Blog :: 07-2011

TRAVEL: Crestview's Asheville connection

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7/28/2011 - TRAVEL: Crestview's Asheville connection
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Western North Carolina - the perfect destination for all kinds of vacations!!

 

                 A long weekend getaway, a family reunion, or a great vacation of arts, shopping, hiking, and tours of America's largest private home are just a tad more than an hour's flight away from Northwest Florida Regional Airport. And when you get there, a Crestview native is waiting to welcome you.

About 12 years ago, Jodee Sellers -- whom classmates in the Crestview High class of '73 remember better as Jodee Curenton -- and her husband Doug opened Bent Creek Lodge up in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Asheville, N.C. Only a 15-minute drive from the regional airport, the rustic lodge is a sanctuary in which daily stresses magically melt away, a process augmented by Jodee's spectacular breakfasts.

Originally Sellers, who holds a degree in social work from the University of West Florida, worked in family counseling, where at a camp for "emotionally disturbed boys," she met Doug. Neither counseling nor a position with a clothing store telemarketing center fit her adventurous spirit.

"I got tired of corporate America," she said. "I'm a much more goal-oriented person, but you don't see that in social work. I'm glad there are people who can do it, but my personality didn't fit."

Turning to one of her real loves, Sellers attended culinary school. After a stint as personal chef to a business entrepreneur, Jodee and a culinary classmate considered opening a restaurant. Then Doug had a better idea.

"Doug reminded me that when we first got married, we had talked about opening a B&B," Jodee said. They sold their home and started searching for the perfect old house to convert into a bed-and-breakfast.

"We looked and looked and looked," she said.

Then their real estate agent suggested they look at a piece of property up in the hills.

"The realtor's four-wheel-drive got stuck and we had to hike the rest of the way," Jodee recalled.

When they saw the sweeping, forested hillside where Bent Creek Lodge now sits, they knew they found the perfect spot. During the next year they cleared the land, sending many of the pine trees to a local mill to turn them into lumber for the lodge's clapboards. Simultaneously they created a business plan. Their architect, however, refused to design to their specifications and was promptly fired.

"I thought I could do it better myself," Doug Sellers said. "We visited a place in West Virginia that was rustic, and we liked that idea. There are over 50 B&Bs in Asheville; we wanted to do something different. I had been around construction enough to know what a set of plans looked like."

Inside, the heart pine trim came from an old home in South Carolina. The great oak curved-top front doors were surplus scrap the Sellers scooped up for less than $200. Doug had one instruction when Jodee started shopping for furniture.

"Would you please buy something people will feel comfortable putting their feet on," he implored her.

On Nov. 5, 1999, as Doug was hanging the last custom-formed shower curtain rod, the first guests started arriving at Bent Creek Lodge. Entries in each of the 10 guestroom visitors' logs show a parade of regulars, returnees, and newcomers from across the nation as well as international guests.

Appreciation for the peaceful surroundings and sound nights' rests are common themes inscribed in the books. When Jodee and Doug polled their regulars to see what they'd think about adding TVs to the rooms, the result was a loud and emphatic, "No!" (But if a guest really wants to watch a bit of telly, two rooms have flat-screens, as do the main and downstairs lounges.)

Jodee Sellers had high praise for Vision Airlines' twice-weekly direct flights to and from Asheville. Not only do they conveniently bring guests from Crestview -- recent visitors include her brother Thos Curenton and her cousin, Leon Curenton -- but they facilitate Jodee's visits home to her parents Joe and Betty Curenton.

Between mountain biking, h iking, attending cultural events in Asheville, tending the large garden behind the lodge, and browsing the Western North Carolina Farmer's Market for fresh ingredients for her breakfasts, Jodee Sellers relishes what she calls "the ebb and flow of the inn."

"You only get one life so you might as well enjoy what you're doing," Sellers said.

Want to visit

Crestview native Jodee Curenton Sellers and her husband Doug invite you to their Asheville, N.C., Bent Creek Lodge. Visit www.bentcreeknc.com, email bentcreek@ioa.com or call toll-free (877) 231-6574 for information or reservations.

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Bele Chere: Mountain masterpiece in Asheville

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7/28/2011 - Bele Chere: Mountain masterpiece in Asheville
by JASON GILMER - for the Spartaburg Herald-Journal

BELE CHERE IS ONLY A DAY AWAY!!  And continues to get great reviews and articles from around the Southeast!  This one below from the Spartanburg Herald-Journal has a GREAT SCHEDULE OF EVENTS LISTED - CHECK IT OUT!!!

