Saltworks Appalachian Homecoming goes all bluegrass

The Saltworks Appalachian Homecoming has been taking place in Manchester, KY each year since 2014. Like many community events of its type, this one was envisioned as an opportunity to invite residents and visitors to Clay County for a weekend celebrating the music, food, and hospitality of their Appalachian heritage.

The festival got its name from the spot where it is held, on property that once served as the site for Langford Saltworks, a major industry in region during the early 19th century. Serving as a historical pioneer village, the old Saltworks houses a number of exhibits that highlight Kentucky life in the 1800s, and cabins that have been preserved from that era.

It has grown over this past four years into a large and vibrant commemoration, with a fair-like atmosphere, and fun for all ages.

From the start the Homecoming, held over Memorial Day weekend, has included bluegrass entertainment – it is eastern Kentucky – but starting this year, it has transitioned to an all bluegrass event. Sponsored by Manchester Tourism Commission in partnership with the Stay in Clay commission, organizers have selected quite a bluegrass lineup over the three-day festival.

In addition to music from Bobby Osborne, Larry Cordle, Kenny & Amanda Smith, The Grascals, Lonesome River Band, Volume Five, Michael Cleveland, and several others, they will present an outdoor drama by CCMS Tiger Troupe & Monkey Dumplins. Childrens activities will be on offer all three days, May 23-25.

With a mostly volunteer work force and multiple regional sponsors, admission fees are kept low, with many discounts for Clay County residents and young music fans.

Amy Dunzweiler, with the Manchester Tourism Commission, tells us that they have adopted “Where the Best in Bluegrass music meets the hospitality of the mountains,” as their motto, and are looking forward to the 2019 get together.

“The Manchester Tourism is excited to partner with Stay in Clay to help put on The SaltWorks Appalachian Homecoming Festival. Our goal is to promote, develop events, attractions and programs that will have a positive impact on tourism in Manchester and surrounding Clay County. We are a proud sponsor supporting the great musicians coming to the Appalachian SaltWorks Festival this year. They have a great line up and we are excited to show people what Manchester and Clay County has to offer.”

Reduced price early bird tickets are available until May 1 through eventbrite.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.