Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

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More of what’s going around:

-UPDATED: Permits have been pulled for a new spot called “Spicewalla” at Ramp Studios on Riverside Drive. There’s no confirmation, I’m told this is the work of Asheville restaurateur Meherwan Irani, whose restaurant group includes Chai Pani here in Asheville and Decatur, Ga.; Buxton Hall Barbecue and MG Road Lounge in Asheville; and Botiwalla in Atlanta. Word on the street is that Spice Walla is Chai Pani’s entry into the spice market, and they plan is to do the roasting and blending work at the Ramp Studios location.

-The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design plans to launch a new summer series this month that honors Asheville as “Craft City.”
More from a press release:

A thriving community of artists and a growing local food and drink scene defines the Asheville area for both lifelong residents and weekend visitors. At three outdoor pop-up studios this summer (July 7, August 4, and September 1) people of all skill levels and backgrounds can make a take-home craft under the guidance of a visiting artist.

Future programming, including Craft City Food and Art Tours and Craft City Meet the Maker events, will give participants the opportunity to learn about and sample the best small-batch, high-quality, and handmade products Asheville has to offer.

By celebrating Asheville with the Craft City program series, CCCD intends to increase public understanding about craft. Established in 1996, CCCD has championed the value of craft and supported the next generation of makers, curators, and scholars through fellowships, grants, conferences, exhibitions, and programs. In 2014, CCCD’s contemporary craft gallery, Benchspace, opened to the public in the organization’s new downtown Asheville facility.

“Craft City kicks off this summer with New Craft Artists in Action (NCAA), an international artist collective known for their participatory projects that combine athletics with craft,” says Marilyn Zapf, assistant director and curator. “In August and September we feature two Asheville-area artists: printmaker Jessica White and new media artist Victoria Bradbury.”

The initial three Craft City pop ups will feature live music, festive local fare crafted by Buchi Kombucha, and a casual artist talks. While the events are free and open to all, participants who register in advance online receive a discount on the craft kit. For $7-$10, craft kits include all the materials needed to take home your own creation. Registration and more information is available at

-In case you missed it: The French Broad Brewing Company is under new ownership. Here’s more from the press release:

Paul Casey and his wife Sarah, from Chapel Hill, NC, finalized the purchase of the French Broad Brewery June 1. French Broad is considered one the oldest breweries in the Asheville area and is recognized as a pioneer that helped establish the craft beer culture in the local market. They are best known for their Gateway Kölsch, 13 Rebels ESB and Wee Heavy-er Scotch Style Ale. The Caseys see the opportunity to return to growth, further mature the brand and re-engage the beer community in Asheville and across the state.

With the same team in place that currently manages the French Broad, the Caseys plan to renovate and expand the existing tap room while continuing to meet on- and off-premise demand. Casey would like to invest in producing more seasonals and one-off brews in an effort to stay relevant and increase demand.

Founded in 2001, French Broad Brewery is located in Asheville, NC. The brewery is a continental European-style production brewery. Their beer can be found throughout the Carolinas and the southeast. In Asheville, the brewery has 93 tap lines in 61 locations. To learn more about French Broad Brewery, visit

-There’s a Waldo hunt happening in Asheville. Here are the details:

Where’s Waldo? In Asheville, of course! The iconic children’s book character in the striped shirt and black-rimmed specs is visiting local businesses throughout our community this July. Waldo’s American publisher, Candlewick Press, is teaming up with the American Booksellers Association and two hundred and fifty independent bookstores across the country for some hide-and-seek fun to encourage communities to patronize their local businesses.
Spellbound Children’s Bookshop at 640 Merrimon Avenue is hosting a Find Waldo Local game in North Asheville. Find Waldo Local is a great summer vacation activity and a wonderful way to support local businesses and the Shop Local movement in our community, including these Waldo partners:
Rise ‘n’ Shine Cafe

Urban Burrito

The Hop Ice Cream Cafe

Children’s Trading Post

The Sock Basket

The Toy Box

Wyvern’s Tale

Musician’s Workshop

Asheville Bicycle Company

Jus’ Running

Malaprops Bookstore & Cafe

Frostbite Ice Cream Bar

Geraldine’s Bakery

Blackbird Frame and Art
Beginning Saturday July 1st anyone who wishes to participate can pick up a “Find Waldo Local in North Asheville!” passport at Spellbound or at any of the participating businesses. The passport has the names and addresses of all the participating businesses where Waldo is hiding, and players get their passport stamped by a staff member for each Waldo they spot. Collecting store stamps at ten or more businesses will entitle diligent seekers entry into a grand-prize drawing on Friday July 28th, with the top prize being a six-volume deluxe set of Waldo books plus various prizes from participating businesses worth over $200!
To celebrate his 30th anniversary, Waldo’s friend Wenda will also be hiding in Spellbound Children’s Bookshop. Try to spot them both and collect both stamps!
There is no charge to participate, and the hunt lasts until July 28th, ending at the North Asheville Waldo Wrap Party at 4:00pm on Friday July 28th at Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, in the Merrimon Square Shopping Center at 640 Merrimon. For more information about hunting for Waldo in North Asheville, call Spellbound Children’s Bookshop 828-575-2266 or visit
Please note: Malaprops Bookstore & Café is hosting a Waldo hunt among downtown businesses, while Spellbound is hosting one among North Asheville businesses. Both Spellbound and Malaprops are Find Waldo locations on the North Asheville and Downtown passports. People should feel free to play both games and up their chances of winning a prize!


Jason Sandford

Jason Sandford is a reporter, writer, blogger and photographer interested in all things Asheville.

  • 1

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