Poke Sallet Festival delights Harlan

Published 10:00 am Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The 68th Annual Poke Sallet Festival is now in the history books. The festival pulled in attendees from all over the region, offering three days of festival-style fun with carnival rides, live entertainment, food, shows and merchandise to excite people of all ages.

On Thursday, the festival’s opening day, Harlan County Judge-Executive Dan Mosley took a minute out of his pre-festival duties to comment on the event.

“Set up has gone really well,” Mosley said. “All the vendors are moving in. We’ve got a lot of diverse vendors this year, everything has gone as smooth as I remember it ever going.”

Brandon Pennington, the Tourism Director for Harlan, commented on the festival just before it started.

“When we start moving all the vendors and attractions in, we get just as excited as the community gets for everything to open up,” Pennington said. “We’re excited to get it all going!”

This year’s Poke Sallet Festival featured many attractions, including the Poke Sallet Idol singing contest, a car show, a pet show and multiple live music acts ranging from Bluegrass and gospel to rock and modern pop music, with acts ranging from the local level to nationally touring Journey tribute band Resurrection and last year’s American Idol winner Noah Thompson.

“I always come to hear the music,” said festival-goer Randy Brock. “It’s a lot of fun.”

One of the most popular attractions this year was the Jurassic Kingdom Lockdown, which featured full-scale, moving “dinosaurs” to the crowd’s delight. Jurassic Kingdom Lockdown staged multiple shows throughout the festival.

Another popular attraction was the Run for the Hills 5K. The challenging race drew runners of all ages to compete for top honors in multiple categories.

As always, the festival featured various foods and desserts, including hamburgers, hot dogs, polish sausages, funnel cakes and a vast assortment of baked goods and soft drinks.