Bele Chere will offer two food courts, the Taste of Asheville at Pack Square and the Pritchard Park food vendors. Taste of Asheville features many local restaurants.
No, coolers are not allowed inside the festival area. The festival partners with local nonprofit agencies to facilitate all of the beverage locations and each nonprofit receives a portion of the net proceeds following the festival. The products available at each location vary. Alcohol is only available on Friday and Saturday at beverage stations and satellite locations throughout the festival. Alcoholic beverages will NOT be sold on Sunday or carried on the streets. (Alcohol will be available on Sunday in downtown restaurants and bars.) Only one alcoholic beverage per person per visit will be sold. You MUST have a $2 wristband to purchase and carry alcohol on the streets during Bele Chere. Wristband booths are located next to the beverage stations. Be prepared to show a valid picture ID before each purchase. Regardless of age, everyone MUST show an ID every time you purchase an alcoholic beverage because a wristband itself is not proof of age. A wristband is not required to drink inside a downtown restaurant or bar.
The Lexington Avenue Performance Area (located at the intersection of North Lexington and Walnut Streets) features interactive performances. Watch demonstrations and participate in Zumba, ballroom or swing dancing, and clogging. And see Asheville’s infamous Community Drum Circle on both Friday and Saturday nights, 8-10 PM.
Pets are not allowed within the festival boundaries. The streets are crowded with people and vendors so it's not a safe environment for pets. Leave your pooch at home or to make a trip to Doggy Jail. And don’t worry; it is a cool, clean, and friendly place to house your pet while you attend the festival. Doggy Jail is located at 70 Court Plaza (in front of City Hall).
Bele Chere Parking
During Bele Chere, downtown parking is limited, so consider taking a shuttle for just $2 roundtrip. Shuttles begin accepting passengers at the start of the festival, and run for one hour past the festival’s close time. The shuttles run approximately every 20 minutes.
Friday, July 27: Noon – 11p
Saturday, July 28: 10a – 11p
Sunday, July 29: Noon – 7p
East Shuttle: Asheville Mall, 3 South Tunnel Road, Connects to Pack Square Park
West Shuttle: K-Mart Plaza Shopping Center, 1001 Patton Avenue, Connects to the US Cellular Center
City Parking Decks will be open: Civic Center, Rankin Avenue, Wall Street, and BB&T. Several surface lots will also be open; a special events parking fee will apply in most cases. Free handicapped parking will be available at any metered parking space outside the festival boundaries.
What if I need help?
The Information Booths will be located in Pack Square, at Pritchard Park, and at the intersection of College and Spruce. Also, look for our roving info-tendants presented by Wachovia. They’ll be on street corners and in other high traffic areas, wearing official Bele Chere shirts. The First Aid tents will be available at Pritchard Park and in the children’s area located in City-County Plaza.
Can I bring my own cooler of beer?
No, coolers are not allowed inside the festival area.
Can I bring my pet to the festival?
Sorry, pets are not allowed within the festival boundaries. It’s safer for all the festivalgoers AND the pet.
How long has Bele Chere been around?
Bele Chere (sounds like Bell Cher) started in 1979 and was located on a whopping three blocks. It was the brainstorm of a handful of downtown Asheville merchants and business people with the vision of revitalizing our downtown business district, which was largely abandoned as retail businesses & residents moved to the suburbs. Now, downtown Asheville is home to restaurants, galleries, retail businesses, theatres, art exhibits, and a growing number of residents who call downtown “home.”