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?
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
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- State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core