Popular art and craft fair begins Thurs.

RIPLEY, W.Va.- The 51st annual Mountain State Art and Craft Fair will kick off Thursday at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center near Ripley and run through Saturday.

In addition to more than 130 juried artisans demonstrating and selling their wares, this year’s fair offers traditional Appalachian music, food, heritage exhibits and family activities from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

Ticket prices are $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and $2 for children. For more information on the event and a daily event schedule go to msacf.com or call 1-800-CALLWVA.

Fair president Karen Facemyer said the event celebrated its 50th anniversary with a great event last year. As it is moves into its next half-century, she said community support is important to keeping it going. The MSACF’s status as a juried event helps ensure high quality for people interested in the wide range of crafts.

“We’re expecting a lot of people to come out,” she said.

One of the events which has been growing in popularity is the Cast Iron Firecracker Chili Cookoff and Cornbread Contest on Saturday.

The nationally sanctioned contest offers competitors three hours to create their best chili, with cash prizes available to the winners: $400 and a cast iron award for the best red chili, $75 for the best verde and salsa chili and $50 for the best cornbread.

Other activities during the fair include a Civil War encampment, a youth fishing derby, interactive workshops, a quilt show, an archery tournament, a hunting dog demonstration and others through the three-day event.