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Banner Elk Heritage Day Boasts All Day Celebration July 19 Hosted by the Greater Banner Elk Heritage Foundation


Photos by Ken Ketchie

by Madison V. Fisler

July 16, 2014. The Greater Banner Elk Heritage Foundation will host a day stuffed with fun and educational activities to celebrate the heritage of the small town of Banner Elk, all free and open to the public. Banner Elk Heritage Day will begin at 9 a.m. on July 19 and will continue all day long.

Celebrations like this one have been held in the past to celebrate the heritage of Banner Elk, but the town has never seen something like this!

“The Banner Elk Heritage Foundation decided that they need to get their name out there and make people aware that Banner Elk has a history,” said Jo-Ann McMurray, who is coordinating the event.

As part of the event, the Banner House Museum will be open for tours from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. At the museum there will be crafts, demonstrations, activities and more for participants to enjoy. Starting at 9 a.m., Lees-McRae will host bus tours of historic Banner Elk.

Starting at 10 a.m., storytelling legend Orville Hicks will be telling tales, and following the storytelling, live music will begin at 11 a.m. Music will be provided by members of Boone’s young and talented Strictly Strings, who will play traditional fiddle tunes on the covered porch of the Banner House Museum. Rhody Jane will be present at the museum to demonstrate musical instruments and woodworking demonstrations will take place as well, according to a press release.

At 1 p.m., the Banner Elk Heritage Day will make a move to Tate Evans Park for the rest of the celebration, where the Corklickers will get started with the musical entertainment for the afternoon. After the concert, the Avery Smooth Dancers will perform for the guests, and next up will be Rhody Jane’s performance with a group of Celtic singers. Amantha Mill will end the show with their traditional mountain sound.

Starting at 5 p.m., a drawing will be held to select the winner of the Heritage Quilt. Raffle tickets will be available at the park along with children’s inflatables and barbecue for sale. All day long there will be an antique quilt display and small donation will be asked to help with the preservation of the quilts, according to a press release.

“I think people will really enjoy this event, and they will learn something,” McMurray said. “This will be a fun event, it will be an educational event. This celebration will give a lot of knowledge that people just aren’t aware of and help people learn where they came from and why they are here.”

There is no charge for the event with the exception of the museum tours which are $5 per person, said McMurray. Carolina Barbecue will be providing food and Avery County High School will be selling snow cones.

This event is sponsored and coordinated by the Banner House Museum and the Greater Banner Elk Heritage Foundation.

For more information about this event, call the Banner House Museum at 828-898-3634.

Photos by Ken Ketchie

The Parlor Room on the first floor of the Banner House contains period pieces set up the way it would have been in the 1870s. There are photos on the walls that show the sawmill and other important pieces of Banner Elk’s history.
The Gathering Room on the first floor of the house is where the family would have taken their meals together. The kitchen was in a seperate building. On the right of the room is a pie safe. The woman of the house would do the cooking early in the morning and place the food into the pie safe to be eaten later.
The adult bedroom on the second floor. The bedroom is set up as a period bedroom would be, complete with a baby crib at the foot of the bed.
The child’s bedroom set up how a child’s bedroom would be set up at the time that the house was built in the 1800s with period pieces reminiscent of days gone by.
The Exhibition Room contains newspaper articles, factual pieces, photographs and more to help teach visitors about the history of Banner Elk. The room is a combination of the history of the community along with information about the original Banners, Lees-McRae College and more. It is a historical summary of Banner Elk Area.
Susy Crouch will be the new office manager for the GBEHS and the Banner House Museum starting this fall. She began as an intern from the New Opportunities School of Women and learned how the museum functioned. Susy will take the reins in October.
When the house was restored, the BEHF put on a new metal roof on the exterior but the interior was stripped down to the bare walls. At the time the Banner House was built, the kitchen was a seperate building. Other buildings would have included a smokehouse, a springhouse, a root cellar and an outhouse.
The house was built with mortise and tenon construction, so it was built with no nails. A good portion of the windows are the original window glass.