The Bele Chere Top 10 Things to Know: Getting there and parking there

The 2012 Bele Chere Festival is just around the corner, taking place in downtown Asheville July 27-29. As excitement builds for the big weekend, we are presenting “Bele Chere: Top 10 Things to Know.”

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No. 8: You don’t have to drive

You think we would throw a major event like Bele Chere a not show up with some way to get to the festival without driving? Multi-modal is the motto in Asheville!

Buses: The ART will be operating throughout the three days of the festival, dropping off all routes at the ART station, only one block form the Bele Chere boundary. You can even plan your trip ahead of time and keep up with transit detours during the festival at

Shuttles: The Bele Chere shuttles have become a crowd favorite, allowing festivalgoers to park at satellite stations and let someone else do the downtown driving. In 2011, the shuttles transported a grand total of 12,786 passengers to the festival. Two park and ride stations will be operating – an East shuttle at the Asheville Mall parking lot in front of Sears, and a West Shuttle at the K-Mart parking area on Patton Avenue. Like the ART buses, round trip fare is $2.

Bicycle: While bikes aren’t allowed inside the festival, they are a great way to get to the party. And leaving them in a safe place is no problem since Asheville on Bikes, Blue Ridge Bicycle Club and other organizations in the bicycle community host a great Bike Corral on Patton Avenue between Asheland and Coxe Avenues.

Or walk: If you are one of the lucky folks who live near or in downtown, just hoof it to the festival. You’re going to put on a lot of miles seeing and hearing all of the great things at Bele Chere. What’s a couple of more?

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No. 7: But if you DO drive, City of Asheville parking decks await

Driving into Bele Chere? Don’t get caught snaking through side streets looking for the best deal. City of Asheville parking decks are open for business and located on Wall Street, Rankin Avenue and behind the U.S. Cellular Center.

“The city garages are the best deal in town. We charge $5 per car and we are in the heart of the festival,” says Parking Services manager Harry Brown. “Ironically, folks think we’ll be full and park further out while our decks, especially the Civic Center garage, usually have spaces available.”

Brown cautions drivers against parking in private lots around downtown. Many of those lots have posted notices limiting who can park there and cars can be subject to towing and fines. “I would hate for someone to park and enjoy the festival only to find their vehicle towed,” Brown says.

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