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Banner Elk North Carolina is home to the annual Woolly Worm Festival, one of the most unusual festivals in the U.S. Usually held in October, this fun-filled event raises funds for area charities and organizations. Woolly worms, or caterpillars, are raced on strings in a chase for prize money, and the winner of this competition is examined by Banner Elk festival forecasters, who then pronounce an official winter forecast, based upon the coloration of the caterpillar. It’s a good time for Banner Elk residents as well as visitors to the area. Another well known, colorful event in the Banner Elk area is the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Held in July, this is the largest such gathering of Scottish clans across the U.S. In addition to all the fun, this competition is meant to foster interest in traditional Scottish dancing, piping and other activities. Proceeds are used to assist students of Scottish ancestry. Many other events are held all year long in the Banner Elk area, including a variety of arts and crafts festivals and several Independence Day parades and fireworks displays. Below is a list of some of the other major events, for Banner Elk and the surrounding areas and The Blue Ridge Parkway.

Annual Grandfather Mountain Nature Photography Weekend in June

Avery County Historical Society’s Heritage Festival in the town of Newland

Annual Art in the Park in the town of Blowing Rock

The Annual “Singing on the Mountain” at Grandfather Mountain – a tradition for nearly a century, this event is free to the public and features all-day gospel singing, a church bazaar and dinner on the grounds held at MacRae Meadows.

Annual Christmas in July Festival in the town of West Jefferson.

Annual Blowing Rock Tour of Homes – usually held in July.

Annual “On-the-Square” Arts & Crafts Festival held in Newland Square.

Banner Elk’s Fine Art & Mastercrafts Festival – usually held the end of August.

Annual “Art in Your Cart” Golf Tournament on Sugar Mountain.

Octoberfest on Sugar Mountain

Halloween Festival in Blowing Rock


Picking and Singing Along the Parkway – there are several places along the Parkway that offer bluegrass and other old time music on a regular basis.

Junior Geologist Programs – Educational exhibits at the Museum of North Carolina Minerals offers ranger-led programs on Saturdays throughout the summer months.

Brinegar Days – an annual celebration of Blue Ridge culture held at the Brinegar Cabin.


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