By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor

West Virginia is FAMOUS for its pepperoni rolls, and some “major eaters” will be participating to see who can quickly chew and swallow the most of these delectable favorites!

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend that is family-oriented, you can head to Palatine Park in Fairmont for the 38th annual celebration of the WV Three Rivers Festival.  The festival runs from May 25th through May 27th.  There will be activities for the kids as well as for adults.

Pageants for the event were held earlier in the Spring, naming a Queen, Teen Queen, Junior and Little Miss as well as a Senior Queen.  Title winners will be participating in this evening’s Grand Feature Parade in downtown Fairmont, beginning on 4th St. and Fairmont Avenue, crossing the high level bridge and concluding at Palatine Park where opening ceremonies will be held followed by  DJ Chad Lane offering Karaoke and carnival rides from 6 to 10 p.m.

The festival opens at 6 p.m. on Friday with entertainment by the Joseph Sisters, a trio singing country music at 6:30 p.m.  A professional pepperoni roll bake-off will be held at 7 p.m.   Be a taster and help select the People’s Choice!

Free entertainment continues on Friday with a performance by the popular show band Rick K & The Allnighters at 8 p.m.!  Carnival rides are open until 11 p.m.

Saturday brings a full day of activities.  The carnival is open from noon to 11 p.m. with hand stamps available for purchase to ride all day long.  It will be “Kids Day in the Park” from noon to 4 p.m. with numerous costumed characters such as Paw Patrol, Smokey Bear and others on hand to greet and visit with the kids.  Educational booths and demos will be available as well.

According to Festival Secretary Carol Baker, the morning hours will be devoted to a celebration of Julia Pierpont followed by a car show in the Marion County CVB parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The Festival will host a crowd favorite – illusionist/magician Josh Knotts and Lea at 1 p.m., the North American Strongman Appalachian Team Championships at 3 p.m., and the 7th Annual World Championship Pepperoni Roll Eating Contest with Major League Eaters at 8 p.m.

“They really are ‘major league’ eaters!” said Baker.  “Two of the leading competitors who will be attending are women too!  Both of them are ranked in the top five!  Participants will vie for a share of $5,000 in prizes.”

In addition, there will be numerous food vendors and commercial vendors at the Festival – bringing everything from t-shirts and hats to jewelry and craft items.

The Festival will present a spectacular fireworks display at 10 p.m. sponsored by Nuzum Trucking and High Technology Foundation. The Festival will close at 11 p.m.

Baker noted, “The weather prediction at this point is not looking altogether favorable, but we’re planning to move forward with our activities rain or shine – unless it storms and is really bad.  If any activities are cancelled, it will be announced immediately on Facebook.”