The 59th annual Poke Sallet Festival will begin Thursday and run through Saturday in downtown Harlan.
“We invite everyone to come out and bring the family for what is sure to be a fun-filled festival packed with events such as a carnival, numerous food vendors, bungee jumping, inflatables, games, micro-NASCAR, live music, Poke Idol semi-finals and finals, crafts, the Sue Ford Memorial Car Show and so much more,” said festival steering committee member Dan Mosley. “We are pleased to announce country music star Chris Janson will headline the festival on the main stage June 7 at 9 p.m.”
Mosley said Janson toured Europe with Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr. He said Janson has shared the stage with Merle Haggard and Florida Georgia Line and has written with Rodney Crowell and Duff McKagan, among others.
“He is most impressive on stage, bringing an array of strengths into the spotlight,” said Mosley. “He is an accomplished singer/songwriter, a dynamic multi-instrumentalist, a compelling vocalist and an unforgettable entertainer. The music, while drawing on a range of influences, is nonetheless solid country and unmistakably Chris Janson. With his wealth of experience, talent and intensity, he is one of Music City’s most promising and exciting young talents. His new song ‘Take it to the Bank’ debuted a few weeks ago.”
Also headlining the main stage on Thursday at 8:30 p.m. will be the Christian music group “Audio Adrenaline.”
“With the same heart, passion and infectious musical prowess they developed as a band in the 1990′s, multi-Grammy and award-winning ‘Audio Adrenaline’ is indeed back and putting together a new lineup of like-minded musicians with the same common goal — to be the voice for orphans in Haiti and around the world,” said Mosley. “The Know Hope Foundation, supporters of Audio Adrenaline and Hands and Feet Project, as well as record label Fair Trade Services, have joined them in this renewed mission to fund and market a new record from which net proceeds will go to the Hands and Feet Project to continue growth and support of the nearly eight-year-old charity.”
Their first single, ‘Kings And Queens,’ from their brand new album released in March is “an incredible song about this idea of when we love the least of these, God wraps these little orphans in his majesty and they can become kings and queens,” said band member Mark Stuart on their website.
Nationally recognized singer/songwriter Jimmy Rose will headline the main stage Friday at 8:30 p.m. Rose will perform a salute to the coal industry at the festival.
Finishing third on “America’s Got Talent” last year, Rose lives in his hometown of Pineville. After graduating high school, he went straight underground to start a job as a coal miner. He is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, having been deployed in Iraq in 2005.
Opening for Rose at 7:30 p.m. will be county music singer/songwriter Zac Hart, from southeastern Kentucky.
Hart has already received seven international music awards and titles that include The North American Country Music Association’s New Country Male Entertainer of The Year Award.
Also performing on the main stage on Friday will be Harlan County Dance Extreme, Harlan County Underground and Big Daddy and The Heat.
On the Bluegrass stage on Saturday at the Harlan Rotary Gazebo, located between the courthouse and justice center, you will see Pine Mountain Grass, Mountain Drive, Good Ground and New Union Grass, beginning at 10 a.m. through 5 p.m.
Performing on Saturday on the gospel stage will be Soldiers of The Cross, Seth Carmical, Living Water, Aarin Collett, Driven, Lawana Blevins, Crystal River and Glenn Hickey, beginning at 10 a.m. and continuing through 9 p.m.
On the main stage Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m., will be Coal Trucker, Jessica Bush, Whitney Caldwell and Tim Goodin.
The 4-H Kid’s Fun Day will be held on Wednesday at Huff Park. It is hosted by the Harlan County 4-H Extension Service. Beginning at 10 a.m. through 2 p.m., there will be games, inflatables and much more for children.
Opening day of the festival, Thursday, will see the annual Miss Harlan County pageant at Harlan County High School at 6 p.m.
The annual 5K race “Run For the Hills” event will be on Saturday. For more information and to register go to www.rfth5K.com.
Also at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday will be the festival’s annual pet show on the Harlan County Courthouse front lawn. The show will begin at 11 a.m. On that same day, at the Harlan Extension Depot, there will be quilting and craft competitions, the annual Poke Sallet cook-off contest, craft demonstrations and much more.
For more information about the festival, call the Harlan Center at 606-573-4495 or visit Poke Sallet Festival on Facebook.
Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-909-4147 or on Twitter @Nola_hde