Bele Chere

Bele Chere

Crowds gather around Asheville, N.C.'s City Hall for Bele Chere.

 

Street festivals should have a little bit of everything to match everyone's tastes.

Asheville, N.C.'s Bele Chere certainly does. The festival, which began in 1979, consumes much of the city's downtown with a variety of arts, music, food and beverages.

The event, which averages between 300,000 to 350,000 people, runs from noon to 10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

"It's a great three days," said Diane Ruggiero, superintendent of cultural arts for Asheville, N.C. "There's a lot to see and a lot of to do."

More than 400 booths will be set up for vendors on the streets, and activities for all ages will take place throughout the weekend. Performers, including magicians and balloon artists, will be out to entertain, and there is plenty of music on four different stages.

With so many options for entertainment, here is a look at 10 things to do during this year's festival:

1. Music has been a staple of Bele Chere events of the past. While there was a time when more nationally known acts took the stage, the event is now more local. To kick off the music, a group of teenagers won the opportunity to be first up. Black Jack, a rocking foursome, won a contest to become the opening act. They beat out three other bands and a solo artist on June 30 at The Orange Peel to earn this right. There are more than 40 acts playing on four stages this year.

2. There will be plenty of street vendors there with their normal fare, but head over to Pack Square and enjoy the local foods. There will be 16 local restaurants on hand to share their food, and that will be everything from chicken curry (Mela Indian Restaurant), pizza (Barley's), barbecue (Frankie Bones) and much more.

3. Dogs aren't allowed at Bele Chere, unless they're jumping as part of the Ultimate Air Dogs show. Happening all three days of the event, these puppies launch into a pool, competing for the greatest length. They'll be jumping into a big pool on Lexington Avenue, between College Street and Patton Avenue. Folks who bring dogs to the event will be asked to leave them for a small fee at the Doggy Jail, a shady and cool spot very much un-jail-like, at 70 Court Plaza.

4. After eating three funnel cakes, downing a gyro and eating something sugary on a stick, it's time for a little exercise. If walking the hills between Haywood Street and Lexington Avenue isn't enough, there is another option. If you aren't afraid to dance a little in public, there are multiple Zumba classes offered during Bele Chere. Classes will be held Friday (4 to 5 p.m.) and Sunday (2 to 3 p.m.) at the Lexington Avenue Interactive Performance Area.

5. Got drums? Drum circles are well known in Asheville (Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan asked the weekly circle to open for one of his band's shows in town in 2007) and there are two set for Bele Chere weekend. From 8 to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, a community drum circle will commence at the Lexington Avenue Interactive Performance Area. Take your drum and bang away to the beat.

6. Take the kids to the Bele Chere Children's Area, on the Arena Level of the Asheville Civic Center, for some fun. (And it's air-conditioned!) There will be free crafts, ticketed rides and free children's performances throughout the weekend. Everything from the YMCA Children's Choir to the WNC Nature Center shows to a tae kwon do exhib ition will make kids smile while enjoying these activities.

7. There's plenty of arts and crafts to enjoy. Vendors will be set up all over downtown selling their masterpieces. There will be woodworkers, metalworkers, painters, photographers, potters and a large variety of other art to check out. Make sure to stop by the Arts Park in the Drhumor Building parking lot on Patton Avenue.

8. If you want to take a piece of Bele Chere home with you, make sure to look for the festival's T-shirt. Asheville artist Keith Krebbs has given the old poster art a modern look. His green and yellow artwork, which depicts folks dancing around Asheville City Hall, can be bought on brown, gray and white shirts. Just look around and you'll see them.

9. Bele Chere isn't just about fun, but also a learning experience. Twenty nonprofit booths will be set up for groups to disperse information about their causes. Among the groups there this year will be Brother Wolf Canine Rescue, Clean Air Campaign and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Stop by and learn about how you can help.

10. While you're walking around Asheville's downtown, it will be hard not to do a little window shopping. There are so many great local stores that Bele Chere guests shouldn't just walk past. Stop in at Malaprop's for a book, stroll through the Grove Arcade for its specialty shops or go into the Woolworth Walk for more local artwork.

Facts

Want to go?

