October 17-18, 2020
Race your woolly worm to help predict the winter forecast according to the worm's stripes. The Woolly Worm Festival in Banner Elk (about 85 miles from Asheville) is held the third weekend of October. Since 1978, the residents of this village at the foot of Beech Mountain have celebrated the coming of the snow season with the Woolly Worm Festival. They determine which one worm (out of 2,000!) will have the honor of predicting the severity of the coming winter; and they make that worm earn the honor by winning heat after heat of hard-fought races up a three-foot length of string.
Festival hours are Saturday 9 AM-5 PM and Sunday 9 AM-4 PM. The Woolly Worm races begin around 10 AM. Each heat consists of 25 worms and races continue all day until the grand final. The winning worm on Saturday gets the $1,000 first prize that accompanies the prestige of having your worm used to pronounce the official winter forecast. The Sunday races are for prestige, fun and a $500 prize.
The Woolly Bear caterpillar has 13 brown and black segments, said to correspond to the 13 weeks of winter. The lighter brown a segment is, the milder that week of winter will be. The darker black a segment is, the colder and snowier the corresponding week will be. No person is more likely to have a winning worm than any other person. There is no other experience in life that can produce the absurd euphoria that comes from cheering for a caterpillar to climb a string!
In addition to the races, enjoy live entertainment and 140 food and craft vendors with their handcrafted items.
How to Race A Woolly Worm?
Tickets & Parking