KEARNEYSVILLE, W. Va. (WDVM) — Just last month in August, the covered pavilions and buildings at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds were full of animals and exhibits. Now, they’ve been transformed into an art lover’s dream for the 45th Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival.
Heather McIntyre, the Executive Director of the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival, is overjoyed to welcome shoppers and vendors back to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds after the festival was unable to run last year.
“We’re just grateful and thankful to everybody that comes to the festival to help support the vendors and artisans because of last year they could not have any festivals and it was very hard for them,” McIntyre said.
This year, around 130 vendors traveled from 13 states with artists coming from as far as California to closeby in the 4-state area. Shoppers can browse through handmade furniture to blown glass, as well as pottery, leather goods, metal sculptures, and even scarves and wreathes. 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 fashions leather goods back in their home state of North Carolina. The couple sets up their booths next to each other. Even though the creative couple has made the trip back to Kearneysville for almost three decades, they still look forward to the festival each year.
“Well, it’s the people! They come from D.C. and Baltimore, from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, all around just come up here for this festival,” Max explained. “It’s got a great reputation. It’s one of the top 200 shows in the nation, a good place to see people work on their craft.”
The Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival features more than just artists and their handmade creations. The festival is also home to the Gourmet Market where vendors offer a variety of goods like roasted nuts, olive oils, and different sauces and spreads that can be used in a myriad of ways. Some vendors even allow shoppers to sample their tasty offerings.
Erin Valasek, the owner and founder of Mountaineer Popcorn Company, was excited to bring her Shepherdstown storefront down to the fairgrounds. Neither Valasek nor her products had to travel far to get to the festival as the corn kernels used for her flavored popcorn are grown just a stone’s throw away from the fairgrounds at Town and Country Nursery in Kearneysville. Valasek hopes people will not overlook the Gourmet Market this weekend as they are walking around the festival.
“When people think of the arts and crafts festival, they think of all of the handmade goods, but we have the Gourmet Market too,” Valasek explained. “There’s hot cocoa beef jerky, sauces, sauces, it’s a hit for people to walk through 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 can be found on the Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival website.