By RONDA GREGORY
News & Journal Staff Writer
On Tuesday, many people in Shinnston were working at warp speed to get things ready and rolling to celebrate an era that enjoyed a slower, more sedate pace — Frontier Days.
Gambill Amusement workers had already set up several carnival rides — from the old-fashioned favorites like the Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round to the more modern and edgy thrill rides, such as the Backdraft.
The brightly colored rides and games and prizes were already attracting some children who were checking them out for the big opening on Wednesday.
Shinnston Community Development Director Reuben Perdue was also working hard and fast—going from one event area to the next to make sure things were in place and ready for the crowds on Wednesday when the major events kickoff.
He said the carnival is a central attraction that is a linchpin of the celebration.
“Any way we can bring attention to our downtown area and show how nice it is, then that’s a tremendous positive,” said Perdue. “People are looking for something different they can do for fun they can’t do on a daily basis.”
Perdue said, though, that all the celebration’s many activities should attract interest and work to build a sense of community.
Downtown local store owner Scott Beverly agreed.
“The celebration brings people together,” he said. “You can resurrect old friendships or, hopefully, make some new ones.”
Beverly, who owns the Sacred Heart Christian Book & Gift Shoppe on Pike Street, said he likes Frontier Days because he “just likes seeing people on the street enjoying each other. It’s fun to see people allow the child in themselves to come out.”
He said he remembers looking forward to it as a child himself and was glad when the celebration was brought back after several years of ‘temporary retirement’.
“Growing up as a child, it was a tradition,” Beverly said.
Perdue said that since Frontier Days has been inked back on the city’s calendar, it has been a big success.
“Since it has come back, the community has done a tremendous job of supporting this festival,” he said.
Though both Bridge and Walnut streets will be closed to traffic an hour before and during the various times the carnival is open, Perdue said the Frontiers Days activities shouldn’t cause an inordinate amount of concern for residents and businesses.
“I’d like to think most people understand this is a temporary inconvenience for just a few days,” he said.
Some downtown businesses are even extending their regular business hours to accommodate the attendees. Beverly’s store, for example, will stay open until 9 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.
According to Perdue, the Lion’s Club Entertainment Stage will be located in the grassy lot that was the former location of the Rice Theater, instead of behind the Bice-Ferguson Memorial Museum.
Making this year’s festival even more promising is a very fair weather forecast! Activities continue through Saturday evening.