Pop Quiz: For locals, what’s the best part of Bele Chere? Is it the live music? The food? The vendors? The kids’ events?
Answer: None of the above. In fact, once you’ve gotten a few Bele Cheres under your belt, the best part of the festival—by far—is the people watching. Say what you will about the official Bele Chere crowd estimates, but at the very least, tens of thousands of people swarm into the city, bringing their uniquely human quirks with them. Even if you’re completely over the whole “downtown festival” thing, a little good-natured voyeurism and mildly sunburned schadenfreude can make it completely worth heading downtown.
Now that we live in an era where almost everyone has a decent digital camera in their cell phone and access to free, online photo sharing, it’s easy to take the Bele Chere people watching to a new level. Which is why we’re holding our first-ever Bele Chere Photo Scavenger Hunt, created with the slightly jaded townie in mind. All you need is a digital camera, a Flickr account (don’t worry, it’s free), and a copy of the list below. To participate, simply join our Bele Chere 2010 Scavenger Hunt photo group and tag your photos with mxbchunt and a caption noting the scavenger hunt item you’re posting. We’ll create a slideshow of the images for the MountainX.com frontpage to share your photos with our readers, and the person who snags the most photos will get a sweet $10 gift certificate to True Blue Art Supply in downtown Asheville (and maybe some other stuff).
Here’s the list:
1. A fully grown adult with a cartoon character tattoo.
2. An unhappy child holding ice cream or cotton candy.
3. A dejected busker performing just outside of the official festival boundaries.
4. A bewildered tourist couple holding a map of Asheville.
5. A person holding a cup of coffee and looking way too excited to need the caffiene.
6. Someone frustratedly looking into the window of a local shop that has closed for the weekend because of Bele Chere.
7. A fire-and-brimstone spewing street preacher with a genuine, humanity-loving smile on his face.
8. A local hipster unironically enjoying a funnel cake.
9. A local bartender, off the clock, drinking a Bud Light, Coors or other non-local brew.
10. A tourist with a truly epic sunburn.
11. A shirtless person rocking out.
12. A person wearing a long-sleeve shirt of any kind.
13. Sunset in downtown during Bele Chere.
14. A local musician watching the performance of another local musician.
15. Someone wearing a hand-made anti-Bele Chere t-shirt.
16. The mysterious Bele Chere bagpipe player (and the REAL start to the festival).
17. A geniunely impressive mullet haircut.
18. Anyone wearing sandals with socks.
19. Someone caught mid-Tweet.
20. A downtown dancer with the most awkward moves ever caught on camera.
Bele Chere starts tomorrow, so get out there and get shooting!