JourneyAsheville:  A Sunday in Asheville

Do you usually know what you’re going to do for the day when you wake up on Sunday morning? I don’t. Well, usually I don’t – and last Sunday, July 10, was no exception.

After swinging by Pritchard Park for a quick biscuit and coffee with some friends, I headed over to Green Sage to check the email that came in overnight.  Finding nothing that needed to be handled immediately, I headed towards Pack Square to watch the vendors set up for The Big Crafty.

There’s always some type of arts and crafts fair going on in Asheville, but The Big Crafty seems to be the granddaddy of them all. It’s usually held in July and December, and this month there were 179 vendors selling everything from re-cycled metal to pseudo stone statues.

Since I still had a couple of hours before the vendors would all be set up and ready for business, I headed down towards Splashville to watch Gateway Community Church in Action. There’s usually a crowd around the stage, and the event is always a good place to get a glass of country-style iced tea. While there seemed to be fewer people than the week before, the tea was good and the music was great.

A few folks got hold of some of the banners and were raising them as some of the congregants were raising their hands — an old-fashioned tent revival but without the tent. And there was a picnic on the grounds right after the preacher said the last “Amen.” People lined up for about 49 different kinds of salads. Naming them all would kinda sound like Bubba naming the shrimp his family caught on their boat in the movie Forest Gump, so I won’t try.

By the time I worked my way back up to The Big Crafty, the vendors had finished setting up their displays. Since none of them seemed in a big hurry to sell anything, I just took my time and strolled. A jumbo lemonade helped to cool down the temperature, which pushed the lower (but humid) 90s.

While I was sipping the tea and staring blankly at some metal sculptures, a guy came up to me and handed me a flyer about a play coming up at 2 p.m. over at North Carolina Stage. I glanced at it – The Folly of Lear — and asked if he might know if they were interested in some promo shots of the production. He smiled, introduced himself as Grant Neale, one of the actors in the play (and he’s a director), and said he’d love to have some photos. He offered to leave me a ticket at the box office.

After a few more hours of wandering around The Big Crafty and having finished off the tea, I was ready for some inside entertainment that would include some air conditioning.

I handed the lady at the box office my business card and before I could tell her who I was, she said, “We’ve been expecting you, Jerry. Mr. Neale left this for you.” She slid a ticket, along with a program, underneath the cage. I followed the crowd in, then settled down for a relaxing afternoon at the theatre.

Not wanting to let Grant down, I squeezed off more shots than he could ever use — and did it without a flash.

A few hours later the play was over — it got a standing ovation.

I headed on back to Green Sage to process the shots I’d gotten so far and to send Grant an email thanking him for letting me shoot his play. Then I tossed back gallons of water that had been filtered by something called “reverse osmosis.” I watched as the photos from the day crawled across the computer screen.

It had been a good day in Asheville. And remember: I didn’t have a clue as to what I’d be doing when I woke up that morning.

Photos by Jerry Nelson,


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