by Erika Giovanetti
May 21, 2013. This weekend marks the fifth annual Banner Elk Herb Festival, which will be held at the historic Banner Elk School yard. The festival, taking place Saturday to Monday, May 25 to 27, is free to attend, and offers something for all ages, from a “kids zone” to live music.
According to program coordinator, Holly Palm, this is the first event that happens in Banner Elk for the season, so it’s “a good chance for neighbors to come out and mingle” with their community.
The festival features over 5,000 herb plants from more than 45 vendors. The herbs are sold in biodegradable pots, which will disintegrate once planted in the ground.
Some new herbs, such as tomatoes and peppers, will be introduced at this year’s festival. Among the new herbs are: purple jalapeños, Greek basil that doesn’t flower and a strain of tomatoes developed in Buncombe County, NC specifically engineered to tolerate the temperature, elevation, and terrain of the mountain climate.
In addition to herbs, the festival offers goers the opportunity to purchase art, crafts, food, candles, organic soaps, and pottery, just to name a few. This year, t-shirts commemorating the festival’s fifth year are available for $20.
The Herb Festival will run 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, and 10:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. on Monday. If you’re going for the herbs, Palm recommends coming Saturday or Sunday for the best availability.
This year’s festival offers entertainment for the whole family, featuring a “kids zone” complete with a petting zoo, games, crafts, pony rides, and a dunking booth to dunk a local volunteer fireman.
The proceeds from the dunking booth fund volunteer firefighters in Banner Elk. Also, “Banner Elk Community Supporter” stickers are available for any amount you choose to donate; half of these proceeds go to the firefighters, and the other half fund the festival’s expenditures.
As for live music, Saturday features a bluegrass band, and the classic rock cover band “Smoky Breeze” plays on Sunday.
For more information, click to www.beherbfest.com or call Holly Palm at 828-773-1906.