The Salt Works Appalachian Homecoming is an annual festival at the Pioneer Village in Manchester, Kentucky.
The name of the festival is a reference to the historic salt industry that helped lead to the development of Manchester and Clay County. In fact, one of the earliest references we have to the community that became Manchester was a 1795 newspaper article out of Lexington that described a new salt works on the banks of Goose Creek. The salt industry thrived in Clay County until the Civil War, when raids by both Union and Confederate armies destroyed most of the area's capacity for commercial salt production. These difficulties, coupled with the the discovery and development of new salt wells in other (more accessible) parts of the country effectively ended the salt industry in Clay County.
While Clay County no longer exports salt to the outside world, the significance of the industry to the community has been given new life through the Salt Works Appalachian Homecoming. This festival is a weekend of food, music, dancing, storytelling, and more that highlights the culture of pioneer mountain life.
The festival is located on the grounds of the Pioneer Village in Manchester, Kentucky. The Pioneer Village is a collection of log buildings - some dating back to the 1790s - that were built in Clay County. The Pioneer Village gives an accurate representation of what a pre-Civil War homestead in the area would have resembled.
As is it turns out, the story of salt in Manchester comes full circle at the Pioneer Village... The Pioneer Village, home of the Salt Works Appalachian Homecoming, is on the site of the old Langsford Salt Works - the original salt works referenced in the 1795 Kentucky Herald article!
We hope to see you at the Salt Works Appalachian Homecoming as we celebrate our history, our culture, and our future!
Two of the four reconstructed cabins at the Pioneer Village