10 Reasons You Should Visit Shelby, North Carolina, This Spring


Shelby North Carolina

Cleveland County Courthouse; Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

If you’ve never been to Shelby in Cleveland County, picture the quintessential classic Southern small town and you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. Selected almost 40 years ago as one of the first five cities in the state to be part of the North Carolina Main Street Program, which aimed to revitalize communities and foster economic development, Shelby has undergone many positive changes over the past few decades. The area was first built upon the textile industry and at one point was among the highest cotton-producing regions in the Southeast, says Emily Epley, travel and tourism director for Cleveland County Tourism. Several years ago, the city decided to capitalize further on its history, weaving in the lives of two historic locals: musicians Earl Scruggs and Don Gibson. The result is a modern small town with close ties to its musical heritage through a new museum and theater. Each facility draws in throngs of visitors on its own, but Shelby entices them to stay with much more to see and do in this close-knit community. Take a look.

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Catch a Performance at The Don Gibson Theatre

Shelby North Carolina

Photo credit: Justin Kase Conder

Together with the Earl Scruggs Center, the 400-seat Don Gibson Theatre has helped cement Shelby’s place in the history of music legends. Originally opened in 1939 as a state theater and movie house, it was transformed into a performance venue in 2009 and now serves as a major draw to the area thanks to its concerts. With a backstage pass, you can view the walls of signatures from big names who have performed there, including Whitney Houston (whose sister-in-law owns Celebrity Consignment Boutique in Uptown Shelby).

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