What: Bele Chere
When: Friday through Sunday
Where: downtown Asheville
Cost: free
More info: www.belecherefestival.com

Music Schedule
Friday
Rock N' Kiss Stage at Coxe Ave.
5 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- Sanctum Sully
6:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. -- Floating Action
8:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. -- The Whigs

Biltmore Avenue Stage
5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. -- The Critters
6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- Apache Relay
8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. -- Marc Broussard

Battery Park Stage
4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. -- The If You Wannas
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. -- The London Souls
8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. -- Holy Ghost Tent Revival

Haywood St. Stage
4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. -- Black Jack
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- Secret B Sides

Saturday
Rock N' Kiss Stage at Coxe Ave.
12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. -- Kelley and the Bowboys
2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. -- Paper Tiger
4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit
8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. -- Railroad Earth

Biltmore Ave. Stage
12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. -- The Vertigo Jazz Project
2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. -- Cedric Burnside Project
4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. -- RBTS WIN
6:15 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. -- Jessica Lea Mayfield
8:15 p.m. to 9:45 p.m. -- Big Gigantic

Battery Park Stage
Noon to 1:30 p.m. -- Lyric
2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. -- The Billy Sea
4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. -- Sirius.B
6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. -- Kids These Days
8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. -- Rebirth Brass Band

Haywood St. Stage
12:15 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. -- Clouds of Greer
2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. -- Mamarazzi
4:15 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. -- Deep Fried 5
6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. -- Kovacs and the Polar Bear

Sunday
Rock N' Kiss Stage at Coxe Ave.
1 p.m. to 2 p.m. -- Stereofidelics
2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. -- Beta Radio
4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- Hoots and Hellmouth

Biltmore Avenue Stage
12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. -- Onward Soliders
2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. -- River Whyless (formerly Do It To Julia)
4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. -- Balsam Range

Battery Park Stage
12:45 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. -- Common Foundation
2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. -- Doc Aquatic
4 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. -- The Protomen

Haywood St. Stage
1 p.m. to 2:15 p.m. -- Skinny Legs and All
2:45 p.m. to 4 p.m. -- Sonmi Suite
4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. -- Papadosio

Parking
If you don't want the hassle of trying to find a parking spot in downtown Asheville for this weekend's Bele Chere street festival, the city has set up two park-and-ride stations. Shuttles will run about every 20 minutes from the Kmart on Patton Avenue and the Sears department store at Asheville Mall on Tunnel Road. Visitors to Bele Chere simply need to park, find the Bele Chere booth where the $2 round-trip tickets are sold and hop on the shuttle. Shuttles will run from noon to 11 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 828-253-5691.

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Beat the heat in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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7/27/2011 - Beat the heat in the Blue Ridge Mountains
by Fred Bonner - Apex Herald

Come enjoy the mountains of Western North Carolina!  Although the summer's been a scorcher, the further West and the further up you go, the cooler your evenings will be! 

 

            With this record-breaking heat a lot of Tar Heels are heeding the advice of some sage writer of yesteryear when he told some younger companions to "Go West young Man, Go West."

With our temperatures approaching a hundred degrees in the shade and the humidity high, it did indeed seem like a good time to visit the Blue Ridge Mountains of our state and take advantage of the higher altitudes and slightly cooler weather.

Whenever I think of camping out in our mountains I can't think of any better spot to take a few youngsters camping than the Standing Indian Campground the U.S. Forest Service operates in the Nantahala National Forest near Franklin, N.C. It's one of the most beautiful sections of Western North Carolina and offers some of the finest trout fishing that can be found in our mountains.

I began camping and fishing there some 50 years ago when the Standing Indian Campground was accessible by a rough gravel road. Ed Waldroop was the campground manager and lived with his wife on the property and issued the daily fishing permits for the Forest Service. He also kept records of what fishermen kept how many trout and what species the fish were. Ed passed away years ago and some basic improvements have been made to the Standing Indian Campground.

The headwaters of the Nantahala River run through the Standing Indian Campground and offer an idyllic setting for one of the most picturesque sections of this National Forest. The famed Appalachian Trail passes through the forest at this point and the nearby campground offers through hikers a brief respite from the rudimentary camping facilities that one finds along the Appalachian Trail.

While many of today's modern campers may find the facilities at the Standing Indian Campground (SIC) a little rustic to their liking I've found that other campers prefer to camp where there aren't crowds of people doing things that are more acceptable to city dwellers. The SIC had bathroom facilities and clean drinking water available but no volley ball courts, boating marinas, gift shops or dance halls.

Acting on a whim I took some youngsters out for a visit at one of the more modern, "uptown" campsites just outside the National Forest to let them take a look at what was offered there. When offered a choice between this rather crowded modern campground and the old familiar Standing Indian Campground we were more familiar with, they said "let's go back to the less modern camp where it's less crowded and quiet."

