Blog :: 07-2012

Asheville area Home & Garden calendar



7/31/2012 - Asheville area Home & Garden calendar
by Asheville Citizen Times

Send items for the home and garden calendar to Bruce Steele at two weeks before the event. Or mail to Bruce Steele, Asheville Citizen-Times, P.O. Box 2090, Asheville, NC 28802.


FURNITURE FESTIVAL & CLEARANCE SALE: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. today and 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Hickory Furniture Mart, 2220 U.S. 70 S.E., Hickory. Demos, educational displays, hands-on pottery station, wine and peach bellini tastings, more than 100 showrooms, galleries and outlets.

CROP SWAP: 10 a.m.-noon today and each Saturday through Sept. 1, West Asheville Presbyterian Church, 690 Haywood Road. Event will be in parking lot across Virginia Avenue from the church. Bring plants, vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc., to trade with neighbors. No money; swapping only. No animals or flea market items. Contact or

2012 DESIGNER SHOWHOUSE: Open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday and 1-4 p.m. Sunday through Aug. 5, 125 Interlude Place, Hendersonville. Last entry 3 p.m. daily. Fundraiser for Historic Flat Rock. "Interlude" is a French-inspired country house at the western edge of Flat Rock's historic district. Its 7,300 square feet will be decorated by regional interior designers. Tour the gardens designed by Ed Lastein, shop at the boutique, dine under the tent at Café on the Veranda. Admission $25 at the door or visit or call 697-0208.


BOTANICAL PAINTING: 9 a.m.-noon, July 30-Aug. 1, Bullington Center, 33 Upper Red Oak Trail, Hendersonville. Artist Suzanne Ciola White leads this introductory course is designed to help students transfer a drawing into a final watercolor rendering. $60 plus materials. Call 698-6104.

ASHEVILLE GARDEN CLUB: Aug. 8, North Asheville Community Center, 37 E. Larchmont Road. Refreshments at 9 a.m., program at 10. Linda McNab, master gardener, speaks on "Bees: Their Importance in Our Gardens & Landscapes." 258-0922.

MAKE A BAMBOO CUP & SPICE SHAKER: 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Aug. 18, Bamboo Poles Warehouse, 20 Tuttle Road, Hendersonville. No experience necessary. Use bamboo saw, shaving tool in hands-on workshop. Take home cup and shaker. $65, with 25 percent down to reserve a space. Call 685-3053 Monday-Friday or 685-3050 weekends. Learn more at

SPEAKING OF GARDENING SYMPOSIUM: Aug. 24-25, N.C. Arboretum. Speakers include Mike Buffin, Gardens and Parks Adviser for the U.K. National Trust; Takayuki Kobayashi, of Japan; Jenks Farmer, of South Carolina; and Rita Pelczar, of Marshall. $170, or $145 for members. Call 665-2492 or visit


BAMBOO WALKING TOUR: 1:30-3 p.m. Aug. 5 and 19, Haiku Bamboo Nursery, 468 Rhodes Mountain Road, Hendersonville. Learn about bamboo on this 90-minute walk through a lush bamboo forest. $15 cash on arrival. No sandals. Call 685-3053 Monday-Friday or 685-3050 weekends. Learn more at

NATIVE TREES TALK: 7 p.m. Aug. 14 in the large community room at Weaverville Town Hall, 30 S. Main St., Weaverville. Presentation, "Native Trees and Their Natural Communities in WNC," by Tim Spira, author of "Wildflowers & Plant Communities of the Southern Appalachian Mountains and Piedmont," is part of the Weaverville Tree Board meeting. Free. 645-5251.

SOUTHERN IDEAL HOME SHOW: Noon-8 p.m. Aug. 24, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Aug 25 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 26, Park Expo and Conference Center, Charlotte. Admission $9 at the door; free for age 14 and younger with paid adult. Call 704-376-6594 or visit www.SouthernIdealHome

WICKED PLANTS EXHIBIT: Through Sept. 3, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, Baker Exhibit Center, N.C. Arboretum, Brevard Road at Blue Ridge Parkway. A 4,000-square-foot hands-on exhibit inspired by Amy Stewart's book "Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln's Mother and Other Botanical Atrocities." Interactive for children. Free admission with standard parking fee. 665-2492 or

GROVE PARK TOUR OF HOMES: Noon-6 p.m. Sept. 9. $15 in advance; $20 day of the tour. Includes 11 stopes; transportation provided. Complimentary parking at the Grove Park Inn Country Club. Advance tickets available at the Wine Studio and the Chop Shop on Charlotte Street.

