Cheerwine Festival moved to September in hopes of reduced COVID restrictions

Published 2:52 pm Tuesday, January 12, 2021

SALISBURY — With the hope of reduced COVID-19 restrictions by the summer, the 2021 Cheerwine Festival has been rescheduled for Sept. 18 in hopes of a full-fledged, in-person festival.

Festival organizers plan to announce additional details later this year, including the musical lineup, the second annual T-shirt design contest, vendor booth application instructions and family-friendly activities. Additionally, the 2021 festival philanthropic beneficiary has yet to be announced. Previous beneficiaries in past years include Rowan County Meals on Wheels, Rowan Helping Ministries and the Rowan County United Way COVID-19 Relief Fund.

“The health and well-being of our fans and everyone who has a hand in the festival is of the utmost importance to us,” said Joy Ritchie Harper, vice president of marketing for Cheerwine and fifth-generation founding family member. “We’re hopeful that by pushing the date back we’ll be able to move forward with this year’s festivities, and look forward to welcoming attendees who travel from near and far to the fifth annual festival in historic downtown Salisbury.”

City Manager Lane Bailey said the city is optimistic for a “somewhat normal” return to life later this year as more people receive the COVID-19 vaccination. If restrictions are not lifted by the summer, however, the city will move forward with the fifth annual Cheerwine Festival based on state and federal health guidance.

Amidst the pandemic last summer, Cheerwine and the city canceled the outdoor event, which usually draws tens of thousands of people, and pushed on with a virtual celebration with live musical entertainment from Sugar Hill Gang, Tone Loc, Nathan Angelo, Ace Party Band and Live House. City officials say following the virtual event, Salisbury was awarded an Innovative Program Award from the North Carolina Recreation and Parks Association.

For more information about the 2021 Cheerwine Festival, visit or the official Fifth Annual Cheerwine Festival Facebook Event page.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at or call her at 704-797-4246.

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