KEARNEYSVILLE, W. Va. (WDVM) – Last month in August, the pavilions and covered buildings at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds were filled with animals and exhibits. Now they’ve been turned into an art lover’s dream for the 45th Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival.
Heather McIntyre, Executive Director of the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival, is delighted to welcome buyers and sellers to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds after the festival was unable to take place last year.
“We’re just grateful to everyone who comes to the festival to help support the vendors and artisans because last year they couldn’t have festivals and it was very difficult for them,” McIntyre said.
This year, approximately 130 sellers traveled from 13 states with artists from as far away as California to nearby in the 4-state area. Shoppers can browse hand-blown glass furniture, as well as pottery, leather goods, metal sculptures, and even scarves and wreaths. McIntyre says there is something for everyone.
Kathy and Max Whitley have been vendors at the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival for almost 30 years. Kathy makes and paints pottery while her husband makes leather goods in their home state of North Carolina. The couple set up their stands next to each other. Even though the creative couple have made the return trip to Kearneysville for nearly three decades, they still look forward to the festival every year.
“Well, it’s the people! They come from DC and Baltimore, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, come right here for this festival, ”Max explained. “He has an excellent reputation. It’s one of the top 200 shows in the country, a great place to see people working on their craft.
The Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival showcases more than artists and their handmade creations. The festival is also home to the Gourmet Market where vendors offer a variety of products such as roasted nuts, olive oils, and different sauces and spreads that can be used in multiple ways. Some sellers even allow buyers to sample their tasty offerings.
Erin Valasek, owner and founder of Mountaineer Popcorn Company, was thrilled to bring her Shepherdstown storefront to the fairgrounds. Neither Valasek nor its products had to travel far to get to the festival, as the corn kernels used for its flavored popcorn are grown just steps from the Town and Country Nursery exhibition center in Kearneysville. Valasek hopes people don’t overlook the food market this weekend as they walk through the festival.
“When people think of the arts and crafts festival, they think of all the handmade products, but we also have the food market,” Valasek explained. “There is dried beef with hot cocoa, sauces, sauces, it is a hit for people to walk around the gourmet market.”
The Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival will also feature live music and local food trucks throughout the festival. A full list of artists and vendors is available on the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival website.