Bele Chere Festival in Asheville NC
Bele Chere is an annual street festival held in downtown Asheville on the last full weekend of July. Bele Chere offers an extensive variety of arts, music, food, beverages, events and family friendly activities. Started in 1979 and consisting of only three blocks of the downtown area, Bele Chere has now grown into the largest free festival in the Southeastern United States. The festival is made up of six stages spread throughout the streets and attracts over 350,000 people. A variety of art is displayed in a designated area called Arts Park that features several dozen regional artists and their works. The art consists of many different types of media including painting, photography, pottery and jewelry. At this three-day festival you can find a large variety of music genres including Blues, Country, Folk, Mountain, Rock and Jazz; local and nationally (United States) known musicians are featured. Bele Chere roughly translates to “beautiful living” which is exactly what you’ll find at this day and night festival that is overflowing with original music and artwork. Asheville, North Carolina’s Bele Chere Festival is a unique opportunity to experience all the aspects of the music, art, and food cultures of Western North Carolina.
Schedule for Bele Chere
Friday: Noon-10 pm
Saturday: 10 am-10 pm
Sunday: Noon-6 pm
Bele Chere Festival Art
If art is what you’re wanting to explore than Asheville, North Carolina’s Bele Chere Festival is the festival for you. Arts and crafts vendors will travel from all over the country to set up shop in the streets of Asheville to take part in the Bele Chere festival fun. Take a walk through the Festival Arts and Crafts section located in Arts Park where you can visit with a selection of the best artists at Bele Chere. These 60 artists are chosen by local Asheville art professionals and will be displaying the highest quality of art. Mediums such as metalwork, fabric, paint, ceramics, woodwork and a variety of others will be featured at this festival. Local artists will also be demonstrating their work in a special area located near the back of Arts Park in the Drhumor parking lot and Asheville Savings Bank lots on Patton Avenue between Church Street and Lexington.
Bele Chere Festival Food
Bele Chere offers a variety of food options in the two food courts, the Taste of Asheville and the Prichard Park food vendors, located at this festival. The Taste of Asheville at Pack Square features many local restaurants, giving festival goers a unique taste of Asheville’s cuisine.
Bele Chere Festival Drink
Bele Chere hydrates the festival community while also giving back to local nonprofit agencies. The festival partners with the nonprofit agencies to enable 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. Alcoholic beverages are 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 of downtown Asheville. (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 ready 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.
Bele Chere Festival Pets
Pets are not allowed within the festival boundaries.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where exactly is Bele Chere?
Bele Chere is located in the central downtown Asheville business area.
How do I get there?
You can either drive to the festival or you can ride the Bele Chere Shuttle. If you decide to drive, parking is at a premium but all parking decks will be open for business. The two shuttle routes – one from the east and one from the west – run approximately every 20 minutes and the cost is $3 round-trip.
Where can I park?
City Parking Decks: 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.
Where can I catch the shuttle?
To avoid traffic and parking problems, festival-goers are encouraged to take the festival shuttles. Each day, service begins one hour before the festival starts and runs until one hour past regular festival hours. Shuttles run approximately every 20 minutes.Cost: $3.00 round-trip. The east shuttle will run from the back parking lot of the Asheville Mall. The Asheville Mall is located on Tunnel Road east of downtown. The west shuttle will run from the K-mart Plaza shopping center on Patton Ave.
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 traveling info-tenants 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.
Where can I get some extra cash?
ATMs are located at the following downtown Asheville locations:Asheville Savings Bank – Patton Avenue at Arts Park; Bank of America – 162 College Street & 68 Patton Avenue; BB&T – 1 West Pack Square; First Citizens Bank – 108 Patton Avenue; Premier Credit Union – Haywood Street at the Civic Center; Wachovia – 1 Haywood Street
Can I bring my own cooler of beer?
Coolers are not allowed in festival areas.
How long has Bele Chere been around?
Bele Chere was started in 1979 and consisted of only three blocks in the downtown Asheville area.