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Asheville area arts news, receptions, events



7/30/2012 - Asheville area arts news, receptions, events
by Asheville Citizen Times

Woolworth Walk offers 'Scenes'

 "Scenes Through a Window," an exhibition of paintings by Rob O'Sheeran, will be featured Aug. 1-31 at Woolworth Walk, 25 Haywood St. A free opening reception will be 5-7 p.m. Friday at the gallery, during Friday's downtown Art Walk, which runs 5-8 p.m. (Find a gallery guide during the event at any participating gallery.)

 A contemporary, eclectic artist, O'Sheeran uses bold, vibrant colors and recurring designs, often incorporating found objects and architectural salvage. His principal canvas is vintage glass windows, and his works come in all sizes and shapes. To learn more, call 254-9234.

Summer show for Swannanoa Valley

The annual Members Summer Exhibit of the Swannanoa Valley Arts League opens with a free public reception 2-4 p.m. Aug. 5 at the league's newly renovated home, Red House Studios and Gallery, 310 W. State St., Black Mountain, next to the Monte Vista Hotel.

The league includes 144 artists who work in media including oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, pencil, pen and ink, photography, sculpture, clay, glass, wood, mixed media, fiber art and collage. The summer exhibit will be juried by Constance E. Richards, the author and director of the Grand Bohemian Gallery in Asheville's Biltmore Village.

The gallery is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday. Learn more at or contact curator Susan Sinyai at susansinyaiart@

Celebrate animals in Brevard

"The Living Wild," a free photography lecture and digital presentation, will be offered by photographers Hal Looney and Bill Lea at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Transylvania County Arts Council, 349 S. Caldwell St., in Brevard. A reception to meet the artists begins at 7 p.m.

The presentation is part of the council's monthlong celebration of animals. The exhibition "The Wild World of Animals" runs Aug. 8-31 at the council. Submissions will be accepted for the show through Aug. 6. The council show will also be part of the Brevard Gallery Walk, 5-8 p.m. Aug. 24. To learn more, call 884-2787 or visit

Learn to draw in Bryson City

The next Art League of the Smokies meeting will be 6:15 p.m. Thursday at Swain County Center for the Arts, 1415 Fontana Road, Bryson City.

The 83-minute DVD "Lee Hammonds's Lifelike Drawing," will be shown, covering how to draw a simple vase, furry dog, layered rose and textured pineapple using Hammond's blending technique. Anyone is welcome to attend free of charge.

To learn more, call 488-7843 or visit

Learn faux finishes in Waynesville

Join Teri Siewert of Wallchemy at Leapin' Frog Gallery 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday for a class on "Beginning Faux Finish" that will have you decorating your walls like a pro. Cost is $75, including all materials. To RSVP, call 456-8441.

Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair comes to Burnsville next weekend

The 456th annual Mount Mitchell Crafts Fair will again transform Burnsville's town square into a paradise for craft lovers this Friday and Saturday.

More than 150 juried crafters and artisans will display works such as handmade quilts, jewelry, hand-turned wooden bowls, pottery, furniture, traditional mountain instruments, soaps and lotions and stained glass art. An ample variety of food vendors will also be present.

Live music will accompany shoppers from the bandstand. Scheduled acts include Road Tripp, Revolution Unseen, Doc Hill Bluegrass Band, Barn Burners Cloggers, Rob & Hannah Levin, Eva Kroon Pike, Ron & Minnie Powell & the Lucky Streak Band and Roberta Whiteside.

To learn more, call 682-7413 or visit

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Asheville area literary and book-related events for the coming week



7/30/2012 - Asheville area literary and book-related events for the coming week
by Asheville Citizen Times


 ERICA ABRAMS LOCKLEAR: Appalachia scholar Erica Abrams Locklear discusses "Negotiating a Perilous Empowerment: Appalachian Women's Literacies" at UNC Asheville's Reuter Center, 136 Campus Drive, Asheville, 3 p.m. Tickets are required. Call 251-6140.


