The 49th Annual Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin’ takes place October 4th-5th at SKCTC Cumberland campus

cooking oveThe yearly celebration of Appalachian culture, the Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin’, is primed to return to center stage Friday and Saturday, Oct. 4-5 on the Cumberland Campus of Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College.

The event, held along the banks of Cloverlick Creek at the base of Black Mountain, has developed over the decades into one of the top arts and crafts festivals within the state and the region. During its two-day run, the event is expected to attract hundreds of participants to the SKCTC campus where they will have the opportunity to enjoy lively mountain music, eat traditional Appalachian foods, engage in competitive games and have the chance to take a step back into time to observe and marvel at the exquisite handiwork of local artisans.

Longtime festival director Michael Corriston suggested the event serves to promote and perpetuate the diverse cultural heritage of the Central Appalachian Mountains through the presentation of music, crafts, visual arts, theater, folk competitions, games and folk life demonstrations. “The Swappin’ Meetin’ offers something for everyone,” he said. “We welcome one and all to come and enjoy the two days of fun and fellowship and good times.”

The theme for the 2013 Swappin’ Meetin’ is ‘Pride in My Mountain Heritage’ with that theme carried out in a Mini Olympics competition and youth storytelling and art contests. The SKCTC Education Program and Harlan County Cooperative Extension personnel will provide games for kids and other activities. Event participants will have the chance to ride the Harlan Rotary Club Express Train and the hay wagon ride. And, during the event, demonstrations by craftsmen will include sorghum molasses cooking, blacksmithing, chair making, chair bottoms crafting, basket weaving, washboard laundering, raku pottery creations, spinning, weaving, spinning tops demonstrations, dancing, clogging, and the chance to take a trip on the nature walk and a tour of the Cherokee Nation mobile history unit.

No Swappin’ Meetin’ would be complete without a lineup of talented musicians performing bluegrass, gospel, folk and traditional Appalachian music. Musicians will perform throughout the day Friday and Saturday from the stage on the patio of Falkenstine Hall. Performances by Marlow Tackett, Roy Harper, Tommy White, Zelma Forbes, Clyde Stanley, Mountain Drive, Jake and Ruby Ravizee, singers from Mt. Sinai Church, Pine Mountain Grass, Roan Mountain Moonshiners, Lonnie Burkhart and Brooklyhn Woods will make for an exciting two days of extraordinary musicianship.

A wide variety of vendors will offer a large selection of Appalachian crafts and a variety of traditional and contemporary foods will be available, including the Soup Bean Dinner slated for Saturday from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the grill located in Falkenstine Hall.

Through the years, the Swappin’ Meetin’ has been known for an array of contests with the 49th version of the festival no exception. Locals will have the opportunity to win ribbons and notoriety as they compete in contests that include: quilt, baked goods, hog calling, great pumpkin race, pickles, jams and jellies, checkers, a cake walk, art contest and storytelling competition. Moreover, the Tri-City News will conduct its 22nd Photography Contest, photos are to be delivered to the upper lobby area of the Godbey Appalachian Center on Friday, Oct. 4 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

Now it is second year, the Swappin’ Meetin’ Glow Run, 5-K and one-mile walk, will be contested across the campus and through the town of Cumberland. Scheduled for Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m., the event will begin from the lower parking lot on the campus. The registration fee is $25, and for further information contact Kristen Simpson at ksimpson0069@kctcs.edu or chris.hockenberry@kctcs.edu.

Each year during the festival, time is set aside to give acknowledgement to several deserving recipients who have worked to make the Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin’ the amazing success it has become. A ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Oct. 5 to compliment the event’s Honoree, Featured Quilter, the winner of the Savannah Delph Award and winners of the Faculty and Staff Awards.

With the 49th Kingdom Come Swappin’ Meetin’ set to begin, Corriston called the event a precious gem.

“We have worked hard to make this year’s festival one of the best ever; we hope to see you that first weekend in October. We will positively be pleased to see you!”