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Woolly Worms Needed: Collection Dates Oct. 18-19; Earn Up to $25 by Bringing Woolly Worms to Banner Elk School

By Paul T. Choate

Oct. 12, 2012. On Thursday and Friday, Oct. 18 and 19, Banner Elk Elementary School will be hosting their annual woolly worm collection in preparation of the 35th annual Woolly Worm Festival on Oct. 20 and 21 in downtown Banner Elk. 

According to Mary Jo Brubaker, of the Kiwanis Club of Banner Elk and festival planner, volunteers will be on hand to purchase up to 25 woolly worms per person at $1 per worm. Student’s worms will be purchased first, but that anyone can come and sell their worms. 

“This year we hope to purchase between 1,000 and 1,200 worms,” Brubaker said. 

Debra Wilcox, principal of Banner Elk Elementary School, said that initially the collection was only planned for Oct. 18, but upon realizing that day was the parent teacher conference day and that children would not be in class, organizers decided to schedule the event for Thursday and Friday. With Friday being a school day, planners assumed that would give kids the best chance to participate in the collection.

The collection will take place from 7:30 a.m. to noon on both days.

Banner Elk Elementary School is located at 155 Orchard Lane Way, just off of N.C. 184, in downtown Banner Elk.

For more information about the worm collection or about the coming festival, visit woollyworm.com or call 828-737-5700.

About the festival

Brock Bindleckner. Photo by by Austin King

High Country residents are invited to come enjoy the splendor of the 35th Annual Woolly Worm Festival taking place Saturday, Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in downtown Banner Elk. This festival captures family fun with rides, food, craft vendors and wacing worms. Through the efforts of the North Carolina Division of Tourism, Film & Sports Development, Smarter Travel Online featured the Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk in its roundup of “10 Great Fall Festivals.”

Saturday’s winning worm has the esteemed honor of predicting the High Country winter and earns $1,000 for beating out other worms in his or her heat. 

Tickets can be purchased at the gate or now online at woollyworm.com. Cost at the gate is $5 per general adult admission, kids 12 and under $3 and children 5 and under are free. Bring your woolly worm or buy one inside the gate from the PTO booth. There is a nomincal fee to enter your worm in the wace, but all proceeds are returned to the community to support children’s programs and to promote tourism and small business in Avery County.