 BOOK DISCUSSION: "The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox" by Maggie O'Farrell is the subject at the Marshall Library, 1335 N. Main St., Marshall, 6:30 p.m. Call 649-3741.


KAY HOOPER: Best-selling author presents her new book, "Haven," at Fireside Books & Gifts, 111 W. Main St., Forest City, 5 p.m. Call 245-5188.

DENNIS MURPHY: Franklin resident and author discusses his novel, "Brain Waves," and answers questions about the book development process at the Jackson County Public Library, 310 Keener St., Sylva, 7 p.m. Call 586-2016.


BOOK DISCUSSION: "Breakfast with Buddha" by Roland Merullo is the subject at Weaverville Library, 41 N. Main St., Weaverville, 3 p.m. Call 250-6482.

BOOK DISCUSSION: Jay Jacoby leads a discussion on "The Death of Artemio Cruz" by Carlos Fuentes at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 6 p.m. Call 254-6734.

STEPHANIE PERKINS: Teen lit author talks about her books at Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood St., Asheville, 6:30 p.m. Call 250-4700.

MASTER ZHONGXIAN WU: Master Wu, co-founder of Blue Willow World Healing Center, demonstrates the healing force of Fire Dragon Meridian Qigong and discusses his book on the subject at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 7 p.m. Call 254-6734.


KAY HOOPER: Best-selling author comes to Malaprop's Bookstore/Café to sign her new book, "Haven," at 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 5 p.m. Call 254-6734.

MYSTERY WRITERS: The WNC Mysterians meet at the Atlanta Bread Co., 633 Merrimon Ave., Asheville, 6 p.m. Call 765-0571.

BOOK DISCUSSION: "Clara and Mr. Tiffany" by Susan Vreeland is the subject at East Asheville Library, 902 Tunnel Road, Asheville, 6:30 p.m. Call 250-4738.

STEPHANIE POWELL WATTS: Author reads from her new collection of short stories, "We Are Taking Only What We Need," at City Lights Bookstore, 3 E. Jackson St., Sylva, 6:30 p.m. Call 586-9499.

MATTHEW SANFORD: Yoga instructor discusses his memoir on trauma and healing, "Waking," at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, 7 p.m. Call 254-6734.


BOOK DISCUSSION: Best Books at College Walk group meets in the Activity Room at College Walk Retirement Center at 100 N. College Row, Brevard, 10:30 a.m. Call 884-3151.

LUNCHTIME POETRY AND MUSIC: Jazz piano musician Michael Jefry Stevens and poet Tina Barr perform together at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts, 225 W. State St., Black Mountain, noon. Free, but donations are accepted. Call 669-0930.

DONNIE WELCH POETRY AND MUSIC: Performance poet presents her works alongside acoustic duo Fountain Penn at Firestorm Café, 48 Commerce St., Asheville, 5 p.m. Call 255-8115.

LITERARY JOURNAL READING: Contributors to the Appalachia-focused Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel Literary Journal read their featured works at City Lights Bookstore, 3 E. Jackson St., Sylva, 6:30 p.m. Call 586-9499.


JOE COBB CRAWFORD: Author discusses and signs copies of his murder mystery set in North Georgia, "When the Chickens Come Home to Roost," at Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, 55 Haywood St., Asheville, noon. Call 254-6734.

KAY HOOPER: Best-selling author Kay Hooper presents her new book, "Haven," at City Lights Bookstore, 3 E. Jackson St., Sylva, 4 p.m. Call 586-9499.

FANTASY & SCIENCE FICTION EXTRAVAGANZA: Guest writers from the Shared Worlds Science Fiction and Fantasy Camp in South Carolina visit Malaprop's Bookstore/Café to share readings, anecdotes and information on the camp at 55 Haywood St. , Asheville, 7 p.m. Call 254-6734.

JACK PRATHER: Local author launches his new book, "Twelve Notables of Western North Carolina," at Grateful Steps Publishing House & Bookshop, 159 S. Lexington Ave., Asheville, 7 p.m. Call 277-0998.

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New Belgium reveals brewery details



7/26/2012 - New Belgium reveals brewery details
by Tony Kiss - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- New Belgium Brewing won't be serving the first beers from its new brewery here until 2015, but planning is well under way for the site, company leaders revealed at a Wednesday night meeting.

