Tuesday, November 4, 2008
October Woolly Worm Festival, Banner Elk
Every year about the third weekend in October thousands of people descend on the tiny village of Banner elk to race woolly worms - the fuzzy orange and black striped woolly bear caterpillar.
Mountain tradition states that you can predict the upcoming winter weather week by week using the 13 dark stripes of the woolly bear caterpillar. The darker the segment, the more severe the weather - lighter segments mean milder weather.
This unusual festival began 31 years ago to celebrate this weather predicting worm. The two days are full of activities - craft and food vendors - a road race and Woolly Worm Ball initiate the festival the weekend before.
The actual race is set for 10 a.m. that Saturday. Each round consists of 20-25 worms racing up a string and the winner determines the winter forecast along with garnering a cash prize.
To avoid the tremendous traffic I would suggest taking Hwy 19 out of Newland and turning on Hwy 194 heading towards Banner Elk, This brings you right into town. Hwy 105 will be bumper to bumper from Tynecastle down to Banner Elk. For more info go to www.woollyworm.com