What were you doing 34 years ago?
That was when the West Virginia Three Rivers Festival was born.
It didn’t start out as the Three Rivers Festival. It actually started over Labor Day weekend in 1980 and it was called Septemberfest. But this rather hurriedly put-together festival was competing with the Italian Heritage Festival in Clarksburg, and that was a losing battle.
Fairmont’s festival — it began as the Coal Festival — had several names before it finally stopped attempting to appease numerous factions and adopted a simple name — such as the Strawberry Festival in Buckhannon, the Forest Festival in Elkins or the Buckwheat Festival in Kingwood.
The festival became the Three Rivers Festival. It had been the Coal Festival but after several years of having numerous mining companies show off their products, this was dropped.
So was the title Three Rivers Festival and Regatta, after the Gateway Clipper had to remain dockside because of heavy rains and high waters after a couple of successful voyages. The Clipper’s guests boarded and ate and even got in some dancing. But the popular party boat never left the dock.
Finding a permanent home was another problem the festival had. It started out on Adams Street, but this created some major traffic problems. Some downtown merchants complained that the festival kept people from their shops. So it took a new home at Middletown Mall — a marriage that was soon to split.
From there the festival called Palatine Park home, and later East Marion Park before it moved back to Palatine Park, where it remains today.
And guess what? We believe all the complaints have ended and everyone seems happy with the festival where it is now.
As we have stated in the past, a festival such as Fairmont is boasting this weekend is as American as apple pie. And the event is about the people of Fairmont putting on a celebration.
The rides begin tonight, the Grand Feature Parade is Thursday night, Kids’ Day and Josh Knotts & Lea, Extreme Illusions & Escapes are both Friday afternoon, and Taylor Made, the singing group from Grafton, will be performing from 8-11 p.m. Friday at the Palatine Park Amphitheater.
One of the big attractions, of course, will be the fireworks display Saturday night at 10 o’clock.
Many volunteers are working behind the scenes to make the festival a fine one. The Swearingens — Sharon and Mike — have dedicated so much of their time with their two boards to keep everything going smoothly.
It’s Three Rivers Festival time! Let’s all have a great time at the festival entering the Memorial Day holiday Monday.
What were you doing 34 years ago?
COLUMN: Freedom of Information — if you can pay
Several years ago, I made a Freedom of Information request to a local government agency. Within the five business days, as required by law, a packet of information was delivered to the office. I expected a bill, as most government offices have a charge that ranges from 25 cents to $1.25 per page for copies of the documents we request.
The reassuring spirit of Easter: One of new hope and beginnings
During the sub-zero and snow-filled months of winter, we maintained a spirit of hope that spring was on the way. It has now become a reality as all nature stretches and yawns and awakens once more to a new beginning. The fragrance of spring awakens our waiting nostrils, the budding beauty of new life brightens our eyes, and the reassuring idea of renewal stimulates our minds.
Unsung heroes handling calls in emergencies are appreciated
Thankfully, we live in a community where help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, just by dialing three numbers — 9-1-1.
During this week, which is recognized as National Public Safety Tele-Communicator’s Week nationwide, we need to remember that on the other end of that line are the men and women here in this county who are always there in case of accident, crimes, medical emergencies and any other catastrophic event.
Message to ‘buckle up and park the phone’ is saving lives
A figure that we haven’t seen that much in recent years is the highway death toll for a given period.
Is the death toll up, down or just about the same as it was?
The West Virginia Southern Regional Highway Safety Program has announced there were 325 highway fatalities in 2013, the second-lowest number on record.
State native Burwell can ‘deliver results’ as Health and Human Services secretary
Sylvia Mathews Burwell might not be a name with which most people are immediately familiar.
For the past year, she has run the budget office under President Barack Obama.
Prior to that, she served as president of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Development Program and later the Wal-Mart Foundation.
Marion scores well in recent health report but could do better
When it comes to area-wide studies, especially on health, there’s usually good news and bad news.
So was the recent report on the health of America’s counties released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation recently. The nationwide county study evaluated health outcomes and health factors, and ranked counties accordingly.
COLUMN: ‘Instant’ news not always reliable
That little word has a pretty big meaning. With origins that date back to the 15th century, it means urgent, current, immediate.
But think about how that word has developed over the past few decades.
Instant pudding. Instead of slaving over a hot stove for a few minutes, you can now pour cold milk and with a bit of stirring, instant pudding!
Decision to be an organ donor can save lives
Chelsea Clair watched as her father died waiting for a bone marrow transplant.
So when she met Kyle Froelich at a car show in 2009 and heard about his struggles to find a kidney that would match his unique needs, she never hesitated to offer hers to the man she just met.
Volunteers continue to have priceless impact on community
Chances are, you know someone who volunteers. Perhaps you’re a volunteer yourself.
Marion County is full of volunteers.
They read to our youth.
They assist nonprofit agencies.
They serve on boards and committees.
And in 2013, they spent a day picking up nearly 10 tons of garbage that had been tossed out on public property around Marion County.
Proposed school calendar lives up to letter and spirit of law
West Virginia state law requires that students be in a classroom for 180 days.
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