Buzzworm news briefs

Antiques fair burnishes the past

At 58, the Asheville Antiques Fair is becoming, well, a bit of an antique. But it didn’t become a community heirloom by simply aging. Proceeds from the annual fair are donated to local charities, civic projects, historical restoration and scholarships — making the yearly event more than just a curio.

Sponsored by the Vetust Study Club (a non-profit organization of women who study and present papers on antiques), the proceeds from this year’s fair will go toward refurbishing the Richard Sharp Smith-designed E.W. Grove Real Estate office (aka the “Rock House”) on Charlotte Street. The house will eventually be the home of the Asheville Buncombe Historical Preservation Society.

The fair will be held at the Asheville Civic Center Friday, July 30 and Saturday, July 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Aug. 1 from noon-5 p.m. Items for sale will include 17th-, 18th- and 19th-century furniture, estate jewelry, Oriental rugs, silver, crystal, fine linens and much more.

The Vetust Study Club also will host a luncheon on July 28 with featured speaker Chippy Irvine, an author and designer who’s a contributing editor for Art and Antiques magazine, and a contributing writer for The New York Times, Vogue, Southern Accents and other magazines.

Admission to the fair is $8/person for the run of the show. For more information, contact Jack Sherman at 628-2728, or Heidi Bell at 274-5548.

— Brian Sarzynski

On the move for cleaner air

If you want to make a statement about the poor air quality in WNC, you can say it with your feet — by running, walking or bicycling a segment of the 100-mile, 24-hour Clean Air Relay from downtown Asheville to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The Aug. 20-21 event is coordinated by the Canary Coalition, a grassroots organization working to improve the region’s air quality.

The purpose of the Clean Air Relay, says Canary Coalition Director Avram Friedman, “is to focus national attention on the air-quality crisis in the Great Smokies and the surrounding region. … We want the issues surrounding air quality to be an important part of national discussion and debate in this election year.”

Among those who have already signed up to participate are state Rep. Susan Fisher, 11th Congressional District candidate Patsy Keever and state Sen. Joe Sam Queen.

The event starts with a Clean Air Rally (with speakers and live music) at City/County Plaza in downtown Asheville from noon-4 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 20. The relay will take off at 4 p.m. and proceed down Biltmore Avenue to the entrance of the Blue Ridge Parkway. From there, the effort will continue overnight, eventually making its way onto U.S. 441 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The final leg will bring participants to the Newfound Gap parking lot near the North Carolina/Tennessee state line. The event will end with a press conference from 11 a.m.-noon on Saturday, Aug. 21.

To participate in the relay or volunteer as a support person, contact the Canary Coalition at or toll free at (866) 422-6279, or visit

— Lisa Watters

Bringing Yin to the Yang

Craving some connection with the Divine Feminine? Ready to bring more goddess energy into the world? Then check out the Goddess Gathering on Saturday, July 31, 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. at the Unity Center (2041 Old Fanning Bridge Road) in Fletcher.

According to organizers Donna Marlene and Carol Grace (both ordained ministers of the Madonna Ministries and High Magdalene priestesses), the Divine Feminine “is the alliance necessary to balance and unify the masculine and feminine principles. … This shift of consciousness does not try to replace masculine principles, but requires a balance of both principles, embracing each with equal reverence.”

To understand and gain this equal status, they say, “it is a time to explore, focus and learn from the symbol of the goddess for a while. As divine feminine women, we are crafting a gathering for adventurous and creative women who want to be part of sacred-sister time, to weave together a tapestry of unique women embracing spiritual renewal, creative expression, great passion and the celebration of sacred sexual intimacy.”

The celebration will include live music, a drumming circle, belly dancers, a fashion show by local designer Brooke Priddy, poetry readings, and vendors offering women-made wares and services.

Admission is $6 at the door. A “divinely gourmet” lunch will be available at noon. The event is open to women, men and children.

For more information, call 250-9375 or 628-3321, or visit

— Lisa Watters

Calling all exceptional women

Yes, girlfriends, we’ve come a long way — and it’s often thanks to the contributions individual women have made to help pave the road for the rest of us. If you know one of these women — someone who has done something of value for the advancement or development of women and girls, specifically in Western North Carolina — why not nominate them for the Women to Match Our Mountains awards?

Honorees and nominees will be recognized at the 18th annual Women to Match Our Mountains Conference and Equality Celebration on Wednesday, Aug. 25, 1-8 p.m. at UNCA’s Reuter Center. This annual event commemorates the 1920 passage of the 19th amendment to the Constitution that gave women the right to vote.

Nominees must be women who live within the mountain counties of North Carolina; self-nominations will not be accepted. In addition, the nominee’s relevant project, program or action must have directly affected women and girls in a lasting way.

The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, Aug. 10; there is a $10 nomination fee.

For more information or a nomination application, visit or call Vera Guise at 293-1013 or Sandra Abromitis at 686-8281. Nomination applications are also available at county and city government offices.

— Lisa Watters

On the financial rebound

Ever get the feeling that your finances are out of control? If so, you’re not alone.

“At 30 and 32, I was on the clueless side of finances,” says West Asheville resident Diane Elizabeth Scott, the recipient of this year’s Financial Literacy Client of the Year Award. “Financial literacy” means a basic understanding of savings and credit; the Consumer Credit Counseling Service presented the award at a luncheon on May 21.

“I’m so low-key; I try to flow under the radar. I felt like a girl on prom night,” Scott revealed when she learned about the award. She began consulting CCCS to help her get a handle on her personal finances. Scott’s husband wasn’t consistently employed, and she had kids to look after. After her husband left, Scott would have been homeless had it not been for Sojourner House, a shelter for homeless women and children.

While she was staying there, Scott started taking CCCS’s money-management workshops. From such programs as “If We Didn’t Have to Eat, We’d Be Rich,” Scott says she learned common-sense ideas for saving money on food and came out of the class with a new shopping motto: “Dented cans are OK. Rusted cans are not!”

With assistance from Interlace, a nonprofit that works with survivors of domestic violence, Scott got a job at Popeye’s. But the store closed with only 10 days notice, leaving her unemployed. “Thank goodness for CCCS,” says Scott. “I wouldn’t have known how to budget; I would have been a mess.”

Thanks to what she’d learned from CCCS, however, she made it two months without any income. Scott has now found stable employment as a room attendant at the Inn On Biltmore Estate, and she’s several months ahead on her car payments (which she says she never thought would happen).

Other awards given out during CCCS’s 2004 Financial Literacy Luncheon recognized First Citizen’s Bank, Cherokee Elementary School, the Mountain Microenterprise Fund, Starks Financial Group, and the N.C. Coalition for Responsible Learning.

For more information about the Consumer Credit Counseling Service, call 255-5166 or (800) 737-5485.

— Jason Lauritzen


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