Gardner-Webb’s Main Campus in Boiling Springs is located in the beautiful and historic Cleveland County.
The Cleveland County Arts Center is located in Shelby’s central business district, known as Uptown Shelby. The Arts Center, housed in a renovated, historic 1916 Post Office is the cultural center of Uptown Shelby offering a variety of exhibits including regional and local artists. Classes, performances, and art sales are also part of the center’s offerings. The Arts Center hosts an annual pottery show and sponsors the international Real-to-Reel Film and Video Festival, held at the Joy Performance Center in Kings Mountain and the Art of Sound Music Festival in Uptown Shelby.
Directly across from the Arts Center is Cleveland County’s historic court house, now home to the Cleveland County Historical Museum. The museum has a 1950’s-era court room and has historical exhibits on display. The museum is open to the public.
In addition to the Cleveland County Historical Museum, several of the county’s municipalities have their own specialty museums. Kings Mountain has two active museums, the Kings Mountain Fire Museum and the Kings Mountain Historical Museum. In the upper end of the county is the Lawndale Historical Museum where you can see the “Lawndale Dummy,” a private railway that ran between Shelby and Lawndale.
In the City of Shelby, you can find much to do at the Shelby City Park. The park is home to a nine-hole municipal golf course, an Olympic-size swimming pool, and playground equipment. The Shelby City Park is also home to a completely restored 1919 Herchell-Spillman carrousel. Whether you ride the magnificent piece of machinery or not, you will not want to overlook the intricate detail in the 32 horses, two hand-carved chariots, and the 28 hand-painted rounding boards and scenery panels. The carrousel is housed in the Anne Dover Bailey Pavilion. Also at the Shelby City Park, you will find the Shelby Rotary Train.
The Rotary Special has also been restored and a new facility, the Mickey Shull Izzi Train Depot, has been constructed to protect it. Both the carrousel and the train are open to the public. The offerings at the Shelby City Park are highlighted each spring by the Foothills Merry-Go-Round Festival.
Cleveland County is home to the largest county fair in the State of North Carolina with over 100,000 attending each year. The Cleveland County Fair features an extensive midway with amusement rides, games, and a wide variety of food. The annual, 10-day event is held in the fall of the year. The home of the fair also plays host to numerous local and regional events throughout the year.
Other area attractions include the South Mountain State Park, located in Cleveland and Burke Counties. Nearby Charlotte is home to Paramount Carowinds Theme Park, Lowe’s Motor Speedway and the Carolina Panthers. Asheville, located to the west, boasts the Biltmore House and the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.