The Bele Chere Top 10 things to know: Volunteers and nonprofits

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 kicking off “Bele Chere: Top 10 Things to Know.” Check back for more as we get closer and closer to the big event!

See more information about Bele Chere 2012 at

No. 10: Volunteers make it work

“Our Bele Chere volunteers are indispensable,” says Sandra Travis, the City of Asheville’s festival program supervisor. “The whole thing depends on them. They are the ambassadors for Bele Chere.”

More than 185 volunteers work shifts totaling almost 1,000 hours over the festival’s three days, from staffing information booths to working the children’s area to managing vendor setup and breakdown. “We just couldn’t do it without them,” Travis says.

Fortunately, there are volunteers who return every year to be part of the Southeast’s largest outdoor street festival and some have been coming back for 15 years or more.

“There is a kind of person who wants to be involved. They want to be part of the festival, not just a spectator” Travis says. “For that group, it’s kind of a reunion every year.”

But there are also new volunteers who show up every year, and there’s still room to jump on board for Bele Chere 2012. “It’s a great way to meet new people, have fun and be a part of something all at the same time,” Travis says.

Want to give it a try? Volunteer information and an interest form are available on the official Bele Chere website at or by calling (828) 259-5800. Volunteers must be at least 16 years of age and volunteers who work at least one 3.5 hour shift will receive a free Bele Chere t-shirt and snacks during their shift.

No. 9: Nonprofits get a Bele Chere boost

The Bele Chere festival is a huge event for the City of Asheville and a great party for music fans, families and art lovers. But for area nonprofits, the festival is also a major fund raising opportunity.

Nonprofits operate beverage stations, sell wrist bands and staff shuttle locations, and in return, receive a percentage of the revenue.

Competition to be part of the festival by nonprofits is high – 27 groups are selected every year out of a field of nearly twice that number. “For a lot of these groups, this is the biggest fundraiser of the year,” Travis says.

But it’s also a great opportunity to get exposure and get their message out there; nonprofit groups wear T-shirts, hang banners and distribute materials to educate the public about their cause. And, Travis says, it’s just plain fun.

Nonprofits participating in Bele Chere 2012 are:

Animal Compassion Network
Asheville Area Paralegal Association
Asheville Biltmore Rotary Club
Animal Haven
Asheville Ski Club
Beta Omicron
Cataloochee Ski Patrol
Coven Oldenwilde
Differently Abled News Network
Engineers without Borders
Explorer Post, APD
Gizeh Temple
Green Opportunities
Junior Miss
Knights of Columbus
Mountain Voices Alliance
Phi Beta Lambda
Sole Hope
St. James AME Church
St. John’s Episcopal Church
St. Paul’s Methodist Church
The Mediation Center
West Asheville Rotary Club
Wild South
Youth Outright

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