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Keeping History Alive: 45th annual Forkland Heritage Festival & Revue thrives on strong history, community

By PAT WILLIAMS

Contributing writer

On Friday and Saturday, the Forkland Community Center, in the beautiful knobs area of southwest Boyle County, will hold its annual festival, a tradition that everyone can enjoy. The theme is “45 Years of Keeping Our History Alive!”

The Forkland Festival is famous for handmade crafts of all kinds, including long-time favorites such as wood carvings, lye soap and pop-guns. This year, there will be new crafts, including broom making, painted gourds and two furniture makers. Crafts are demonstrated and sold both inside and outside the buildings.

A wide variety of delicious meals and take-home foods can be purchased at the festival — familiar choices like Forkland burgers, country ham and homemade sweet breads and candy, as well as teriyaki chicken and brisket with slaw and beans. And there is a lot more going on besides crafts and food.

Here are just some of the special exhibits and activities:

Old Country Supper Theatre: A delicious old-fashioned meal served by young Forklanders and accompanied by local musicians is always a popular draw. The meal is followed by a hilarious play, “A Year … or Fifty of Life on the Fork,” written by Sandy Hogue. This year, guests have the choice of traditional beans or old-fashioned potato soup, along with homemade cornbread and sorghum cake, plus all the “fixins.”

Tickets are available for both Friday and Saturday nights. Call Janie Drye at (270) 692-2732 after 6 p.m., or tickets can be ordered online at www.forklandcomctr.org.

Living history skits: A series of short performances behind the log cabin, every half hour, all day Friday and Saturday are offered. They feature Forklanders portraying their interesting ancestors.

Historical exhibits: Inside the main building and upstairs in the Forkland Lincoln Museum are  full of information and artifacts of local history and genealogy. Also included are the school and servicemen displays, and photos of beautiful Forkland scenes in the hall, and downstairs are the Family History Room and Art Room, with art displayed by current students and an opportunity for visitors to make their own art. Outside is the log cabin hosted by descendants of Abraham Lincoln’s grandmother, plus old tools, a Native American teepee, timber-frame construction, cornmeal being ground with a mill powered by an antique engine and much more.

Old farm equipment museum: A large collection of horse-drawn farm equipment and a huge steam tractor will be on display. This year, for the first time, a museum has been created to show this equipment in a barn-like setting, which includes a replica of an old-fashioned tobacco stripping room. This new museum is in the metal building behind the Community Center main building. Be sure to stop by to see how our ancestors farmed.

Pancake breakfast: Saturday morning starting at 8 a.m. in the metal building behind the Community Center, this delicious all-you-can-eat breakfast includes pancakes, sausage and beverages to start your day off at the festival.

Fox & Hound Race: Saturday morning at 8 a.m., this 4K run (or walk) goes through open fields and woods and on gravel roads, up and down the knobs. After the race, participants get to enjoy an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. Winners will receive awards and everyone gets a T-shirt. Call Jordan Ellis at (859) 576-5777 or email  jordan.ellis@aol.com. Participants can also sign up for the race online at www.forklandcomctr.org.

Classic car show: Saturday, in the field east of the Community Center buildings, classic cars will be parked for guests to peruse. Awards will be given in the following three classes: Past-1985, 1986-present, and motorcycles, plus Best GM, Best Ford, Best Mopar, Best Diesel and Cody’s Choice. All proceeds will be donated to 20-year-old Cody Chadwell, who had a motorcycle wreck on June 25. Call Jonathan Burger for more information at (859) 319-7607.

Silent auction: Inside the brick building, the auction will feature many hand-crafted one-of-a-kind items, including a beautiful Amish hand-stitched quilt. The auction ends at about 6 p.m. on Saturday.

Live country/bluegrass/gospel music: Held on the new outdoor stage, starting at noon on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Cake contest: Bring a homemade cake by early Friday to enter. Slices of the prize-winning cakes will be sold in the Coffee Shack out front.

Photo contest: Held in the Craft Room downstairs in the stone building. To enter, bring up to 12 of your best Forkland community photos to the festival before judging time or email them to info@forklandcomctr.org by Oct. 10. Winning photos will be used in the 2018 Forkland calendar. Judging is around 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Registration/door prize entry: Be sure to fill out a registration card at the Welcome Desk inside the entrance to the brick building or at the Information Booth outside the front door. You will then be entered to win a basket of Forkland items. (Information on the registration cards will not be given or sold to others.)

Costume & booth contests: Win a ribbon for the best booth, display, or old-fashioned costume (in several categories). Judging is on Saturday.

Forkland Gift Shop: Pick up Forkland T-shirts, bags, caps, 2017 Forkland calendars, souvenirs, history and genealogy books, and more next to the museum.

Corn maze: Don’t miss your opportunity to get lost in the 7-acre corn maze. The maze will be “haunted” on Saturday night.

Special attractions for kids: Horse and wagon rides, petting zoo, face painting, rock painting, fish pond, old-fashioned toys and a playground.

Pat Williams is on the Forkland Community Center Board of Directors and the Forkland Festival publicity committee, as well as the Forkland News editor.

IF YOU GO

Forkland Heritage Festival & Revue

9 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday

General admission: $3/adults, $1/children under 13, preschoolers free; Old Country Supper Theatre: $15/dinner and show, $5/show only, call  (270) 692-2732 after 6 p.m., or online at www.forklandcomctr.org

The Forkland Community Center is located at 16479 Forkland Road in Gravel Switch (GPS: 37.551187, -84.984967). For more information, call (859) 332-7146 or 332-7839, visit www.forklandcomctr.org, or email info@forklandcomctr.org.