Community Tidbits

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

Laser Holiday Christmas | On Friday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m., head to the Mayland Earth to Sky Park in Burnsville to enjoy holiday songs with lasers dancing to the classic tunes of the season! Located in the Glenn & Carol Arthur Planetarium, your favorite tunes are brought to life with gorgeous laser choreography. Vibrant animations and abstracts dance above your head, as the music takes you away from the hustle and bustle. It might be cold outside, but it’s nice and toasty under the dome. Visit for more information.

Celebrate on the Slopes of Our Ski Mountains | As in past years, both Beech Mountain and Sugar Mountain will ring in the New Year on Dec. 31 with fireworks, live music, food, and a variety of entertainment for the whole family. For details, visit and Photo: Fireworks on Sugar Mountain

New Mural Unveiled in Ashe County | Congratulations to the Town of Jefferson for their beautiful new mural, located on the side of the Town Offices building. Local acclaimed artist Whitney Stuart Landwehrmann painted the mural, which depicts the local flora, fauna and fungi of our mountain region. This new mural joins many other murals and barn quilts displayed on buildings throughout Ashe County. Photo by Germain Media

The First Sunrise of 2024 | On Monday, Jan. 1, you can ring in the new year with views of the sun coming up from the Mile High Swinging Bridge. The Mile High Bridge is America’s highest suspension footbridge, which provides easy access to the spectacular views atop Grandfather Mountain’s Linville Peak at elevation 5,305 feet. The 228-foot suspension bridge spans an 80-foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation (hence the name!). For tickets to this special event and more information, visit Photo by Leslie Restivo Photography | GMSF

Woolly Worm Predicts the Weather | At the 2023 Woolly Worm Festival, winning woolly worm “Jeffery” became the official weather forecaster for the ’23-’24 winter season. According to the bands on Jeffery’s body, which correspond with the 13 weeks of the winter, our winter weather was predicted to be as follows: week 1, colder than average and SNOW; week 2, colder than average and SNOW; week 3, colder than average and SNOW; week 4, colder than average and SNOW; week 5, colder than average and light snow; week 6, colder than average and light snow; week 7, colder than average and light snow; week 8, above average temps and no snow; week 9, above average temps and no snow; week 10, above average temps and no snow; week 11, colder than average and light snow; week 12, colder than average and light snow; week 13, colder than average and SNOW. Keep your own records and see how they match up with Jeffery. Then plan to attend the 2024 Woolly Worm Festival, always the third weekend in October.

Tea Time & Holiday Shopping | This season, have some fun shopping for your favorite tea drinker or gourmet foodie. Appalachian Apothekary & Tea Room is an apothecary, tea room and gift shop all rolled into one. In addition to every flavor and type of tea, they offer healing oils, tinctures, high end crystals, French artisan soaps, Hillhouse Naturals candles, diffusers, a variety of gourmet treats, and so much more. Book a “tea party” event for your friends or family and enjoy full service High Tea with scones and other fresh-baked goodies. Located at10543 Highway 105 South suite 2, Banner Elk, NC. Facebook @ whittonanne2001/.

Banner Elk Named Top 10 Ski Town | Banner Elk has officially made the list of USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice 2023 Top 10 Ski Towns in North America, coming in at 6th place on the list (between Stowe, VT, and Jackson Hole, WY). Besides convenient access to the slopes, other aspects of a “best ski town” include access to great restaurants, bars, and shops, plus excellent accommodation options, a small-town vibe, and a historic atmosphere. According to the USA Today 10Best write-up, “Banner Elk offers excellent mountain terrain ideal for skiing. Two different ski resorts (Sugar Mountain and Beech Mountain) are located within Banner Elk, both of which provide commendable lodging and add to the overall ski experience. Besides hitting the slopes, you can browse exhibits in the Beech Mountain History Museum, take a ride down the Wilderness Run Alpine Coaster, go wine tasting at the Banner Elk Winery, indulge in great food, or go snow tubing.”

CML Contributor Jim Hamilton Wins Journalism Award | CML congratulates Jim Hamilton, Watauga County Extension Director for the NC Cooperative Extension, for being the NATIONAL WINNER of the National Association of County Agricultural Agents (NACAA) Communication Awards—Feature Story Category. Hamilton’s story, T’was the Day After Christmas: The End of Christmas Tree Season is Just the Beginning, was featured in our Winter ’22-’23 issue. Many people who buy Christmas trees are unaware of the years-long process it takes to get that tree from seedling, to the farm, to the living room. Hamilton’s article described the many steps in the journey of our Christmas trees. Read Hamilton’s award-winning article by clicking on the “Back Issues” link at the bottom of the page. 

Banff Mountain Film Festival Returns | The Banff Mountain Film Festival returns to Appalachian State University at the Schaefer Center for the Performing Arts from Thursday, March 21, to Saturday, March 23, and tickets are on sale now. Hosted by App State University Recreation, the festival’s World Tour has been making stops in Boone for 27 years, inspiring audiences with the world’s best films that highlight mountain adventure, culture and the environment. Tickets can be purchased online at, by phone at (800) 841-2787, or in person at the Schaefer Center Box Office.

Female Firefighters Make History | Banner Elk History was made this past fall with Banner Elk Volunteer Fire & Rescue’s first all-female first due engine response! Banner Elk Fire Fighters were dispatched to a late night multiple sprinkler alarm/possible structure fire. Megan Burr was performing shift coverage and using the opportunity to train two of the Department’s new recruits, when the dispatch went out.

The three sprang towards the bay, donned their gear, and climbed aboard the truck. These were just three young firefighters, who responded to their community’s call for help, while coincidentally, making history and paving the way for future female firefighters! Facebook @ BannerElkFireDepartment/.

Art Events and Artist Accolades | Artist Cristy Dunn, with the Johnson County Center for the Arts, recently won national acclaim for one of her original works. Dunn’s “Finding Freedom” (pictured above) was featured in the American Artists Professional League’s Grand National Exhibition, which featured 100 artworks by top realism artists in a landmark show at the Salmagundi Club in New York City. In Mountain City, TN, the Plein Air in the Mountains Show held this fall at the Johnson County Center for the Arts was a great success, with Daniel Wornicov winning Best in Show for his landscape. Pictured below is Temple Reece, event organizer and curator, with Daniel Wornicov and his winning painting.

Coming Soon to Earth to Sky Park | The new Children’s Discovery Center will consist of two adjoining buildings that feature hands-on STEM education for children (and adults) of all ages. Possible exhibits include the following: Demonstration Bee Hive; Where Does Your Trash Go?; How does Composting Work?; Alternative Energy Sources; Scaled Remote Control Model of NASA’s Mars Rover; Robotic Arms; and many others! Interested in supporting the Children’s Discovery Center? Contact the MCC Foundation office at [email protected] for information on how you can help.

Tour the Historic Banner Elk School | The historic 1939 stone building in downtown Banner is home to the Town’s Cultural Arts Center and one of the many stops on the Blue Ridge Craft Trails ( Shop for local arts and crafts at BE Artists Gallery (, book tickets for live theatre performances at the Ensemble Stage Theater (, “bring a book, take a book” at the Banner Elk Book Exchange (, hone your favorite pose at the Avery Community Yoga studio (, and pick up an extra copy of CML at the CML Magazine “headquarters.” (

Let Us Hear from You!  Have an event or tidbit you’d like to share with CML readers? Send your information to the editor at [email protected].

Find more community tidbits! Visit CML at Facebook and Instagram!

Return to the CML Community Page >>