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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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