Forkland is a tiny rural community, a place that can be easy to miss if you don’t know the back roads that wind their way through Kentucky’s Knobs region to take you there. Despite its small size, Forkland is a vibrant, immensely close-knit community that hosts the Forkland Heritage Festival and Revue each fall, a tradition it's kept going for over 40 years.
Carolyn Crabtree, a Forkland area resident since 2001, fell in love with the festival at first sight.
“It’s one of the only true heritage festivals left in Kentucky," she explains. "The entire event is planned and worked by local people whose families are connected to the area in some way. These people are proud of their heritage as descendants of pioneers who settled this remote area very early in Kentucky’s history; proud of their school they built themselves with their own money; and proud of the beauty of the Forkland Valley.”
When asked what people absolutely shouldn’t miss from the festival, Carolyn offered up these three gems:
1) Living History Skits
On the back porch of a historic log cabin, you can talk with locals dressed as Forkland residents from the 1700s through the 1900s; they will share their unique stories about carving a life out of the wilderness. The skits are especially meaningful to community members because they portray their own ancestors, keeping their family stories alive.
2) Craft Demonstrations
For those curious about traditional and pioneer crafts, the festival is the place to be. Visitors can also see local artwork as well as live demonstrations of painting and sculpting. These craft demonstrations are a unique fusion of Forkland’s past and present, emphasizing its distinctive, vibrant culture.
3) Bean Supper and Play
The highlight of the festival is the bean supper and play, offered nightly throughout the weekend. The delicious traditional meal goes on the stove at sunrise and is served with cornbread and all the fixins at night. As you munch sorghum cake for dessert, you can watch a play performed by locals, sharing food and fellowship with one of Kentucky’s most close-knit communities.
This is just the tip of the iceberg for the festival; learn more about this festive fall weekend, Oct. 10 – 11, at www.forklandcomctr.org