New Belgium will make many improvements to the 18-acre Craven Street property, including a European-style beer garden, improved drainage, widened roads, bike lanes and sidewalks, company officials said. "I understand that you are nervous," New Belgium CEO Kim Jordan told a standing-room-only crowd that poured into the banquet hall at U.S. Cellular Center.

"There will be impact," she said. "But we will work hard to make it right." The company is well-funded to complete the $175 million project and will ultimately hire 140 employees, she said.

"We have spent a lot of time with our bankers," she said. "I am here to tell you that we will put" up the funding to complete the project.

New Belgium, based now in Fort Collins, Colo., will outgrow its production facility there in 2014, Jordan said. "We could have built on a lot of sites. But we wanted to be on a livable, walkable site. This site will be a challenge, but we are up for that challenge."

At the meeting, conceptual brewery drawings were unveiled that included a "liquid center" tasting room, brewhouse, malt building, offices, packaging site and a cellar space. A warehouse center will be built off-site at a location not yet decided, said Jennifer Vervier, New Belgium's director of strategic development and sustainability.

"We can bring the beer from this site out to a remote warehouse, and that will make the truck traffic through the area less invasive," shes aid.

The project will be elevated to keep it out of the 100-year flood zone of the nearby French Broad River. Many trees on the site will remain, and native vegetation and a mostly dry stream bed on the property will also be restored. Of the buildings now on the old Asheville stockyard site, some will be recycled during the "deconstruction" process that will begin this fall, Vervier said. "Heavy demolition," on the property will be done in November and December and by January, "we will start moving dirt," she said.

Area transportation improvements will include widening roads, smoothing curves and adding traffic signals around the brewery, Vervier said. The brewery is working with both the city and the state Department of Transportation to make those improvements, she said.

New Belgium will initially make bottled and kegged beer, which will be sold in the eastern United States, Vervier said. The brewery will be equipped to make up to 700,000 barrels of beer annually.

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Bele Chere is a creative carnival



7/25/2012 - Bele Chere is a creative carnival
by Carol Motsinger - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- One of the newest arts addition to Bele Chere is bringing back one of the festival's favorite creative traditions.

The city's mobile art lab, Easel Rider, will return to the festival footprint this year to host a chalk art contest.

"It's the 34th year of the festival," said Diane Ruggiero, superintendent of cultural arts. "Through the different years of Bele Chere, there have been different (arts-related) things to do. This year, the Bele Chere festival folks suggested we resurrect something that we used to do ... and the chalk art contest was one of the most popular" events from the past.

The multimedia art facility will be stationed in the parking lot next to the Green Sage Coffeehouse and Cafe on College Street.

Ruggiero said chalk contest participants will have up to a 6-by-6-foot space for their piece, and prizes for first through third place will be awarded.

"We will be having some more hands-on activities that vary," she said. "There will also be a chalk mural (produced). Easel Rider is always a fun place to stop by."

Last year, the then-brand-new Easel Rider transformed into a photo booth. "The photo booth took over 3,000 photos," Ruggiero said. "What was really interesting is that we got an idea of who was coming to the festival, all these different ages and types of people. We now have a photo catalog of not the festival, but the participants, which was something we hadn't done before."

Ruggiero noted that the mobile art lab is an "experimental place" and that organizers plan on doing something different at each festival.

Also new this year: the Bele Chere poster contest art show at Zapow Gallery, 21 Battery Park, Suite 101. The exhibit features the submissions from the annual contest, as well as the winning selection.

More exhibiting artists will be featured at the Bele Chere art park, housed on Patton Avenue across from The Lobster Trap restaurant.

"We have a little over 50 artists," she said. "They are juried, and there will be a competition for the best art, and they win a cash prize."

Ruggiero said festival organizers received an increased number of applications this year. "We look to have a balance (between the different art forms," so that it's not all jewelry and photography," for instance, she said.

"Every year our jury is different, so every year different artists get in," she added. "Just because you saw it last year, don't expect it to the be the same."

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Short film shooting in Asheville this week



7/23/2012 - Short film shooting in Asheville this week
by Tony Kiss - Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- Melanie Anderson has never directed a movie, but she's stepping behind the camera to create a short drama that's filming this week in Western North Carolina.

