I am a new resident to Asheville, and the 2009 Bele Chere was my first of many to come. To the organizers, I thank you for putting on a great festival with amazing musical performances. Although I thoroughly enjoyed this year's event, I was a little disappointed with a few aspects. I have come to expect more out of an Asheville city event and that is why I am writing this letter — because I expect more from Asheville.
First, the lack of stations to refill a water bottle was a serious oversight. The amount of waste that plastic water bottles produce is outrageous. For a progressive, green city such as Asheville, not supplying these refill stations was the biggest betrayal of our community's spirit. Please consider adding water-bottle refill stations at next year's festival. I would even be willing to pay $1 for the service although I strongly recommend providing it for free.
Second, at most Asheville city events, such as Downtown After 5, there are trash, recycling and compost bins. There were no compost bins at Bele Chere, which is another betrayal of our community's spirit. There also needed to be more recycling bins, and I hope next year the citizens of Asheville will be able to compost at Bele Chere.
Finally, there was no area in which to park bicycles. With a city full of bicyclists, this again was a major oversight. Many residents of Asheville get around by bicycle, which is a positive thing; not to have a designated area for bike parking sends a negative message to our residents and also to visitors.
Bele Chere should be a promotion of what makes Asheville such a unique place to live. The opportunity to display this uniqueness to visitors was not taken advantage of at Bele Chere. Please make the values of the community more prevalent in next year's festival. I am looking forward to Bele Chere 2010. Thank you for all of your hard work.
— Karen Walters