33 years ago...an estimated 6,000 persons participated in, or attended the first annual Black Gold Festival in Hazard. The event, termed a success by Festival Committee members, drew visitors from as far north as Michigan and Wisconsin and as far south as Alabama. The week long festival was an offspring of the Bicentennial Celebration that was held the year before. There was music, dancing and plenty of food booths and Arts and Crafts exhibits.
The first Black Gold Festival opened on July 11th 1977 as former Hazard Mayor Bill Morton gave the official welcome. His remarks were appropriately accompanied by the sound of the L & N train passing on the nearby track, getting ready for another load of "Black Gold."
After the mayor and Perry County Judge pro-tem H.B. Noble, finished their remarks, the Black Gold Chainers kicked up their heels, and the first Black Gold Festival was officially underway.
Highlights of the 1977 Black Gold Festival included a concert, next to City Hall, by Jean Ritchie, world famous folk singer and Perry County native, and a musical performance by the Jon Hall Band from Hazard. Bill Gorman and W.S. Amburgey rode horses down Main Street during the first Black Gold Parade and Mark Levinson stayed cool on his Jet Ski on the Kentucky River. The festival has proven to be so popular, it has been held every year since 1977.