Poke Sallet Festival opens in downtown Harlan

Published 10:36 am Friday, June 3, 2022

The 67th annual Poke Sallet Festival, Harlan County’s flagship event of the summer, officially got underway at 5 p.m. on Thursday.

Crowds began gathering a bit before the event’s official opening, with folks lining up at the carnival ticket booth to claim their turn on one of the many carnival rides. Others headed for the area in front of the main stage, folding chairs in hand, to secure their spot for the evening’s entertainment beginning with the “Voice of Poke” contest. The Christian music group Sidewalk Prophets were scheduled in the headlining spot to finish off the first official evening of the festival.

Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley took a moment to talk about the first day of the event and some events leading up to kickoff.

“It’s been a really good start,” Mosley said. “We had a fantastic Miss Harlan County Pageant on Tuesday night with great attendance and wonderful young ladies that did a great job.”

Mosley also mentioned the 4H Kids’ Fun Day which took place the day before the Poke Sallet Festival officially began.

“They had a huge turnout,” Mosley said. “They ran out of t-shirts, that’s always an indicator they had more than 500 people at that event. Last night the carnival opened up, there was a good Wednesday night crowd, and of course the festival opens officially right now, we’ve got the Sunshine School at the main stage getting ready to kick things off. It’s just a wonderful weekend of a Harlan County Tradition that we’re so proud to be a part of.”

Before hurrying off to attend to Poke Sallet Festival business, Mosley mentioned he was expecting to make an announcement soon concerning a surprise big attraction for this year’s festival.

“We will be sharing some information concerning an event that will take place tomorrow (Friday) evening, and another event that will take place on Saturday afternoon,” Mosley said. “That will be on the (Poke Sallet Festival) Facebook page. If you’re a Big Blue fan, it’s going to be an exciting couple of days.”

Harlan City Tourism Director Brandon Pennington had a few words about the festival between tasks during a very busy day for the Harlan Center and Poke Sallet Festival staff.

“We’re just so excited to have everybody come out for the 67th Poke Sallet Festival,” Pennington said. “All the attractions, all the headliners, we’re excited to have all of them here, and we would like all of Harlan County to come out and enjoy the festival!”

The Poke Sallet Festival continues through Saturday night in downtown Harlan.