It’s hard to miss that big purple bus as it rolls down Asheville streets. And to be fair, it would be easy to believe that it’s nothing more than a party bus. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a good rolling party, what goes on inside the LaZoom Tour bus is more closely related to theater. Truly funny, often hysterical theater.
Jim and Jen Lauzon, street performers from New Orleans, created LaZoom with one purpose in mind: to do something no one else in Asheville was doing. Anyone can offer a tour of the city (after all, Asheville is incredibly interesting), but can they do it while performing new comedy material on an ever-moving stage?
It might come as a surprise to people outside North Carolina that Asheville is often called “a unique little city where the mountains mingle with the weird.” That’s because Asheville is no one-size-fits-all town. There’s room for creative, quirky, imaginative types, people who turn the world from black and white into Technicolor.
If you’re not on the bus, you’ll hear it before you see it. It will likely begin with the sound of booming laughter, so extreme that it startles you a bit. And then you’ll see arms, lots and lots of arms. They’ll be hanging out of the bus windows, daring you not to wave back. Even if you’re standing on the sidewalk, the joy that emanates from the bus is infectious.
While it may seem an odd marriage, the LaZoom City Haunted and Beer Tour manages to wed stories of some of the most haunted places in the city with comedy. If you haven’t yet heard, Asheville is considered “very” haunted by those in the know. Visitors may travel to experience incredible views and learn more about Asheville history, but many simply come to check out reported paranormal activity. There are the ghosts of folks whose bodies were moved to make way for Erwin High School. There’s also the story of two spirits who are said to roam the halls of the Thomas Wolfe Memorial. And, of course, the famous story of The Pink Lady who haunts the Grove Park Inn. In short, there are far too many ghost stories for LaZoom tour guides to share, but they make the most of the tales they have time for.
As long as you’re at least 17-years-old, you can take part in this tour. Here’s what you can expect: outrageously entertaining guides, spooky tales of the paranormal, skits that make you blush and laugh simultaneously, tons of information about Asheville, and a sense that it was all over too soon as the tour winds down.
If you live locally, gather up to 40 of your friends for a group tour. If you’re from out of town, meet 40 new friends on the bus. Few things bond people more quickly than being scared together or sharing a laugh. As long as you’re of drinking age and have identification, you can bring your own beer or wine (no alcohol). If you’d like something to drink on the bus but haven’t brought your own, snacks and beer are available for purchase inside The LaZoom Room. In fact, if you’ve already been on the tour, The LaZoom Room is a fun place hang out with friends.
The best thing about tour is how much more relaxed you’re likely to feel afterward. Laughter will do that for you.
– Arrive early. For a group of thespians, these guides run a pretty tight ship.
– The bus is open air (unless it’s simply too cold outside), so bring something warm along with you if the night feels a bit nippy.
– You will find that some riders dress up in funny clothes to better get into the comedy mood (think hats, boas, and fabulous frocks). Dressing up is certainly not required, but if you choose to you will fit right in.