Posted on July 5, 2012 at 1:41 PM
Thursday, Jul 5 at 6:26 PM
BURKE COUNTY, N.C. -- The Burke County Visitor Center set a one-month record in June when 943 visitors made a stop at the office.
That’s more than triple the 288 who visited in June 2011, according to Burke County Tourism Development Authority Director Ed Phillips.
One of the big reasons for the increase in visitors to Burke County is the attractions at Henry River Village, one the filming locations of "The Hunger Games."
Of the 943 visitors in June, 34 percent were in Burke to visit the village, Phillips told the Morganton News Herald.
The rickety, run-down wooded homes with their rusted out rooftops have all sat abandoned since the late 1960's when the cotton mill stopped running in the town.
That kind of life is exactly what's portrayed in "The Hunger Games" and is why the movie crew knew they'd struck gold when they found the area.
The old mill store in Henry River Village are what fans recognize in the movie as character Peeta’s bakery. And lead character Katniss’ family home is there, too.
Chuck Moseley of the Valdese Economic Development Investment Corp. said the mill village was built around 1900 and remained active until 1970. Since then, it's been abandoned.
Moseley said it's the first time a major movie was shot in Burke County since the early 1990s, when scenes for "The Last of the Mohicans" were filmed on Lake James.
"The Hunger Games" centers around a not-too-distant future in which the government pits boys and girls against each other in televised fights to the death. Originally targeted at young adults, the phenomenon has extended its reach.
Burke County has also attracted visitors for their scenic mountains', outdoor activities, WNC Contemporary Art Glass Exhibition and other art shows during June.