"The Box," described as a cross between "Cold Mountain" and "The Man from Snowy River," is about a young man and woman who fall in love during the Civil War.

"In the film world, this would be a low budget independent" movie, she said.

The cast and crew of 25 will begin shooting today, with filming in South Asheville, Fairview, Gerton, Hickory Nut Gorge and Chimney Rock.

The cast includes her son David Topp, a fast-rising young actor who has accumulated a number of independent film and TV credits.

Others in the film include Grammy and Dove award-winner Elijah Chester (who will appear in Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln"), Taylor-Grace Davis and Glennellen Anderson.

Melanie Anderson, who formerly worked in office management, began pursuing a film career about five years ago as a script supervisor and production assistant on films around the Southeast.

"You start at the bottom and work your way up," shes said. "I've never directed before, but I have a lot of experience in films. It's been a learning experience."

The film was written by Kimberly B. Davis, who lives in Rutherford County. It shifts between the Civil War era where a romance is kindled and contemporary times where a high school student makes a discovery that connects her to those long-ago days.

The film was written two years ago, but the project was put on hold until Anderson connected with veteran movie-maker Duane A. Sikes, who is serving as executive producer and brought financing to the film.

Anderson is planning to submit "The Box" to film festivals.

"The ultimate goal would be to turn it into a full-length film that would be shown theatrically,' she said.

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Downtown After 5 returns Friday



7/20/2012 - Downtown After 5 returns Friday
by Mountain XPress

Downtown After 5, presented by Harmony Motors, continues on Friday, July 20, from 5-9pm with Sol Driven Train taking the stage following local opener, Common Foundation. Taking place the 3rd Friday of the month from May through September, Downtown After 5 is located at N. Lexington Avenue and I-240 and is always free.

Hailing from Charleston, SC, Sol Driven Train seamlessly mixes Southern rock, languid world-beat, funk and downright catchy melodies with a punchy horn section adding an extra dimension of soul. Playing a blend of reggae, rocksteady and uptempo ska, and outfitted with a big band style horn section, Common Foundation is a perfect opener.

Thirsty concert-goers will find plenty to wet their whistle including local brews from Highland Brewing Company, Pisgah Brewing, Asheville Brewing Company and French Broad Brewing Company. Plus, regional favorites Sierra Nevada, SweetWater Brewing and Magic Hat Brewing as well as national brands from Budweiser and Empire Distributing will be on tap. Wine and water will also be available for purchase.

To purchase alcohol attendees will need to show a valid picture ID and buy a $2 wristband. Proceeds from wristband sales for July's event support Asheville Buncombe Youth Soccer Association. ABYSA is a not-for-profit organization providing children and families in Western North Carolina with both recreational and competitive soccer programs

From sandwiches to pizza and ice cream to tacos, food vendors offer a something for everyone's taste.

Downtown After 5 is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and features a solar-powered stage, complimentary bike corral, compostable food and beverage containers, and staffed recycling and compost bins. Since implementing its greening initiative, the event has reduced the number of bags headed to the landfill to just a handful.

Downtown After 5 is a production of the Asheville Downtown Association, a nonprofit organization committed to the preservation and improvement of the central business district.

More information about Downtown After 5 and the Asheville Downtown Association can be found online at or by following through social media including Facebook ( and Twitter (@AvilleDowntown).

Read the full article

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Bele Chere headed to Asheville next week



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 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.

Blackberry Smoke plays at 8:15 p.m. July 27 at Bele Chere's Coxe Avenue stage. / Special to the Citizen-Times

stephaniesid, featuring singer Stephanie Morgan, plays at 2:45 p.m. July 29 at Bele Chere's Haywood Street stage. / Special to the Citizen-Times/Special to the Citizen Times



What: Bele Chere festival.
When: July 27-29.
Where: Downtown Asheville.
Admission: Free.
Learn more:

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Big bike races in Asheville area this weekend



7/19/2012 - Big bike races in Asheville area this weekend
by Karen Chavez-Asheville Citizen Times

ASHEVILLE -- Adam Ray competes in so many bicycle races each year, sometimes he can't keep them straight.

Except when it comes to his hometown race -- the French Broad Cycling Classic -- which highlights the beauty of the mountains, the high-caliber cycling talent and the bonding spirit of the biking community.

