42nd Midway Fall Festival set for this weekend
According to the most recent estimate by the U.S. Census Bureau, Midway has a population of 1,657. This Saturday and Sunday, when the 42nd annual Midway Fall Festival returns, that number will, temporarily, be tenfold, according to organizer Kenny Smith, head of the Midway Merchants Association. Last year, an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 people attended the Midway Fall Festival, which has been named one of Kentucky's top 20 festivals. Smith said one reason for its popularity is its emphasis on craft over commerce. "It's all arts and crafts and no commercial vendors, as opposed to some other festivals. We don't have Tupperware and replacement windows and those types of things," Smith said. "Everything has to be the work of the craftsperson or the artist. And part of it, I think, is just the small town charm, the fact that the festival kind of consumes the whole downtown area." The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Smith said with downtown closed during those hours, parking will be at a premium, but as was the case last year, Southern Equine Stables, at 241 N. Winter Street, will again allow festival-goers to park in their field. "That was a tremendous help to us. That was one reason we had such a huge crowd last year, was because they parked all those cars ." Smith said. Area churches will also offer parking. Among the musical acts performing Saturday are Blake Jones and Maggie Lander, the McTeggart Irish Dancers and the Aaron Hamilton Project. (Hamilton is a former Midway City Council member.) Sunday's attractions include a puppet show by John Skelton and the Squash Beetle Morris Dancers. New this year will be authentic Cajun food prepared by a chef from Lafayette, La., who has a daughter playing soccer for Midway University. Perhaps not coincidentally, her stand will be right in front of Smith's Kennydid Gallery, and Smith said he planned on taking advantage of her close proximity. "When I'm hungry, I'm just going to yell out the door, 'Monique, pour some groceries down my neck!'" Smith said. A late addition to this year's attractions is the R.J. Corman dinner car, which will arrive before the festival begins Saturday and be open for tours much of the day, Smith said. However unique the Midway Fall Festival is, it shares a goal with most of its competitors: to serve as an advertisement for the good things the host community has to offer. "We want to showcase Midway, make people familiar with Midway, and hopefully, they'll come back throughout the year, not just the festival," Smith said.