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Mtn. Heritage Fest returns — with changes


GETTING READY FOR FESTIVAL — Tents were erected, food booths were being moved into place, and the carnival was setting up when this photo of Mountain Heritage Village in downtown Whitesburg was taken by drone Tuesday afternoon. (Photo courtesy LCDpodcast)

GETTING READY FOR FESTIVAL — Tents were erected, food booths were being moved into place, and the carnival was setting up when this photo of Mountain Heritage Village in downtown Whitesburg was taken by drone Tuesday afternoon. (Photo courtesy LCDpodcast)

The Mountain Heritage Festival makes its return this week after being canceled last year because of the pandemic.

Country music great Wade Hayes will headline the festival on Saturday night, and comedian and novelty singer Cletus T. Judd will appear Friday night.

Hayes’s single “Old Enough to Know Better” reached Number 1 on the Billboard Country Airplay Chart, and “On a Good Night” hit Number 2 in 1996. He gave up his solo career in the early 2000s to play in the backup band for former Alabama frontman Randy Owen, but was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2011. Hayes’s latest album, “Who Saved Who”, was released in December 2019.

Judd was known in the 1990s and early 2000s for parodies of such as “Plowboy” (a parody of Kid Rock’s “Cowboy”), “My Cellmate Thinks I’m Sexy” (a parody of Kenny Chesney’s “She Think My Tractor’s Sexy”), and “How Do You Milk a Cow?” (a parody of Toby Keith’s “How Do You Like Me Now?”). He later made an appearance in Keith’s music video of “How Do You Like Me Now?” as a gardener pretending to be the owner of Keith’s mansion to impress a woman.

FOOD PREP – Parents, student athletes, and charitable organizations crowded into the food booth area of the Mountain Heritage Village on Tuesday night, preparing for festival’s opening on Wednesday. (Photo by Sam Adams)

FOOD PREP – Parents, student athletes, and charitable organizations crowded into the food booth area of the Mountain Heritage Village on Tuesday night, preparing for festival’s opening on Wednesday. (Photo by Sam Adams)

Judd retired in 2015, citing a desire to spend more time with his daughter. He also talked about having an addiction to cocaine, and being baptized and changing his life. He returned to music in 2018 with the single “Weight’s Going Up Down, Up Down”.

The shows are among four nights of concerts at the festival, which gets into full swing today after the first concert last night.

The big tent is already up, the carnival opens today, and festival committee Chairwoman Lee Bates Adams said things have mostly run smoothly after the hiatus, though it is difficult to find people willing to work this year. Even the carnival is offering $1,200 for a charity to help run children’s rides.

“So far it’s been good, lots of planning and things,” Adams said. “We have had a few people pull out and we understand that.”

WXKQ has pulled out of the talent show, the Letcher County Central High School cheerleaders have dropped the baby pageant, Appalachian Regional Healthcare is backed out of Down Home Night, and the Almost Home Shelter has canceled the dog show, Adams said.

Though some events have been canceled, other features of the festival will continue. Adams said groups running food booths have been asked to wear masks and gloves at all times, and to have one person only to handle money to avoid cross-contamination with food. Vendors under the tent have been asked to have hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes available and to clean their tables often, Adams said. The tent booths are sold out, and Adams said that with the booths outdoors, the committee is hoping to minimize the risk of COVID.

She said the Whitesburg Letcher County Farmers Market is providing portable handwashing stations that will be placed throughout the festival grounds, also.

Events on the stage and the parade are the only large groups that are expected to be gathering, Adams said.

“Hopefully, people will be able to sit with their families and social distance themselves from other people,” she said.

Events started last night ( Tuesday) with country singer/ songwriter Arlo McKinley in concert, sponsored by the LevittAMP Concert Series, and a glowin the-dark golf cart/sideby side parade in downtown Whitesburg. Whitesburg Day is scheduled for today (Wednesday).

Events with days and times are as follows:

Wednesday, September 22

• Whitesburg Day: Arts and Crafts and Food Vendors may bring a table and set up in downtown Whitesburg. Activities start at 8 a.m. and are over by 2 p.m.

Rain or Shine! Main Street Whitesburg Contact Lee Adams 606-634-5698

• Old Time Country Dinner

Location: Summit City 10:30-2:00

Soup Beans, Cornbread, Kraut and Wieners, dessert for $6

Proceeds benefit the Central Cougars Football Team

• Historical Walking Tour of Downtown Whitesburg

Location: Meet at 148 Church Street at the Mountain View B&B at Noon

Led by Sam Adams limited to 15 people. Masks are required

• Mountain Heritage Festival Food Booths open 4 p.m.-9 p.m.

• CARNIVAL

Carnival will open on Wednesday, 5-10 p.m.

• On Stage:

5:30 Mitch Whitaker and Friends (Birds of Prey)

6: 00 East Kentucky Dance Kubz

6:30 First Baptist Church Praise Band

7:00 Legacy

8:00 Adam Musick One ManRock Show

Thursday, September 23

• Arts and Crafts Tent opens Noon-10 p.m.

• Food Booths open 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

• CARNIVAL

Carnival will open on Thursday, 5-10 p.m.

• ON STAGE

6:00 Luna and the Mountain Jets Levitt AMP Contact

7:00 Magnolia Boulevard

9:00 Mid Life Crisis

Friday, September 24

• Crafts Demonstrator Tent opens 10 a.m.- 8 p.m.

Featuring Wood Carving, Pottery, Spinning and More

Arts and Crafts Tent opens 10 a.m.

• Food Booths open 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

Contact: Phillip Hampton 606-633-4823

• Historical Walking Tour of Downtown Whitesburg

Location: Meet at 148 Church Street at the Mountain View B&B at Noon

Led by Sam Adams limited to 15 people. Masks are required

• Carnival will open on Friday, 3-10 p.m.

• ON STAGE

5:30 Drake Brock

7:00 Cletus T. Judd

8:00 Black Bottom Road

Saturday, September 25

• 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Crafts Demonstrator Tent opens

• 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Arts and Crafts Tent opens

• 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Food Booths open

• CARNIVAL

Saturday, September 25

• PARADE

10 a.m. OPENING CEREMONY

11 a.m. PARADE sponsored by Letcher Fire and Emergency Medical Services

5 p.m. Adopt-A-Duck Duck Race Sponsored by H.O.M.E.S Inc. Contact H.O.M.E.S. at 606-632-1717 for your Quack Pack! $5.00 per duck or 6 for $25.00 or 12 for $50.00

• Carnival will open on Saturday, 1 p.m. until 10 p.m.

• ON STAGE

1:00 Mountain Heritage Festival Parade Awards

4:00 Seven South

5:00 Local Talent Showcase

6:30 Pure and Simple Band

8:00 Durt Famous Contact

9:00 Wade Hayes

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