In the rainy days leading up to the Huntersville Traditions Day Festival, everyone was certain that the weekend would follow suit. Much to everyone’s surprise, the rain held off and allowed Saturday’s festival-goers to join the residents of Huntersville in a celebration of the past.
Often described as the perfect place for an old-time festival, Huntersville has several historic buildings that date back to the 1800s – including two churches, a jailhouse, a post office and a schoolhouse. Alive with residents in century dress, the historic town truly transported visitors back in time.
In keeping up with the festival’s theme, visitors were treated to a number of traditional craft demonstrations. Husband and wife duo Woody and Brenda Harmon, of Denmar, demonstrated the art of blacksmithing and broom-making, respectively, while Mike Moore, of Huntersville, brought the tradition of hand-hewing logs to life.
Sheltered on the top floor of the schoolhouse, Retta Blankenship used needle and thread to demonstrate the art of bookbinding, and Kim McComb demonstrated the art of spinning wool on a spinning wheel.
However, these were not the only traditional crafts demonstrations on display that day. Throughout the town, musical groups, including Juanita Fireball and the Continental Drifters, filled the air with old-time tunes. Stationed by the schoolhouse, the Drifters accompanied the Appalachian Country Cloggers, who invited the public to participate and learn to dance.
While browsing the plethora of homemade delicacies available for purchase, visitors were treated to freshly made apple cider, churned apple butter, hand-cranked ice cream, old-fashioned maple syrup and maple-flavored cotton candy.
Civil War re-enactment units of all ages patrolled the streets while History Alive! character Ward Hill Lamon, portrayed by Robert O’Connor, of Charleston, stood watch over President Abraham Lincoln’s coffin in the Huntersville Presbyterian Church.
Among those attending the festival were newcomers Brian and Sarah Shirk, of Richwood.
“This is our first year coming to this,” Brian said. “We drive the Scenic Highway every year, and we love to stop in Marlinton and eat. We had heard about it [the festival] in passing before, and we finally decided to check it out.”
“We needed a break from being cooped up in the house,” added Sarah, a mother of three, “so we took a chance with the weather. I’m glad we did. It was neat to see how the community rallied together and transformed the town, and the girls [Quinn and Ellie] loved watching the cloggers.”
For Sarah, the century dress and re-enactment units were a familiar sight.
“I’ve attended several re-enactments before,” she said. “I even used to have my own ball gown.”
The Huntersville Historical Traditions is a non-profit organization formed to preserve, restore, educate and promote the awareness of the history of Huntersville, WV, the first county seat of Pocahontas County. Festival funding was provided by the Pocahontas County Convention and Visitors Bureau, Pocahontas County Drama, Fairs and Festivals, Pocahontas County Parks and Recreation, the WV Arts and Humanities and private donations.