Megan Darrah, Gage Efaw, Autumn Lynch and Johnna Moore

A miniature donkey was on hand at the Mannington Octoberfest Saturday. Petting the animal are, from back, Megan Darrah, Gage Efaw and Autumn Lynch. Holding the donkey is Johnna Moore.

MANNINGTON — The jack o’ lanterns weren’t the only ones wearing smiles Saturday in Mannington.

On Market Street, people were enjoying the day as the 34th Annual Octoberfest bathed the downtown in autumnal splendor.

“It’s very nice,” Heather Heldreth of Mannington said.

She enjoyed the fellowship of the festival.

“It brings the community together,” she said.

Warmth was exuded by not only the festival-goers, but Mother Nature as well, as the weather was perfect for the event.

Janet Garner, one of the festival’s trio of organizers, said the festival has experienced rain, hail, wind and even snow in the past, but she said this year’s sunny weather and pleasant temperatures were great.

“It’s perfect for the Octoberfest,” she said.

According to Garner, hundreds of people showed up for this year’s Octoberfest, enjoying the music, food and crafts. There were more than 40 vendors.

She said people were getting out, enjoying the day and visiting with their neighbors before winter sets in.

“I think it’s a great place for fellowship,” said another one of the organizers, Karen Morris.

One of the vendors, Carol McGinty, was selling three of her teas, Dad’s Apple Dumpling, Aunt Patty’s Pumpkin Pie and Aunt Sherry’s Cinnamon Bun, at the stand for her new business, Berteas, which was making its debut. The unique name is a reference to her teas and her late mother, Bertie.

In October and November, she is donating her profits to the West Virginia Foster Care Christmas Party.

She wanted to help the children who find themselves in foster care, noting more and more of them are finding themselves there.

On the musical side, Abby Latocha, Jake Ujhelyi and Dalton Matheny of the 21 Band were performing.

“We had such a great time,” Latocha said. “We love coming out and seeing all the crafts and festival and people around, it’s great.”

Another band, Yesterday’s Moments, from Greene County, Pa. also entertained the crowd.

Mark Davis of Dry Tavern and Kelly Woolen of Clarksville make up the duo, which was returning for its fourth year.

Davis said they keep coming back because the festival is run well, which he said “makes it easy.”

“I enjoy it,” Woolen said. “I like coming here every year.”

A vendor, Kimberly Korcsmaros, was at the festival with her wood crafts and quilted items for the second year.

She liked meeting with people and said she was doing well with her sales.

“I just love the interaction with the people,” she said. “The people in Mannington are so kind. Even if you don’t sell anything, it’s nice.

There was even a miniature donkey at the event.

People walked up and petted the animal.

Gracie Moore, 9, of Metz, the owner, liked having her donkey there.

“It’s awesome,” she said. “I’m happy.”

She said his favorite treat is salt and vinegar potato chips.

The Elks in Mannington were spreading the message about their National Drug Awareness Program. Their mascot, Elroy the Elk, visited with children and provided them with giveaways.

According to a flier, the program “strives to teach all children and parents about the dangers of illegal drug use and prevent the abuse of legalized and prescription drugs.”

“It’s a good message to get to our children here in the city,” said Elks Exalted Ruler Bob Root. “We take every opportunity to give back to the community. That’s what we do.”

Assistance with the festival, meanwhile, is welcome.

Garner said volunteers can send an email to ManningtonOctoberfest@gmail.com if they want to help out with next year’s Octoberfest.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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