RIPLEY, W.Va. — With the 2016 Mountain State Art and Craft Fair, organizers decided to make a big change with this year’s event and move it from the heat of mid-summer to the cooler temperatures of early fall.
This year’s fair, subtitled “An Appalachian Experience” will be Sept. 16-18 at Cedar Lakes Conference Center near Ripley, which has been home to the event since it was started in 1963.
The hours will be 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for ages five and under.
The decision to change the date after so many years involved a lot of thought and consideration, said Mike Ruben, a vice president for the MSACF board and publicity director. There were three main reasons and organizers are hoping the response is positive, he said.
One of the reasons was the hope that cooler temperatures and more moderate weather in the fall would draw more people who might be kept away by the hot temperatures of early July. With this year’s hotter and longer temperatures, the difference might not be as noticeable but it should be more comfortable than what was experienced during the Fourth of July, Ruben said.
Organizers also wanted to move the festival into the school season with the goal of getting more children involved. The first several hours on Friday, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., will be the festival’s first Student Day program with entertainment and activities aimed at elementary school students. Ruben said invitations were sent out to schools in several area counties and a number are scheduled to attend the activities at the festival.
Ruben said the third main reason involved the high amount of volunteer support required to put on such a festival. Organizers felt that moving it away from the traditionally active Fourth of July weekend might make it easier for volunteers to give time to the festival.
While the dates have changed, the focus of the craft fair will remain the same with a variety of artisans and crafters throughout the region gathering together. The fair will offer five “villages” featuring Appalachian influences from the Celtic, Swiss, German and Italian people. In addition, the Americas will be open to a variety of cultures including Native American and African American.
Each village will be comprised of culturally related artisans, music, dance, agriculture, food and beverage.
9 a.m.: Janet Smart and Carmen Crafts; Beekeeping demonstration
9 a.m.-1 p.m.: Student Day Entertainment with Make It-Take It Crafts, Storyteller Karen Vuranch, WV History Alive’s Harriet Tubman and Cornstalk, Kootaga Native American Dancers, music by Aurora Celtic, Route 161 Happy Wanderers and Del Lawhon’s Native American flutes, Wool Spinning, Animal Exhibits and Smokey Bear, too.
Noon: Storyteller Nancy Merical
1 p.m.: Janet Smart and Carmen Crafts; Beekeeping Demonstration; Kootaga Dancers; Route 161 Happy Wanderers
2 p.m.: Justin Johnson; The McCumbers Family
3 p.m.: Route 161 Happy Wanderers; Brad Cochran’s WVU Extension Demonstration; Aurora Celtic
4 p.m.: Kootaga Dancers; Justin Johnson; The McCumbers Family
5 p.m.: Route 161 Happy Wanders; Justin Johnson
5:30 p.m.: Almost Heaven Dulcimer Club
6 p.m.: Kootaga Dancers
7 p.m.: Justin Johnson; Almost Heaven Dulcimer Club
9:30 a.m.: Appalachian Lads and Lassies
10 a.m.: West Virginia Archives and History Challenge; Storyteller Nancy Merical; Storyteller Karen Vuranch; Kootaga Dancers
11 a.m.: Aurora Celtic; Sheep shearing demonstration; Route 161 Happy Wanderers
Noon: West Virginia Archives and History Challenge; The Charleston Rogues
1 p.m.: Kootaga Dancers; Aurora Celtic; Sheep shearing demonstration; Route 161 Happy Wanderers; Joseph Bundy and Andrew Dunlap
2 p.m.: West Virginia Archives and History Challenge; Storyteller Karen Vuranch; Independent State
3 p.m.: Appalachian Lads and Lassies; Route 161 Happy Wanderers; Joseph Bundy and Andrew Dunlap; Tom Freeland’s Pub Songs
4 p.m.: West Virginia Archives and History Challenge; Kootaga Dancers; Independent State; Herb demonstrations
4:30 p.m.: The Charleston Rogues
5 p.m.: Route 161 Happy Wanderers
5:30 p.m.: Appalachian Lads and Lassies
6 p.m.: Kootaga Dancers; Tom Freeland’s Pub Songs
6:30 p.m.: Aurora Celtic
10 a.m.: Kootaga Dancers; Appalachian Lads and Lassies
11 a.m.: Sheep shearing demonstration
Noon: Rachel Burge and Blue Dawning; Aurora Celtic
1 p.m.: Kootaga Dancers; Appalachian Lads and Lassies; Sheep shearing demonstration; Lilly Mountaineers; Johnny Staats and The Delivery Boys
2 p.m.: Aurora Celtic; Storyteller Nancy Merical
2:30 p.m.: Rachel Burge and Blue Dawning
3 p.m.: Appalachian Lads and Lassies; Johnny Staats and The Delivery Boys
4 p.m.: Kootaga Dancers; Aurora Celtic; Lilly Mountaineers