West Virginia’s 150th Birthday
Happy Birthquentennial, Happy Sesquicenday!
Hey, have you heard of a sesquicentennial? Big word, so of course it would have a convoluted meaning, right? No! It’s actually just another word for cake! That’s right, this year is West Virginia’s 150th Birthday and its right around the corner— or should I say, it’s comin’ ‘round the mountain.
West Virginia is an integral part of these here United States, but there are certain ways in which WV is just plain cooler.
Instead of seceding with the rest of Virginia, the western part of Virginia chose a different direction (a more northern direction, if you will). Because of spats with Virginia about not having a voice in the government, disliking slavery, loving freedom, and a multitude of other little things, we left. And 150 years later, we’ve never gone back! Mountaineers are always free!
As a result of standing up for ourselves and venturing out on our own, West Virginia will be 150 years old June 20th. And, the state shall celebrate, at the very least, until June 23rd.
From 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., Marion County will be celebrating the historic split in a few ways: we’re talking a formal afternoon tea with the Governor and Mrs. Pierpont, and having a beard growing contest, country style dinner, games, and birthday cake.
What could possibly be better than a near unpronounceable word, a really old state, beards, and cake? A community celebration, that’s what!
216 Monroe Café (The Gatherings), Marion County Historical Society, Main Street Fairmont, Marion County Public Library and many others are helping to throw a downtown celebration for our great state. The Firehouse Cafe will be providing the meal, Debbie Williams will be providing the cake, and Lonestar as well as Ronnie Milsap will be providing some of the entertainment for the Birthday Weekend.
Come out and join in! Celebrate the birth of freedom, the birth of West Virginia!
Happy Quinte…Happy Sesqu..Um, happy birthday, West Virginia! You’re so old!
What do you hope will be included in the daylong celebration?
How will you celebrate West Virginia’s 150th Birthday?
The Traveling Pet
The Traveling Pet
Summer is a time for adventure, vacation and family— that means everyone! So bring your furry friend, vacation days, and suntan lotion to Marion County! Marion County offers services and fun experiences for both you and your pet.
Stay at any one of these pet-friendly hotels to prepare for your days of adventure.
· Super 8
Like people, our pets need comfort. So remember to bring what your dog or cat might need to be comfortable during the trip:
· a favorite toy or blanket from home for the ride and the hotel
· water (and a bowl!)
· a bandana to soak and tie around your dog’s neck on hot days
· suntan lotion is for your dog, too!
Other helpful items to pack for the trip:
· Soy leash (there isn't a leash softer)
· Collar tags with your cell phone number
· Gentle Leader for a more humane and effective way to help your dog stop pulling
With your pet now at ease, reflect on the proper “petiquette”! Think to yourself, “What would Emily Post say?” Consider the other guests and vacationers to maximize the fun for everyone!
· Always have a plastic bag available to clean up any mess your pet might make.
· Keep your dog (or cat!) on a leash in public areas. You never know if someone is allergic or
· Bring a blanket to cover the kennel at night to reduce nervous/attention meowing or
Now that you and your pet are well rested, it’s time to explore. You can find your first adventure at East Marion Park. FIDO’s Backyard is a 4-acre off-leash dog park that features a double gated entry, separate enclosed areas for small dogs and another for larger dogs. There is also a fenced in meadow for running and games of fetch. Need a break? Enjoy the nearby picnic area and benches throughout the park and a water fountain for pets and their owners. The park also provides pet waste bags so be responsible.
Always be prepared by knowing your resources!
Share your tip for making traveling with your pet enjoyable for all.
Heston Farm - a mixture of good wine, good food, good music, good mood - is one of a kind. And it happens to be right here in Marion County.
Heston Farm Winery and Pinchgut Hollow Distillery is located at 1602 Tulip Lane in Pleasant Valley. This local and unique business is one of only thirty-one wineries and distilleries in the state.
It’s a young business that opened the door to many possibilities in their two-year history. They offer:
- The Foxfire Restaurant
- Wine and Spirits tasting
- Winery Tours
- Live music
- Organic community garden
- Off-site catering services
- Video lottery room
Name it and they can do it!
With all that’s offered, Heston Farm is rising above the competition, and they have been with non-stop construction over the past two years. Moreover, they haven’t ceased planning for more; in the future they hope to acquire a brewery, walking trails, a wine club and an events center.
