Always The Third Weekend

For 39 years the town of Banner Elk has welcomed both old and new friends to the annual Woolly Worm Festival. This family event co-hosted by the Avery County Chamber of Commerce and the Kiwanis Organization of Banner Elk welcomes more than 16,000 people to the community to make family memories and also to win the prestigious title of predicting the High Country weather and the chance to win the $1000 bounty! Come early because the fun begins at 9:00 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with entertainment all day. Bring your dance shows because you never know when a line dance will begin. Great music by local groups and check out the wace stage for impromptu guests.


The added time at the festival gave festival goers more time to take in the over 160 food and craft vendors with their handcrafted items, plus rides, musicians and dance teams.

We will have many returning vendors who make worm houses and pins, face painting and also include artists who do photography, pottery, stained glass and much more. “It’s a great festival, as it has something for everyone,” says Roy Krege, also known as Mr. Woolly Worm, one of the many volunteers helping to organize the event and add to its success.

Participants wishing to race their worm may register at 9:00 a.m., and shortly after that races begin. 25 worms are in each heat, “but please come early as race entries fill up early and we want,” says Director of the Chamber, Susan Freeman. Saturday’s winning Woolly Worm holds the esteemed honor of predicting the winter weather season and the Woolly Worm wins prize monies of $1000, which we hope the winning worm shares with its owner. Sunday’s winning Woolly Worm $500.

Come enjoy the camaraderie of the day and cheer on your favorite Woolly. For more information contact The Avery County Chamber of Commerce at 800-972-2183 or visit our website at