2021 Forkland Festival — celebrating 50 years of history and fun

Published 1:31 pm Wednesday, September 29, 2021

News release

The 50th Anniversary Forkland Festival on Oct. 8-9 will be marking “50 Years of Memories.” In 1971, when Forkland School was closed, the residents of this rural community in southwestern Boyle County purchased the school buildings and incorporated Forkland Community Center as a nonprofit organization. The following fall, the first Forkland Heritage Festival & Revue was held to help preserve the history of the community and to provide funds for the Community Center. Each October since then, the Forkland Festival has been held, drawing visitors from all over Kentucky and other states. Many aspects of the 2021 Festival will incorporate memories from the past 50 years and honor Forklanders who have made each Festival successful.

History: At the Festival, we celebrate our rural heritage with many historical exhibits and activities. You can visit the 1790s log cabin hosted by relatives of Abraham Lincoln. The Forkland Museum (inside the brick building) is full of interesting items from the Forkland area, in addition to extensive historical and genealogical books and records. Also in the brick building: the gift shop (with Forkland souvenirs and books), wildlife and Native American artifact displays, the school and servicemen room and the family history room. The Old Farm Equipment Museum (behind the main buildings) is packed with many items that were used on local farms in the past: horse-drawn farm equipment, a replica tobacco stripping room, old tools and rural household items, plus a new extensive library on horse-drawn carriages and wagons. You can also see a huge old steam tractor, an antique hit-and-miss engine grinding cornmeal, and demonstrations of soap making, sorghum making, blacksmithing, broom making, quilting, chair caning, and more. The Festival is run by volunteers dressed in old-time clothing to add to the atmosphere.

Crafts: There are many handmade crafts for sale, both outside and inside the gym: many varieties of woodworking, jewelry, soap, paintings, handwoven and fabric items, brooms, metal art, candles, quilling, dried herbs, wreaths, painted pumpkins and lots more. The silent auction (inside the brick building) will have many one-of-a-kind crafts and other items that can be bid on, including a beautiful Amish-made hand-stitched queen-sized quilt.

Kids: There are several booths and activities that are especially popular with kids: horse-and-wagon rides, petting zoo, barrel train rides, fish pond, clown booth, handmade toys, playground, henna body art, Indian teepee and art room (downstairs inside the brick building) where kids can make their own art while viewing a display of 50 years of Forkland art.

Food: You won’t go hungry at the festival! Start off your morning at the Coffee Shack with slices of homemade prize-winning cakes along with delicious coffee or hot chocolate, or pick up ham and biscuits at the Ham Shack. On Saturday morning, starting at 8 a.m., you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. There are plenty of other meals and snacks available all day, too: choose from hamburgers and hot dogs, pulled pork and chicken, rib-eye sandwiches, beans and cornbread, country ham, authentic Mexican dishes, beef barbecue, nachos, fried apple pies, kettle corn, ice cream, crazy taters, pie and much more. You can also purchase food items to take home: candy, cupcakes, bread, cakes, sorghum, jams and jellies, apples, honey, etc.

Entertainment: All day long there will be country and gospel musicians playing on the outside stage. Because of COVID-19, we have canceled the inside Old Country Supper Theatre and moved the Bean Supper entertainment that would have been in the gym to the outside stage at 7 p.m. On Friday evening, Marion County’s Phillip Clarkson will perform his country tunes. On Saturday evening, there will be a short ceremony honoring the hundreds of volunteers who have made the Forkland Festival a success for 50 years; this will be followed with music by Cadillac Tractor playing country and Southern rock.

More: Saturday morning starts off at 8 a.m. with the annual Fox & Hound 4K Race through the Forkland knobs. For more information and to register to run contact John Ellis at 859-319-9974 or jontilden@hotmail.com, or Jordan Ellis at 859-576-5777 or jordan.ellis@aol.com. Saturday also features a classic car show. Contact Nathan Stevens at 859-583-6193 for more information. Please sign up to win a door prize at the information booth, which is next to the brick building’s entranceway. You can also enter cake, costume, booth and photo contests.

COVID-19 protection: A large portion of the Forkland Festival is held outside with plenty of space for spreading out. We request that volunteers and visitors wear masks while inside the buildings and also practice social distancing. Hand sanitizer will be available.

Admission and information: The Forkland Festival is at Forkland Community Center, 16479 Forkland Road, Gravel Switch, KY 40328, about 30 minutes from Danville or Lebanon. It’s open Friday, Oct. 8, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, Oct. 9, 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Festival admission: adults $3, children under 13 $1, preschoolers free. For more info visit www.forklandcomctr.org or phone 859-332-7146 or 859-332-7839.