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Piano Project Unveiling, Paint Out Competition Slated for Second Saturday in BE July 9

By Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

If you’ve never had the chance to explore the charming town of Banner Elk, there’s no better time to jump right in than this weekend’s Second Saturday festivities.

On the second Saturday of every month this summer, the Banner Elk Chamber of Commerce and a variety of local businesses will team up to offer additional family fun, exciting specials and plenty of reasons to take a stroll through the downtown area.

“Our business owners do something special at their businesses. They will have music or a special project or activity,” said Jo-Anne McMurray, the chamber president. “The chamber also puts on different little events.”

On Saturday, July 9, local establishments offering events or deals include:

  • Historic Downtown Walking Tours run by the Greater Banner Elk Heritage Foundation
  • Knitting with the Alpacas at Apple Hill Farm
  • Live music at the Bayou Smokehouse
  • Live music at the Banner Elk Café
  • Meet the Authors at the Book Exchange in the school

This week, the chamber brings two really cool ways to get to know Banner Elk.

One of six pianos that have been decorated to add color and community fun to Banner Elk. Photo by Ken Ketchie.
One of six pianos that have been decorated to add color and community fun to Banner Elk. Photo by Ken Ketchie.

At the Historic Banner Elk School on Shawneehaw Avenue in the heart of town, the Paint Out competition will take place. Artists of all skill levels and media are invited to set up shop anywhere on the seven-acre grounds of the school and spend the day bringing their imaginations to life.

Create your own work of art just for fun or pay a $20 registration fee and enter the juried competition. Registration begins on site from 8-10 a.m. on Saturday and artists will have until 3 p.m. to complete their works. David Birmingham will judge the entries during an exhibition from 5-7 p.m. and a first-place cash prize of $1,000, cosponsored by the chamber, will be awarded. Second and third places will receive an art supply package sponsored by Mike Hill of Fine Art Purveyors. If you’re not the artistic type but you love to enjoy it, stroll across the grounds and watch the artists in action.

“We have a lot of local talent as far as artists go,” McMurray said. “We have a lot of this type of artist who enjoy being outside and being able to paint outside. It’s a fun time for those who like to do that type of art.

“People can watch them paint and we’ll have a reception after they’re finished, where we’ll announce the winners in the gym of the school.”

Saturday, July 9 will also feature the grand unveiling of Banner Elk’s new Piano Project, in which six vibrantly decorated pianos will be scattered across town for the community to enjoy. The pianos will be unveiled at 1 p.m. that day and will remain in their downtown locations throughout the month of July.

“Anybody’s welcome to sit down and play as long as they’d like. They can strike up an orchestra if they’d like,” said McMurray. “The main goal is to bring people to Banner Elk and have an activity that everybody can participate in. It’s kind of funky having the pianos out on the street.”

The pianos, four of which have been decorated by folks at Lees-McRae College, will be situated at the following locations:

  • In front of the Banner Elk Chamber office
  • At Dunn’s Deli
  • Just outside the theatre at Lees-McRae
  • At the Banner Elk Café
  • Near the Historic Banner Elk School
  • In the Sorrento’s shopping center

You can head out to Banner Elk this weekend for shopping, dining and all sorts of family fun. Take a tour of all six pianos or sit down at your favorite and play a few tunes. Create your own masterpiece at the Paint Out competition or watch the other artists at work. However you choose to enjoy it, this Second Saturday is sure to be a good one!

“We just want people to come to Banner Elk and have a good time,” said McMurray.

A full schedule of events is available at the Banner Elk Chamber Welcome Center and on its website: bannerelk.org.

Photo by Ken Ketchie.
The brightly colored pianos will be unveiled on Saturday afternoon for all to enjoy and will be on display and available for playing throughout the month of July.