Although the Appalachian Trail runs just above the campground there are numerous less taxing and shorter hiking trails around the campground. Some of these easier trails run alongside the Nantahala River and offer trout anglers easy access to some of the finest mountain trout fishing in North Carolina. These same trails also show grouse hunters some good hunting during the season.

For our youngsters the easy access to the river offered easy access to one of their favorite outdoor sports, grabbling under rocks to try and catch crayfish. This wasn't only for sport either. The youngsters had been watching the popular TV series "Survivor Man" and were catching food for their supper. You'd have thought that these kids were in Louisiana instead of North Carolina as they slurped down crawdad tails over the campfire that night. As a matter of a fact, they sucked juices from the head sections of these shellfish and delighted in their version of survivor man's dietary suggestions.

Even though I felt the temperature was quite comfortable, when the boys returned from their crayfish hunting expedition they felt it necessary to warm their feet over the campfire. When questioned about this practice when the weather wasn't really that cold, they replied that the campfire not only warmed their cold toes it kept their feet free of "foot fungus." Survivor Man had also said that the smoke form the fire helped to prevent (and cure) foot fungus. I saw no signs of the boys having any "foot fungus" so it must work.

With Franklin, N.C. as a jumping off spot, leave Franklin, at the intersection of US Rts. 23/441/64 and take US Rt. 64 west for 12 miles to Wallace Gap/Standing Indian campground sign (Old Murphy Rd.). Turn left onto Old Murphy Rd. and go 1.9 miles to Standing Indian campground sign (Forest Rt. 67). Turn right onto Rt. 67 and go 1.8 miles to "Y" intersection. Bear right into campground.

The campground is open from April 1 to December 1 each year. It sits at some 3,160 feet in elevation. The campground is loaded with Rhododendrons and is bisected by the Nantahala River and Kimsey Creek. There are five loops. Sites 1 through 54 are located on open flats with paved aprons and wide interior road. Sites 55 through 84 are along a hillside, nestled among Rhododendrons and hemlocks, with a steep gravel access road. Motorhomes and large travel trailers are not permitted in this part of the campground. The campground is situated in what is considered one of the best hiking destinations in the southwest mountains. It is one of the few places where one can actually take a loop hike, a part of which is the Appalachian Trail.

There is a public phone booth available in the area where cell phone access is "iffy" at best. There are flush toilets, hot showers and potable water for drinking. Most of the campsites have picnic tables and campfire rings.

There are 81 campsites at Standing Indian that rent for $14 per night. There is a 30 day maximum stay-time on the campsites. The National Forest usually offers substantial discounts to people who have senior citizen passports. You can reach their reservations center at 877-444-6777 or you can reach the center at their website at http://www.recreation.gov/.

This area is on the headwaters of the Nantahala River which is considered to be one of the coldest trout streams in North Carolina. Fishing licenses are required there and can be obtained through the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Be sure to check the special trout fishing regulations that are in effect there. These headwaters and the feeder streams that enter the main Nantahala River there are a fly fisherman's dream. There are rainbow, brown and eastern brook trout found in nearly all these streams.

One word to the wise on wading in the Nantahala River. This is a pretty typical freestone mountain stream and the rocky bottom is unusually slippery. If you wade, felt soled wading boots are a definite advantage.

 

Read more: Apex Herald - Beat the heat in the Blue Ridge Mountains

http://www.recreation.gov/

 

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Asheville business gets MSNBC makeover

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7/27/2011 - Asheville business gets MSNBC makeover
by Dale Neal - Asheville Citizen Times

ANOTHER Asheville area business getting some national attention!  Kudos to Evelyn Anderson and good luck in your adventure!!

                 ASHEVILLE -- When Evelyn Anderson emailed her favorite MSNBC show, "Your Business," for advice, she wasn't expecting a team of experts to completely retool and rename her company.

 But after two months of production and two long days of filming at Just for Fun Playgrounds, an MSNBC crew and team of experts have given Anderson and her husband, Jerry Hajek, a new boost for their business, and a new name -- Asheville Playgrounds.

"I have been blown away by the amount of effort they have put into our business," Anderson said Tuesday in her offices in between scenes shot by the television crew. "It's been overwhelming."

"Your Business" correspondent Mike Michalowicz, author of the best-selling "The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur," coached the couple on basic tips like learning to say "no" to business that didn't fit their company. Anderson and Hajek, for instance, spent time and money to design and build a bridge for the Montreat Conservancy. Michalowicz urged them to stay focused on their niche of building architecturally themed playgrounds.

