Bid farewell to Bele Chere

It’s time to say goodbye (or good riddance) to Bele Chere. After 35 years, this weekend signals the beginning of the end for the local street festival. Cause of death? Constraints in the city budget. Earlier this year, members of Asheville City Council announced that the city could no longer pay the $450,000 required to finance the summer street festival after this year.

But after vendors pack up their wares, city crews break down each stage and Bele Chere’s final sweaty hour comes and goes this Sunday, how will the 35-year-old festival be remembered? With an ode to its coconut drinks? With a video of the final jump from the Ultimate Air Dogs show? With a tweet longing for meat on a stick? With a haiku about tourists in jorts? With a complaint about incredulous traffic levels? With your own sermon about Bele Chere’s street preachers? With a rant that Bele Chere actually deserved to die?

Tell us. Xpress wants you to help write Bele Chere’s obituary. There’s no need for epics, so keep it short. Leave your words of condemnation and condolence as a comment on this post or on our Facebook page. You can also send your obituary to Xpress reporter Caitlin Byrd at

Need some more inspiration? Xpress arts writer Kyle Sherard wrote this obituary for the local festival.

Writing isn’t your thing? We get it. Document the final Bele Chere with the tag #RIPBeleChere on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, YouTube and Facebook to be a part of composing Bele Chere’s final chapter. On Monday morning, we’ll share your posts and take a look back at the life Bele Chere had on downtown Asheville’s streets.

This is your chance to place a fried Twinkie on the grave of Bele Chere and pay your last respects (or disrespects) to the festival that folks have both loved to hate and loved till the end.

— Caitlin Byrd can be reached at or 251-1333, ext. 140.

Time lapse video of 2011 Bele Chere by Joseph Chapman


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3 thoughts on “Bid farewell to Bele Chere

  1. Lamont Cranston

    It overstayed its’ welcome, and now must go. We avoid Asheville that weekend and know that many of our friends that are downtown merchants can’t stand it either.

    Not R.I.P…But good riddance.

  2. Kenneth Samuelsen

    Good Bye Bele Chere,I loved you well, I’ll miss the very varied crowds,the dancing in the streets,allowed,and even those who screamed of heaven and hell. As a Trucker,I’ve seen many “Downtowns”, and most of them were “Dead”…most of them,you DIDN’T go after dark! But Asheville,filled with many “Great Heads”,provide that Life,that Joy,that Safety,that vibrant “We’re Alive” Spark! When a City as US,provided three Days to Celebrate our Living,and THEN,”They”say “No More”…I’ll miss that Spirit of Joy,and Giving…it made us SPECIAL…and now,”They’ve” closed the door!Good Bye,Bele Chere….you’ve gone where Broken Dreams end up:a lonely,forgotten shore….and I forever mourn!

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