Arts & Splash

Bele Chere - Frank with the Whiteman, Ralph Longshore One of the first things to catch my attention at the Bele Chere Festival in Asheville was a human statue who came to life to play his guitar and sing. The WhiteMan, Ralph Longshore, saw the camera and microphone from Smoky Mountain Morning and stepped off his pedestal to chat with me. I thought he wisely chose to wear white on such a hot day, as opposed to the people I saw two blocks away who were painted gold.

Bele Chere - Frank with artwork by H.C. Warner Artist H.C. Warner said he saw an antique radio along the side of the road where someone had put it out with the trash. He made a U-turn and went back to retrieve it. It became the centerpiece of one of his works of art that were on display in the Arts Park at Bele Chere. He had a similar piece that used an old wooden wall phone. He said critics described his work as “low-brow.” I guess I have low-brow taste in art because his stuff appealed to me. His prices were fairly high-brow however.

Bele Chere - Ultimate Air Dogs - Milt Wilcox in action Bele Chere - Ultimate Air Dogs - starting point on the dock ramp Bele Chere - Ultimate Air Dogs - Trout in mid-air Former major league pitcher Milt Wilcox has a new passion: dock jumping. Milt stays put. His dogs do the jumping. He runs a business called Ultimate Air Dogs and travels the country putting on shows at festivals and other big events. Dog owners urge their pets to run down the dock ramp. They throw a toy at just the right moment to get their dog to leap into the air. The longest leap wins. In some higher levels of competition, the dog also has to catch the toy in the air. A Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Trout was a crowd pleaser with his impressive distance and big splashes.

The street preachers who used microphones and placards to condemn “drunkards and fornicators” seemed to only encourage dissent. I saw two women holding hands as they passed the preachers. Another man loudly played the vuvuzela toward the man who was speaking.

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