FORUM Cultural Series

Banner Elk

Founded in 1979, the FORUM summer series brings stimulating cultural programs to Banner Elk. The series is a joint effort of Lees-McRae College and community residents.

There are eight programs each year ranging in variety. They include: speakers, vocalists, big band music, chamber ensembles, pianists, dance and drama.

The selection process for performers is unique. Programs are selected as a result of personal contact between area residents and national talent agents. Recomm... Read More

Beech Mountain History Museum

Beech Mountain

This small museum, operated by the Beech Mountain Historical Society, seeks to preserve the history of the mountain by educating locals and visitors about its unique history.

The museum is open seasonally with rotating exhibits. Exhibit topics include: life on Beech Mountain before the ski resort; background on its earliest known visitors, the Cherokees; logging, milling and narrow gauge railroads on the mountain; the era of ownership by the Carolina Caribbean Corporation (late 1960... Read More

Banner House Museum

Banner Elk

The Banner House Museum demonstrates what life was like in the North Carolina mountains during the mid to late 1800s.

Built in 1865, the house belonged to the Banners, one of Banner Elk’s founding families: Samuel Henry Banner, his wife, Jane, and their seven children. As the Banner family grew, the area came to be known as Banner’s Elk. Eventually, the town of Banner Elk was incorporated by the N.C. General Assembly in 1911.

The Banner House Museum — purchased, restored and ... Read More

Art on the Greene

Banner Elk

Memorial Day weekend, July Fourth weekend, Early August weekend, Labor Day weekend

May 29-30, July 3-4, Aug. 7-8 & Sept. 4-5, 2021

Four times each summer, the green at the Historic Banner Elk School comes to life with Art on the Greene, featuring quality, hand-made arts and crafts from select regional and national artisans.

The shows occur Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July weekend, an early August weekend and Labor Day w... Read More

Grandfather Mtn. Nature Museum


The Grandfather Mountain Nature Museum is home to more than two dozen exhibits on the natural history of Grandfather Mountain and the surrounding region.

Upon entering the gallery, the first thing visitors encounter is one of the finest collections of North Carolina gems and minerals available on public display. There are some 62 kinds of minerals (350 specimens in all) including crystals of the state’s famed emeralds and rubies and the largest amethyst ever found in North America. ... Read More

An Appalachian Summer Festival


This critically-acclaimed summer arts festival/series, presented by Appalachian State University, features a diverse mix of music, dance, theatre, visual arts and film. It is regularly recognized as one of the “Top Twenty Events in the Southeast” by the Southeast Tourism Society.

An Appalachian Summer Festival began in 1984 as a chamber music festival and has evolved over the years into one of the largest regional multi-arts festivals in the country. Its mission is to pr... Read More

Horn in the West Outdoor Drama


Horn in the West is the nation’s oldest Revolutionary War drama. It brings to life famous frontiersman Daniel Boone and the hardy mountain settlers in their struggle to preserve their freedom during the turbulent years of the War for Independence. The drama highlights those settlers who came to the Blue Ridge Mountains seeking freedom and escape from British tyranny.

As playwright Kermit Hunter wrote in the original script “The gaze of man is westward, as if he could glimpse s... Read More

Lees-McRae Summer Theatre

Banner Elk

The performing arts department of Lees-McRae College combines with the community each summer to produce a top-notch series of theatrical productions in the Hayes Auditorium on campus.

Since 1985, summer theatre patrons have experience a wide variety of shows, ranging from classic Shakespeare to Broadway musicals to shows written by local playwrights. The casts include professional, local and student actors. This summer series typically begins in late June and runs through early Augu... Read More

Hickory Ridge Living History Museum


Hickory Ridge Living History Museum is located on the grounds of Horn in the West, the nation’s oldest Revolutionary War drama. The museum was created in 1980 to foster a better understanding of the life of the settlers in the Horn in the West outdoor drama.

Staffed with interpreters in period clothing, the 18th century homestead gives visitors a glimpse into the daily lives of early mountain settlers. The museum also provides insight into the self sufficiency of our forefathe... Read More

Turchin Center for the Visual Arts


Appalachian State University’s world-class visual arts center occupies a unique location in the heart of downtown Boone, yet within the physical boundaries of the campus. This makes it easily accessible by visitors and students alike.

The Turchin Center is the largest of its kind in Western North Carolina. Its exhibitions focus on a blend of new and historically-important artwork and feature the work of nationally and internationally renowned artists, as well as many of the region’s... Read More

Mountain Blue Gallery

Banner Elk

Owned by local artist Page Smoak, this inviting gallery in downtown Banner Elk presents a diverse selection of original artwork, including paintings in oil and acrylic, mixed media, kiln-formed glass, stoneware, pottery, encaustics, silk, fabrics, jewelry and more.

Colorful tulips, friendly farm animals and bold abstracts pop off the walls.

Looking for a gift? Mountain Blue Gallery includes a nice selection of ceramic bowls, wooden cutting boards and candles.

The galle... Read More

BE Artists Gallery

Banner Elk

The best in locally-made art can be found at the Banner Elk (BE) Artists Gallery.

Formed by a group of local artists, the BE Artists Gallery features fine arts and crafts for sale to the public. All items are hand-made objects of beauty and utility created by artisans living within a 50-mile radius of Banner Elk. The gallery was so successful in its first year that its size was doubled to provide display space for more artists.

Displays vary throughout the year and include su... Read More

Ensemble Stage

Banner Elk

Enjoy professional theater in the mountains with Ensemble Stage, a local theater troupe known for high-quality performances with a robust year-round schedule of events.

Ensemble Stage is based at the Historic Banner Elk School, where it entertains audiences with such notable titles as: “It’s A Wonderful Life,” “The Star Spangled Girl,” “Robin Hood,” “Dracula” and “Treasure Island.” Theater packages, which include a ni... Read More