The Times West Virginian

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March 27, 2014

Mountaineer State History Expo Saturday at courthouse

FAIRMONT — The Marion County Historical Society will hold its annual Mountaineer State History Expo Saturday.

The event will offer guests their choice of 32 exhibits, artifacts, speakers and demonstrations from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Marion County Courthouse.

It is sponsored by the historical society and the Marion County Commission.

The expo began as a small event held in the courthouse basement, but it has grown over the years to take up all three floors, as well as the lawn outside the building. Historical society president Dora Kay Grubb, her mother, Diana George and JoAnn Lough, who were involved with the historical society at the time, wanted to find a way to share the area’s history with its people.

“About 12 years ago, we were sitting around and saying how nobody knows what is around for people to enjoy and do and see in our own state, so we decided we would try to put on an expo where people could come and see what they could take their families to do, locally,” Grubb said.

They also wanted to create a way to network and form partnerships with other museums and historical organizations in the area.

“Actually, we weren’t going to have it this year, and the exhibitors started saying, ‘When is the expo going to be? When is the expo?’” Grubb said.

Representatives will come from organizations including the Bice-Ferguson Museum in Shinnston, the Morgantown Museum, Clarksburg’s CCC Museum, the Zackquill Morgan Society, East Fairmont High School Foundation and an exhibit dedicated to Marion County’s World War II veterans.

Guests can attend one of two presentations about the historical paintings inside the courthouse, also.

At noon, Francis and Julia Pierpont re-enactors will teach guests dances from the Civil War era. There will also be music from that period. A band will perform live bluegrass music, and guests can also enjoy music from the 1940s and 1950s throughout the day. A bagpiper will also perform.

“I think (guests) should take pride in what we actually have locally. ... There are things going on all the time, and it gives them a chance to see what is out there. Usually, they can find an interest that they have,” Grubb said. “We have such a variety.”

Everyone involved in making the expo happen, including the exhibitors, are volunteers. Grubb expects between 600 and 1,00 guests to stop in, based on past attendance. People can come and go throughout the day, and the event is free.

For Grubb, the history expo is a chance for guests to learn about organizations, heritage and history from their own back yard.

“There are so many things to do within a half hour drive of this town that people don’t know about, and they travel to other states when we have things that are just as striking here and just as important,” she said.

Email Chelsi Baker at cbaker@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @cbakerTWV.

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