Archives – July, 2012

Bele Chere Top 10 Things to Know: The Booths and The Bands

#2: Art booths abound

If you want to duck out of the sun and see some great examples of handcraft and art, there are nearly 150 chances to do so at Bele Chere. That’s how many artists and craftspeople set up for the festival this weekend.

From paintings to metal works to woodcarving to eclectic and inventive items, Bele Chere booths house a great variety of artworks, clothing, photography and jewelry. And you often get a chance to chat up the artist who made them. It is an opportunity to browse, shop and take in the colorful, vibrant and imaginative arts community that populates the Bele Chere festival.

Click here to see all of the artists taking part in Bele Chere 2012.

#1: The Bands!
bcband- (3)For three days the music will soar in downtown Asheville and the crowds will soak it in. Free live music is the pulse of the festival and there are so many kinds to enjoy this year.

From local favorites like CrazyHorse and Colston and the Swayback Sisters, to national acts like Brandi Carlile and the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, there is music to capture fans of all kinds.

Over the past few years, there has been an increased focus on local and regional musicians, giving festival goers a healthy slice of what music in WNC is all about, and this lineup is no different. Then there are the touring acts that bring their own sounds to the party. Together, these bands make Bele Chere a three-day smorgasbord for music lovers.

See the full lineup below and click here for the schedule of times and stages.

Antique Firearms ~ The Archrivals ~ ArtOfficial ~ Aunt bcband- (5)Martha ~ Baby Rattlesnakes ~ Balsam Range ~ Blackberry Smoke ~ BoomBox ~ Boys in the Well ~ Brani Carlile ~ The Buchanan Boys ~ CrazyHorse & Colston ~ The Critters ~ David Holt & The Lightening Bolts ~ David Mayfield Parade ~ David Wax Museum ~ Delta Rae ~ Doc Aquatic ~ Dr. Dog ~ Ethan Andrew McMahan “Easy” ~ Grown Up Avenger Stuff ~ Inner Visions ~ Jody Medford & Cash Creek ~ Jonathan Scales Fourchestra ~ Kovacs & the Polar Bear ~ Lacy Green ~ Larry Keel & Natural Bridge ~ Lorraine Conrad Band ~ Los Amigos Invisibles ~ Lucero ~ Lyric ~ Michael Reno Harrell ~ Papa Grows Funk ~ Randall Bramblett ~ Sanctum Sully ~ Spicy Moustace & the Flavor Saviors ~ stephaniesid ~ The Swayback Sisters ~ Tennessee Hollow ~ The Travis Smith Project ~ Whitney Moore ~ Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band

Leave a Comment July 26, 2012

Bele Chere Top 10 Things to Know: navigating the festival and doing it safely

bele chere logo#4: Find your way

One of the best parts of Bele Chere is wandering around the festival, running into unexpected friends and searching for treasures in artist booths or stumbling upon a fantastic street performer.

But sometimes, you want to get somewhere right now, be it a band or a bathroom, and you need to know how to make it from A to B.

Attendees can find information booths scattered throughout the Bele Chere grounds, both on the perimeter and in the center of the festival. Once there, volunteers are available to point the way and hand out festival maps.

There will also be roving information booths meandering about among the festival crowd and dishing out directions to fellow wanderers. Look for the people carrying signs that say “Bele Chere Info.” They know where to go.

For a peek at what to expect this year, click on this map of the festival layout or download your own printable copy here.


This information and more can be found at

#3: Enjoy Bele Chere safely

The Bele Chere festival is a great time full of free music, fun and performance, but it is also hot, crowded, subject to thunderstorms and sunshine alike. So make sure to enjoy it safely by following these tips from Asheville Fire Department Public Information Officer Kelley Klope:
Bele Chere crowd
Be prepared for crowds – think about the shoes you wear and the items you bring.
Because of the crowds, strollers are difficult to maneuver around.

Temperatures at Bele Chere are often very hot – prepare with sunscreen, water and protective clothing.

Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Water, juice, sports drinks or even milk will help. Soda is not an effective hydrator.

Watch your intake of alcoholic beverages. Drinking alcohol, even the day before exposure to heat, can exacerbate dehydration.

