Filed under: Events

A good night to get to know your neighbors: National Night Out Crime Prevention Kick-Off Rally Aug. 5

The Asheville Police and Fire Departments and Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office, with the sponsorship support of Target, Inc., will host a local National Night Out (NNO) kick-off event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 5.

NNO social media

NNO is a nationwide, annual crime prevention and community policing event. NNO events are designed to strengthen neighborhood spirit and community-law enforcement collaboration by promoting crime prevention.

The local kick off will be held at Carrier Park on Amboy Road in West Asheville.

Neighborhoods are invited to participate in the family oriented kick off celebration, which will feature food, a raffle of prizes provided by Target including 20 inch bikes (two for girls and two for boys), backyard games with law enforcement officers and public safety vehicles. KISS FM/99.9 and LEAF and the Easel Rider Mobile Art Lab will be at the event to provide entertainment for kids and adults. Public safety officers will be available to offer tips and facts about crime prevention.

After the kick off, neighbors are encouraged to return home to hold community oriented events in their neighborhood. Local law enforcement officers are available year-round to help neighborhoods develop strategies to build community and neighborhood solidarity against crime.

This year’s sponsorship is part of the ongoing support that Target, Inc. provides to local law enforcement agencies and community groups throughout the country.

Click below for video about National Night Out.

For more information about local National Night Out activities and ongoing crime prevention strategies, contact Natalie Bailey, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office Public Information Officer, at or 250-4469 or Keith McCulloch, City of Asheville Crime Prevention Officer at or 259-5834.

In the event of bad weather, please check the Recreation Weather Hotline to see if the event will take place as scheduled. The Weather Hotline number is 251-4082.

For more information about the national initiative, visit

Leave a Comment July 31, 2014

2013 Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day Ceremony

On Monday, May 27, the City of Asheville Mayor’s Committee on Veterans Affairs and Buncombe County presented the 2013 Memorial Day ceremony at Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park.

The ceremony commemorates the sacrifice and service that men and women have given in the name of protecting the nation, and was attended by veterans and serving members of all branches of the military as well as by public safety and emergency response personnel. Families, friends and supporters filled the park’s seating area to pay tribute to those who have fallen in battle.

“The men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country belong to an elite rank of individuals,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.

A slideshow of Monday’s ceremony can be viewed below.

Created with Admarket’s flickrSLiDR.

Leave a Comment May 28, 2013

Celebrate Holiday Tails at the WNC Nature Center

From the WNC Nature Center. This is always a fun time to come out and see the critters:

The Western North Carolina Nature Center celebrates winter with its popular “Holiday Tails” event on Saturday December 1st from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. The event will feature games, crafts, special animal presentations and a special visit from Santa.

All activities are included with paid admission to the WNC Nature Center. Admission is $6 for adults ($8 for non-Asheville residents), $5 for seniors ($7 for non-Asheville residents), $4 for youth ages 3-15 and children age 2 and under are free.

For more information including directions and special programs visit the WNC Nature Center website at

Holiday Tails City of Asheville
The WNC Nature Center is a service of the City of Asheville that features over 220 animals native to the Southern Appalachians including red wolves, otters, birds of prey, black bears, and reptiles. The Nature Center is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Leave a Comment November 27, 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

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

Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day Ceremony 2012

Monday, May 28 saw the commemoration of Memorial Day in a ceremony held on Roger McGuire Green in Pack Square Park and presented by The City of Asheville Mayor’s Committee on Veterans Affairs and Buncombe County.

Memorial Day 2012The ceremony commemorates the sacrifice and service that men and women have given in the name of protecting the nation, and was attended by veterans and serving members of all branches of the military as well as by public safety and emergency response personnel. Families, friends and supporters filled the park’s seating area to pay tribute to those who have fallen in battle.

“We do it by remembering. We do it by honoring the sacrifice they made,” said the keynote ceremony’s speaker, retired Naval CEC Capt. Kenneth J. Vasilik. “I believe those who died in battle want us to remember them. And we do remember them.”

Memorial Day 2012Vasilik commemorated the 70th anniversary of the sinking of the USS Asheville shortly after the invasion of Pearl Harbor and the 132 men who died in the attack.

Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy and Buncombe County Board Chair David Gantt laid the ceremonial wreath, a presentation that was followed by a moment of silence, a 21-gun salute by the Asheville Police Department Honor Guard, and a rendition of taps.

Asheville Police Chaplains Kent Withington and Wayne Roper gave the invocation and benediction, and Buncombe County Commissioner Bill Stanley led the Pledge of Allegiance and closing comments.

Memorial Day 2012 Memorial Day 2012

Click here to see more pictures from the 2012 Asheville-Buncombe Memorial Day observation.

Leave a Comment May 29, 2012

Goombay wraps up 30th year

ASHEVILLE – The 2011 edition of the African-Caribbean “Goombay!” festival once again drew hundreds of people to the Eagle/Market Streets area, the historic heart of Asheville’s black community.

Each year for three days, Goombay fills Eagle and Market – also called The Block – with marching bands, African-America dancers, stilt walkers, as well as gospel, reggae and contemporary R&B singers.

This year, music was also staged on the Roger McGuire Green, in the heart of City/County Plaza.

Reggae Infinity helped to kick off the first day of the 2011 edition of Goombay.

Goombay vendors sell everything from jerk chicken, to fried whitefish, lemonade and fried Twinkies, in addition to handmade crafts, soaps and colorful clothing.

Colorful wares on sale at Goombay.

Colorful wares on sale at Goombay 2011.

Goombay, according to organizers, is as a cultural expression of a people who endured slavery in Bermuda, and who also have roots in Africa and the West Indies. Goombay is actually a form of Bahamian music and a drum used to create it. The goombay drum is a membranophone – an instrument that produces sound primarily through a vibrating stretched membrane – with one goat skin head held between the legs and played with the hands or sticks.

A stilt walker surveys the scene Friday evening at Goombay 2011.

A stilt walker surveys the scene Friday evening at Goombay 2011.

Asheville’s Goombay festival receives support from the City of Asheville, Buncombe County, Budweiser, Pepsi, Progress Energy, Mission Health System, MEDIC, Home Depot, BP Solutions, Fraternal Order of Police (Asheville Lodge #1), TD Bank, Alsco Linens & McGill Associates.

Waiting in the beverage line on the Roger McGuire Green at Goombay.

Goombay is made possible with support from the Friends of the YMI, as well as newer partnerships with organizations including Asheville City Market, Clear Channel Radio, UNC Asheville, Asheville

GreenWorks, GO!, WNC Alliance, Limones and Simma Down Caribbean Cafe.

Also this year, Asheville Greenworks and Danny’s Dumpsters partnered to make recycling a new part of the festival’s tradition.

Learn more at

Getting creative at an art space set up by Asheville Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts.

A young artist at work.

A young artist at work.

Leave a Comment August 29, 2011

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