By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
The Pine Bluff Fall Festival has become a “tradition” in Harrison County. It has been going on so long that Pine Bluff CEOS members don’t remember the year of its beginning; however, they do remember that it was originally called “Jay Day” – a celebration that welcomed WV Governor Jay Rockefeller who flew in in a helicopter to attend and enjoy some time with the folks in Pine Bluff!
This year’s Fall Festival in Pine Bluff is an event that will take place next weekend – on Friday and Saturday, October 7th & 8th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. Folks attending can once again expect to enjoy great homemade food with chicken & dumplings, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, cole slaw, baked beans, potato salad, hot dogs and sloppy joes on the menu! And, yes, of course, their delicious pies (some even sugar-free!) are currently being made from scratch in a variety of flavors (apple, cherry, peach, raisin, pineapple, and pumpkin). Their pies are obviously a particular favorite because they are typically sold out by mid-day on Saturday! Pies can be purchased by the slice or take a whole pie home for $12 each.
As always, there will be a 50/50 drawing, cookbooks for sale, outdoor vendors, and entertainment! And the quilt raffle is back! A new CEOS member and her mother handmade the top and the club had it quilted. It is in the Log Cabin pattern and in a fall color palette of maroons, greens and golds – perfect as a prize to take home and enjoy as fall weather dips to crisper temperatures.
Entertainment will include the Itty Bitty Band, vocalist Lisa Owens, and coming to the Festival for the first time will be southern gospel singer James Kenny.
The vendor area will include folks with craft items, food items, and glassware … along with a model train exhibit that kids will enjoy.
The festival’s annual auction will take place on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m. with Pastor Harry Holbert serving as auctioneer. Baskets specially prepared and donated by CEOS members include kids’ baskets, a ladies’ basket, Christmas basket, and other donors have contributed various items of interest as well – including WVU football tickets!
Pine Bluff CEOS vice-president Julia Martin says that organizing the event remains a labor of love for members whose desire is to preserve the history of the Pine Bluff Community Building where the festival is held each year.
“Our Community Building was once a two-room schoolhouse, and now it is used for special programs, social get-togethers, bereavement dinners and other functions within this rural community, so funds raised during our festival really contribute to its maintenance and upkeep.”
Pine Bluff is just a small rural community with less than 40 homes, but their spirit is anything but small! They support one another in times of need and often reach out to “neighbors” they haven’t met! For example, someone knew one of the flood victims in this summer’s devastating flood in southern West Virginia, Martin related. The Pine Bluff CEOS Club donated several hundred dollars from their own coffers, AND they opened their doors at the Community Building to folks in the area who wanted to contribute to the flood relief cause.
“I am very proud to say that we gathered enough help to fill two tractor trailers full of donations, which came from our good people here in Pine Bluff, Peora and Wyatt,” Julia added. “While it may not seem like much compared to other donations, considering that we are such a small area, it speaks of the kindness of people from our small communities.”
One thing is certain, if you attend the Pine Bluff Fall Festival next weekend, even first-time visitors and strangers are greeted like friends – with kind words and lots of appreciation! There is plenty of free parking and no admission charge! … And what better time than autumn to enjoy a short drive through the country to experience the onset of fall color changes?