RIDGWAY--By 11 a.m. at the old tannery building in Ridgway, the parking lot was already crowded with attendees for the first big festival of 2023, the fifth celebration of Mountain Fest.
Dedicated volunteers with the Elk County Wilds Tourism Association have been working since last year to ensure this event is the biggest one ever. With over 100 vendors filling the entire interior of the old tannery, it's easy to get lost in the maze of vendors, food trucks, and entertainment, but thankfully copies of the Ridgway Record guide to Mountain Fest, with the included map, are available throughout the event.
Don't wear your best shoes, as the parking lot is a bit muddy in spots, and dress warmly, because even with portable heaters, the old factory still retains winter's chill, but set aside a few hours to enjoy the first big event for Ridgway in 2023.
Chainsaw carvings greet attendees at the entrance to the festival, which winds up through an old loading dock into the cavernous, old building, which is filled with laughter, music, and plenty of shopping opportunities for those searching for unique, Pennsylvania-made items and food treats. The smell of freshly made kettle corn fills the building with its enticing aroma, while coffee treats from the Creative Cup were a great, warm offering on this chilly morning. There are plenty of tasty snacks to purchase, with many food vendors giving out samples of their wares. From spoonfuls of handmade hickory syrup from Doug Drewes Ox Dynasty to freshly made loaves of bread and snacks and even a fudge vendor with dozens of offerings, there is a little something for everyone at Mountain Fest.
In addition to over 100 vendors, there are around a dozen food trucks and stands this year, with veteran Mountain Fest regulars like the Anytime Lunchtime! Truck is joined by hot dog vendors, freshly made bbq, including some smokey brisket, and a mini gourmet donut maker. To accompany all that food, there are plenty of vendors for adult beverages, from local wineries like Benezette Wines to the valley's Triple Nickel Distillery, to Real Nutz Vodka, a Ridgway favorite. 
The event continues until 11 p.m. on Friday night before opening again on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and closes out on Sunday with hours from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. 

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