Their wines, whiskeys and moonshines are made on the premises, and are named after animals that have been on the farm. For example, Jade’s Sweet Reward is a wine named after their retired bomb sniffing dog, Jade. Prudence and Penelope is a wine named after the first pigs on the farm.
Heston Farm makes and sells eleven farm wines, as well as Merlot and Chardonnay. Their apple pie, peach honey and other moonshines are sold in pig-shaped bottles reminiscent of original 1800s glass bottles.
With vintage farm pieces and rustic artwork, the indoors and patios are as beautiful as can be. Enjoy a farm-to-table, French-style country meal at the Foxfire Restaurant. Wine and Spirits tastings can be scheduled in a private or public room, and there is live music on the weekends. The menu is varied and offers their selection of homemade wines.
With this meal, you can support local produce as Heston Farm grows their own herbs and vegetables to incorporate into the dishes. The grapes in the wines are from the farm and neighbors in the Shenandoah Valley.
Heston Farm maintains an atmosphere of tradition and pride. Their music, their art, their wines, and land all create that familiar feeling as you walk in and sit down.
Discover more at www.hestonfarm.com
Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center opened on Fairmont State University’s and Pierpont Community & Technical College’s shared campus in June 2010. It is only one of twenty-five college centers like it in the nation.
As a college facility, the Folklife Center functions in education for uncommon and historical courses. It is used for the folklore studies major, and for the museum studies certificate and minor. Classes like The Art of Storytelling in Theory & Practice, Museum Exhibit Design & Preparation, and Folk Literature are taught in and with the aid of the Folklife Center.
It is not simply a great addition to the college campus; it is also used to serve and honor the region. The Folklife Center is a performance space and a place for events. In the past, the center has hosted quilt readings, A Festival of Story, and silent auctions. Every Thursday the Kennedy Barn String Band plays their old-time tunes there in a personal and fun tribute to the region.
And one of those events is coming up soon. The Friends of Folklife Gala, June 1 and 2nd features a wide assortment of folklore fun. Presented here will be traditional entertainment in arts, exhibits, music, wine tasting, Civil War re-enactors, storytelling, and cake walks. The Kennedy Barn String Band will perform a barn dance, with caller Taylor Runner. A History Alive performance by Joe Bundy, in conjunction with the WV Humanities Council, will act out his first person interpretation of historical figure Martin Delany.
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center does more than add to the community; it adds to our history. The Folklife Center strives to preserve and share West Virginia’s history. This is done in the forms of a museum, publications, research studies, as well as Cultural Heritage Exhibits.
For a more powerful impact of historical significance, the Folklife Center publishes texts such as Traditions: A Journal of West Virginia Folk Culture and Educational Awareness with nine volumes in circulation. A younger publication, its inception in 2002, is Hillchild: A Folklore Chapbook about, for, and by West Virginia Children and currently has three volumes in circulation.
A newer text, the second volume of Witches, Ghosts and Signs: Folklore of the Southern Appalachians was written by Patrick W. Gainer. Created quite differently from the others, this publication involved the work and efforts of the students at Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community&Technical College. The Folklife Center has transformed into a place where its own students of history are helping to preserve history in the region.
The Frank and Jane Gabor West Virginia Folklife Center is growing, taking on new tasks, and thriving. Because of the Folklife Center’s efforts now, the college, the community, and generations to come will get to appreciate our region’s history.
Summer Festivals You Don’t Want to Miss in Marion County
Here it comes, summer 2013 in Marion County, West Virginia! Not only does this time of year bring gorgeous weather and the reopening of some of your favorite attractions, but we also have some great festivals to look forward to.
Marion County is home to five annually awesome summer festivals:
- WV Three Rivers Festival, May 23-25
- The Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Festival, July 5-7
- Heston Arts & Music Festival, July 13-14
- Paw Paw District Fair, July 23-27
- Mannington District Fair, August 5-10
WV Three Rivers Festival
To begin the summer, the Three Rivers Festival at Palatine Park has remained a part of Marion County summers for thirty-three years. The festival is the platform for various pageants kicked off by a county-involved parade. The wild and wonderful attraction (emphasis on wild) is the annual carnival and rides.
