The 2016 Poke Sallet Festival is upon us, with the 61st installment of the festival kicking off with Kids’ Fun Day on Wednesday and continuing through Saturday.
Brandon Pennington, who is the co-coordinator of the event along with Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley, is enthusiastic about this year’s installment of the festival that has spanned more than 60 years.
“We’re very excited to have All Things New for our contemporary Christian night on Thursday,” Pennington said. “Then on Friday, we have Parmalee, a national country-rock act. Their new single “Roots” is currently climbing the charts, and Emily Ann Roberts from The Voice who was runner-up to Jordan Smith, will be here on Saturday.”
Pennington said this year will also see more vendors.
“We probably have more vendors than we’ve had in the past couple years,” Pennington said. “If I’m not mistaken, over 60 percent of those vendors are local, which is fantastic. It means there’s a great local interest in the festival.”
Vendors will be selling all manner of food ranging from donuts and funnel cakes to Indian food, barbecue, and other options.
“We also have games, the carnival, we have vendors that are going to be inside the Harlan Center doing traditional crafts such as woodworking,” Pennington said. “We’ll also have festival items like airbrushed T-shirts, hats, sunglasses, and of course we have the petting zoo coming back this year. We’ve even got the Omega Force Strength Team coming one night.”
According to their website, The Omega Force Strength Team is a dedicated group of Christian athletes from many backgrounds. They have been seen on America’s Got Talent.
One of the most popular aspects of the festival is the singing competition, this year dubbed “The Voice of Poke.”
“I had the pleasure of being a judge this year for the first round,” Pennington said. “I saw the talent that came through and performed, and I have to say this is probably the best group of talent for the competition…The people performing are quality musicians, they’re very talented, I just can’t wait. It’s going to be very entertaining! You don’t want to miss it!”
Pennington said this year’s contestants are all ages and will be performing music from across a variety of genres, including, Country, Rock, Alternative and Gospel.
For more information, check out our special section inside today’s edition and visit www.pokesalletfestival.com.
Reach Joe P. Asher at 606-909-4132 or on Twitter @joe_hde