Mountain State Art and Craft Fair makes triumphant return
RIPLEY — After a one-year hiatus, the Mountain State Art & Craft Fair saw a successful return, as many attended the ‘Granddaddy of all Arts & Crafts Fairs’ over the July 4th weekend at Cedar Lakes.
Originating in 1963, the fair had a schedule that was jam-packed with events including exhibits such as glass blowing, blacksmithing and shingle splitting. The event also included interactive artisans offering hands-on opportunities including woodturning, stained glass, paper marbling and kite making.
That was all in addition to multiple vendors selling handmade crafts and arts.
“I have never seen people so happy and so calm. There’s no hurry, everybody’s just walking along, enjoying the weather, enjoying seeing people and meeting people that they haven’t seen in a year and a half to two years. So it was great. It’s been great,” Debbie Gard, Co-President of the MSACF, said.
The fair’s main stage saw acts playing traditional Appalachian music, cooking demonstrations and stories by the West Virginia Storyteller’s Guild.
Fairgoers also had the chance to take some tasty products home, such as apple butter, cornmeal made on-site and a selection of West Virginia wines.
“Probably my favorite is when they do the cooking demonstrations and things like that. The antique tractor from Wood County Flywheelers, people love those,” Gard said. “The food is very popular. The fudge, the breads. The marketplace where there are all kinds of specialty foods like the sauces, the pickles, the mustards, cornmeal, apple butter, all of which is West Virginia grown. People love that kind of stuff.
Sponsored by the West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, a fishing derby was held on Saturday. The first 100 participants aged 14 and under received a fishing rod.
Celebrating the 60th year of the fair in 2022, Gard said that they are already looking forward to next year’s edition and have had multiple vendors suggesting some changes for next year.
“I’ve actually already had conversations with several people on the grounds about next year. Several of the artisans have made suggestions on ideas of things that we can do,” Gard said. “Some of the musicians have talked about some educational opportunities to teach people how to do certain things. I’m taking note of them, all and we’ll see how it all pans out, but look for bigger and better 2022.
Tyler Bennett can be reached at email@example.com