The 45th Woolly Worm Festival, a slice of Americana honoring the prognostication prowess of the woolly bear caterpillar, takes place Oct. 15-16 in the resort village of Banner Elk in the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Local legend dictates the color of the 13 fur bands on the woolly bear caterpillar foretell the weather forecast for the 13 weeks of winter. Brown bands equal mild weeks and black bands equal cold, snowy weeks. Because color patterns vary from worm to worm, the Woolly Worm festival was created in 1978 to conduct a series of worm races determining which one gets the honor of predicting the winter forecast in the NC High Country. The big winner also receives $1,000.
The festival, known worldwide, includes live entertainment, crafts, food vendors and more. It coincides with the peak leaf-viewing season in the North Carolina mountains.