“Especially be aware of your children and limit their exposure to the heat and sun,” Klope says. “Please listen to your body and its reaction to the heat and sun and try not to wait until it is too late.” Take breaks in air conditioning or shade and take advantage of the misting tents located at Bele Chere.

Wear loose, light fitting clothing and a hat or use an umbrella to protect yourself from the sun.

Sudden thunderstorms often erupt in afternoons. Bring umbrellas or rain gear and be aware of safe places to go for cover (example – parking garages).

Asheville Fire Department will be onsite to treat injuries and heat-related issues, so seek help if you or someone in your party is experiencing problems. First-aid tents will be located at the corners of Patton Avenue and Church Street and at College Street and Lexington Avenue.

Leave a Comment July 26, 2012

Bele Chere Top 10 Things to Know: Kids, yes! Pets, no!

Bele Chere logoNo.6: Bring the Kids!

Not only are kids welcome at Bele Chere, we have a whole area of the festival designed just for them. Located inside the U.S. Cellular Center, the Children’s Area is a great place to cool off and explore a great variety of games, rides and crafts.

“Kids are interested in so many things, you just can’t go wrong.” says Basil Punsalan, Event Specialist with the City of Asheville. “There is always something new going on.”

The alcohol-free Children’s Area lets kids be kids (and gives parents a break) with the Frog Hopper ride, laser tag and inflatables to jump around in. There are also plenty of free events, art activities and presentations from fun and interesting groups like the WNC Nature Center, the Colburn Science Museum and the Urban Arts Institute.

Thanks to all the non-profits and volunteers who help make the Children’s Area happen year after year.

See the Children’s Area performance schedule below, and find out more information at

Friday, July 27
1:00 – 2:00: Sun Soo Tae kwon Do
2:00 – 3:00: Asheville Area Music Together
3:00 – 4:00: Urban Arts Institute
5:00 – 6:00: Pretty Pitches Vocal Group
6:00 – 7:00: Elevate School of Life and Art Variety Show

Saturday, July 28
10:00 – 11:00: Asheville Area Music Together
11:00 – 12:00: WNC Nature Center
12:00 – 1:00: Animal Party
1:00 – 2:00: Kron Kids Story time
2:00 – 4:00: Rock Academy NC
4:00 – 5:00: Urban Arts Institute
5:00 – 6:00: Youth at Jazz
6:00 – 7:00: Mountain Thunder Cloggers

Sunday, July 29
12:00 – 1:00: WNC Nature Center
1:00 – 2:00: Asheville Fire Department
3:00 – 5:00: Asheville Music School

No. 5: DON’T bring the pets

Animals are not allowed in the Bele Chere festival boundaries, yes even the well-behaved ones. We know that pets are part of the family, but the crowds, the heat and the noises of the festival make it an unhappy place for dogs.

But please, do not leave pets in your car either. It is July after all, and that kind of heat is deadly to pets. Instead, for those people who can’t bear to leave pets at home (or those who get caught bringing their four legged friends into Bele Chere) there is Doggie Jail, a temporary kennel set up by the City of Asheville and operated by the Animal Compassion Network.

Located in front of Asheville City Hall and safely outside the festival, Doggie Jail is a fenced area with kennels provided by the WNC Nature Center. Owners pay $5 per hour to board their dogs, with a $20 maximum. Proceeds go to the Animal Compassion Network.

Volunteers, animal lovers all, give the pets attention and walks on a regular basis so that pet owners can wander the festival knowing their furry friends are taken care of.

Doggie Jail will operate Friday, 12p.m.-8p.m., Saturday 10a.m.-8p.m, and Sunday 12-6p.m.

This video gives a great perspective on why Bele Chere’s party animals should only be of the human variety:

See the whole Top 10 list (so far) here.

1 Comment July 24, 2012

20 academy graduates join Asheville Police Department force

On July 19, cadets who recently completed the Asheville Police Department’s police academy earned their badges and the city’s department grew by 20. Gathered at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College and accompanied by family, friends, City of Asheville employees and City Council members, the cadets were sworn in by Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.

APD grads“You have finished a milestone in your careers. Congratulations. Celebrate that fact. Own it,” the Mayor said.

Bellamy also called upon the new officers to uphold the department’s guiding principles of integrity, fairness, respect and professionalism.

“Remember that one person can make a big impact on a department,” Bellamy said.

