Community Tidbits

Following you’ll find information on local events and programs, interesting people and a variety of opportunities from innovative organizations and businesses.

Show Your Love | Show love for yourself and others and practice the 3Ws when you leave your home. WEAR a cloth face covering. It should fit snugly against the sides of your face, covering your nose and mouth. You should be able to breathe easily. WASH your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer. WAIT 6 feet apart from others and avoid close contact.

Hawk Watch in September! | From atop Grandfather Mountain, visitors can grab a front-row seat to one of nature’s most stunning spectacles—thousands of raptors migrating over the mountains and heading south toward their wintering grounds. Guests can observe the raptors during the annual Hawk Watch, in which official counters and volunteers note the number of passersby in the sky throughout the entire month of September. Counts will be conducted every day the weather permits from an area inaccessible to the general public, and will be posted daily at For more information visit

Providing a Splash of Happy | A new art installation has just been completed on the outdoor grand staircase at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts. The Turchin Center is situated on King Street and lies at the crossroads of Appalachian State University and downtown Boone, and this staircase serves as a pedestrian connector between the two. The dynamic duo of Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn @jessieandkatey were commissioned to transform the stairs into what has become an eye-popping mural!

Help Kids Connect with History | Check out the Heritage Trunk project through the Greater Banner Elk Heritage Foundation! Everything you need is either already in your house, or available for download through the Foundation’s website. Kids can learn to connect with history through family interviews, flag making, and other activities. Originally developed as curriculum enhancement for 2nd graders, it is easily adaptable to any age, and even something you can do remotely with your grandkids. Learn more at

Visit Health Providers via Online Video | Appalachian Regional Healthcare System has launched a new telehealth program to ensure patients have safe, convenient access to their providers during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Through telehealth visits, you can meet with an ARHS healthcare provider using a computer or mobile device from the safety of your own home. Telehealth is most appropriate for routine visits such as simple acute care (sick visits), follow-up, wellness visits, and behavioral health concerns like depression, anxiety or grief. Visit

National Alpaca Farm Days, September 26 -27 | Over 1,000 farms will participate across the country to celebrate National Alpaca Farm Days. Come take a tour of Apple Hill Farm in Banner Elk and see this year’s new animals and products. The farm is not offering a self-guided option for 2020, so if you’d like to see the animals, you can make reservations for one of their guided tours, offered all day long on both days. Find out more about this event, and the annual Christmas Celebration at

HHC Halloween Drive-In Movies | The HUNGER AND HEALTH COALITION (HHC) has become known for being a pillar in our community and adaptively caring for our neighbors in need for the past 38 years. This year, they are leaning on their ability to creatively pivot by offering safe and fun options to get outside and celebrate Halloween this fall. For a spooky, family friendly time, join in for the HHC Halloween Drive-In Movies on the grounds of the Valle Crucis Conference Center. Bring your family or a date and enjoy a movie in the safety of your vehicle. They’ll be featuring two cult classics: Beetlejuice on Friday, October 23 and Hocus Pocus on Friday, October 30, both at 7 p.m. Rumor has it that the Appalachian Musical Theatre Ensemble will again be involved with HHC in this event. All funds raised benefit the Hunger and Health Coalition. For updates and more information, please visit

The Children’s Playhouse “Play Kit Project” | Playhouse Play Kits are care packages filled with love from The Children’s Playhouse to all the families they are not able to see in person during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each kit contains detailed instructions and all the materials for many hours of hands-on fun! A small donation to cover the cost of materials is requested. Larger donations help provide boxes for families experiencing significant financial hardship during this time. Learn more at

Free Guided Hikes | Beech Mountain offers a series of guided hikes this season along some of its most picturesque trails, including:
• Westerly Hills on October 1 (Meet at the Fred & Margie Pfohl Buckeye Rec Center)
• Emerald Outback, on October 15 (Meet at the Public Parking lot across from Town Hall)
Guided Hikes depart promptly at 10 a.m. Bring water and wear appropriate footwear. Call (828) 387-3003 for more information. (Each hike limited to 25 hikers max.)

Grandfather Home Visitors’ Center & Museum | Located in Banner Elk, just before the main campus of Grandfather Home on Hickory Nut Gap Road, the Grandfather Home Visitors’ Center and Museum lets visitors experience an important part of our area’s local history. Enjoy the fire and beautiful mountain views while learning about different aspects of the lives of Grandfather Home children through the decades. Go back in time as you flip through photos of what it was like working in the orchard, canning vegetables and picking blackberries. To schedule a tour, call Madison Cornwell at (828) 406-2424 (mlcornwell@childrenshopealliance).

Kudos to Local Student and History Buff | National History Day® (NHD) is a nonprofit educational organization that promotes the teaching and learning of history in middle and high schools around the world. The largest program is the National History Day Contest that encourages more than half a million students around the world to conduct historical research on a topic of their choice.

Through documentaries, exhibits, papers, performances, and websites, students presented research projects earlier this year addressing topics related to the 2020 NHD theme, Breaking Barriers in History. We congratulate Crossnore, NC, student Isabella Hardy, for winning first place in the country in Junior Individual performance, representing North Carolina! She researched the life of Williamina Fleming, one of the Harvard female “computers” in the late 19th and early 20th century. In recognition of Isabella’s award from NHD, the American Astronomical Society also recognized Isabella and two other students who had winning NHD projects on women in astronomy. Congratulations Isabella!

Banner Elk Voted “Best Town to Live In” in 2020 | The Avery County Best of the Best winners for 2020 are out! The Avery Journal-Times hosts this annual competition to recognize exceptional businesses, destinations and people. Banner Elk, NC is a great place to live because of many factors, including its richness of culture, variety of outdoor activities, and great local shops and restaurants. Learn more about what Banner Elk has to offer at and

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