Tucked away in the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains, Asheville, North Carolina, is a beautiful city brimming with culture, activities, attractions and friendly faces. The history of this one-of-a-kind mountain city began in 1784, when William Davidson and his family established the first Anglo American settlement in the area. People began to settle here due to the richness of the land and the scenic vistas. In 1797, the city was named Asheville in honor of then Governor Samuel Ashe. As the road system grew throughout the state, so did interest in Asheville as people descended upon the area for resources and the booming tourism industry.
Growth continued steadily through the early 20th century. Extravagant hotels, attractions, new housing subdivisions and businesses were built leading up to the 1930’s. In fact, Asheville was one of the top tourist destinations in the world leading up to the Great Depression. The depression hit the city hard and the debt affected the area for the next four decades. This was actually a blessing in disguise because during these debt-laden years, many other American cities underwent various renewal projects. Asheville didn't partake in the renewal projects, saving many of the classic buildings from demolition. Currently, Asheville is a vibrant city of over 90,000 and the ideal place for you next Southeast getaway.
Asheville has so much to offer visitors that we will only be able to scratch the surface of fun activities you can enjoy during your stay. The artisan scene is impressive and wide reaching, and the city is home to many different galleries, studios, performance art venues, shows and so much more. History enthusiasts will fall in love with the sheer number of historic sites, buildings and landmarks that are located within the city limits. The dining scene here is diverse. You’ll find culinary creations from some of the top chefs in the nation, as well as a just about every type of food you can imagine. Asheville is a progressive, friendly, and welcoming community, and one of the best ways to experience it is during one of the great local events like the Montford Music and Art Festival.
Entering its 13th year, the Montford Music and Art Festival is regarded as one of the top art events/street fairs in the region. This all-ages event covers a lot of bases featuring an art show, music concert, neighborhood block party, food festival and more. You’ll get the chance to purchase and observe some great art and handmade creations that you won't find anywhere else. There will also be live music playing throughout the event, adding to the already vibrant and fun setting of the festival. Take your vacation to the next level and experience Asheville in a unique and fun way at the Montford Music and Art Festival. We got the chance to interview Jerry Connor, Representative for the Montford Music and Art Festival, to talk about this event.
RAL: Tell me a bit about the event.
JC: Montford Music and Arts Festival takes place Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm on Historic Montford Avenue, just past the Asheville Visitor Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Make sure to use this address if your finding the event via your GPS - Asheville Visitor Center 36 Montford Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801.
The Montford Music and Arts Festival will celebrate 13 years of providing Asheville with some of the best music, finest arts and crafts, and largest food selection assembled in a one day event. Our average attendance has been between 8,000 and 9,000 and this year we anticipate over 10,000 visitors. In 2004, as a small grass roots idea of resident Sharon Fahrer and a few others to showcase Historic Montford, a few hundred visitors gathered to hear a little music and visit a dozen booths of artwork. It was such a success that the neighborhood Association agreed to bring it back again the following year and The Montford Music and Arts Festival was born.
RAL: What is the typical demographic of the event?
JC: We are a family-friendly festival and because of our range of offerings for all ages. Our make-up consists of 40% young adults, couples and children and the other 60% of adults and retired adults.
RAL: What makes the festival unique?
JC: What sets The Montford Music and Arts Festival apart from other similar festivals and events is the fact that the entire festival is planned, operated and self-funded by resident volunteers of the Montford neighborhood, offering a glimpse into a tree-lined, diverse neighborhood just minutes away from downtown. In addition to the festival, visitors will be able to enjoy a mixture of Victorian architecture, arts and crafts, and historic homes dating back to the late 1800’s.
Stretching over 5 blocks on one street, The Montford Music and Arts Festival has become the largest “Neighborhood Block Party” in North Carolina. Many attendees return year after year due to the warm and friendly atmosphere presented by the festival.
RAL: Take me through what attendees can expect during a typical day at the festival.
JC: Two stages offer musical entertainment continuously from 10:00 am until 7:00 pm, and feature some of the best musicians in the Asheville Area, all with a link to the Montford Neighborhood. Special entertainment throughout the day will be appearing in the street and at the new Montford Square performance place from noon to 5:00 pm. Acts like the Morris Men Dancers and Ashe Garland Women’s Dancers add to the festivities along with their famous Maypole dance. The children are delighted with the return of the Chinese Dragon Dancers, and new this year will be the Ninja Kids Club. Special demonstrations by the award winning Ashebotes Youth Robotics will also take place.
Food plays an important part of any festival and this year the new Food Plaza will feature the most offerings of any festival or event around. Two blocks filled with 18 of the top food trucks and vendors in Asheville, will be serving all day. Visitors can satisfy any appetite with everything from snacks of ice cream, kettle corn and deep fried Oreos, to meals of Southern and International cuisine, and much more. Festival menus will also be available from the two neighborhood restaurants: Nine Mile (Caribbean) and Chiesa (Italian).
RAL: What is the overall environment like?
JC: The peace and tranquility of tree lined streets, turn of the century homes, and friendly atmosphere is only interrupted by the sounds of great music and buzz of festival goers as they enjoy all that Montford Neighborhood has to offer. The festival offers a safe environment for all to enjoy.
RAL: What can attendees expect to find for local lodging?
JC: Asheville is known for it’s top of the line accommodations and the Montford Neighborhood is home to over 15 Bed & Breakfasts in historic homes, many dating back to the 1890’s.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
JC: It is a great way for visitors to view the diversity of Asheville and how a community comes together to host such a large event. The Montford neighborhood is and has been a model of diversity in all aspects since its inception in the 1870’s.
Our event is not designed as a money maker, but more a means to showcase the neighborhood. However, what extra money is made does help us support scholarships to neighborhood kids for camp and maintaining community beautification projects.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
JC: It is very difficult to find an event that offers beautiful surroundings, tree lined streets, great music and entertainment, fabulous food and something for everyone from young to old, all in one location. That is, however, exactly what you will find at The Montford Music and Arts Festival. It is also why so many visitors return year after year!
For more information about the Montford Music and Art Festival, please visit their website.