Recognized by the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) as being one of Kentucky’s Top 10 Festivals and Events, Harlan County’s Festival of the Mountain Masters will be featured in the November issue of Kentucky Monthly magazine.
“For over two decades, the Festival of the Mountain Masters has brought the best of Appalachian artists and craftsmen together in one place for a two-day celebration of Appalachian heritage,” said Brandon Pennington, executive director of the Harlan Tourist and Convention Commission. “Located at the Village Center Mall, the festival is free and open for all to enjoy. It features photography contests, a quilt show and contest, lots of great food, live music and all kinds of craft demonstrations. Some of the things you won’t want to miss include flint knapping, basket weaving, quilting, carving as well as many other old-world trades.”
Selected for this honor by a panel of impartial judges from the KTIA, criteria includes popularity of the event, its impact on the local tourism economy, as well as cultural and historical significance. The KTIA is a 900-member statewide association representing all sectors of the state’s tourism and travel industry.
“It’s an absolute honor for us to have received this award and recognition,” said Pennington. “I think it’s very important. This says a lot to the character of the Festival of the Mountain Masters. It shows that Harlan County has something to offer to everyone across the state.”
Marking 28 years, this year’s festival will be held Nov. 23-24 at the Village Center Mall in Harlan. Chairing the festival for the past four years, Rosezelle Boggs-Qualls said there will be 55 to 60 vendors and 10-15 demonstrators at this year’s festival.
“One of the demonstrators is coming from as far away as Cleveland, Ohio,” said Qualls. “Also during the festival we have the induction ceremony for the National Hall of Fame for Mountain Artisans.”
Excited about the recognition, Qualls said the Festival of the Mountain Masters is “a way of preserving mountain heritage.” She said she feels “it’s important for the community to be involved with the festival.”
“There’s three non-profit organizations, that together, coordinate this festival, which allows us to give back to the community each year,” said Qualls.
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