RIPLEY-Attendance is slightly down this year for the 49th annual Mountain State Art and Craft Fair at Cedar Lakes Conference Center near Ripley, but officials and vendors are hoping it will pick up today for the final day of the event.
Fair president Jan Sizemore said attendance on opening day was high, despite a heavy storm, which moved quickly through the area on Thursday morning.
Friday's heat kept crowds smaller in the early afternoon, but more people were coming in as the day progressed. Sizemore was hoping today's crowds will be up- despite the anticipated heat of the sunny forecast- since Saturday is traditionally the biggest day.
Photos by Wayne Towner
Stained glass maker David Houser, center, teaches a class on stained-glass making Friday afternoon during the 49th annual Mountain State Art and Craft Fair near Ripley.
"I think the weather and everybody's emergency situations have come in to play this year," she said of turnout for the festival this week. "A lot of people are without power, but they're thinking they want to get out and do something; they're tired of sitting at home out in the dark."
Ticket prices range from $6 for adults and $2 for children and the craft fair runs from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. today.
In addition to more than 130 juried artisans demonstrating and selling their wares, the fair offers traditional Appalachian music, food, heritage exhibits and family activities. During the fair there will be educational classes and participants will leave each class with a completed project.
Each class is designed and developed by the individual artisans. There will be plenty of activities for the whole family throughout the event.
Other activities at the fair will include quilt clinics, a petting zoo, a sawmill replica and antique logging exhibit, a butterfly exhibit, and a farmers' market.
Sizemore said Cedar Lakes escaped the storms of the last week with little damage and no loss of power. That allowed organizers to move ahead with work to prepare for the craft fair.
Out of 170 registered vendors, only about 10 were not able to attend this year due to those issues, she said.
"However, they made the comment that next year they would be here for the 50th fair, for our anniversary," she said.
"It's been slow. I think the heat's really a problem," one of the vendors, Mary Jo Moore with M&M Slate of Ravenswood, said early Friday afternoon.
She said Thursday's crowds were good and hoped the cooler evening weather would bring in more people Friday.
Shanna Hall, of Spencer, was pulling a little red wagon with baskets and other items she had purchased while her family walked around the craft fair Friday afternoon. The family likes to come every year to look at toys and have ice cream, for the children, and for crafts and handmade items for the adults.
"I particularly like the pottery and the basket-weaving," she said.
Hall said her family was camping at Stonewall Jackson Lake during last week's storm and missed most of the problems. When they returned to Spencer, they had lost phone service but experienced few other problems or damage from the storm on their property, she said.
Parkersburg resident John Doughty is participating in this year's craft fair as a vendor and as one of the instructors in the interactive tent, demonstrating and allowing people to try nature printing and other crafts projects for free.
"We've been really busy," he said of the hands-on craft demonstrations. "We've had as much as we could handle the past two days, so this part's been fun. The weather hasn't been too bad; we had rain (Thursday), but (Friday) has been really nice and I think (today) is going to be nice. I'm thinking we're going to have a good time for that," he said.
The Lawhorne family of Moultrie, Ga., was visiting relatives in West Virginia this week and came with them Friday to the craft fair, said mother Lori Lawhorne.
"It's wonderful," she said of the craft fair as she watched her son learning to use a lathe at the Mountaineer Wood Turners booth. "I love the fact that we have hands-on experiences and the kids can learn that things that were done years ago can still be done today."
Today's schedule of activities includes: