The upcoming Monongahfest is preparing to serve up lots of food, fun and entertainment.
The festival is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 16, and special events will also take place the Friday before and the Sunday after.
The first Monongahfest was held in 1988, and Debbie Vandetta has been a part of the festival committee since the very beginning. Because of a lack of funding or help, the festival hasn’t always been held every single year, but a small group of people continues to work together to bring this community tradition to life, she said.
Vandetta described how Monongahfest is like a homecoming for many people.
“We’re just a small town, and people just enjoy getting together on that day,” she said. “A lot of people come in from out of town, and so they get to visit and see people that they have haven’t seen for a long time.”
Vandetta said the festival draws a really nice crowd each year. The goal is to keep all the activities and offerings relatively cheap so the festival is affordable for families to attend.
“We want the people to come and have a good time and enjoy themselves — something different from the normal Saturday night,” she said.
The weekend festivities will start on Friday, Aug. 15, with Monongah’s Town-Wide Yard Sale from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Diane Prunty, secretary of the Monongahfest committee, explained that spaces will be available underneath a tent in the town parking lot for $5 each for anyone who wants to sell their items.
Then Saturday will kick off with a 5K race on the Rails to Trails, which is new to Monongahfest this year, she said. Registration begins at 6:30 a.m. and the race starts at 8 a.m.
The cost to participate is $25 the day of the race or $20 in advance. Early registrations will be accepted on Aug. 15 during the yard sale. Students pay $10 per person, and that same rate applies for people who can form a team of eight individuals, Prunty said.
She said the race participants will receive T-shirts, and awards will be presented for the different age groups and the overall men and women winners.
Saturday morning will also feature a country breakfast from 3 Crosses Ministries at the Town Hall from 7-10 a.m. Then the Monongahfest parade will start at noon, with Miss West Virginia Kristin Wilson serving as the parade marshall and crowning Little Miss Monongahfest, Prunty said.
Following the parade, the road will be blocked off to vehicular traffic for the remainder of the day, she said.
Vandetta explained that the Little Miss Monongahfest Contest is a no-stress activity for girls between the ages of 4 and 12, who each pick a flower to determine who is named the queen. Signups are typically accepted up until a couple days before the festival.
Monongahfest also includes the Photogenic Baby Contest, for children ages 0 to 4. People have until Aug. 6 to submit baby pictures for the contest, which costs $10 to enter, and the photos will be judged by someone outside of the festival committee, Vandetta said.
Applications for the Little Miss Monongahfest Contest, the Photogenic Baby Contest and the 5K race are all available at the Monongah Water Office, she said. If people are unable to stop by the water office, the Monongahfest committee members can email applications to those who are interested.
In terms of food items, vendors will be selling hoagies, hot dogs, pizza, sausage, funnel cakes and more. Fried bread dough, which is a big favorite, will be available for purchase, too, Vandetta said.
Prunty added that crafts will be for sale in the fire department. In addition, free entertainment will be provided throughout the day, including a magic show and performances by singer Maddi Nickerson, folk duo Thistle & Tweed, steel drum band Pannikin and local musicians Jenna Won’t Sing Band.
The “Flop in the Slop” tug of war contest is another new offering at this year’s festival. Each tug of war team will consist of five people, who can be anyone, and the cost to participate is $10 per person. The winning team members will receive a cash prize to split, Prunty said.
Other activities include a bake-off to determine the best pie, a pinball tournament, rock climbing, a dunking machine, a corn hole tournament, a duck race on the river, and plenty of games for kids. Plus, people can celebrate the grand opening of Monongah’s Reading Room at the PACE building. The evening will conclude with fireworks at 10 p.m.
Following all of that fun on Saturday, the annual Car Show is scheduled for Sunday, Aug. 17, with registration starting at 10 a.m. and the show beginning at noon.
For more information or to sign up for specific activities, call Vandetta at 304-534-3712; Prunty at 304-816-6378; or committee treasurer Patty McCombs at 304-534-3052. People can also visit the Monongahfest page on Facebook.
Email Jessica Borders at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.