Art on the Greene transforms the grounds of the Historic Banner Elk School into an art gallery multiple times each summer. These popular shows generally take place Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend, the first weekend in August and Labor Day weekend.
Because of COVID-19, all 2020 shows are canceled.
Each show highlights works from local and regional artists, and allows shoppers to add to their art collections while supporting historic preservation at the same time. Booth rental proceeds are donated to the Town of Banner Elk for ongoing efforts to transform the historic school into a center for visual and performing arts.
“I hope attendees find our town to be a place they want to return and tell other people about,” says Kimberly Tufts, show director. “I also hope they leave with something tangible, that they find a new piece of artwork and build a relationship with an artist that enriches their life.”
The number of artists exhibiting at each show range from 40 to 60. They represent a variety of media, such as metal, glass, ceramics, wood, watercolor, acrylics and oil.
“The focus is on embracing our Appalachian heritage and really highlighting things in the hand-crafted Appalachian tradition,” Tufts says.
As a resort town perched at 3,701 feet in elevation in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, Banner Elk is an ideal location for summertime art shows. High temperatures average in the upper 70s, with lots of sunny days.
“We have a rich heritage that makes us special, and I think people feel that when they’re here,” Tufts says. “Banner Elk is also a very friendly town in a beautiful location. We have wonderful restaurants and so many things to do outdoors, which make this place a destination.”
While attending the shows, folks are invited to check out the Historic Banner Elk School. The 1939 rock building was built as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression. The school is home to the B.E. Artists Gallery, Ensemble Stage professional theater, Banner Elk Book Exchange and the editorial offices of a local lifestyle magazine.
Art on the Greene has no admission fee. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Food vendors are on hand, complementing the offerings at downtown restaurants within easy walking distance.
For additional information, call the show director at 828-387-0581.
Looking for a romantic getaway? Book a Banner Elk theater package and escape to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A pair of Banner Elk accommodations have teamed up with Ensemble Stage to offer theater packages that start at just $119. Each package includes one night of lodging for two, a pair of tickets to an Ensemble Stage performance, discount dining coupons for Banner Elk Café & Lodge, and breakfast at your lodging the next morning.
The packages are centered around Ensemble Stage, a professional theater group that performs year-round in an intimate setting in the renovated auditorium of the Historic Banner Elk School in the heart of town. Shows range from comedies to dramas to murder mysteries.
Lodging options for the packages are the Best Western Mountain Lodge and Perry House Bed & Breakfast. The Perry House is walking distance to the theater and restaurants. The Best Western is located just 1.3 miles from the theater.
Booking a package involves two easy steps. First, go to the theater package page to pick the date of the show you wish to attend. Then, contact your choice from the lodging options and request a Banner Elk Theater Package. Once the package is booked, your accommodation will set aside two show tickets to be presented to you at check-in. Your hosts prefer at least a week’s advance notice, but will make every effort to accommodate shorter lead times.
Visitors are familiar with Grandfather Mountain’s resident animals, including black bears, bald eagles, cougars, river otters and elk. But what do they do after dark?
Find out Saturday, Sept. 29, at Grandfather Mountain’s annual Creatures of the Night & Bonfire Delight, a nighttime event featuring fun and spooky stories told by firelight, along with rare after-dark tours.
From 6 to 9:30 p.m., guests of all ages can enjoy hot chocolate and warm apple cider by the glow of a bonfire. The event is BYOS (Bring Your Own S’mores), but the park will provide marshmallow roasting sticks, cider, hot chocolate and seating.
From there, join Grandfather staff members on a nocturnal trek to the top of the mountain (via shuttle) and the environmental wildlife habitats.
“It’s a whole different way to experience the animals,” said Jenny Condron, habitat keeper at Grandfather Mountain. “When you see them in the daytime, it’s all just a visual experience. But at night, you hear their unique noises and rustling around way before you actually see them, and it can be quite exciting and eerie.”
An “Owl Prowl” will take participants on a search for the mountain’s feathered denizens of the night, during which guides will attempt to communicate with the birds through recorded owl calls.
“On our last Owl Prowl, the barred owls were very, very responsive, talking back a lot,” chief habitats curator Christie Tipton said. “By the time we take the last tour, it’s pitch black, and you can’t see anything. Although the owls can see you.”
In fact, the event casts Grandfather Mountain in a whole new light — or lack thereof.
“Creatures of the Night is an amazing opportunity to see the new world that is Grandfather Mountain after the sun goes down,” Tipton added. “The mountain comes alive with inhabitants not seen during daylight hours, and experiencing the majesty of this in complete darkness, with no outside lights, is an awe-inspiring experience.”
Planning to Attend?
Cost is $20 per person, and participants must be at least eight years old to attend. Space is limited and registration is required by visiting https://bit.ly/2PaBpXk.
Guests are encouraged to dress warmly and bring blankets, flashlights and s’mores ingredients to enjoy around the fire. For more info, call 828-733-2013, or visit www.Grandfather.com.
Banner Elk has been selected as the starting point for the 2016 “Mountains to Coast Ride,” hosted by Cycle North Carolina.
All participants arrive in Banner Elk on Saturday, Oct. 1. The ride begins the next day at Tate-Evans Park in Banner Elk and concludes Saturday, Oct. 8, in Atlantic Beach. A total of 1,100 riders are expected to participate, which is the highlight of the year for many cyclists from across the nation.
The “Mountains to Coast Ride” was created in 1999 and is North Carolina’s only fully-supported ride. It is designed to promote North Carolina’s beauty, tourism, visitor attractions, historic sites, state parks, healthy lifestyle and the benefits of bicycling.
During the course of the week, riders will bike an average of 60 miles per day. In addition to overnights in Banner Elk and Atlantic City, stays are also planned for the towns of Wilkesboro, Lexington, Burlington, Sanford, Clinton and Jacksonville.
“Cycle North Carolina events generate an economic impact that exceeds $3 million a year for numerous small North Carolina towns,” says Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC. “The event travels secondary roads, exploring all areas of our great state.”