Pam Dudding-Burch Contributing writer

Last year’s Prepper Festival proved a tremendous success as thousands of people attended, many driving from neighboring states.

It seems like each year, the Prepper Festival in New Castle grows by leaps and bounds, providing an extensive education on how to become more aware of what one needs in case of an emergency.


“I think the most unique thing about the Prepper Festival in Craig is that people come to small town America from all over the US to enjoy the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and enjoy fellowship with other likeminded families who want to live life as free people and prepare for whatever may come in the future,” Marketing Director Jason Matyas shared. “It’s an atmosphere of hope, fun and camaraderie that few other events can match and most people say that this is their favorite preparedness event for these very reasons.”

The 4th Annual Prepper Festival will be held on Saturday, May 6, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Main Street. Millions of Americans are concerned about the worst economy since the Great Depression and dark future ahead, social unrest in major cities like Chicago and Baltimore, possible terror attacks like the one in San Bernardino, natural disasters and the unsustainable nature of modern politics, society and economy.
The Prepper Festival is organized by the Craig County Business Association. It is the perfect place to get education, awareness, products and services needed to prepare for an uncertain future as well as have a great time as a family with live music, great food and hundreds of dollars of free prizes given away throughout the day. Though difficult to believe, thousands come each year to New Castle to experience this unique event.

Attendees can attend training workshops, browse and buy essential products and services related to survival and emergency preparedness and find peace of mind from a host of experts.

Vendors will also have survival gear, water purifiers, long term food stores, seeds, medical gear, knives and edged tools, tactical gear, books and training media and other practical preparedness supplies. Expert speakers will cover topics that provide one with necessary information to survive:

Foraging For Wild Edibles in the Southeast – Learn to identify, harvest and prepare some of the most readily available and easily identifiable edible plants native to the Southeastern U.S.

Herbal First Aid – Remedies You Can Find In The Wild – Learn to identify, harvest and prepare several common medicinal wild plants native to the Southeastern region of the United States.

A Call to Thrive, Not Just Survive – Historian and legal activist John Ainsworth brings a unique legal remedy, already in progress, to unite the people and restore America and her founding principles of limited government and state-rights.

Building Your Personal Prepper Manual – Participants will learn the basics of building a survival manual for their family based on their individual location and preparations.

Ham Radio for Preparedness – Preparedness Radio Communications teaches how to use licensed and unlicensed communications options to extend and strengthen your community in times of emergency.

Suturing and Wound Closure – Imagine yourself in a grid down situation where you or a loved one suffers a serious laceration. What would you do? This workshop is designed to give you the knowledge and skills to perform basic wound closure.

Essential Oils for Emergency Preparedness – At this workshop, you’ll learn why essential oils are an important, yet often overlooked, aspect of a prepper prep, and how easy it is to incorporate into your plan.

Meals in a Jar – Taking the “Scary” Out of Food Storage – Learn how to make your own Emergency meals with no preservatives and additives, using your family’s favorite recipes. Your instructor Holly has been teaching others how to be prepared to feed their families healthy food for many years.

Local survivalist author Franklin Horton will discuss how people can build their personal preparedness for the future. Filmmaker and speaker Jason Matyas will discuss how to understand the modern grid system and how people should prioritize their preparations for the future. As a military officer, innovative entrepreneur and media producer, Jason Matyas is a sought-after speaker at preparedness and self-reliance events around the country. “My Beyond Off Grid project is a documentary film and media project devoted to inspiring and equipping people to Return to the Old Paths of sustainable self-reliant living,” he shared.

The documentary film released in Dec 2016 informs why people need to reduce their dependence on modern systems. Beyond Off Grid’s online and video training gathers experts to teach the skills needed to survive and thrive with a more self-reliant lifestyle.

The Prepper Festival is proudly sponsored by Doomsday Tactical Supply, Beyond Off Grid, The Emporium, Thrive Life Foods and Seeds for Generations.

Last year, Kelly R shared: “We had a great time at the festival yesterday! We came from Ohio and spent 3 days in the New Castle area. I still can’t get over the friendliness of the people (every person that passed us in the car waved!) and those incredible mountain views! Such a beautiful place!”

Julie D. added; “Awesome event! We drove over five hours from Eastern North Carolina. We met some of the nicest people, got a wealth of info and contacts. What a beautiful area y’all live in.”

This year, there will be four live bands instead of just one; Blue Connection, Gabe Dixon and Whiskey River, Covenant and The Rusty Seesaws.

Also, the major Prepper Raffle this year will feature a Ruger 10/22 Takedown rifle, an Excalibur 9 Tray Dehydrator, silver coins and a video training course on homesteading from Beyond Off Grid.  Tickets are available for purchase in advance on the website, at The Emporium on Main Street and from some members of the Craig County Business Association.

“We’ll have some great local bands playing throughout the day, which will give you a great atmosphere for an awesome shopping experience with about 70 vendor spaces,” Matyas said. “If you want to sign up as a vendor, you may go to http://www.prepperfestival.com.
Also, they are having the Prepper Cook-Off again this year at noon. “Be ready to watch some creative food preparation under austere conditions!” Matyas added. “Tell your friends about Prepper Festival 2017 and plan to come join us!”
Matyas encourages everyone to RSVP on the Facebook event page and then, to invite friends to do the same by clicking the Invite button to Share the event and choose your friends to invite them!

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