MARLINTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL hosted its first Heritage Day October 31, where learning and fun activities replaced the traditional Halloween parade. Among the participants was Bill Beard, above, with his portable sawmill. B. Nottingham photo

Brandon Nottingham
Staff Writer

The sounds of learning could be heard Tuesday as Marlinton Elementary School hosted its first ever Harvest Day.

MES traditionally participated in a Halloween Parade through town, but this year the script was changed.

MES Principal Phillip Anderson decided to substitute a fun and interactive learning event in place of ghosts and goblins.

Students had plenty of activities to choose from, including how to make homemade apple cider, jams and jellies, geology and paleontology, musical instrument lessons from artists such as Trevor Hammons and Jake Krack, and there was even a portable sawmill.

“We wanted to start this first Annual Harvest Day to focus more on education and the seasons,” Anderson said. “Our number one priority for these kids is their safety, and this is a way to bring us all together instead of walking through the town. We still do most of the same activities that we did before, such as going to the nursing home, we still have the band come down and preform for us and other things. Plus, we have so much more to offer the kids with this, in both an educational and fun learning environment aspect.

“We have activities ranging from storytelling to sawmills. It’s just an all around fun day. We have more of the community involved this way, as well.

“We have the [Marlinton] Woman’s Club making popcorn. The parents are involved with their children, and the stations make it more fun and enjoyable for them. I hope that this is something that will be well received and become an annual tradition for us.”

All of the kids seemed to approve, as everyone was immersed in the activities. One station that drew a lot of spectators was Bill Beard’s portable sawmill, which was operated by Forester Ken Beezley.

“I absolutely love this thing,” Beard said. “I bought this after the derecho because we had a lot of trees downed from that storm, especially red oaks. We use it mostly to make rough cut boards to be used around the farm, as well as fencing and other things.

“We thought we’d come here for Harvest Day because we did one of these presentations in Charleston and it was very well received. We thought that it would be something extra to give to the kids.”