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Whether you come for the skiing, the summers or just to race your Woolly Worm, Banner Elk has something to offer visitors and residents of every interest. Just far enough off the beaten path to maintain its unique charm, Banner Elk serves as the center of Avery County's ski industry, lying directly between Sugar and Beech Mountains. Also home to a plethora of restaurants, lodging options, and Lees-McRae College, Banner Elk lives up to its motto that "Life's Just Better Here."

Visitors have been coming to this picturesque village at the foot of Beech Mountain since before the Civil War. Its name has evolved from Banner's Elk, though many locals will still use the original tag tracing back to the town's settlers and the wildlife they found here.

The beginning of the 1900s saw the creation of Lees-McRae College by Presbyterian minister Edgar Tufts. The institution has continued to grow over the last century, with the steady addition of more and more striking stone buildings that have come to become symbols of Banner Elk themselves. The College also plays host to an award-winning series of stage productions throughout the summer months that play to packed houses of residents and visitors alike.

And, as the summer of beautiful mid-70s temperatures starts to wane, Banner Elk kicks into high gear for the biggest party of the year. The Woolly Worm Festival, always the third weekend in October, plays host to almost 20,000 visitors. They come for the food, fun and fellowship, but, most importantly, to race their worms! Heat after heat finally reduces the field down to one special insect, whose brown and black bands are read to determine the weather forecast for the coming winter. It's more than good fun - it's science!

Between worm racing and skiing, Banner Elk is a prime jumping off point for travelers searching for that perfect Christmas tree, or just trying to find ideal holiday gifts. The downtown shopping area provides something for every taste, just like the wide variety of dining establishments. No matter the season, Banner Elk is clearly the mountain community that has something for everyone.