By Nathan Ham
Tourism has taken so many huge hits for areas all across the country during this COVID-19 pandemic. Banner Elk is just one of many quaint mountain towns that are feeling the pain of having basically no tourism visits for the last two months.
The Banner Elk Tourism Development Authority, along with the great artistic talents of local photographer Todd Bush, put together a video featuring still images and video clips of the many things that make Banner Elk such a popular spot to visit.
“The idea came about right after the short-term rental ban went into effect. Craig (Distl) and I were talking about how to keep Banner Elk fresh on people’s minds so when they can travel, they will come here and have happy memories of it,” said Nancy Owen, the director for the Banner Elk TDA.
Craig Distl handles public relations for Banner Elk tourism. He and Nancy decided to reach out to Todd Bush to see if he would be interested in helping create this video.
“We realized people are homebound, spending more time online and looking for distractions from the daily news. Todd is musically gifted and often creates small video projects for fun, so we asked if he would work with us to pull together a selection of beautiful, peaceful scenes, using both photography and video, and blend them with one of his original songs,” said Distl. “We hit on something pretty fast. Nancy picked out the song and wrote the messaging, and Todd pulled it all together with an artist’s eye. It only took a few edits to get the images and video clips just right, and the response has been very rewarding.”
“Craig wanted to get something out there to show people who couldn’t come up to Banner Elk because of COVID-19. I thought this was such a great opportunity to share my favorite place in the world and I knew I had a lot of photos and things. I started going through the archives of photos to find relevant pictures,” Bush said.
As part of creating the video, Bush included some musical selections of his own for a soundtrack for the video. Of the songs he submitted for approval to use, a song he had written that was inspired by the flowing water in the Elk River was the one that Nancy and Craig ended up choosing. Bush had named it “The Speed of Water.”
The video started coming together with lots of great images that Bush had taken throughout Banner Elk, as well as images of Grandfather Mountain and video footage of geese at the millpond.
“I took the best photos and a bunch of video clips I could find. Craig and Nancy were very helpful in directing this process with shots to include and shots we could eliminate. I was very honored they put their faith in me to do this project and it felt so much like home for me doing it around the place I love the most,” Bush said.
Owen says that she wanted this video to provide some light-hearted, feel-good moments during this time.
“We just wanted to give people that can’t be here but love Banner Elk a little taste of the area and see that we are still here and we’ll be here when things reopen and calm down,” she said.
According to data provided by Distl, the video has been shared on two different Facebook pages and has received 23,000 total views, 564 likes, 446 shares and 61 comments. It has also received 402 views on the Banner Elk YouTube Channel.
The Banner Elk TDA video can be seen below.