APD graduationEach of the 20 cadets completed a rigorous program that included 35 blocks of instruction and 624 hours of training, physical tests, and a series of exams to stay in the program through graduation.

“You have gone through some really difficult times in order to wear this badge and represent this department,” said APD Chief William Anderson.

Class speaker Jose Maldonado reminisced about the bonds created with his fellow officers while in the academy, and said that those bonds would grow even stronger as they served on the APD force.

APD graduation“I learned a lot from being with you guys,” Maldonado said. “Go out and do great things.”

Once sworn in, the new officers each had their badges pinned on by family members and supporters. The officers will be assigned to a Field Training Officer in the department before being allowed to patrol on their own.

The 2012 Asheville PD Cadets are: Wilson Bunn, Orlando Burge, Adam Cabe, David Cohen, Chris Dennis, Ian Grant, Denise Jackson, Krystale Jones, Josh Kingry, Dmitri Kirnos, Traci Kruthaupt, Oksana Kulakova, Derek Laffin, Ian Luther, Jose Maldonado, Christopher Morrow, Mario Rodriguez, Brandon Shope, Brett Thomas and Ty Wilson.
APD Grads

The Asheville Police Department Police Academy is a collaboration between APD and Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

APD Graduation

APD Grads

Leave a Comment July 23, 2012

The Bele Chere Top 10 Things to Know: Getting there and parking there

beleherelogoThe 2012 Bele Chere Festival is just around the corner, taking place in downtown Asheville July 27-29. As excitement builds for the big weekend, we are presenting “Bele Chere: Top 10 Things to Know.”

See more information about Bele Chere 2012 at

No. 8: You don’t have to drive

You think we would throw a major event like Bele Chere a not show up with some way to get to the festival without driving? Multi-modal is the motto in Asheville!

Buses: The ART will be operating throughout the three days of the festival, dropping off all routes at the ART station, only one block form the Bele Chere boundary. You can even plan your trip ahead of time and keep up with transit detours during the festival at

Shuttles: The Bele Chere shuttles have become a crowd favorite, allowing festivalgoers to park at satellite stations and let someone else do the downtown driving. In 2011, the shuttles transported a grand total of 12,786 passengers to the festival. Two park and ride stations will be operating – an East shuttle at the Asheville Mall parking lot in front of Sears, and a West Shuttle at the K-Mart parking area on Patton Avenue. Like the ART buses, round trip fare is $2.

Bicycle: While bikes aren’t allowed inside the festival, they are a great way to get to the party. And leaving them in a safe place is no problem since Asheville on Bikes, Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and other organizations in the bicycle community host a great Bike Corral on Patton Avenue between Asheland and Coxe Avenues.

Or walk: If you are one of the lucky folks who live near or in downtown, just hoof it to the festival. You’re going to put on a lot of miles seeing and hearing all of the great things at Bele Chere. What’s a couple of more?

See more about getting around Bele Chere 2012 at

No. 7: But if you DO drive, City of Asheville parking decks await

Parking signDriving into Bele Chere? Don’t get caught snaking through side streets looking for the best deal. City of Asheville parking decks are open for business and located on Wall Street, Rankin Avenue and behind the U.S. Cellular Center.

“The city garages are the best deal in town. We charge $5 per car and we are in the heart of the festival,” says Parking Services manager Harry Brown. “Ironically, folks think we’ll be full and park further out while our decks, especially the Civic Center garage, usually have spaces available.”

Brown cautions drivers against parking in private lots around downtown. Many of those lots have posted notices limiting who can park there and cars can be subject to towing and fines. “I would hate for someone to park and enjoy the festival only to find their vehicle towed,” Brown says.

Check back for more of the Bele Chere Top 10, and Follow Bele Chere 2012 on Facebook and Twitter!


Leave a Comment July 20, 2012

The Bele Chere Top 10 things to know: Volunteers and nonprofits

belecherelogoThe 2012 Bele Chere Festival is just around the corner, taking place in downtown Asheville July 27-29. As excitement builds for the big weekend, we are kicking off “Bele Chere: Top 10 Things to Know.” Check back for more as we get closer and closer to the big event!

