Malden Salt Fest deemed top 20 event by Southeast Tourism Society


Nancy Bruns (left) and her brother, Lewis Payne, co-owners of J.D. Dickinson Salt-Works in Malden, carry trays of salt to be processed at their facility in this file photo. The 2019 Malden Salt Fest, to be held at the facility on Sept. 28, was named by the Southeast Tourism Society one of its Top 20 Events in the Southeast for September.

The Roswell, Georgia-based Southeast Tourism Society has named the BB&T Malden Salt Fest one of its Top 20 Events in the Southeast for September.

This year’s BB&T Malden Salt Fest, taking place at J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works at 4797 Midland Drive in Malden, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28. The Salt Fest celebrates the history of the salt industry in the Kanawha Valley, through music, food, lectures, tours, crafts, demonstrations and children’s activities.

The third annual Salt Fest will include live music provided by FOOTMAD (Friends of Old Time Music and Dance), Brothers of Faith, The Stony Point Band and Charles Westley Godwin.

A parade will be held at 10 a.m. to kick off the 2019 Salt Fest.

At noon, Bill Drennen, author of “Kanawha Salt, The Stories of Jesse Cox,” will speak. Dr. John Stealey, author of “The Antebellum Kanawha Salt Industry and Western Markets,” will speak at 1 p.m., and Dennis Bills, the author of several books about Presbyterianism in the Kanawha Valley, will speak at 2 p.m. All of the authors’ books will be available for purchase as well.

Other scheduled activities include The West Virginia Quilt Documentation Project. Participants can bring their quilts that date before 1970 to to have them documented by quilting expert Fran Kordek. To reserve a time for the documentation, email Ashton Pence at

Also to take place are old-fashioned cake walks, plus tours of the Salt-Works including train rides to the old farm on the site.

The Daniel Boone Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution will demonstrate how people lived at that time.

In the Salt Fest Kids’ Zone, youngsters can paint pumpkins donated by Gritt’s Farms, color a T-shirt they can receive at the morning parade, compete in three-legged races in burlap salt bags, hear stories from Adam Booth and view the Des Coveries Wild Animal Shows with Gary Bussa.

On site, too, will be food trucks, food and craft artisans, and wine, craft beer, cider and other spirits will be available for purchase.

The celebration will continue at Kanawha Salines Presbyterian Church with live music and a dinner, starting at 6:15 p.m.

The following day, Sunday, Sept. 29, a traditional, early 19th Century Scots Irish service will begin at 11 a.m. at the church.

Those interested in becoming a vendor at Salt Fest can download an application form from the J.Q. Dickinson Salt-Works website (address below). Completed applications can be emailed to Ashton Pence at, sent by fax via 304-925-7946 or sent by postal mail to 4797 Midland Drive, Malden, WV 25306.

More information and application forms can be found on the Salt Fest website,

Since 1985, the STS Top 20 Festival and Event Awards have highlighted programs around the Southeast. Travel industry experts select 20 events per month, from hundreds of entries, and STS publicizes them throughout the United States via websites.

“The Top 20 Festival and Event Program is celebrating 34 years of spotlighting the best festivals and events in the Southeast. Our goal is to provide well-deserved accolades for the dedicated event organizers and additional media exposure for their events,” said Monica Smith, president and CEO of the Southeast Tourism Society, in a media release. “The Southeast offers so many unique, year-round, opportunities for attendees to create memories and support an industry that is an economic generator for its community.”

Events considered for the STS Top 20 recognition must be at least three years old and have attendance of at least 1,000.

STS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting travel and tourism within 12 states – Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.