The three-day race runs Friday through Sunday on courses around Asheville and is one of the last "true omniums" in the Southeast, said Ray, president of the Asheville Bicycle Racing Club, which puts on the longtime event each summer.

"It's one of my favorites. It's gorgeous course, and it's local, and your friends and people you work with get to come out and see you race," said Ray, who rides with Team DIY Music presented by Chainheart Cycling Studio and works as a transition coach for SUWS of the Carolinas.

The French Broad Classic is an omnium -- a multistage points race, sort of like a mini-Tour de France -- that consists of three separate races in a variety of categories for juniors, amateurs, professionals and masters riders. It also will bring out the support of the biking community for a fallen cyclist.

Ray said cyclists will hold a benefit for Marlon Cleghorn, an Asheville cyclist who was hit by a car while riding on Airport Road in late June and suffered serious injuries. The benefit will be 6-10 p.m. Saturday at Beer City Bicycles, sponsored by ABRC and French Broad Brewing Co.

The race kicks off Friday night with the Beer City Bicycles Time Trial, said race director Richard Dunn.

"It's still the same course -- a 20K time trial in Marshall," Dunn said. "But this year it's a Merckx-style race -- no time trial equipment will be allowed in this event, to make the playing field more even. No one can use high-dollar time trial equipment. They must use regular road bikes and helmets."

The Liberty Bicycles Road Race on Saturday is still a 40-mile course starting in Marshall, but the juniors course has been modified, Dunn said. It will be a 17-mile course starting at Mars Hill College at noon and finishing on Old 19/23.

The grand finale is the Chainheart Cycling Studio Criterium on Sunday, returning to the highly visible River Arts District.

"The criterium was first in the River Arts District in 2006, '07 and '08," Dunn said. "Because of road construction, it moved to the South Asheville course. Now we're getting an extremely warm reception from the River Arts merchants. It will be a very nice, fast spectator event."

The half-mile, closed-loop, triangular-shaped course will start at 201 Clingman Ave., across from The Grey Eagle. The first turn is Clingman and Haywood, turn 2 is Haywood and Roberts, and turn 3 is Roberts and Clingman, a "180-degree turn, where we will have a festival atmosphere."

"This is probably the best spectator race you'll ever see, except for maybe the Tour de France, because of the frequency you will see the riders," Dunn said. "There will be music and beer from the Wedge and a professional finish line."

The criterium draws the most competitors over the weekend, but many riders will race in all three events, Dunn said. He is expecting more than 1,000 starts, with riders coming from across the Southeast. There is a bigger cash purse this year -- $8,000.

"This is a must-do regional event. People who come each year, with their families and stay for vacation," he said. "We have a lot of return riders because of quality. An event like this takes a phenomenal amount of dedicated volunteers. They are the key to the success of the race."

"One of the huge draws for the race is Asheville," said Ray, who will compete in the omnium. "People adore Asheville. You can bring your family and go to a B&B or hotel or the Biltmore Estate."

He said the club is working to encourage more junior riders to get involved with the sport.

Cycling is currently getting a big boost in interest with the Tour de France, which ends Sunday, and from the London Olympics starting next week, in which Asheville cyclist Lauren Tamayo, who has raced in the French Broad, will compete in track cycling.

"Being able to have a race in mountains with a lot of climbing, it suits a unique kind of racing," Ray said. "It is more spectator-friendly. It makes for really dynamic racing."


What: French Broad Cycling Classic, a three-day race omnium Friday, Saturday and Sunday with an $8,800 purse plus cash prizes, hosted by the Asheville Bicycle Racing Club.
When: The Beer City Bicycles 20K Time Trial starts at 5 p.m. Friday in Marshall; the 40-mile Liberty Bicycles Road Race (17 miles for Juniors) starts at 8 a.m. Saturday in Marshall; and the Chainheart Cycling Studio Criterium starts at 8 a.m. Sunday in the Asheville River Arts District.
Entry fees for all three races: $25 for Juniors; $80 for Women Cat. 4, 5 and Citizens; and $90 for all other categories. Individual race fees available. Spectators watch for free.
Register: Online at through noon Friday for time trial, 10 p.m. Friday for road race and 10 p.m. Saturday for criterium. Race-day registration available for road race and criterium. Podium presentations for the omnium are 15 minutes after each event.
Learn more: Visit

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