Today, the fair celebrates its 50th year in Ripley. And though attendance peaked a number of years ago to the point that the fair now is three days rather than five, Wines believes it still serves and important purpose.
"The show really has changed. Its focus over the years used to be sales and exposure for artist. Now I feel it's more for education," he said.
When the fair opened, there were few such events around the state and artists and craftsmen had few resources for selling their wares.
"There was no Internet and no easy way for folks to sell their crafts," Wines pointed out. "We were the premier location to show what West Virginia was producing — and they were producing wonderful things."
He doesn't necessarily lament the drop in attendance — though the fair still is big enough that it has a $190,000 budget.
"I feel the fair has done exactly what it was designed to do — develop art and craft in West Virginia," he said. "We have since seen the development of Tamarack, of Mountain Made in Tucker County, the Wheeling Arts Center in the Northern Panhandle, the Mountain Heritage Arts and Craft Fair in the Eastern Panhandle — we see all of these to be spinoffs from the fair."
This year, the Ripley fair boasts more than 140 exhibitors, all of whom come with their teachers' caps on.
"We require them to share the education side of it — how these processes were performed back in the day. We want visitors to be able to learn something and create and take it home with them. That's what Cedar Lakes is really all about, carrying on the tradition of being able to make a corn broom or stained glass," Wines said.
Contact writer Monica Orosz at mon...@dailymail.com or 304-348-4830.