Asheville Parks and Recreation is on a roll this summer.
June 11, 2024 6AM-Top banner logo-small.png


Today’s Forecast

78º | 10% chance of precipitation
Sunrise 6:14 a.m. | Sunset 8:46 p.m.

💡 Search for a spark at Asheville Ideas Fest
Six panelists speak at Asheville ideas fest
The panel discussions are a chance for dialogue. | Photo by Emmanuel Figaro
Experts on book banning, homelessness, astronomical discovery, and service industry careers walk onto a college campus... no, this isn’t the setup to a weird dad joke, this is Asheville Ideas Fest.

From Monday, June 17 to Thursday, June 20, the forum will invite thoughtful, engaged citizens to UNC Asheville to take part in discussions, panels, and workshops designed to provoke active contemplation and intentional reflection.

Pursuing a fresh perspective

In some sense, the origins of Asheville Ideas Fest could be traced to a conversation that Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Kirk Swenson had with former UNC Asheville Chancellor Nancy Cable in March 2020. Its impetus was to provide real value to the community, raise the intellectual profile of the university, and build stronger skillsets for civil discourse.

Truly, though, its philosophical roots run deeper. “I found myself avoiding conversations with people who saw the world differently than I did,” says Swenson. “And I realized how incredibly dangerous that is — not just for me but also for our country.”

A group of people sits at tables and on couches at UNCA

There’s plenty of time for networking, too.


Photo by Emmanuel Figaro

The event is a chance to facilitate those conversations in a productive, significant way. It aims to encourage attendees to examine their deeply held beliefs, to engage in valuable discourse, and to experience new perspectives. The topics chosen for the panels and workshops each year focus on some pretty weighty topics — and the organizers issue a challenge to approach them with curiosity.

“We make sure that we’ve got a variety of responsible perspectives,” says Swenson. “We try really hard to avoid creating an echo chamber.”

See who will be on the panels (like Chef Katie Button and Highland Brewing CEO Leah Wong Ashburn) at the link below.
If they put you on a panel, which discussion could you bring bright ideas to?

A. Homelessness: A Solvable Challenge
B. Free Speech on the College Campus
C. Who Truly Benefits from Land Conservation?
D. I’ve got my own idea for a panel.
Tuesday, June 11
  • School’s Out for Summer | Tuesday, June 11 | 2-4 p.m. | Oakley/South Asheville Library, 749 Fairview Rd., Asheville | Free | Celebrate the start of the season with some sidewalk art and bubbles for kids and teens of all ages.
  • “Flight of the Butterflies” | Tuesday, June 11 | 6-7:30 p.m. | Pack Memorial Library, 67 Haywood St., Asheville | Free | Bee City Asheville’s Pollination Celebration presents a screening of a scientist’s 40-year search for the monarch’s secret hideaway.
Wednesday, June 12
  • Old Town Swannanoa | Wednesday, June 12 | 9:30 a.m.-12 p.m. | Swannanoa Valley Museum & History Center, 223 W. State St., Black Mountain | $25-$35 | Explore the old downtown area, colloquially known as “The Station,” and learn its story from Swannanoa Valley Museum Director LeAnne Johnson.
  • Dungeons and Drafts | Wednesday, June 12 | 6-9 p.m. | Ginger’s Revenge, 829 Riverside Dr., Ste. 100, Asheville | $20 | Set out on a quest with a party of intrepid adventurers — premade characters will be available.
Thursday, June 13
  • Standup Comedy Contest: Last Round | Thursday, June 13 | 7-9 p.m. | Pulp, 103 Hilliard Ave., Asheville | $15 | Vote for your favorite comic of the evening to secure them a spot at the final battle later this month.
  • The Campfireball | Thursday, June 13 | 7:30-9:30 p.m. | Story Parlor, 227 Haywood Rd., Asheville | $10-$15 | Dive into the theme of yearning at this audience-driven show that’s kind of like Double Dare hosted by Mr. Rogers.
Friday, June 14
  • Bark & Bolt 5K, One Mile, and 100M Paw Pursuit | Friday, June 14 | 6-8 p.m. | Patton Park, 1730 Asheville Hwy., Hendersonville | Grab your four-legged friend for this dog-and-person-friendly race, followed by a Top Dog Contest and a Bark in the Park Dog Fair.
  • 80s vs 90s Dance Party | Friday, June 14 | 9 p.m. | The Orange Peel, 101 Biltmore Ave., Asheville | $12-$15 | Dance for your favorite decade to tunes by DJ Oso Rey + DJ Molly Parti, and compete for a best costume prize.
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News Notes
  • Don’t take a dip just yet — MountainTrue is encouraging folks to check Swim Guide for local water safety reports. Weekly between Memorial Day and Labor Day, the nonprofit collects + analyzes water samples from popular recreation spots across WNC and beyond, then shares them through the program to measure water quality standards.
  • On Monday, June 17, the City of Asheville will begin paving operations on Fairview Road. The project is estimated to last about four to six weeks and will require lane closures and detours, so the city suggests that those who typically use Fairview find an alternate route.
  • Vote with your feet. Buncombe County is hosting a Poll Worker Information Session this Thursday, June 13, at the Election Services Office. Learn all about the perks, eligibility, compensation, and time commitment of working the polls for the 2024 General Election.
  • If spring cleaning has turned into summer cleaning, the Asheville Tourists are here with some organizational encouragement. Today, June 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Goodwill Industries of Northwest NC is hosting a clothing drive at McCormick Field. Bring four clothing items for a ticket to a Tourists game.
  • A conditional zoning request for Acton Hill, a 349-unit development off Smokey Park Highway, was approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. If approved by the Asheville City Council on Tuesday, June 25, the property would also include a grocery store and other commercial lots. (Asheville Citizen-Times)
Plan Ahead
  • Wine Walk Asheville is back, and we’ve got the juicy details. Tickets are now available for the Sunday, Sept. 8 event, where you’ll wander downtown to sample wines and support Brother Wolf Animal Rescue. Sixteen local businesses will have a white + a red on hand (as well as tasty snacks).
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🚌 Imagination on the move
Kids play on blocks and in plastic tunnels in a city park
There’s lots of fun in store this summer. | Photo via Asheville Parks and Recreation
The summer days are rolling in — and so is Asheville Parks and Recreation. The vibrant Rec n Roll van is on the road again to bring games, art, and imagination to parks and neighborhoods around the city.

On Mondays, Imagination Days offer fun and free play. Little ones ages 1-5 can build with giant blocks, climb through tunnels, and join in games at parks all over the area. You don’t need to worry about signing up or registering beforehand, but adults do have to stay with their kids the whole time.

Wednesday’s chaotically creative themed days allow 2-5 year olds to complete challenges that inspire imagination. Wednesday Theme Days require advance registration and, at this time, are mostly waitlisted (but it’s worth joining the queue, just in case).

You don’t want to miss out on these delightful days — plus, regular Rec n Roll pop-ups — so keep an eye on the calendar.
The Buy
A cute swimsuit cover that combines the classic look of a button down shirt with extra length so everything’s covered.
The Wrap
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From the editor
If you ask me, patio season is the most wonderful time of the year. When the sun is shining and it isn’t yet blisteringly hot, you’ll often find me sipping and snacking at one of the city’s al fresco dining spotsand now there’s another to add to my list. Capella on 9 has reopened its back patio after about two months of renovations, and its views of the mountains and downtown are back in a big way.
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