See more information about Bele Chere 2012 at

No. 10: Volunteers make it work

“Our Bele Chere volunteers are indispensable,” says Sandra Travis, the City of Asheville’s festival program supervisor. “The whole thing depends on them. They are the ambassadors for Bele Chere.”

More than 185 volunteers work shifts totaling almost 1,000 hours over the festival’s three days, from staffing information booths to working the children’s area to managing vendor setup and breakdown. “We just couldn’t do it without them,” Travis says.

bele chere volunteersFortunately, there are volunteers who return every year to be part of the Southeast’s largest outdoor street festival and some have been coming back for 15 years or more.

“There is a kind of person who wants to be involved. They want to be part of the festival, not just a spectator” Travis says. “For that group, it’s kind of a reunion every year.”

But there are also new volunteers who show up every year, and there’s still room to jump on board for Bele Chere 2012. “It’s a great way to meet new people, have fun and be a part of something all at the same time,” Travis says.

Want to give it a try? Volunteer information and an interest form are available on the official Bele Chere website at or by calling (828) 259-5800. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age and volunteers who work at least one 3.5 hour shift will receive a free Bele Chere t-shirt and snacks during their shift.

No. 9: Nonprofits get a Bele Chere boost

The Bele Chere festival is a huge event for the City of Asheville and a great party for music fans, families and art lovers. But for area nonprofits, the festival is also a major fund raising opportunity.

Nonprofits operate beverage stations, sell wrist bands and staff shuttle locations, and in return, receive a percentage of the revenue.

bele chere nonprofitsCompetition to be part of the festival by nonprofits is high – 27 groups are selected every year out of a field of nearly twice that number. “For a lot of these groups, this is the biggest fundraiser of the year,” Travis says.

But it’s also a great opportunity to get exposure and get their message out there; nonprofit groups wear T-shirts, hang banners and distribute materials to educate the public about their cause. And, Travis says, it’s just plain fun.

Nonprofits participating in Bele Chere 2012 are:

Animal Compassion Network
Asheville Area Paralegal Association
Asheville Biltmore Rotary Club
Animal Haven
Asheville Ski Club
Beta Omicron
Cataloochee Ski Patrol
Coven Oldenwilde
Differently Abled News Network
Engineers without Borders
Explorer Post, APD
Gizeh Temple
Green Opportunities
Junior Miss
Knights of Columbus
Mountain Voices Alliance
Phi Beta Lambda
Sole Hope
St. James AME Church
St. John’s Episcopal Church
St. Paul’s Methodist Church
The Mediation Center
West Asheville Rotary Club
Wild South
Youth Outright

Follow Bele Chere 2012 on Facebook and Twitter!

Leave a Comment July 16, 2012

20 years on the force: APD’s Sgt. Danny Holden retires

On July 9, friends, family and colleagues gathered to mark the retirement of Sgt. Danny Holden and celebrate his 20 years with the Asheville Police Department.

Sgt. Danny Holden retirementHolden has a law enforcement career under his belt that totals nearly 30 years, having come to the APD from the Transylvania County Sheriff’s Department in 1992. In 1999, he began his role as a drug interdiction officer and is especially noted for his work combating drug activity in several roles. He served on multiple drug task forces including the Drug Suppression Unit, Criminal Investigations Drug Unit and the Buncombe County Anti-Crime Task Force and collaborated with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Holden’s skill at drug enforcement made a big impression on the officers around him.

“Our drug unit would not be what it is if not for Danny,” said Capt. Tim Splain. “On the road, the DSU, the BCAT, officers want to be the type of drug agent he is. We are indebted to Danny and his skills.”

The APD and the City of Asheville thank Sgt. Holden for his dedicated service and wish him a happy retirement.

Leave a Comment July 13, 2012

Sam Powers named 2012 Economic Developer of the Year

Congratulations to Sam! From a NCEDA press release:

Asheville’s Sam Powers receives the 2012 Economic Developer of the Year Award

RALEIGH, NC – The North Carolina Economic Developers Association selected Sam Powers, Director of Economic Development for the City of Asheville, as the 2012 Economic Developer of the Year in recognition of his outstanding achievement.

Sam Powers“Sam Powers’ tremendous work ethic has resulted in significant revenue and job creation throughout the greater Asheville area,” stated Bonnie Renfro, NCEDA president. “This award is a small recognition compared to the impact he has made in his community and throughout our state.”

