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News also came this year of a potential change in the largest structure facing Pack Square Park, the BB Building. Building owners and a Georgia based hotel company announced plans to redevelop the office building and nearby parking garage to include a luxury hotel, reflecting downtown's continued popularity with tourists.
It was a push back after Republican controlled state government approved changes that angered people in this city, which leans Democratic.
Rev. William J.
"Beauty and the Beast," UNC Asheville drama major Jacob Williams held Mae Li's hand and read a royal decree.
The most heart warming event in the park might have been the formal presentation made in November by the Make A Wish Foundation to 6 year old Old Fort resident Mae Li, who suffers from a progressive muscular disease and dreams of being a princess.
What a difference 175 years make.
"Instead of depressing us, they've made us determined to fight," the Rev. William J. Barber II, head of the state chapter of the NAACP, told the crowd. "Instead of dividing us, they have united us."
No one can say for certain how many people attended Mountain Moral Monday, but the crowd protesting actions of the state General Assembly and Gov. Pat McCrory on women's issues, voting rights, school spending and other issues was easily more than 5,000.
City Council ended spending on the party in the face of a tight budget and concerns from some downtown businesses and residents that the festival had gotten too big and intrusive.
attended political protest in at least two decades. Bele Chere created history as the long running street festival came to an end.
"Bele Chere did what it was supposed to do, New Balance Men Style and it did great, and now it's time to let it go and come up with the next 35 years," said Beth Stickle, owner of downtown flower shop Bloomin' Art.
Dressed as a prince from Mae Li's favorite movie, Disney's New Balance Orange Sneakers
Mountain Moral Monday drew a huge crowd, one generally thought to have been the city's best New Balance Girls Sneakers
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In 2013, the park hosted the Easter bunny, topless women, a prince, models in wedding dresses, reality TV show contestants and people demonstrating on any number of political issues from gun rights to state budget cuts.
Pack Square Park
One of the more controversial events in the park in recent years, a rally featuring bare breasted women demonstrating their ability to go topless, was a relatively ho hum event in 2013.
About a dozen women took off their tops and several hundred people in all attended the August event. That was about the same as a year ago but far below the 2,000 people who showed up for the first topless rally in Pack Square Park in 2011, suggesting that some in Asheville had been there, ogled that.
Even more people attended the last Bele Chere, the music, food and crafts festival that has regularly flooded downtown streets.
Bele Chere began in 1979 as a way to draw people to what was then a moribund downtown.
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