"The Department of Education has its own interactive education tent, and there are about a dozen folks in their who are demonstrating and allowing kids, and adults, to make items -- to make a corn broom or a piece of stained glass -- and take it home with them," Wines said. "The fair really has really changed its focus over the years; its really about education now, and preserving the heritage of the state."
Page, who continues to promote the art and craft legacy of the state, said other states have visited the fair in the past in order to use it as a model for their own initiatives, and he is hopeful that the fair will continue to stand as a testament to the work West Virginians are capable of.
"We found that West Virginians were people who liked to create things, so we said it to the world; we went promoting tourism from Canada to Miami, to Chicago and St. Louis over to Washington and New York, saying 'come to West Virginia,'" he said. "West Virginia has been a good place to emulate, because our people have heart."
The three-day event will include a Civil War reenactment encampment, kite-making and stunt kite flying for children, and a NASA small rocket building and launch exhibit on opening day. A youth fishing derby will be held Friday, and the Firecracker Chili Cookoff will be held Saturday.
The fair will also host several local and regional musicians, including the Davisson Brothers, who will headline Friday's festivities. The fair includes demonstrations from interactive artisans who will instruct people in basket weaving, broom making, stained glass and other projects participants will be allowed to take home with them.
Page, who has worked with the state and with other artisans for more than 60 years, said his experience with the state has taught he him how much West Virginia has to offer - places like the Tamarack, the Wheeling Artisan Center and the Mountain Made Foundation, and people who fuel the Appalachian craft heritage year-round.
"We have some unique people in West Virginia," Page said. "It takes years to learn some of these professions and these crafts; some of them have had a lifetime of experience with it. They didn't just start cropping up -- they were already here."
For more information on the Mountain State Art and Craft Fair, visit www.msacf.com or call 1-800-CALLWVA.
Reach Lydia Nuzum at lydia.nu...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.