As indicated in his nomination and numerous letters of recommendation from his peers, Powers overcame obstacles and worked tirelessly over the past year to create a clear and innovative vision for economic development. Powers played a critical role in bringing new projects to the City of Asheville. He was instrumental in negotiating a Site Location Agreement with Lionsgate Productions to allow filming of the blockbuster film, Hunger Games at Asheville’s North Folk Reservoir. The project has brought more than $5 million in direct economic impact.

Powers also represented the City in regional efforts to bring new business ventures to the Asheville area, including Linamar Corporations, creating 175 jobs within five years. Because of Powers’ strategic partnership with city and county officials, Asheville was chosen to host the Southern Conference Basketball Championships, bringing a $4 million impact, as well as national publicity, to the area.

Over the past few years, Powers has worked to renovate and establish a Naming Rights Agreement for the Asheville Civic Center. He is responsible for securing funding for the renovation including the new Naming Rights Agreement with U.S. Cellular Corporation. These partnerships have led to a successful $10 million renovation for the newly named U.S. Cellular Center.

Powers is also an active leader in the economic development industry. He co-chaired the Local Organizing Committee for the Southern Economic Development Council and helped plan the association’s 2011 Annual Conference in Asheville. He also served on the steering committee to develop a regional sports commission in the Asheville area.

“I greatly appreciate this recognition,” said Powers as he received the award at NCEDA’s Annual Conference. “It is all about having great teammates. We have great teammates within the city and great partnerships throughout Asheville and Buncombe County.”


The North Carolina Economic Developers Association is the leading statewide association of professional economic developers and their allies in North Carolina. The nearly 600 members promote the state and its communities as places for new economic activity. They are on the front line of economic development in North Carolina. Based in Raleigh, NCEDA provides professional development, advocacy and information services for its members. For more information, visit NCEDA’s website,

Click here for more about the City of Asheville’s Office of Economic Development.

Leave a Comment July 11, 2012

Ingles Independence Day Celebration, July 4th, 2012

What’s happening on the 4th? Here’s the word from the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department:

The City of Asheville invites you to join us for the Ingles Independence Day Celebration. A free event for the whole family, the festivities start at 4:00 p.m. at Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville.  The day will feature live entertainment by Chad Mackey, Lyric, and Bayou Diesel beginning at 4:30 p.m. with a fireworks finale at 9:30 p.m.

FireworksBunch2There will also be a wide range of family activities including free face painting, old-fashioned family games, inflatable rides, and much more.  The Sons of the American Revolution will return again this year to offer a patriotic tribute to our country.  There will also be a variety of food from local vendors, as well as Budweiser and Pepsi beverage products for sale.

For more information about the Ingles Independence Day Celebration, contact Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department at 828-259-5800 or visit . The event is produced by the City of Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts Department with support from Ingles, Budweiser, and Clear Channel radio.

Leave a Comment July 3, 2012

Reaching Out Together to address homelessness and illegal camping **VIDEO**

As the temperature rises, so do reports of illegal camping in Asheville. Many of these campers are experiencing some level of homelessness.

In addressing the problem of illegal camping, the Asheville Police Department and the Asheville/Buncombe Homeless Initiative is partnering with service providers to make sure people in the camps are informed about local options like the VA Medical Center, ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters and A HOPE. The following video, “Reaching Out Together,” highlights a push to reinforce the relationships between the homeless, local service providers and police.

Camping on public property is illegal and a problem from the aspects of both health and public safety. Camping on private property without consent of the property owner is also illegal. When complaints are received from the community, APD gives campers a seven-day notice to pack up their camps. The notification includes contact information to help people get in touch with available service providers.

“We don’t want to go in there and just kick someone out. The overall goal shifts from plain enforcement to letting them know what the available resources are,” said APD Officer Jackie Stepp. “And that we want to see them get off the streets. I think most people appreciate that approach.”

In the video, APD officers, ABCCM Veterans Restoration Quarters, AHOPE and City of Asheville representatives visit illegal camps to find common solutions that work for groups that are often perceived as being at opposing ends of the homelessness issue.

Click here to see more videos on the City of Asheville’s YouTube channel.

Leave a Comment July 3, 2012

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