Banner Elk’s Independence Day celebration returns with a new name and a new date after a pandemic-forced cancelation last year.
The Star Spangled Banner Elk Fourth takes place Saturday, July 3, combining popular activities from previous years. The day begins with the All-American Banner Elk Parade at 11 a.m., followed by the Party in the Park and the famous Banner Elk Kiwanis Duck Races shortly after 12 noon.
Meanwhile, the second installment of this summer’s Art on the Greene fine art and craft show sets up shop on the lawn of the Historic Banner Elk School from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The parade is among the tops in the North Carolina mountains, with cars, trucks, people and pets decked out in red, white and blue, and proceeding down Main Street from the Lees-McRae College campus to Tate-Evans Town Park.
“It’s a patriotic parade that makes Uncle Sam proud,” says Banner Elk tourism director Nancy Owen, “with lots of cars, floats, kids catching candy and more. We’re getting many calls asking about the parade. People really missed it last year.”
Banner Elk’s Party in the Park follows the parade and features old-fashioned kids games like three-legged races, sack races, egg tosses and watermelon eating contests. An emcee/DJ narrates the contests and plays lively tunes. There are also food trucks, as well as food vendors with classics like funnel cakes and cotton candy.
The Duck Races offer new twists this year. Instead of two races, there are four, and the race tickets switch from paper to small keepsake ducks. Every keepsake duck will be numbered to match a duck in one of the four races. About 20 minutes after the first race, the subsequent race begins, and that continues until all four races are completed.
Winners of the four races receive $200 and must be present to claim their prize. Likewise for second place finishers, who receive $50. If winners are not present, prizes go to the top two duck holders who are present. The races conclude by 2 p.m. and the party wraps up at 3 p.m.
“People in the past have said they really want to take their duck home after the race and that wasn’t feasible because we had to race them again next year,” says Ann Swinkola, who organizes the races for the Banner Elk Kiwanis Club. “So, we eliminated the raffle ticket concept and will give them something to take home, still keeping the entry fee at $5.”
For additional info, visit www.BannerElk.com or call 828-898-8395.