Synergy on the Fourth
Reflections, enchanted gardens and rhythmic sunsets - three ingredients to a landmark Fourth of July at Banner Elk's Lodges at Eagles Nest.
For the holiday weekend, the High Country will be introduced to Synergy on the Mountain, a large-scale celebration of nature and art, featuring cirque-style shows, live music, living art and fireworks.
It's the brainchild of producer Chad Everett, founder and CEO of Galaxy Productions, a company that specializes in entertainment on a very grand scale, from award-winning parades and theme park attractions to extravagant grand openings and high-end socials.
Galaxy's trademark is the "WOW" Factor, the popular catchphrase for which Everett takes credit, and an apt fit for events that specialize in spectacle.
He's bringing that factor to Eagles Nest and them some, planning to transform Eagles Nest, as he said, "into an interactive, panoramic feast for the senses" for three straight days (July 2-4), with four shows each day.
Cirque style shows, popularized the world over through Canadian-based Cirque du Soleil, feature gravity-defying acrobatics, intricate dance and feats of strength and endurance, all infused with art, music and elaborate design.
"Cirque is everything you do out of the ordinary with an entertainer," Everett said. "I've been doing cirque shows since 1992, and I've been pushing the bar in the event and entertainment industry. For the Synergy event, I'm taking cirque and the Earth, as well as art, and combining them."
And how? For the Reflections show, the stage, as it were, is nature. Performers will be suspended in trees on an intricately designed set that fully incorporates the wooded surroundings.
"We're harnessing the hardness of metal to catch the reflection of sunlight through the trees," Everett said. "The Reflections show is where you're actually looking at the show through the woods and seeing the performers right there suspended - cube-spinning, hula-hooping, we're going to have performers from all over the world in this show."
The show will be held day and night, with the latter featuring different lighting, lasers and special effects for "a totally different feel ... to capture a whole different element, of day turning into night," Everett said.
Synergy also includes the Enchanted Gardens, a show that brings new life to the forest and its denizens.
"Different bug creatures come to life, like butterflies, oversized crickets - it's a fantasy world of the garden," Everett said. "It's like a childhood imagination of these bugs coming to life, performing different acts."
These acts of dexterity feature aerial and strength performances for an experience Everett promises will be both mesmerizing and powerful.
"Synergy is unbelievable," he said. "The most exciting part is seeing the faces of the guests when they see this come together, something they're going to talk about forever. I believe that entertainment touches and moves people, and, especially these days, we need to be touched and moved."
Synergy not only demonstrates the value of the Earth, Everett said, but also the human body, in how people can perform wonders with their inner strength.
As daylight wanes on Eagles Nest, Synergy presents the interactive Rhythm of the Sunset, in which drummers, with the help of audience members, offer an organic soundtrack for the setting of the sun.
"Entertainers on stage will interact with the audience, getting them involved with very nice tribal rhythms, during sunset," Everett said.
The weekend will also have a soundtrack, with live music from Native American performers all throughout, classic rockers Honey James on July 2 and 3, and bluegrass outfit Mountain Heart Band on July 4, as well as breakdancing shows and the All American Rock and Roll Celebration on the Fourth, with fireworks at 10 p.m.
Synergy's Kids Zone will offer unique and interactive entertainment for youngsters, including games, contests and DJing.
Selected artists will showcase their work at Eagles Nest, also auctioning their pieces to charity, which Everett has designated as the local Humane Society chapter. Remaining proceeds will benefit area artists.
"The idea of this is to do something in the world that's never been done - utilizing entertainment and art, but doing it out and open in nature," Everett said. "And what better place to do it than Eagles Nest and the mountains of Banner Elk?"
Everett first got wind of Eagles Nest, a luxury gated community, when visiting Banner Elk last year. A friend was staying there and invited Everett to stop by. "I was blown away the way (Eagles Nest owner John Turchin) designed that mountain," he said.
In addition to homesites, the community features the popular "Great Camp," packed with amenities, including an amphitheater, archery range, playing fields, climbing tower, campfire pits, teepee village and spa, all intertwined with the surrounding landscape.
"I thought, 'Man, it would be amazing to do an event here,'" Everett said. "I told John (Turchin) this would be the perfect place for an event, and he said, 'If you dream it, you can do it here.'"
Fortunately for both, Everett's a dreamer.
"I'm really excited to bring something power and unique to the place I fell in love with - Banner Elk," he said. "It's very special for me. It's not just doing a show; it's about creating art and sharing it with everyone else."
And all are invited.
Tickets for Synergy on the Mountain, running July 2-4, from 3 to 10 p.m. each day, are available online at http://www.synergytheexperience.com.
A three-day VIP pass, which includes access to the event and VIP areas, costs $200. A three-day adult pass costs $125, and a three-day child pass costs $55. General admission one-day passes cost $65 apiece, while children's one-day passes cost $35.
The Lodges at Eagles Nest is located at 68 Eagles Nest Trail (off N.C. 194) in Banner Elk. For more information, visit http://www.eaglesnestbe.com or http://www.synergytheexperience.com.