October Weekend Events: The Peak of Fall Foliage and the Ultimate in Autumn Festivals 10/17-18

fall mtnsIf you haven’t noticed by now, there is major change in the mountains and this weekend is said to be the peak of the brilliant color scheme of our Fall Foliage.  The beauty is unsurpassed with the mountains looking like they are on fire. You won’t want to miss getting out with your family and enjoying the good times of Autumn. Here are a couple of great events going on this weekend.

This weekend once again marks the ultimate in Autumn Festivals in the High Country with the Valle Country Fair and the Wooly Worm Festival, always held on this same weekend every year. The Valle Country Fair is a Saturday event, while the Wooly Worm Festival is both Saturday and Sunday, October 17th and 18th.

The 31st annual Valle Country Fair will be held from 9 am – 4 pm at theValle Country Fair pic 2 Valle Crucis Conference Center in Valle Crucis on Saturday, October 17th, and is hailed as the biggest church bazaar around. The Fair started as a fundraiser by the small Holy Cross Episcopal Church growing into an annual event attracting thousands, and raising more than $40,000 for local charities in 2008. The Valle Crucis Conference Center is located on Highway 194 with free admission and parking available in the adjoining field for $5 per car.

Valle Fair picThe highlight of the Valle Fair is the 135 juried craft vendors who donate at least 10 percent of their earnings to the charitable work of the fair. Some of the goods being offered range from folk art, jewelry, baskets, pottery, toys, leather goods, Christmas ornaments, birdhouses, glass, paintings, quilts, and much more. And, as your strolling around you might work up an appetite, but don’t worry, there are plenty of food vendors around as well with everything from Brunswick Stew and BBQ to Funnel Cakes, jams and jellies, fresh-pressed apple cider and the Valle Fair’s famous hot-out-of-the kettle apple butter. Live music will get you moving and make sure to take in the other performances such as clogging, Valle Fair pic 2etc.

When the day comes to an end, proceeds from the 2009 Valle Country Fair will benefit 9 different community programs and the Holy Cross outreach committee will distribute all remaining profits to individuals and families in crisis. For more information visit www.vallecountryfair.org. or call 828-963-4609.

Wooly Worm Woad Wace flyerThe second ultimate event this weekend kicks off with the Woolly Worm Woad Wace held at the Lees-McRae College track in Banner Elk. Registration is at 9 am, with the 5 mile foot race starting at 10 am. This is a cross-country journey, challenging and fun because of the terrain through Newland and across Hickory Nut Gap at the peak of the autumn foliage season in Banner Elk. Entry fees are $25 in advance and $30 on the day of the race, with runners receiving an official race t-shirt and prizes are awarded to top male and female runner and to the top three finishers in each division.

For those of us who need something a little less strenuous like me, there is also a One Mile Fun Wun with a $10 entry fee. Registration takes place at the Lees-McRae College Track Field. Proceeds will help Lees-McRae’s track and field team purchase uniforms and such. To preregister or for more information, call the Avery County Chamber of Commerce at 828-898-5605 or click to www.averycounty.com.

After getting your exercise for the day with the Woad Wace, head on over to the 32nd Annual Wooly Worm Festival, named one of the top 10 fall festivals in Wooly Worm FestivalNorth America by the Society of American Travel Writers, and bringing thousands of visitors to the High Country. This event is one of the most unique festivals in the Southeast and is dedicated to the woolly worm, a furry little creature said to forecast the winter weather with its 13 black and brown bands of fur.

Wooly Worm picsHeld from 9 am – 5 pm on Saturday and 9 am – 4 pm on Sunday at Banner Elk Elementary School, admission is $5 for adults, $2 for kids 5 – 12 and free for kids under 5.
The pulse-pounding racing of the woolly worms is the main event to determine which one will have the honor of predicting the winter weather forecast. You can bring your own woolly worm or purchase one at the festival. Registration begins at 9 am,  entry fees are $5 and the racing begins around 10 am consisting of 20 worms, and will continue all day with the finals at 4 pm on Saturday determining the official weather forecaster, and the winning worm trainer who wins $1,000. Sunday’s races are for prestige, fun and small prizes.

When you’re not taking part or watching the excitement of the races, you Wooly Worm piccan enjoy meeting local celebrities like Roy Krege, a festival volunteer, known as “Mr. Woolly Worm,” on the Woolly Worm Festival website. Definitly check out the many other fall festival activities, including more than 140 food and craft vendors. Items for sale include furniture, holiday items, wooden toys, jewelry, glass, pottery, paintings, folk art, candles, instruments and more. Fun for the whole family, kids will want to take part in the expanded kids’ play area in the park, carnival rides, face painting, performances by dance teams and local entertainers and, on Sunday, live music by the John Schuffler Band.

The Woolly Worm Festival is co-sponsored by The Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk and the Avery County Chamber of Commerce with the majority of the proceeds benefiting countywide projects, especially programs for children.
For more information, visit www.averycounty.com or call 828-898-5605.

Tell us about your weekend and feel free to include other area happenings as well.

Also, make sure to check out mine and my husband’s new website for our Wooden Toy and Home Decor businesses, currently under construction, so please pardon our cyber dust at www.timespasttoys.com. We look forward to hearing from you and you are more than welcome to give us helpful hints as to making our site better and more user friendly. We will soon be including links for area businesses selling Times Past Toys products and such..


  1. HighCountryMommies.com will be hosting a yard sale this Saturday, October 17th!!

    Our ladies will be at the Optimist Park Clubhouse on State Farm road from 8am-1pm selling everything from workout equipment to baby items. You’re sure to see some great items there!