"All these businesses are stuck in the same pattern. They think they need to work longer hours and sell more. They just need to work smarter," Michalowicz said.

Anderson and Hajek moved to Asheville in 2006, eager to be closer to her family in North Carolina. They shopped around for a business to buy and found Just for Fun Playgrounds in a classified ad in the Citizen-Times. The 10-year-old company, on Short McDowell Street, specialized in playgrounds for churches, homes and suburban developments that mimic the surrounding architecture. They built, for example, the playground at First Baptist Church of Asheville, which features a miniature of the landmark dome designed by Richard Sharp Smith.

Business was booming through 2008, and the couple had four employees and two salespeople. Then the Great Recession hit, and the phone quit ringing. Through 2009, they shed their staff and saw two-thirds of their business dry up.

They needed help.

On a whim, Anderson emailed Lisa Everson, producer of "Your Business," asking for advice -- how does a business that can't depend on repeat customers find a new stream of clients?

"It was an interesting question," Everson said. She went to work, lining up a series of local suppliers and experts to help out Anderson and Hajek. They covered everything from website redesign, new signage and market analysis to branding and marketing.

But it was the new name that initially shocked Anders on. She knew a name change was in order since a Just for Fun Playground company existed in Charleston, S.C.

Branding expert Denise Blasevick offered two new options -- Asheville Playgrounds or Gray Squirrel. Anderson's heart was with Gray Squirrel, but she knew Asheville Playgrounds was the better choice, building on the woodcrafting expertise associated with the area.

Anderson appreciated the assistance volunteered by Phyllis VanHoy, executive director of business development and incubation at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College. Working with graduate students at Western Carolina University, VanHoy promised a detailed market analysis of the playground industry, and where Anderson and Hajek could hope to compete.

Ed and Arlene Sullivan had just opened their own company, Sign-A-Rama, in May. The company was contacted to offer their services to the playground company. "I wish I could have a crew come in and help me clean up," said Ed Sullivan, who had to slip away from the filming to attend his own grand opening.

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Asheville Home of the Week: Updating a Brevard bungalow

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7/26/2011 - Asheville Home of the Week: Updating a Brevard bungalow
by Paul Clark - Asheville Citizen Times

THIS RENOVATION IN BREVARD, NORTH CAROLINA IS a fine example of how to bring a neighborhood back to its original glory!  READ the owners' story below!!
 The Brevard home of Parker and Susi Platt was unoccupied for five years before they bought it, and its old-fashioned layout needed some updating.

The Brevard home of Parker and Susi Platt was unoccupied for five years before they bought it, and its old-fashioned layout needed some updating. / John Fletcher/jfletcher@citizen-times.com

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Asheville's Bele Chere can be a healthy experience

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7/26/2011 - Asheville's Bele Chere can be a healthy experience
by Casey Blake - Asheville Citizen Times

BELE CHERE - THE BIGGEST STREET FESTIVAL IN THE SOUTHEAST - IS ONLY 4 DAYS AWAY!!  Use these tips to help make your trip to Asheville's largest street festival a more pleasant one!

 

ASHEVILLE -- Bele Chere purists can rest easy this year knowing that the old-fashioned funnel cakes and Philly cheesesteaks of yore will be as available as ever at this year's festival.

And while there's nothing wrong with indulging some of your guilty pleasures in moderation -- share that funnel cake with a few friends -- it's also good to keep in mind a few healthier habits.

The risks aren't just in the food courts and at the beer stands. Festival organizers and local dietitians offer up a few tips and tricks how to stay safe and be well at the big Bele.

Beat the heat

While the forecast promises a slightly less scorching weekend than last year's, overheating tends to be the primary health concern at the festival each year.

"We're hoping to catch a break this year, but it's July in North Carolina, so obviously there are no guarantees," said festival producer Diane Ruggiero, Asheville's superintendent of cultural arts.

"People getting overheated is fairly common, but we were pleasantly surprised at how well people responded (to the heat) last year and how few incidents we had," she said. "People were aware of the heat and taking measures to stay cool."

Ruggiero recommends taking regular breaks from strolling the streets in high heat, catching a spot in the shade when possible and taking advantage of the festivals misting stations, which will be in their usual spots on Patton and Biltmore avenues. Look for information booths and festival volunteers to grab a map showing misting and first aid locations.