True to its West Virginian roots, the festival will host an amateur and a professional pepperoni roll bake-off. This year will see the third annual professional pepperoni roll eating contest. This will decide the new pepperoni roll eating champion of the world!
Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Festival
A much younger and contemporary festival in Marion County is the Johnnie Johnson Blues & Jazz Festival in Palatine Park. Although it is only eleven years old, it has a strong tradition for those who come to participate.
Considered the Father of Rock ‘n Roll, Johnnie Johnson is the most fitting namesake for this festival as he was born in Fairmont in 1924. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001.
The festival honors this Marion County native and what he devoted his life to: jazz, blues, and rock n’ roll. In past festivals, various bands from the area, as well as New York, Texas, and Illinois, have come to pay tribute to the legend and his homeland. Artists such as Paul Geremia, Roddy Barnes, and Gypsy Davies have shared their take on Johnson’s favorite genres.
Find out who comes to show their respect for the original rock n’ roll idol! We’ll see you there!
Heston Arts & Music Festival
An even younger festival, in just its second year in Marion County, is the Heston Arts & Music (HAM) Festival at Heston Farm.
This festival showcases artists and bands from West Virginia and the surrounding states. The performances are not restricted to one genre, but cross over many kinds of music in various ages.
- The Masons, classic rock
- Larry Rogers, classic country
- Intent, rock n’ roll
- Matt Thomas, country
Vendors are also a part of this now annual festival, and they come from all over to present their original products. This means that any product you see at the festival is not imported, but is made by the very seller. These products are not mass-produced, but are individually made for you!
Paw Paw Fair
Right in the middle of summer is the Paw Paw District Fair in Rivesville, WV. It has been a tough, muddy extra to Marion County summers since 1946. The fair traditionally hosts all kinds of mudboggin, automotive pullins, and Paw Paw pageants. And of course, what’s a fair without rides and music? This year the fair will feature The New Silver Eagle Band.
Mannington District Fair
Ending the summer is the Mannington District Fair. It started in 1932 and will make its eighty-first appearance in Marion County this summer. The fair has thrilling shows (like the Fearless Flores Thrill show), totally able musical groups (such as The Hubcaps, Ryan Cain and the Ables and Tanne Lynne and the Total Package), go-carts, demo-derbies, and competitions (like trick pony riding and poultry judging).
If you can handle it, see if you can make it to all five events! Take as many pictures as you can, and share them with us on the Marion County CVB Facebook page.
Which fair or festival are you most excited to attend?
Pepperoni Roll Eating Contest
Pepperoni Roll Eating Contest – We Crown the Champion Right Here in Marion County
For the third year in a row, May 25 will be the day- that gloriously grand day- when a lucky and trained eater will take the title as world champion pepperoni roll eater.
As we all know (though the surrounding states and greater world seem a little less knowledgeable), Fairmont, West Virginia is home to the pepperoni roll. Created and perfected here is the art of wrapping pepperoni in bread and baking it for a glorious, original West Virginia experience. Even better? Fairmont is home to the annual world champion pepperoni roll eating contest.
It feels like home; this contest brings together our favorite local treat and honors the county’s Italian coal-mining roots. Major League Eating has close to one hundred competitions a year, and this particular competition has one of the most expensive purses. $2,500 goes to first place; in all, $6,500 goes to the top six pepperoni roll eaters.
Many wonder how this magnificent creation came to fortuitous existence. The pepperoni roll was no fluke. It was crafted from sheer resourcefulness. Many Italian men worked in the West Virginia coal mines, and took bread and pepperoni for lunch. One ingenious man, J. Argiro, decided to bake the pepperoni into the bread, thus creating the delicious food and his own company, the Country Club Bakery.
With that kind of history, it’s incredible that this contest has only been happening for three years. After all, the pepperoni roll was created here in Marion County. Major League Eating was established in 1997. The contest is held during the Three Rivers Festival (May 23- 25), which has been going since 1967. Why it took so long for the three to come together is a mystery, but we’re just glad they did!
If you want to take part in future competitions, you should probably start practicing now! To get you started, try this simple pepperoni roll recipe at home.
Quick and Easy Pepperoni Rolls
- Unroll crescent rolls, place pepperoni (sticks or slices)
- (optional) Place cheese on top of pepperoni, usually mozzarella (sticks or shredded)
- (optional) Split, add marinara sauce, more cheese, roasted green peppers, and/or chili
- Serve, share (or not), enjoy!
