Time-honored favorites such as gifted artisans, foot-stomping music, as well as apple butter and cornmeal made on-site are showcased during the 57th annual Mountain State Art & Craft Fair.
Known as “The Granddaddy of Art & Craft Fairs,” the event has been a fixture at Cedar Lakes Conference Center near Ripley since West Virginia’s centennial celebration in 1963. This year’s dates are July 4-6.
“It’s rewarding to be involved with an event with so much history and tradition,” said Debra Gard, Fair co-president. “Skilled, juried artisans, talented musicians and great food are all part of the Fair experience.”
Artisans from across the region will sell and demonstrate handmade goods ranging from pottery and glass to jewelry and toys, according to Gard.
“Most of the artisans are from across West Virginia, but others are reaching out to the Fair from surrounding states,” she noted.
Examples include Homestead Creamery (homemade ice cream) of Wirtz, Virginia, Silver Run Ranch (alpaca yarn clothing) of Catlettsburg, Kentucky, and Wind and Fire Chimes (copper shaped like cattail plants) of Reynoldsburg, Ohio.
Heritage exhibits such as blacksmithing, shingle splitting, and glassmaking serve to bring back memories for adults and share history with the young crowd. Also featured are “hands-on” Interactive exhibits like New Era Kites and Appalachian Woodturners.
“Those who attend will have rare opportunities such as turning pottery and making stained glass,” Gard added. “It’s a chance to shop and to learn. Demonstrations range from cooking lessons to sheep shearing.”
Co-president Jeanie Smith says the food vendors and Market Place sections are always Fair favorites. Choices range from pepperoni rolls and kettle-cooked apple butter to cornmeal and homemade fudge.
“Some of West Virginia’s best wineries are represented, too,” Smith said.
Musical groups such as Buck McCumbers & Family are on the entertainment schedule. They are joined by folk dancers, members of the West Virginia Storytelling Guild, cooking demonstrators, a quilt show and petting zoo.
A fishing derby beginning at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 6 is a new event presented by the WV Department of Natural Resources.
West Virginia University’s Mountaineer mascot, Timmy Eads, is greeting fans from noon until 6 p.m. on July 4.
Fair organizers have condensed the fairground area. Also, free golf cart shuttle service is available.
Hours are from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 4 and Friday, July 5. Hours are extended from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. on Saturday, July 6.
Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for senior citizens and military personnel, and $5 for youth 4-and-up. Admission is reduced to $5 daily between the hours of 3-6 p.m. and on July 6 from 8-10 a.m. Pets are permitted on leash.
See MSACF.com for a current list of artisans, vendors and activities.