Asheville Jewish and Heritage Festival

Asheville's Jewish and Heritage Festival will be on October 16, 2011 from 11 am - 4 pm.  Falafel or Knish, Matzo Ball Soup or Gabila’s Cheese Blintzes are just a few of the many choices of food offered to get your taste buds flowing at the Hardlox Jewish and Heritage Festival - all mix well with the Yiddish music and dancing that are abound throughout the day.  Or how about a schmear, cream cheese thickly spread on a bagel? Challah or Mandelbrot from the Jewish Bakery is a fine choice to take home to enjoy later. This could be any typical day in a New York neighborhood but instead this celebration of a rich Jewish life and community is here in this diverse and eclectic southern town of Asheville in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

It can't be more gorgeous to attend the annual Hardlox Jewish and Heritage Festival on a fabulous fall day. The event is held in the newly renovated Pack Square Park in downtown Asheville, NC.  Music drifts through the autumn colored trees and carries across the lawn of the park as it draws you in to mingle with the thousand or more already immersed in the sharing of this culture and community. Brochures are handed out that detailing the day’s events as well as describing the many foods available.  Tents are lined up and labeled for purchasing your food. Long lines at the food tents are met with the opportunity of a chance to meet others and share in your experience. It was a very well organized event and as you wander around the festival has a very gentle flow.

Many choose to lounge under the trees on the grass while others made use of the tables and tents that were available for eating.  Children’s laughter could be heard echoing through the crowd as they passed while inviting you to follow them to see their Mitzvah Machine. Old and young alike hold hands and dance to the rich Jewish music, clapping and smiling while they twirl and embrace the traditional dances of this community.  Others just passing by on the streets can be seen and heard making a quick detour of their plans for the day to join in the festivities.

There is opportunity to view the Torah scroll, meet many of the Jewish Organizations in the area and to have your name written in Hebrew calligraphy. The event is free except for any food or items you may wish to purchase. Raffle tickets were sold and attendants won wonderful gifts. The Asheville NC Hardlox festival is sponsored by Congregation Beth Ha Tephila, the City of Asheville, NC, and many other donations helped to make the day possible.  Mark your calendar for this event! After all, according the festival’s motto, you would be missing out on "A hole lot of food. A hole lot of music and a hole lot of fun." That is bagel talk!

Find out more about Asheville NC events, festivals, restaurants.  Just visiting?  Check out Asheville accommodations for a fabulous, relaxing getaway.


Photos and story by Deborah Pustorino