RACINE – The Sixth Annual Big Coal River Heritage Festival was held at John Slack Park in Racine Saturday, September 24.
Entering the park there were greeters handing out maps making it easy to locate what festival goers were looking for whether it be crafts, food or music.
Mary A. Browning and Sherri Sharps are co-founders and co-chairs of this festival. They researched for a year before ever having the first festival.
Browning said, “When we started this our goal was to bring tourism to Boone County.”
According to Browning they have a lot of volunteers that help with the festival.
Halee Ring, a Sherman High School senior with the HI-Y group said, “We do service projects through the community. We help the vendors.”
All items have to be homemade by the crafters and vendors.
Browning said, “We have 35 vendors this year. We have two vendors with us this year that go to the State Fair.”
Sharps said, “I do crafting all year. I go to craft shows and pass out contracts.”
According to Sharps she tries to get all the contracts out in January, because crafters start planning and making their schedules for the year.
According to Browning, in the first year they had around 700 people attend, but now they usually average around 3000 people.
“We work through the parks and recreation, they are great to us. They come out and help us set up our tents. The Boone County Sheriff’s Department is great to work with; they help us with our security,” Browning said.
Sandra Evans, from Nellis said, “This is my first time here.”
“I’m very impressed with all the vendors. I love the crafters. The food is awesome,” said Evans.
According to Browning the time of the festival never changes.
“It is always the last Saturday in Sept. from 10am – 4pm,” Browning said.
Heather Kinder is a reporter for the Coal Valley News. She can be contacted at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661 or [email protected]