Organized by the Beckley-Raleigh County Chamber of Commerce, the Appalachian Festival is now in its 24th year. The Festival began as a city wide expansion of the annual Appalachian Arts and Craft Fair held in August at the Beckley- Raleigh County Convention Center. The week-long Festival includes collaborative partners such as Beckley Events, the Youth Museum, Daniel Vineyards, and Tamarack each hosting their own event throughout the week celebrating Appalachian culture. This year the Chamber is highlighting Appalachian cuisine and local businesses by incorporating a restaurant week into the Festival’s activities.
The focal point of the Appalachian Festival is the longstanding arts and crafts fair. Now in its 56th year, the arts and crafts fair is getting a makeover. With a focus on celebrating the best makers in our region, the revitalized fair is launching with a new name, Appalachian Makers Market. The term “maker” applies to any industry in which a person produces a product. The Appalachian Makers Market seeks to highlight and celebrate artisan makers. In a society saturated with mass produced, machine made products, the maker movement grew out of a hunger for authentic, handmade, artisanal products that celebrate traditional and non-traditional methods of creating.
Within Appalachia is a rich and unique history of handcrafting; from culinary arts to metalworking. The new Appalachian Makers Market celebrates the region’s finest makers. Throughout the years the display of intricate quilts around the rotunda has been one of the most popular attractions. The Appalachian Treasures Quilt Show will remain an integral part of the new Appalachian Makers Market. Some exciting changes include a focus on Appalachian cuisine, demonstrations of traditional craft, and strolling musicians. Visitors will find some of their favorite vendors with the addition of new exhibitors showcasing unique handmade wares, both traditional and contemporary. This year the Chamber of Commerce marks 100 years of service to the community; a perfect time to revive long standing traditions. With new leadership under the direction of Michelle Rotellini and a partnership with West Virginia State University Extension Agent Christine Kinder, the Chamber welcomes the Appalachian Festival into a new era with the Appalachian Makers Market.