Bele Chere was envisioned as a means to bring people and business into the downtown area of Asheville. Over the years it has certainly succeeded in that. They estimate that over 300,000 people came to this year’s festival. For us that translated into a full inn, although a surprising number of our guests had booked for the weekend without knowing that a festival was going on here. But James and I and our daughter, Abby, managed to find some free time to get downtown and see the sights.
The night before we had walked through eerily empty streets as we went to dinner at Limones. The festival was in the process of being set up and it seemed the only people there were the ones putting up tents and stalls. All of the center streets of downtown were closed to traffic and we strolled down the middle of the avenues. But the next day! It must have been 85 in the shade and yet people were everywhere. The heat didn’t seem to have kept anyone away. There were four music stages with bands playing throughout the day. It definitely adds to the atmosphere when music is playing in the background. There were stalls selling just about everything you could think of: art, clothing, food, beer and more. As usual, people watching was a big part of the activity. During the day, it is very much a family event.
As you can see by these pictures of children with face paints and balloons.
Abby was delighted to find fresh lemonade for sale! After we bought a giant size glass we went to stand in the shade and watch the “Ultimate Air Dogs” leap from a platform into a pool of water. You can be sure that everyone watching wished they were a dog and could go swimming too.