We didn’t plan it this way but while here, Asheville has it’s Bele Chere Festival
What is Bele Chere?
Bele Chere is a street festival with a wide variety of arts, music, food, beverages,
events, and children’s activities.
How long has Bele Chere been around?
Bele Chere started in 1979 and was located on a whopping three blocks of downtown Asheville. 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 outskirts. Now, downtown Asheville is home to restaurants, galleries, retail businesses, theatres, art exhibits, and a growing number of residents who call downtown "home."
How many people attend Bele Chere?
Our most recent estimate is about 300,000 to 350,000 people over the three days of the festival.
It’s huge! The bad thing? It’s frickin’ hot. Hot, hot, hot. Holy crap, it’s hot.
Right in the heart of it, we went to Mayfel’s for lunch. We’ve eaten here previously. They specialize in New Orleans foods. Tasty. After lunch we headed back to the RV park but first a small detour to the Dillard’s Clearance center again. It’s Jim’s birthday today so he gets to pick out any shirt under $3. OK, that’s half true. It is his birthday though.
Onward to the campground for a refreshing dip in the pool. By now, friends Ryan and Dennis have arrived to Asheville, went white water rafting and are planning to meet us for dinner (Groupon) at Neo Cantina in Biltmore Village.
We’ll see more of Ryan and Dennis tomorrow. Next for Jim and I is a walking ghost tour. A Groupon purchase for Ghost Hunters of Asheville. It was hot. Very hot. Even though the sun went down… it was hot. Very. The tour? Well, interesting but not really sure. Jim and I were left with mixed emotions. Here’s some photos I snapped:
And now, for a ghost photo:
Isn’t he cute?
We met up with Asheville local, April and her boyfriend Anthony. We went to a hippie bar! It’s called Vanuatu Kava Bar. I did partake in some Kava and did get a small buzz.
An excerpt from a new article about the bar:
“Of course, already on the menu is fresh-squeezed kava-kava juice, made from the milled root of Piper methysticum, or the “intoxicating pepper.” The elixir has been used as both a relaxing social beverage and ceremonial libation by tribes throughout the South Pacific for centuries, and is said to have relaxing, euphoric qualities.
The kava at Vanuatu Kava Bar comes from Vanuatu — thought to have the strongest varieties in the world. The nation’s laws mandate organic growing of all kava as well as a minimum-per-kilo rate that is paid to growers, to ensure fair-trade. Pictures of those who harvest and clean the kava for VKB adorn the walls, involved in various stages of the process, scribbled with “best wishes” and words in Bislama.
Vanuatu Kava Bar strives to be a true nakamal, the Vanuatu word for a place to drink kava, which translates as “place of peace.” Thus, there is no alcohol served, but with the selection of drinks and herbs, there is really no need for it. The space also functions as a gallery for handcrafted tikis and cypress furniture that is available for purchase. “
Here’s the Wiki article about Kava. Here’s 2 photos:
She doesn’t like photos, hence the sunglasses.