by Craig Distl
The mountain resort towns of Banner Elk and Beech Mountain have teamed up for a sizzling cool way to celebrate Independence Day weekend. The inaugural Mile High Fourth of July takes place and includes fireworks, barbecue, nine bands, a parade and much more.
Spread over four days in the two neighboring towns, this extravaganza offers a new option for the July holiday weekend. Highlights include a mile-high fireworks show night atop Beech Mountain and an all-American parade on Main Street in Banner Elk.
“Banner Elk always holds its parade and ‘party in the park’ on the Fourth, while Beech Mountain always holds its fireworks and ‘roasting of the hog’ on the closest to the Fourth, so it seemed like a natural fit to partner on a larger celebration,” says Mike Dunn, chairperson of the Banner Elk Tourism Development Authority.
Both the fireworks show and the parade include other activities, such as family games, barbecue feasts and live music.
Speaking of live music, the weekend headliner will be Charlotte band Brandon Kirkley and the Firecrackers playing a concert in the town meadow in Beech Mountain, which is Eastern America’s highest town at 5,506 feet in elevation. The aptly-named band will perform classic and modern rock and pop hits, many of which have a patriotic theme.
There is no admission charge for most of the nine bands playing at various venues across the four days, including the concert in the Beech town meadow.
Arts aficionados can take advantage of the four-day Art on the Greene fine arts and crafts show in downtown Banner Elk, as well as three stage performances of “Mary Poppins” by the Lees-McRae College summer theatre in Banner Elk.
Another activity is the two-day NatuRally Beech Weekend ( and ) hosted by the Buckeye Recreation Center. It includes educational programs, hikes, and workshops on the local environment.
A craft beer colla-brew-ration is on tap. Beech Mountain Brewing Co. and Flat Top Brewing Co. have teamed on a summer wheat IPA dubbed “Red, Wheat & Brew” which will be available at both breweries throughout the weekend.