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McCreary County’s “Heritage Trail Days Festival” Offers Something for Everyone

A new tradition, blending the best of the old with the new, begins during the first weekend of October 2015 as McCreary County’s very first Heritage Trail Days Festival replaces the longstanding McCreary Fest.  Although many traditional McCreary Fest activities, such as the Main Street parade with music and vendors, will still take place as usual, the celebration expands 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 later that evening from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. 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 set up 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 joining 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 Campground Picnic Shelter.  Gracie’s walkers will circle around the campground and fishing pond while learning about nature and pet safety tips.  Walkers may bring well behaved, leashed pets to walk if desired.

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

Additional hikes scheduled 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.

Other activities taking place on Friday include 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-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—More than 40 entries.

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.-Events move to downtown Stearns with 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.

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