7/20/2012 - Bele Chere headed to Asheville next week
by Asheville Citizen Times
ASHEVILLE -- Bele Chere is just one week away, bringing with it lots of live music, a craft show, the Purina Air Dogs, street food and treats from local restaurants and family-friendly fun
The three-day downtown party, July 27-29, is the biggest free outdoor festival in these parts, bringing a crowd of 200,000 to 250,000 to Asheville over its three-day stretch.
The festival layout has the same design as last year, said Diane Ruggiero, the city's superintendent of cultural arts. The music stages are still on Biltmore Avenue, Coxe Avenue, Battery Park Avenue and Haywood Street.
As for that music, it's definitely edgier this year, Ruggerio said. The festival is loaded with hot talent, including singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile, Lucero, Blackberry Smoke, Los Amigos Invisibles, Dr. Dog, BoomBox, Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band, David Holt and Randall Bramblett. As usual, the music is all free.
"We've gotten a lot of great feedback" about the music, Ruggiero said. "It's a real eclectic mix. I think this will bring some new folks to Bele Chere this year."
Both the children's area (with its own entertainment schedule) and the seniors oasis are inside the air-conditioned U.S. Cellular Center (formerly the Asheville Civic Center).
Food courts are at Pritchard Park, and the Taste of Asheville is at Pack Square. A smaller local entertainment area is set for Lexington Avenue. And the Arts Park is back on Patton Avenue between Church Street and Lexington Avenue.
Because parking is always tight, the Bele Chere shuttle is the best way to visit the festival. On the west side, it departs from the Kmart shopping center and drops passengers at the U.S. Cellular Center. On the east side, it runs from Asheville Mall and brings passengers to Pack Square Park. The shuttles run every 20 minutes or so, and it's only a $2 round-trip ticket.
Watch CITIZEN-TIMES.com and the Asheville Citizen-Times for lots of Bele Chere coverage next weekend. No subscription is required to read Bele Chere content online, including photo galleries.
Pick up next week's Take5 for a map, music schedule grids and more.