Festival Village

Where can you hitch a ride on a mechanical bull, enjoy a foot massage, savor a healthy Spanish dessert, and then crash out in a backpacking hammock — all on the same day?

As command central for this year’s Mountain Sports Festival presented by RBC Centura, the Festival Center will be jumping with ongoing demos, outdoor-media representatives and adventure-gear exhibitors showing off their wares and demonstrating all the latest equipment. Festival attendees will also have a chance to sample wellness techniques presented by trained practitioners and to learn about the work of local environmental groups, which will set up exhibits in and around downtown Asheville’s City/County Plaza.

“If we’re hosting outdoor recreational events that utilize local rivers and trails,” explains MSF board member Chad Morgan, a Henderson County native, “we’re naturally going to promote the community resources that protect them.” Throughout the weekend, environmental groups such as the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy and the Canary Coalition will promote conservation and environmental stewardship while offering “green” solutions for communities across the Southeast.

Human health and well-being will get equal billing. Local mountain biker/outdoor writer Bettina Freese is just one of the many wellness-related exhibitors. She’ll be demonstrating ashiatsu Oriental bar therapy, an ancient form of barefoot massage that applies deep compression to human tissues. It’s the pure power of strong legs (and well-pedicured feet), rather than the manipulative dexterity of fingers and palms, that leads the way here.

And if the power of feet doesn’t strike your fancy, then maybe a cold locally made brew or a scrumptious Thai spring roll will. A wide variety of food-and-beverage vendors will be serving up everything from Cajun to vegetarian.

And whatever your food preferences, age or fitness level, promises Morgan, “There’ll be all kinds of activities, experiences and exhibits for you at this year’s festival!”

Outfitters/outdoor retailers

The Festival Village in downtown Asheville’s City/County Plaza will be packed with exhibitors showing off and demonstrating all the latest outdoor equipment.The Village will be open Friday, May 7 (3-11 p.m.); Saturday, May 8 (10 a.m.-11 p.m.); and Sunday, May 9 (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

Environmental groups

The Festival Village will also host a variety of environmental groups and land managers offering information and presentations about regional air quality, wise use of our natural resources, and volunteer opportunities.

(See Festival Village hours under “Outfitters/outdoor retailers” above.)

Wellness demonstrations

These will include everything from chiropractic care to ashiatsu Oriental bar therapy, an ancient form of barefoot massage.

(See Festival Village hours under “Outfitters/outdoor retailers” above.)

Fuel for the body

A wide variety of yummy food and beverages will be available in the Festival Village, including:
• Rosetta’s Kitchen – vegetarian
• M&J Churros – churros and shaved ice
• Classic Thai – Thai food
• Grill House Catering – BBQ
• Natural Harvest Foods – Indian cuisine
• Ed Boudreaux’s – Cajun food
• Budweiser
• French Broad Brewing – locally crafted beers

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