The Bele Chere Music and Arts Festival

Anyone who lives remotely close to the South knows that last weekend was the Bele Chere music and arts festival. This 34th edition of the largest free arts and music street festival in the South east is a site worth beholding. It includes the best of everything – music, food, beer, art, entertainment and more.

The festival first began in 1979 as a collaboration among Asheville’s downtown merchants. They wanted to revitalize the downtown district that was hurting at the time. Little did they know! They chose the name Bele Chere, which means Beautiful Living in an ancient Scottish dialect – go figure. Now, people come from absolutely all over to enjoy this phenomenal artistic experience.

Starting from perhaps the least artistic to most, my favorite event at the Bele Chere is the Purina Ultimate Air Dogs. This competition features dogs that fly through the air and a pool. The goal is for them to jump the farthest. It’s certainly an unusual feast for the eyes to watch this!

Then, of course, I love the crafts vendors who descend on Asheville. Only sixty artists are given the honor each year of being part of the festival and they display everything from jewelry and photography to word-working, painting, metalwork and more.

One of the most interesting artists at the festival was Collene Karcher who was chosen as the Bele Chere image artist this year. She lives in Bakersville, North Carolina and has been carving stone for over twenty years. She’s one of only a handful of stone carvers in the US and she uses her skill to create beautiful works of art.

Of course, the food stalls were scrumptious and now it’s time to decompress from all of the activity and to go back on that diet…again!

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