Country Club Bakery is not the only great baker of pepperoni rolls. Share your recipes with us on the Marion County Facebook page.
How many pepperoni rolls have you eaten in one sitting?
New Executive Director
During a recent meeting, the Board of Directors of the Convention and Visitors Bureau of Marion County named Leisha Elliott as Executive Director of the CVB. Leisha has been serving as Interim Executive Director since January 1. She replaces Marianne Moran, who retired from the CVB in December 2012 after almost 20 years of service. Leisha has been part of the CVB since April 2011, when she joined the team to serve as Group Sales Director.
“The Board of Directors members feel that Leisha is uniquely qualified to serve as Executive Director because of her background and training, as well as her service to the CVB and strong connections to Marion County,” according to Amy Pellegrin, President of the CVB Board of Directors. “We look forward to working with Leisha to continue to promote the many tourism attractions in our own backyard.”
While she was Group Sales Director, Leisha organized several Familiarization Tours of Marion County for tour operators and front-line tourism staff. She also developed the content for the CVB’s social media channels and new Marion County Bridal Brochure. Leisha is also working towards her Tourism Marketing Professional (TMP) certification through the Southeast Tourism Society. She has been selected as a member of Leadership West Virginia’s Class of 2013.
Leisha is a native of Marion County and a graduate of Fairmont State College (now Fairmont State University) where she received a B.S. degree in Business Science. While in college, she became the owner of Fairview Floral, which she successfully ran for 15 years. She has worked as a consultant for Main Street West Virginia, specializing in work plan design training, and was Program Manager for Mannington Main Street from 2000 to 2006. She serves on the Community Resource Committee of the United Way of Marion County. Leisha and her husband, Nelson, reside in Mannington with their children Samuel, Grant, Mary and Adam.
Stop by the Visitors Center and meet Leisha when you have a chance!
How to Plan the Perfect Girls Getaway In Marion County
Researchers now say that the planning and anticipation of a vacation, no matter the length of time, offers dramatic health benefits both mentally and physically. It lowers stress hormones which helps lower high blood pressure. Now if that’s not a good reason to start planning a vacation now, we don’t know what is.
So, why not call your favorite girlfriends, the ones who are there through all life’s hurdles, and gather in Marion County. Treat yourself to relaxing nights and leisurely mornings. Then you and your girlfriends can laugh your way through our local shops and boutiques where you won’t be able to go home empty-handed.
We have shops to satisfy every taste and budget.
· Or perhaps your home needs a facelift. You must drop in on Friendly Furniture Galleries, Craft Connection Gift Shop, Main Street Shoppes, Country Prim & Folksy, Rider Pharmacy, Cards, Gifts and Collectibles or The CAVE.
· And lately have you found yourself reading nothing beyond the nutritional label on a cereal box? Then pick up a best-seller, a glossy magazine or a “trashy” romance novel from Kerri’s Korner Bookstore.
Feeling better yet?
If you still need a little boost, stop by Healthy Naturally where you will find sensible solutions to getting well and staying well. Patricia, who is a certified herbalist, and her knowledgeable staff are a great resource to getting well and staying well.
Relax and Rejuvenate
However, no Girlfriend Getaway would be complete without a few hours at Tuscan Sun Spa. In addition to traditional spa services, the boutique includes Aveda beauty products, luxurious jewelry, handbags and other accessories, gourmet chocolates, and organic Fair Trade teas. And if you want to pamper the "tweens" and teens in your life, Spa Piccola is the "little" version of Tuscan Sun Spa. Tuscan Sun Spa also offers parties for girls of all ages, so if you’ve got something to celebrate during your getaway, you can do it here.
You can also get pampered in the lap of luxury at Lion in the Sun. In addition to indoor tanning options, they provide various other services including custom air-brush spray tanning, “red light therapy”, massage therapy, teeth whitening and professional indoor tanning products.
A Night On The Town
You’ve got to visit Heston Farm Winery and Distillery, located along the banks of the Tygart River. The winery is filled with the timeless quality of farm life and will take you back to a simpler time. Enjoy country-style food, tours, concerts, special events, wine and whiskey tastings.
So get those girlfriends on the line – doctor’s orders!
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