RIPLEY – The “granddaddy” of West Virginia heritage events is back for its 61st year in 2023 and promises the same great setting, food, events and artistry that made it a WV Living Magazine “Best of West Virginia” selection in 2022.
The Mountain State Art and Craft Fair will be held at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center near Ripley June 30 through July 2 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. daily. Admission costs $5. Children get in free. Acres of free parking are available.
“Many of the skills our artisans put on display have disappeared from everyday life,” said Jean Smith, Mountain State Art and Craft Fair president. “What makes this event different from most is that visitors can experience an era when West Virginians relied on what they could make and do with their hands. And visitors can actually make some of these crafts for free and take them home with them.”
Among the highlights of the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair is its quilt show; the West Virginia Marketplace Tent featuring numerous West Virginia Grown food companies; and an Artisan Showcase displaying the very best the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair has to offer, some for purchase. This year’s event also will feature an antique engine show, an antique tractor parade, blacksmithing, cast-iron cooking demonstrations and the Appalachian Lassies, who will give dancing lessons on Saturday, July 1.
Vendors will demonstrate their crafts and sell finished artworks, including paintings, jewelry, woodworking, weaving, pottery and others. “Make it-take it” projects will be taught for some crafts and make a great hand-on activity for kids and adults.
Appalachian storytellers will keep alive an oral tradition that predates modern electronics. Musical attractions will include bluegrass artists in the region. New this year, a fiddling contest will be held on Sunday, July 2.
Traditional food, such as stone-ground cornmeal and apple butter cooked over an open fire, will be for sale. More modern delicacies will be offered from a variety of food trucks and the Craft House bakery.
Friday will be Agriculture Day, Saturday will be Youth Day and will feature a kids’ fishing derby, and Sunday will be Veterans and Heroes Day.
The grounds are flat with plenty of shade trees and hay bales. Leashed pets are welcome, so the entire family can attend.
“We know it’s a busy weekend in the area with the Sternwheel Regatta also happening in Charleston, but it’s not an either-or choice,” Smith said. “There’s plenty of time to enjoy it all.”
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