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McCreary County Festivals Rapidly Approaching

Blazin’ Bluegrass and Heritage Trail Days Festival coming soon

During the next three weeks, McCreary County will be rolling out the welcome mat for local residents and tourists who join in the festivities currently planned for two upcoming festivals.

Kicking off this year’s frenzy of fall festivals will be the annual Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival on September 17, 18, and 19th at the Sand Hill RV Camp just outside of Whitley City.  The annual event will feature a wide variety of bluegrass and gospel music performed by regional and national musicians.

Featured musicians and bands this year include Larry Cordle, Marty Raybon, Dean Osborne, Shadow Ridge, Turning Ground, and others on Saturday.  Thursday will see Mountain Faith, the Baker Family, and others take the stage.  Friday will feature gospel music including Crosspoint, Shadow Ridge, Mountain Faith, the Baker Family, Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle, and Locust Ridge.  Bluegrass 101, County Line, Joyful Noise, Kentucky Wind Reunion, Chimney Rock Boys, and Tad Paddle will also be featured during the event.

Three day passes for the event (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) are $25.00.  Thursday night admission (6:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.) is $8.00 with Friday admission (11:00 a.m.-10:00 p.m.) set at $10.00.  Admission on Saturday (11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.) is $12.00.

For more information, phone 606-310-1242 or 606-310-1619.  For information on camping, phone 423-569-9271.   Information can also be found at

A new tradition will begin during the first weekend of October as McCreary County’s very first Heritage Trail Days Festival replaces the longstanding McCreary Fest.  Although many popular McCreary Fest activities, such as the Main Street parade with music and vendors, will still take place as usual, the annual event will expand as Heritage Trail Days to include ranger led hikes, a canoe race, bike ride, 10k Trail Race, and other activities.

On Thursday October 1, hikes to Yahoo Arch (9:00 a.m.) and Yahoo Falls (2:00 p.m.) will be led by the McCreary County Hiking Club and Big South Fork Ranger Karen Thompson.  The Heritage Trail Days Kickoff Event will take place from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. on the same day at Jackson Park in downtown Whitley City with music by KY Arts Council members Joe Lamay, Sherri Reese, Mitch Barrett and others.  The Farmers’ Market will be open at the Jackson Park kickoff and will provide seed swapping time for those wishing to “swap” heirloom and other types of seeds.  Kristina’s Kitchen will sponsor an apple/pumpkin roast during the kickoff.  In addition, those wishing to join a free bird watching caravan will meet up and leave Jackson Park at 6:00 p.m. sharp.  Bird watchers in the caravan are advised to bring flashlights, cameras, etc. for a bird watching adventure!

On Friday October 2 at 11:00 a.m., events move to Barren Fork where U.S. Forest Service Archaeologist Randy Boedy will lead a history walk around the Barren Fork Heritage Trail.

Also at 11:00 a.m., Gracie’s Rescue Outreach will sponsor a pet owners walk beginning at the Barren Fork Horse Camp Shelter.  Walkers will circle around the campground and fishing pond while learning about pet safety tips.  Walkers may bring well behaved, leashed pets to walk if desired.

Following the walks, there will be a free cookout and picnic for the public at the Barren Fork Horse Camp Shelter.  The picnic will begin at noon.

Also on the schedule for Friday are hikes to Natural Arch (9:00 a.m., led by McCreary County Hiking Club) and Yamacraw (2:00 p.m., led by a Big South Fork Ranger.)

On Friday evening, from 5:00 until 10:00, the McCreary County Park will entertain zombies and spectators with a zombie walk at 6:00 p.m.  Registration for the Zombie Walk will be at 5:30.  Live music by Austin’s Basement will begin at 6:30, and a free spooky movie in the park will be shown at dark.

Other events scheduled for Friday include a Crafters’ Day at the McCreary County Craft Center from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  The Uptown Opry, on Main Street in Whitley City, will host a special “Legends” show on Friday night from 7:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m.

Saturday October 3 will mark the biggest day of the festival with major events scheduled throughout the county.   Saturday events include the following:

8:00-11:00 a.m.-Rock Creek Mountain Bike Ride

9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.-Downtown Whitley City-includes vendors, children’s activities, and music by Kentucky Mountain Trio, Empty Bottle String Band, Rhonda Mann & Friends throughout the day.

12:00 (Noon)-Heritage Trail Days Parade on Main Street in Whitley City

2:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.-Canoe Race at the Reservoir

3:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m.-10k Trail Race at Blue Heron Loop

5:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m.-Highlights of ShineFest at Stearns include National Park Service programs, chili cook-off, vendors, classic cars, and live music.  Kevin Dalton and the Tuesday Blooms will headline with several opening groups leading the night’s musical entertainment.

For more information, visit

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