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  Kentucky Arts Council

Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet

Feb. 15, 2016
Media Contact: Tom Musgrave
Communications Director
502-564-3757, ext. 489

Kentucky Proud brand enjoys long tradition
with Kentucky Crafted: The Market

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky singer-songwriter Marcus Wilkerson has been a familiar face on the Kentucky Stage at Kentucky Crafted: The Market. But this year he will perform dual roles, participating on stage and as an exhibitor who can be found among The Market’s Kentucky Proud food vendors.

The Lexington-based musician is one of 17 Kentucky Proud exhibitors who will participate in The Market alongside dozens of adjudicated members of the Kentucky Arts Council’s Kentucky Crafted program. This year’s Market, March 5-6 at the Lexington Convention Center, marks the 21st year Kentucky Proud producers have been part of The Market.

Wilkerson’s Kentucky Proud product is Jun Bug, a probiotic honey soda.

“I make my product with local raw honey, white tea and Kentucky spring water,” Wilkerson said. “I’ve been in Kentucky Proud for about a month, and so far I’ve gotten off to a really good start. I’m getting ready to quadruple production for Market and for some other bigger accounts I’ve acquired.”

In addition to performing, Wilkerson has been an arts educator for five years and is a member of the arts council’s Teaching Artists Directory. He said bringing his two entrepreneurial interests – music and Jun Bug – together at The Market made sense.

“My life’s been a combination of culinary world and musical world,” Wilkerson said. “I feel such a kinship with everybody at the Kentucky Arts Council, having worked with them. They’ve taken care of me throughout the years, so I thought it felt natural to support The Market as a Kentucky Proud vendor. That excitement, the community coming together and supporting me along with my own drive and hunger has played a big role in motivating me to be a vendor, too.”

The Market is known for giving a boost to new Kentucky Proud exhibitors. Tim Jones, of Lexington, who produces Gents Original Beverages, was a new business owner when he participated in The Market in 2015. The event gave his product exposure to the diverse Market audience.

“The Market has all kinds of demographic groups walking around, and we did really well,” Jones said. “We sold out every day, probably halfway through each day. It was our first public event and the reaction was really great."

Arts council Executive Director Lori Meadows and Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles expressed their mutual support of the continued relationship between Kentucky Crafted and Kentucky Proud, and the entrepreneurial spirit embodied at The Market.

“We are extremely excited that our Kentucky Proud producers have the opportunity to participate in Kentucky Crafted: The Market,” Quarles said. “The collaboration between our Kentucky Proud members and Kentucky Crafted artists creates a unique display of amazing locally produced food and artwork for the general public to experience firsthand.”

“The Kentucky Proud area at The Market is a popular destination for our guests,” said Meadows. “We are as excited about Kentucky Proud exhibitors making big sales as we are our Kentucky Crafted exhibitors. The inclusion of Kentucky food producers is a natural fit with our artists, and has made for a relationship that is mutually beneficial.”

Kentucky Proud producers are located in the north end of the convention center exhibit hall, and many exhibitors offer free samples of their product. Kentucky Proud producers at the 2016 Market include:

  • Applecreek Specialty Foods, Lexington
  • Boone Creek Creamery, Lexington
  • Cappy’s Caramel Corn, Paris
  • Crank & Boom Craft Ice Cream, Lexington
  • Elmwood Inn Fine Teas, Danville
  • Gents Original Beverages, Lexington
  • Honnah-Lee Bubble Tea, Lexington
  • Hounds & Horses, Frankfort
  • Jun Bug, Lexington
  • Mom Blakeman’s Candy, Lancaster
  • Mother Mills Old-Fashioned Food Mixes, Springfield
  • Rimmer Family Favorites, LaGrange
  • River Rat Beer Cheese, Winchester
  • Shell-Bee’s, Louisville
  • Spotz Gelato, Georgetown
  • The Sweet Shoppe, Hodgenville

Tickets to Kentucky Crafted: The Market are available at the door or can be purchased online and are $10 for one day or $15 for two days. Children 15 and under are admitted free with a paying adult. For more information about Kentucky Crafted: The Market, visit the arts council’s website.

The Kentucky Arts Council, the state arts agency, fosters environments for Kentuckians to value, participate in and benefit from the arts. Kentucky Arts Council funding is provided by the Kentucky General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2016 the arts council celebrates the 50th anniversary of its establishment by the Kentucky General Assembly.

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