By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
It was another successful Frontier Days celebration in Shinnston! In fact, it was perhaps more successful than in the past, Community Development Director Reuben Perdue related.
“Although it was a little hotter than we’ve been accustomed to in the past, we had no rain – at least during festival activities, with the exception of a spotty shower on our opening evening. Otherwise, we had great weather. We also had more food vendors and a greater variety of them, plus more rides for folks to choose from,” he stated.
Perdue added that having other organizations get more involved with Frontier Days was also a benefit – for example, the Shinnston VFD and a local 4-H club.
The Fireman’s Parade, held on Thursday evening experienced great participation with 27 units taking part. Following the parade those departments attending took part in a little friendly competition with water battles and even some mud wrestling!
SVFD members were more than surprised to see spectators holding signs during the parade that read “Ten House Proud” and “Our Community Heroes”, a project undertaken by the News & Journal to exhibit appreciation for SVFD’s commitment not only to their community, but also for their superb local effort to aid the summer flood victims in southern West Virginia.
Lt. Gayle Fratto noted, “It meant so much to all of us to see people holding those signs. It was really special – so special that I’m pretty sure some tough guys had tears in their eyes.”
The News & Journal wishes to thank Adam Southern and Ace Hardware for graciously donating the paint stirrers used as sign holders.
The Shinnston VFD continued its participation in Frontier Days by opening its doors to craft vendors who were present on Saturday before and after the Grand Parade. Approximately 35 vendors filled the main bay of Ten House; others were set up outside; and still more were exhibiting inside the Woman’s Club. This, too, drew a large crowd.
The Shinnston Tornadoes, a local 4-H club, hosted a Tractor Show during this year’s Frontier Days. Perdue added, “Their involvement in this year’s festival was also a great addition. They were eager to enhance our event this year, and we’d like to see more organizations step forward and participate in the future.
Brandy Spadafore, who organized the 4-H Tractor Show, noted that she was quite satisfied with the participation in this initial event and thanked Thompson’s for sponsoring the show.
“We had 14 antique tractors, one hit & miss engine, and four Kubota’s on display from Thompson’s,” Spadafore stated. We had about 100 people walk through during the festival.”
Traveling the greatest distance to participate was Raymond Morton of Walker, WV, who brought a 1934 tractor. Prize winners were voted on by the public along with community judges with tractor knowledge. Winners included: Best in Show – Randall Rose; Best Unrestored – Joe Spadafore; Best Restored – Philip and Sally Basnett; Best Garden Tractor – William Francis; and Best Redal Tractor (for kids) – Dominick Spadafore (1st place) and Joe Michael Spadafore (2nd place).
During competitive races with five participants, Chad Weaver was the slowest tractor with Randall Rose taking second place. Six participated in tractor barrel racing with Joe Spadafore taking 1st place (14.5 seconds); Chad Weaver in 2nd place (14.75 seconds); and Brandy Spadafore taking 3rd place (20.85 seconds).
Modern Woodmen of America donated two prizes won by Jack Hutson (a toy) and Brenda Fisher (a blue tooth radio).
Several kids’ games were also enjoyed during the tractor show, and prizes were awarded there as well.
“We are planning to host this event again next year; however we may be looking for a different location – something perhaps not so distant so that we can be more a part of the main activities,” Spadafore concluded.
Perdue said the newly built stage for this year’s entertainment was a “huge hit”. “It looks like it will be worth its weight in gold,” he said. “We have had people pleading for another ‘arts’ event in the fall, so we’ve set a goal for perhaps late September or early October. This will be similar to our annual Arts Walk that was held in June, but it will be staged in the grassy lot on Pike Street – with artists, crafters and musicians who can perform on our new stage there. We are working on putting that together now.”
With another Frontier Days celebration now successfully checked off the calendar, it looks like moving forward may include yet another fall activity. Watch for details as they become available.