-A new mini-basketball tournament involving ACC teams is in the works for Thanksgiving weekend 2018 at the US Cellular Center. Chris Corl, the center’s director, told the Civic Center Commission last week that the Battle of the Blue Ridge would be a three-day event that would be televised. It’s not a done deal yet, but the event does have a presenting sponsor, and the center has the dates available.
-Kathi Rinaldi, captain of the US Fed Cup team that will be playing at the US Cellular Center in February, will talk about the upcoming tennis event on Dec. 20 at the US Cellular Center. Rinaldi, formerly ranked as high as #7 on the world tennis stage, will talk about the matches against Netherlands, as well as the prospects for the women’s team to repeat as Fed Cup champions. The team won the Fed Cup event last year for the first time in 17 years. Women’s U.S. tennis is on an upswing, with a new crop of top-rated stars, including Sloane Stephens, who won the U.S. Open last year.
Here are a few more tidbits from last week’s Civic Center Commission meeting:
-The Big Crafty, which for the first time held its fall event over two days earlier this month, drew about 5,600 attendees.
-Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden will be in Asheville on today to speak at the Thomas Wolfe Auditorium on his American Promise Tour. About 1,500 people have purchased tickets, US Cellular Center officials said last week.
-Ticket sales for the Mountain Invitational basketball double-header this weekend at the US Cellular center are slow, according to center officials. The event features teams from UNC Asheville, Western Carolina University, High Point and Wofford.
-Concerts coming up in 2018 at US Cellular Center in Asheville: St. Vincent and Diana Krall in February; Cole Swindell in March; Brandi Carlile in May.
And in other news:
–TreeRock Social is now open on Biltmore Avenue.
-In case you missed it: The Reynolds High School football team lost to New Hanover High 27-17 in the state 3AA championships last weekend. But another Western North Carolina high school team, Cherokee, beat North Duplin 21-13 to win the state 1A football title. It was the first state football championship for Cherokee.
-The Asheville Downtown Association recently announced the winners of its annual Downtown Holiday Windows Contest. Judges (including yours truly) scored the windows on creativity, originality, interpretation of theme, use of merchandise and the overall “wow” factor. The theme was “Holiday Magic.” Here are the winners, and more:
Judge’s Favorite: Sensibilities Day Spa
Best Interpretation of Theme: Fired Up! Creative Lounge and Purl’s Yarn Emporium (TIE)
Best Use of Merchandise: Duncan & York
Honorable Mention: Spiritex
Winners from the previous year are not eligible to win in the same category in consecutive years.
Judges included Dana Frankel, City of Asheville Downtown Development Manager; Alli Marshall, Arts & Entertainment Editor with Mountain Xpress; Bruce Steele, Planning Editor with the Asheville Citizen-Times and Jenelle Wienke, Grants Manager for the Asheville Area Arts Council.
Check out the beautiful windows from all participating businesses throughout the holiday season: April Cornell, City Transmission Service, C and Co., Diamond Brand Outdoors, Duncan & York, FiredUp!, Fox & Beaux, Hip Replacements, Kilwin’s Chocolates, Fudge and Ice Cream, Mast General Store, McGuire Wood and Bissette, Minx Boutique, Mountain Biz Works, Patton Ave Pet Company, Purl’s Yarn Emporium, Sensibilities Day Spa, Spiritex, Ten Thousand Villages, The Chocolate Fetish, Tops for Shoes, Traveling Chic Boutique and Wild Wing Café.