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Carowinds is a 407-acre (165-hectare) amusement park in Charlotte, North Carolina, United States, located adjacent to Interstate 77. Located on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, a portion of the park is located in Fort Mill, South Carolina. The park is open year-round. Despite this, it maintains a physical presence in Charlotte, with its commercial headquarters located on the Charlotte side of the park's perimeter.

The park, which cost $70 million to build, opened its doors on March 31, 1973. A four-year planning period, sponsored by Charlotte industrialist Earl Patterson Hall, resulted in the completion of the project. Carowinds also includes a 27-acre (110,000 m2) water park, Carolina Harbor, which is owned and operated by Cedar Fair and is included with park entry. SCarowinds is a Halloween event held at the park, while WinterFest is held at the park throughout the winter.

Carowinds was announced on October 10, 1969, and originally planned on including a large resort which would include a theme park, hotels, a shopping center, a golf course, and an NFL stadium. Carolina Winds is a combination of the words Carolina and winds, which refers to the winds that blow over the two states. The name Carowinds was derived from the park's original theme of history and culture in the Carolinas, which was adopted as its name in 1997.

The groundbreaking ceremony took place on May 1, 1970, with an anticipated opening date of April 1972. After multiple building delays caused by inclement weather, the park finally opened on March 31, 1973, under the control of the Carowinds Corporation, a consortium of local investors led by Hall and comprised of a variety of investors from across the world. Carowinds is on the opposite side of Charlotte's Newell neighborhood.

The first season attracted more than 1.2 million guests, but the 1973 oil crisis limited attendance at Carowinds, and plans for the new resort were put on hold as a result. Carowinds Corporation was forced to merge with Taft Broadcasting in early 1975 as a result of declining attendance and growing debt.

Cedar Fair amusement parks provide a limited-access line queue system known as Fast Lane, which is available for an additional fee. Visitors can purchase a wristband that permits them to skip conventional lineups in favor of shorter ones at many of the park's most popular attractions, saving them time and money.

The annual Carowinds Festival of Music provides an opportunity for music students to play in front of an audience and receive feedback and ratings from nationally respected adjudicators. Bands, choirs, show choirs, and orchestras can all perform for a fee in order to gain ratings. Plaques and ribbons are presented to performers who receive superb and excellent ratings for their performances.

Levine Center for the Arts

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