Kentucky’s oldest running festival wraps up in Mt. Sterling

The festival dates back to 1794, when a circuit judge would go to town to try criminals and people would come to sell their goods

MT. STERLING, Ky (WTVQ)- It was a successful weekend in Montgomery County, where the annual October Court Day Festival continued in downtown Mount Sterling.
It’s the oldest festival in Kentucky and brings thousands of visitors every year.

“This festival is more than just a festival. It is actually, in a lot of ways, a homecoming of sorts. There are people that are from here, have been here. We’re talking decades and decades and decades,” said Tracy Pearce, the Mt. Sterling/ Montgomery county tourism director.

The festival dates back to 1794, when a circuit judge would go to town to try criminals and people would come to sell their goods. Now, the festival includes more than 500 vendors from all over all selling everything from hand-made crafts and antiques, to clothes and food.

“We started out with the brisket. Smoking that. That’s 18 hours of brisket. We just switched over to our ribs. And we just make some basic sides, baked beans, green beans, small stuff. Our nachos are being made on site,” said founder of Home Grown Bbq and Catering Antonio Adams, a vendor at the festival.

The festival is where Adams got his big break.

“Prior to something as big as Court Days. Nobody really knew us. We were just a small company. But being a small company, you get our here and you get seen by thousands of people,” said Adams.

Vendors like New Frontier have been selling t-shirts and hats with proceeds going to Eastern Kentucky flood relief.

“Just to help the people in need that lost everything. So this was a good thing we sold. Kentucky’s community especially came together and it was crazy how many of these we sold. Its going to end up helping a lot of people,” said Zack Hill of New Frontier.

The four day event includes live music and entertainment. Pearce called the festival a big success.

“To have so many people in one place. And to have it go as smoothly as it does, it is all a testament to the city of mt sterling and all the work that all the employees do here,” said Pearce.

Pearce says the festival brings a major economic boost to the area.

“You cant underestimate that. Our hotels are full, restaurants do wonderful business, our downtown shops do great business. And then there are a lot of vendors here that raise money for organizations,” said Pearce.

The festival wraps up Monday.

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