Area Info / Bele Chere Festival 2008

Bele Chere Festival 2008

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Pack Square during Bele Chere

Held July 25 - 27, 2008, Bele Chere Festival was a must-attend event for everyone. Celebrating its third decade as the Southeast's largest free street festival, Bele Chere spans the entirety of downtown Asheville. As central downtown is barricaded off, innumerable street vendors will have booths selling everything from antiques to zarapes. Not only does Bele Chere promise a good time for you and your family, but also has countless activities and venues from which to choose. Among the variety at the Festival: great food, excellent music, fun events, arts & crafts areas, and of course a beautiful view of the Western North Carolina mountains.

The many facets of Bele Chere

The Music

As always, the music at Bele Chere will make even the most shy patrons dance with joy. With music ongoing practically the entire time that Bele Chere is open, there is never a shortage of great performers to entertain. Among the lineup in 2008 were Afromotive, Cowboy Mouth, De Lions of Jah, Edwin McCain, Snake Oil Medicine Show, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Wailers and so many more.

The Food

The smell that permeates the air at Bele Chere Festival is unforgettable. Along with some of the best local Asheville restaurants, there are also a great variety of street vendors all over the Festival. Among the many varieties of food are: Greek, Mexican, Italian, Caribbean, Chinese, French, Indian and countless others. Truly a taste of world cuisine, the vendors selling gyros, pizza, chicken-on-a-stick, burgers and more offer flavors that will leave you satisfied.

The Events

There are always a vast array of events at Bele Chere. To highlight a few:

  • Purina Ultimate Air Dogs: (Times vary, see web-site) A challenge for your your best friend's friends! Ingles sponsors this one-of-a-kind event, where dogs from around the nation compete to get the long-jump diving record.
  • Rashad McCants' Shoot for the Cure: (Fri, Sat, Sun until 3PM) Minnesota Timberwolves superstar and Asheville native hosts a half-court shooting contest. The proceeds will go to fund Feed the Children and Big Brothers Big Sisters, Western North Carolina.
  • Be a Kiss Country Asheville Star: (pre-qualified singing Fri, Sat; finals Sun) Those who participated in local country station KISS 99.9's contest and pre-qualified for the event will sing throughout Bele Chere, with the finals to determine the winner on Sunday.

Other Information

Q: What does "Bele Chere" mean?
A: From ancient Scottish dialect, "Bele Chere" translates to "Beautiful Living"

Q: Is parking available downtown?
A: Yes, but it is very limited in comparison to normal downtown parking. The Civic Center, Rankin Ave., Wall St. and BB&T parking decks will be open, but charge a high fee. Also available in many areas directly outside the roped festival enclosure are private surface lots, also charging high fees (generally in excess of $10 for the day). For handicapped patrons, free parking is available at any metered space outside of the roped boundary.

Q: Are we allowed to drink beer?
A: Yes. However, there are restrictions. Outside beer is not allowed, and patrons are required to purchase an over-21 wristband before being served alcohol. It is not an indication of age, however, so be prepared to show ID. Please see the official web-site for more on this policy.

Q: What about pets?
A: Unfortunately for pet lovers, pets are not allowed inside of the festival grounds. However, this is a good policy as the streets are always completed saturated with humans!

As always, enjoy the festival!


Official Bele Chere Festival web-site