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First Responders To Be Honored at Elizabethtown Festival

There should be a large crowd present on Saturday for the opening ceremony of the 18th annual Elizabethtown Festival at the Training Center within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville.

Representatives from 25 Marshall County first responder units will be taking part in the 10 a.m. opening, along with members of the Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC), the festival sponsor.

The first responders will be representing 15 fire departments, seven law enforcement agencies and three emergency management services. Each will receive a special gift which they can proudly display in their offices.

The festival will again be a two-day event, next Saturday and Sunday. There is no admission charge, with the entrance  through the North Wagon Gate (Eighth Street).

A new event this year will be an antique car show, to take place next Sunday. Registration time will be from 9-11 am. The car show will be held from  10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The car show will include dash plaques and people’s choice awards. The car show chairperson is Ethan Fithen.

Anyone planning to enter a car is asked to call the MEDC office at 304-845-6200 this week.

The festival will include crafters, musical entertainment, heritage games for children, contests such as cookie, pie and soup (the latter being anything except chili), art classes, inflatables, miniature pony and horse rides, children’s archery, heritage demonstrations, corn husk dolls, bread making, square dancing, horseshoe pitching, etc. While most of the events will take place within the Training Center, other activities will be on the North Yard.

On Saturday, the music will begin at 1p.m., featuring the band Sweet Accords. There will be square dancing at 3 p.m. The Oglebay Dancers will also perform at 1 p.m. The Ron Retzer Trio will provide music from 3-5 p.m.

At 2 p.m. Saturday, there will be a cookie judging contest, followed at 2:30 p.m., by a pie judging contest. There will be a horse shoe contest at 1 p.m. The band Double Indentity will perform from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday.  Square Dancing will be held at 3 p.m.

The festival hours on Saturday will be from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and  Sunday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

The objectives of the event are:

To establish a quality 1800s event appealing to an entire family, encouraging the family to participate as a unit to strengthen family ties while being entertained; to acquaint visitors with a living history of the 1800s; to provide a meaningful community activity supported by more than 100 volunteers; and to encourage economic gain for quality craft exhibitors and regional businesses as well as the state of West Virginia.

The festival is the collaborative effort of not only exhibitors from surrounding states, but also the city of Moundsville, the Marshall County Commission, the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and the West Virginia Division of Tourism, as well as many local businesses and volunteers.

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While on the subject of the former prison, I had the opportunity to visit one area of the building which I hadn’t been in for some 25 years — that being the old administrative area.

If you grew up in Moundsville, “The Big House,” one of the names the prison was referred used to describe the building located on Jefferson Avenue between Eighth and 11th Streets,, was home to as many as 2,000 individuals from throughout West Virginia, sent there to serve prison terms as ordered by judges throughout the state.

The inmates, in letters mailed from there, used the return address of 818 Jefferson Ave., Moundsville, some adding a suite number.

Many “locals” spent time there going to athletic contests, musical performances, etc.

If you went to see the Prison Red Sox play a baseball game, you entered the south wagon gate on 11th Street, and for other events you went through the front gate, through a hallway and on to the North Yard, where there were several brick buildings, including an auditorium where boxing matches and musical performances took place.

This past Tuesday, I drove through the North Wagon Gate and from there went into the former Industry Building for a briefing dealing with the possibility of the Marshall County Historical Society partnering with the Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC), which has leased the prison complex for some 20 years ago from the state.

If the MCHS and the MEDC agree to a partnership, the space would be on the main level of the Administrative Building, and to familiarize those from the MCHS of the space, a walk-through the four rooms, a large hallway,  the “Wheel” and the front porch was held.

The “Wheel” is unique in that for coming and going, it separated the outside and the inside. It was operated by a correction officer who himself was situated within a secured area.

The “Wheel” had an underground motor, but now if you want to use the “Wheel,” it has to be done by manpower, which on Tuesday happened to be Tom Stiles, a long-time WVP employee, who now works for the MEDC.

Getting back to the rooms for the Marshall County Historical Society, should they agree to the partnership,  one used to be a for non-contact visitations, another was the prison’s post office, one was a barber shop, and the fourth room was used for different things over the years.

Once the tour was over, the some 20 individuals involved returned to the Training Center for further discussion, with one of the issues being the cost to remodel the rooms, and furniture to house these rooms, mainly cases in which to house the historical society’s items.

The possibilities of acquiring grants, securing funds from foundations and other means of financial assistance were also discussed.

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The new Cameron Stadium press box arrived this past week.

Workmen spent part of Thursday placing the press box onto concrete pillars, followed by hooking up of the electricity.

The press box will probably seat some 25-30 people. The large area will be for the public address announcer, spotters, and the media, while the areas on both ends will be for the coaching staffs.

There is a fold-up ladder for photographers needing to gain access to the roof area.

The press box is also air conditioned, but the windows can be opened if need be.

As to the old press box, it was definitely too small and wasn’t an easy task to get into. To get to the roof of the building, it required climbing up a homemade straight- up ladder.

While I was there, workmen completed the installation of the steps, with handrails, into the press box.

I spoke with county school maintenance personnel while I was there, and learned that tin sheets had been placed under the seats on the entire home side so that anyone who might  drop something instead of the item falling under the seat, it instead will slide down to the first row seats. Athletic Director Tim Brown said since the bleachers are on a hillside, the tin sheets will hopefully reduce erosion.

Of course, two other major changes have taken place this past summer. One was installation of a larger scoreboard, it having been purchased from St. Marys High School, which two years ago moved its football field to behind the new school. Also purchased from St. Marys were some 500 bleacher seats which will increase the Cameron Stadium number to 2,500, which qualifies the facility to host playoff games.

The bleachers on the home side now go from the 35-yard line to the 35-yard line.

Added a year ago at Cameron Stadium was a ramp leading to an area where those requiring wheel chairs can watch the game.

Principal Jack Cain said the next undertaking is converting a grassy area behind the scoreboard into a parking area for the handicapped.

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The Uptown Moundsville Activities Committee (UMAC)  6th “Fall Festival on the Avenue” will be held on from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Sept. 17 on Jefferson Avenue between Second and Fifth Streets.

There will be such activities as live entertainment, food, handmade crafts, face painting, children’s pony rides, horse pulled wagon rides, etc.

Musical performances will include Big Bill Dupree & the Musical Mercenaries at 10 a.m.; Joe Williams and & Deep Water at noon; and Stevie Lyon at 2:30 p.m.

Some 60 crafters are expected, and several shops along Jefferson Avenue will have extended hours.

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The Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Parade Committee has selected the theme for this year’s Christmas Parade. It is, “A Storybook Christmas.”

The parade will be at 2 p.m. on Nov. 9 along Jefferson Avenue.

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The Chamber has a new member, Computer ER Center.

Chamber representatives along with Moundsville city officials participated in the ribbon cutting on Thursday with owner Derek Turk.

The business is located at 341 Jefferson Ave., Moundsville.

The establishment is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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Former Cameron Mayor Betty Scott was named Thursday to serve the unexpired term of  Mayor Scott Chaplin.

Chaplin submitted his resignation as mayor on Aug. 15 as he is moving outside the city limits.

Chaplin began a two-year term on July 1, and now Scott will be filling  that term which runs until June 30, 2018.

City council met in special session to name the new mayor.

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