RIPLEY, W.Va. — Art and craft lovers from around the state and region will be in Jackson County this weekend.

The 57th annual Mountain State Art & Craft Fair begins on Thursday at the Cedar Lakes Conference Center in Ripley.

The event that started in 1963 during West Virginia’s sesquicentennial celebration, began as a way to showcase artists in West Virginia for a day but quickly grew into a 3-day festival that attracts thousands.

Mike Ruben, the Director of Ripley Convention and Visitor’s Bureau said that with the fair happening at the same time as the city’s large 4th of July celebration, Ripley is a packed house.

“Our population just in town on the 4th of July triples that day,” he said. “You throw in the Art and Craft Fair on top of that and it is a significant event for our economy here. The restaurants will be full, the hotels will be full. This is a big event.”

Ruben said he expects around 10,000 people in town for the events that include live demonstrations, kids, and food vendors.

MORE: Full event schedule

The interactive exhibits where an individual can make their own craft include pottery, woodcarving, acrylic painting, kite making, multi-media, and stained glass.

The heritage exhibits, where someone can watch and buy include glassmaking, cornmeal, veggie dyeing, blacksmithing, and printing press.

“They are demonstrating things that they make,” Ruben said. “You can watch them at their craft and if you are so inclined, you can make a purchase of their items as well.”

Dozens of artisan booths packed the center while there are around 15 concession stand food choices to eat on site and another 15 marketplace vendors where guests can purchase food items to bring home.

Kids activities include storytelling, step dancing, and a petting zoo.

MORE: List of exhibitors

Admission to the fair costs $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and military personnel and $5 for youth.

The fair is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, while on Saturday it opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m.

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