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Festival draws vendors, patrons from near, far

June 16, 2002|by DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

dank@herald-mail.com

Hundreds of artisans and thousands of patrons came from far and wide to this weekend's 31st annual spring Mountain Heritage Arts and Crafts Festival.

The festival continues today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Sam Michaels' Park.

"This is one of the biggest festivals," said Dennis Burcell, 49, of Salem, Mo., who has been selling wooden baskets at similar festivals for 18 years.

"They have a lot of people come, and the people, they have a great appreciation for art and what you do," said Winton Eugene, 57, of Cowpens, S.C., who was selling his pottery for the sixth year at the festival.

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"A friend told me about it and said it's the best and I agree with her 100 percent," said Alicia Taylor, 65, of Silver Spring, Md. "This is quality stuff. Everything is unique."

Taylor, a first-time visitor to the festival, bought some greeting cards and planned to buy a rug before leaving.

The festival vendors spread out under large white tents, selling all kinds of handmade items, including stained glass, clothes, furniture, dolls and toys, jewelry and musical instruments.

Mary Via, executive director of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, said more than 25,000 people usually attend the weekend festival.

"That is a lot of people to find us in the middle of a field in the middle of nowhere," Via said.

The festival is organized by the chamber, which keeps some of the festival profits and distributes some to area groups such as the fire companies, Via said.

Via said there are about 200 vendors at the festival, including some from as far west as Texas, and from Maine to Florida.

The event brings thousands of dollars to the local economy, Via said.

"You'd have trouble finding a hotel room this weekend, and all the restaurants are busy," she said.

This year's spring festival started Friday and will end at 6 p.m. today.

Admission is $6 for adults, $3 for ages 6 to 17, and free for those younger than 6. Parking is free.

The festival is at Sam Michaels' Park, which is just off W.Va. 230 on Job Corps Road, between Harpers Ferry and Charles Town, W.Va.

For information, call, 1-800-624-0577 or 1-304-725-0255 or go to jeffersoncounty.com/mha&cf on the Web.

The fall festival is scheduled for Sept. 27-29, Via said.

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