RIPLEY – After a year-long hiatus, the Mountain State Arts and Crafts Fair has had a successful comeback, as many have attended the “grandfather of all arts and crafts fairs” July 4th weekend at Cedar Lakes.
Established in 1963, the fair had a heavy schedule of events, including exhibits such as glassblowing, blacksmithing, and shingle splitting. The event also featured interactive artisans offering hands-on opportunities, including woodturning, stained glass, paper marbling, and kite-making.
All this in addition to the multiple vendors selling handicrafts and handmade arts.
“I have never seen people so happy and so calm. There is no rush, everyone is walking, enjoying the good weather, enjoying seeing people and meeting people they haven’t seen for a year and a half to two years. So that was great. It was awesome, “ Debbie Gard, MSACF co-chair, said.
The main stage of the fair saw artists perform traditional Appalachian music, cooking demonstrations and stories from the West Virginia Storyteller’s Guild.
Festival-goers also had the chance to take home tasty produce, such as apple butter, home-made cornmeal, and a selection of West Virginia wines.
“My favorite thing is probably when they do cooking demonstrations and things like that. Wood County Flywheelers antique tractor, people love those, “ said Gard. “The food is very popular. The fudge, the breads. The market where there are all kinds of specialty foods like sauces, pickles, mustards, cornmeal, apple butter, all of which are grown in West Virginia. People love this stuff.
Sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, a fishing tournament was held on Saturday. The first 100 participants aged 14 and under received a fishing rod.
Celebrating the 60th anniversary of the fair in 2022, Gard said it is already looking forward to next year’s edition and several vendors have suggested changes for next year.
“In fact, I have already had conversations with several people in the field about the next year. Several artisans have made suggestions on ideas for things we can do ”, said Gard. “Some musicians talked about educational opportunities to teach people how to do certain things. I’m taking note of them all and we’ll see how it all plays out, but look for a bigger and better 2022.
Tyler Bennett can be contacted at [email protected]