A new festival, which is slated to take place in early October in downtown Williamsburg, aims to highlight regional arts, music, food and beverage within the Southeastern Kentucky region.
“The River Fog Festival is the first of many opportunities Why Whitley has planned for our community. We are interested in engaging with multi-generational residents, providing a seat at the table for those who previously have not had involvement in community decisions and transforming our downtown into a space people want to live, work, and play. There are so many wonderful things about living and working in Whitley County, and we want to be sure that those are amplified to instill a sense of community pride within the residents,” Why Whitley spokesperson Angelika Lewis-Bowling said in an e-mail.
Lewis-Bowling said the Why Whitley effort was formed about six months ago, and has about half a dozen members, who see the potential Williamsburg can become.
She said the group has gone across the region looking at different towns and what they are doing to help improve their area.
“There is lots of great stuff happening, like Stay in Clay in Clay County,” Lewis-Bowling said.
Why Whitley came together because its members value our county and the potential is has to offer,” she said.
“Our county often gets bogged down from negative narratives both locally and regionally. We want to give a voice to the positives of Whitley County and use that momentum to create even more opportunities for our community to thrive,” Lewis-Bowling said in the e-mail.
Why Whitley is currently working on digital media campaigns to highlight trailblazers from Whitley County, community philanthropy to provide youth with funding to implement community projects, and events that draw people to celebrate downtown Williamsburg and all it has to offer, such as the upcoming River Fog Festival, she said.
The River Fog Festival will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6, in the green space on the corner of Third and Main Street in Williamsburg.
Inspired by the Cumberland River’s role in shaping the history of Southeast Kentucky, the River Fog Festival highlights “New Appalachian” music and food that celebrates our area history while looking towards the future, according to a news release.
“The River Fog Festival is a new way for Whitley County residents to celebrate local foods, local music and local fun in our downtown,” Lewis-Bowling said in the release.
The festival kicks off at 4 p.m. on Oct. 6, with Jonathan and his Four String Fiasco, a one-man ukulele cover band from Hazard, whose style ranges from ukulele funk, to 80’s hits to current pop music.
At 6 p.m. Mama Said String Band will take center stage and combine their musical backgrounds, cultures, styles and genres to produce a unique aural medley for the audience. Known for having a strong female presence, they gather influences from bluegrass, folk and Americana.
At 8 p.m., headliner Magnolia Boulevard will carry the show into the evening, delivering a seamless fusion of blues, funk and rock’n’ roll.
“To be selected to perform at the festival, the bands had to be local to Eastern/Central Kentucky with a good, family-friendly, high-energy performance” Lewis-Bowling said in the release.
Kristin Smith of Faulkner Bent Farm, Handlebar Nate’s Gourmet Hot Dogs and the Whitley County Cattleman’s Association will be vending local foods during the festival.
Pivot Brewing Company and Jarfly Brewing Company will be selling locally brewed craft beer to those 21 and over with a valid ID.
Admission to the festival is free to the public thanks to several sponsorships.
“We never want cost to be a barrier to having fun in public spaces downtown”, Lewis-Bowling said in the release. “We do hope you will purchase from and support our local food and beverage vendors while enjoying these quality bands.”
Lewis-Bowling noted that Whitley County has been celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, and much of the celebration has been focused on the past and history, which she thinks is great.
“This is something we wanted to do to kind of represent our future and the future we would like to see for Whitley County,” Lewis-Bowling said.
For more information, visit facebook.com/riverfogfestival.