hand sanitizer will be available throughout the event.
“Across the country, people are gathering in large groups,” says Smith. ‘We feel the mental health of our community needs this event. Masks will be available for those who need/want them. We are moving forward with the planning of all our events unless the governor deems otherwise.”
In part due to citizens’ feedback, the carnival will be bigger and better than ever before. “We heard you,” assures Smith. “This year we are bringing in more mechanical rides and a Midway.” Hours for the Carnival, Midway, and Axe-Throwing attraction will be the same as the event, and all-you-can ride wristbands will be available for Thursday only for $25.
The Novant Health Main Stage promises something for everyone. There will be music from Thirsty Horses, all-70s party and dance band Groove Machine, young blues-rock guitarist, and vocalist, songwriter Jake Haldenvang, and Eagles Tribute Band On the Border. DJ A-Rod will entertain the crowd on Friday and Saturday with his energizing multi-genre mix of music. In addition, a Marine Corp four-piece band playing jazz-fusion and contemporary music will be performing throughout the course of the weekend. Marine Corp recruiters will also be on hand distributing information and performing drills.
On Saturday at 1:00, girls of all ages will compete in the Miss Mint Hill Scholarship Pageant. A community service-based pageant sponsored by Robinson Orthodontics, Miss Mint Hill awards over $1500 in scholarships each year.
There’s one thing you’ll see less of at this year’s Mint Hill Madness: vendors. “In 2019, we made the conscious decision to reduce the number of vendors at the event going forward,” says Smith. “The feedback we received was to focus on food, rides, and entertainment.” Arts and Crafts vendors, in particular, were encouraged to attend Tina Ross Afternoon in the Park, an October event tailored specifically to artisans.
There will, however, still be plenty of food options to choose from! Cain’s Corn Dogs, I Scream for Ice Cream, Mama K’s Kettle Corn, Party in a Pita, Sammy’s So Good, Steak Boys, World’s Greatest Funnel Cakes, and Redneck Bubba BBQ will all be on site. Chick-Fil-A Mint Hill is sponsoring a “Spirit Night” on both Thursday and Friday. Wear your school colors, and visit the information booth to enter a drawing for a chance for your school to win a $500 prize package for your school’s PTA.
If the thought of funnel cakes and corn dogs makes you want to get out and burn some calories, there’s still time to sign up for the Lions Club 5k! Setting off from the park at 8:00 am Saturday, the Lions Club 5k raises funds for organizations in our community that support the visually impaired. To register, visit https://www.raceplace.com/events/103706/mint-hill-lions-club-madness-5k. Pre-registration is required; there will be no registration on the day of the event.
Mint Hill Madness wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of its nearly 50 sponsors. “We are very excited about our partnership with Novant Health – Mint Hill Medical Center,” said Smith. “On Saturday afternoon, Novant will be on site from 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm offering COVID-19 vaccines and flu shots to the public.” Additionally, a Novant critical care helicopter will be at the event from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm Thursday and Friday. The pilot, flight nurse, and EMT will be available to answer questions and give tours of the helicopter. Visitors will be allowed to see the helicopter up close and personal, speak to staff and get their photos taken.
Mint Hill Madness will close on Saturday, October 23, with a brand new “Fireworks Extravaganza.” An all-American, patriotic tribute, the show promises to be one of the largest in the Southeast, and the biggest show this town has ever seen! Fireworks will begin at 9:00 pm on Saturday.
Mint Hill Madness will take place on Thursday, October 21, and Friday, October 22 from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Saturday, October 23, the festival will run from 11:00 am to 10:00 pm. Visit https://www.minthillevents.org/madness for more information and a full schedule of events!