The Senior Oasis and children's area at the Civic Center offer an air-conditioned respite with activities for the family. Take the kids down to geysers at Splasheville in Pack Square Park for an outdoor cool-off, which will be open for all three days of the festival.

Ruggiero noted that many canine companions are especially susceptible to heat exhaustion. Dogs are not allowed into the festival area in any case, so be sure to leave four-legged friends at home.

Remember that sunscreen will not be widely available for sale, so be sure to slather it on and bring some along, as most of the festival is uncovered.

Move it

One way to ease the guilt of a few too many festival food treats is to join in on Western North Carolina's biggest footrace.

The 32nd annual Bele Chere 5K starts at 7:30 a.m. Saturday and the Fit Families Fun Run will start at 8:30 a.m. The entry fee is $30.

If pounding the pavement isn't in the cards, don't fret. Walking around the festival will burn some calories on its own, and dancing to a band or two can be an added workout.

Parking some distance away -- say, in Montford, or well south of the fest -- and walking to the festival can also be both good exercise and thrifty, since you could score a free spot.

Eat smart

Lesley Edwards, a dietitian and coordinator of Mission Children's Hospital's child weight-management program, said it is OK to indulge in a funnel cake or a hot dog while at Bele Chere.

"I think when people think splurge, they think it's a free-for-all, and it's not. It's one thing, maybe two," she said. "People think, 'I'm not going to have it for another year, I've got to have it,' and then it turns into not just one bad meal, but a bad day all in one hour."

Be aware that some foods at the festival are supersized and watch your portions.

Instead of eating a whole tub of french fries or an entire funnel cake, think about splitting the treats among friends.

Drink up

Ruggiero said that water sales at last year's festival tripled from Bele Cheres before and that beer sales were slightly down, likely due to the sweltering heat.

Staying hydrated can help to beat the heat and combat some of those junk food cravings, Edwards said. Try drinking a bottle of water at least every hour, and amp up the H2O especially for seniors and children.

To save money, bring your own water in sealed, unopened bottles -- although it will heat up as the day goes along.

Chilled water is $2 a bottle at designated beverage stands and is sold anywhere that alcohol is.

Keep in mind that sodas, sugary drinks and especially alcohol may be refreshing at first sip but won't hydrate you as well as water.

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Street festival celebrates beauty

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7/25/2011 - Street festival celebrates beauty
by The Charlotte Observer

PEOPLE COME FROM ALL AROUND to get their feet on the street at Asheville's Bele Chere Festival!  Here's a brief description of the events, and even some directions and links for more information!

Bele Chere

Downtown Asheville. 828-259-5800. www.belecherefestival.com.

Hours: July 29-31 and operates noon-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.

Activities: Bele Chere, meaning "beautiful living," is a street festival that offers a variety of arts and crafts, music, food vendors, events and children's activities. The festival attracts about 350,000 people to Asheville's downtown district. At this year's 33rd annual festival, visitors will be entertained by various bands, interactive dancing, drumming and more. Festival goers are encouraged to use shuttle buses that begin an hour prior to the festival hours and run one hour after the festival ends. Shuttles run approximately every 20 minutes and cost $3 roundtrip.

Cost: Free.

Target Audience: All ages. Sunday is designated as family day and is alcohol free.

Directions from uptown: Take Interstate-40 W. toward Asheville. Continue on the ramp and merge onto I-40 W. Take exit 53B for U.S. 74 Alternate W/I-240 toward Asheville. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for UNC Asheville and merge onto I-240 W. Take exit 5B for Charlotte St./US-70 E. toward U.S.-74 Alt. E/Asheville 694/Downtown. Turn left onto U.S.-70 E./Charlotte Street. Turn right onto College Street.

Travel time from Charlotte: About two hours.

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/06/29/2404517/street-festival-celebrates-beauty.html#ixzz1T7UyX3uN

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Local food vendors provide Taste of Asheville at Bele Chere

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7/25/2011 - Local food vendors provide Taste of Asheville at Bele Chere
by Carol Motsinger - Asheville Citizen Times

BELE CHERE IS...FOOD!  The tastes of Asheville are all available on the streets this weekend at Asheville's Bele Chere Festival!  Come enjoy!!

From left, Wayne Ruth, Meneta Bost, and Kris Ruth have lunch at the Bele Chere Taste of Asheville food court on Pack Square last year. 

From left, Wayne Ruth, Meneta Bost, and Kris Ruth have lunch at the Bele Chere Taste of Asheville food court on Pack Square last year. / John Fletcher/Jfletcher@citizen-times.com

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