Ian Thornton dreamed of bringing a music and arts festival to the Tri-State, even as he enjoyed the All Good Music Festival and Camp Out in Masontown, W.Va., several years ago.
The dream because a reality three years ago when Thornton started a festival in Ritter Park in Huntington, a festival that continues to grow.
Huntington Music and Arts Festival, set for 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, will feature 24 acts.
“The idea came from All Good,” Thornton said.
“I had been to Bonnaroo a lot of times and it’s a lot of moving, a lot of set changes and at All Good, you sit up on the hill and you watch the bands here, and when they're done you turn your head and watch the bands there on that stage. We are only given so many hours, so we might as well fill it with as much music as we can.”
Thornton said the third annual music fest has grown from 15 acts and about 300 attendees in the first year to two dozen acts and more than 600 last year.
He said this year they hope to fill the 1,000-seat capacity amphitheater, the site of regular concerts in the 1960s and ’70s.
Acts for the festival include The Demon Beat, Bill Fox, The Carpenter Ants, The Heptanes, John Lancaster, Fletcher’s Grove, Rozwell Kid, AC30, Qiet, Sly Roosevelt, Sasha Colette and the Magnolias, Blue Ring and Coyotes in Boxes.
There’s also a second, acoustic songwriter stage for such acts as Richie Tipton, Mark Smith, Grim Charles, Adam Benz, ModockRounders and others.
Tickets are $15 advance or $20 at the door. Advance tickets are on sale now at the V Club and Black Sheep Burrito and Brews. The concert is free for children 12 and under for the all ages concert that will have a full slate of food vendors including Black Sheep Burrito and Brews as well as beer vendors and soft drinks by Pepsi.
Attendees may bring water into the festival but not alcohol. There also will be an expanded artist/festival merchandise area with as many as a dozen local artists and vendors, including a large area near the stage with merchandise and music from all of the bands.
Thornton’s own electric indie rock band, AC-30, will perform. He said the festival showcases what he feels is the great thing about Huntington’s music scene — its diversity and its camaraderie.
“ think one of the best parts about this town is the eclectic scene,” he said. “We obviously have a great metal scene but as a whole these indie rock bands feel like we are in a fight together and we back each other and support each others shows.”
Thornton said they’re also up to a dozen visual artists as well, and he hopes to grow the fest to become an annual tourist draw to Huntington.
“It’s growing on all fronts and hopefully it will just keep growing,” he said. “There are a lot of big festivals like Cincinnati’s Midpoint Music Festival that started out as a small grassroots festival and has grown so much that last year it brought in 26,000 people.”
In addition to the festival, HMAF also generated a few related events.
The V Club was the site of a pre-party Thursday and tonight, Black Sheep Burrito and Brews at 1555 3rd Ave. will host the eight-piece horn-fueled jugband Big Rock and the Candyass Mountain Boys with special guest Tyler Childers. There is no cover charge.
The HMAF After Party kicks off at 10 p.m. Saturday at The V Club, 741 6th Ave., with The Phantom Six and Sangoma, followed by Charleston hip hop vets Dinosaur Burps. Cover is $5 or free entry with an HMAF wristband.
Huntington Music and Arts Festival tickets, available at The V Club and Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, are $15 advance or $20 at the door. Admission is free for children 12 and younger. For more information, email Ian Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit hmafestival.com and facebook.com/hmafestival.
‰The Jesse Stuart Weekend at Greenup Lake State Resort Park will be today and Saturday and will include visits to the writer’s homeplace, free lectures, music, videos and book signings.
“Songs of a Mountain Plowman” will be presented at 7 p.m. Saturday at the John P. Stevens Cultural Center in Raceland. The musical drama is based on one of Stuart’s books.
For more information, visit jsfbooks.com.
‰St. George Orthodox Church in Huntington will have its annual Greek Fest today through Sunday, featuring Greek food prepared by parishoners. The event also will include live Greek music, dancing, church tours and inflatables.
The church is at 7011 11th Ave. For more information, visit stgeorgehwv.org/festival.
‰The 27th annual West Virginia Pumpkin Festival will be Oct. 4 through 7 in Milton, W.Va. The event will include “The Wall That Heals,” a smaller, traveling version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. There also will be entertainment including a show by Chase Likens, the West Virginia singer who was a top 24 finalist on “American Idol” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 4 and Exile at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 6.For more information and a full schedule, visit wvpumpkinpark.com.
‰Marshall Artists Series Fall International Film Festival will begin Oct. 11 with a screening of the documentary “Skateistan: Four Wheels and a Board in Kabul” at 7 p.m. at the Keith-Albee Performing Arts Center. Tickets are $10. The film festival will continue through Oct. 17 featuring a variety of international films. Admission to films is $7.50.
For a complete schedule, visit marshallartistsseries.org.
‰Bob Evans Farm Festival is set for Oct. 12 through 14 in Rio Grande. For more information, visit bobevans.com or call (800) 994-3276.
‰The anime, manga and gaming convention Tsubasacon will be Oct. 12 through 14 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena. More information is available at tsubasacon.org and in Sunday’s Lifestyles section.
The Grayson Area Chamber of Commerce will have the 10th annual Funtober Fest on Oct. 6, with additions to the previous lineup.
Events will begin at 7:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast by the Rotary Club at the Senior Citizens Center. There also will be a craft and bake sale. Festival T-shirts will be for sale near the gazebo.
Opening ceremonies will be at 10 a.m.
Additions this year will include:
‰10 a.m. — Carter County Homemakers Quilt Show, First Baptist Church Ministry Center on Main Street.
‰10:30 a.m. — Stitches for Hospice, Quilt Heaven.
‰2 p.m. — Pets and People Costume Parade. Each participant will receive a treat bag. Lineup will be at 1:45 p.m. at GRECC Bagby Park.
Free balloon creatures will be available to children beginning at 10:30 a.m. and face painting will begin at 11 a.m. near the gazebo.
Chili will be served beginning at 11:30 a.m. near the gazebo, which is where judging and prizes will take place.
For more information, visit graysonchamber.org.
Wheelersburg Christian Baptist Church will have Octoberfest 2012 on Oct. 6.
Old-fashioned country dinner will be available for $5.
Apple butter making will be ongoing and apple butter will be sold for $8 a quart or $5 a pint. Sugar-free apple butter will be available.
There will be a flea market starting at 8 a.m. Tables are available for $5.
An outdoor sing is scheduled from noon to 3 p.m. Pints $5.00 each.
Activities will be at the church campgrounds, 11325 Old Gallia Pike.
Farm to Food
The WVU Small Farm Center will have a Farm to Food conference Oct. 12 and 13 at Pullman Plaza Hotel.
The goal of the event is to provide in-depth training and discussions about the agricultural community in this part of West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
The conference will focus on the food system, or foodshed, within 50 miles of Huntington, encompassing 15 counties in West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky.
The event includes a new feature, the Farm Festival, which kicks off at 5 p.m. Oct. 12 and will feature a farmer’s market and a food fair. Local vendors will offer their farm products, while area chefs use local ingredients to showcase their best dishes. These events, open to the public, will be at Heritage Station, 210 11th St.
Lunch is provided both days, sourced from area farmers.
High school and college students interested in attending are eligible for a discounted registration fee.
Registration will begin at 8 a.m. Friday.
Online registration is available by calling (304) 293-2565 or visiting smallfarmcenter.ext.wvu.edu/farmfoodconference.
The hotel is at 1001 Third Ave. in Huntington.