13. Letcher County, Kentucky: Back to Our Appalachian Roots Project (Promise Zone County) Fiscal Agent: Hemphill Community Center


The goal of this project is to establish an annual pioneer festival in Hemphill, Kentucky, a community of approximately 500 residents. Leading up to this culminating event, the community will host a series of public workshops facilitated by regional tradespeople and artisans. These workshops will focus on various pioneer homesteading skills and cultural traditions, including beekeeping, gardening, food preservation techniques, quilting, woodworking, and blacksmithing. Additional demonstrations include traditional folk dance and open fire cooking.

The grantee is a member of the Letcher County Culture Hub and will work with other partner agencies to plan and promote the event. Community participation and cultural preservation are key elements of this project. Grant funds will provide educational opportunity for residents, family friendly entertainment as part of the pioneer festival, and supplies that will help promote sustainability by lowering the cost of replication. Ticketing for the open fire community cooking demonstration to be held as part of the festival will generate additional revenue to support future festivals.

The community ultimately aspires to be a stop on the heritage food and dance trail proposed and coordinated by Hindman Settlement School, a project detailed earlier in this proposal package. The proposed festival will provide an organizing event for the community around which they can build their heritage tourism efforts.

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