July 30, 2015 marks the start of the 19th Annual Blackberry Festival at the Clarksburg City Park in Nutter Fort, WV. The festival began as a part of the state-wide Homecoming ‘96 celebration. The local community fell in love with the fellowship so much they demanded a repeat. The following year it became official as a non-profit organization called the WV Blackberry Festival, Inc.
“We work year-round planning and fundraising for the event. We get money from donations, sponsors, the Harrison County Commission grant, and vendors fees to put on this event,” said WV Blackberry Festival, Inc. President, Sam Maxson.
The WV Blackberry Festival provides free entertainment, kids activities, blackberry food and desserts, and a reason for those even from out-of-state to visit the community.
“We advertise across the state, even in the Parkersburg newspaper,” said Maxson. “I know last year people came from New York and I’ve already had phone calls today from people who are traveling to come see some of the performances.”
Some of the vendors will be selling whole blackberry pies, blackberry cobbler, blackberry barbecue sandwiches, deep fried candy bars, steak hoagies, and much more.
“I have attended this festival for quite some time because I was selling with my dad even before this,” said Amy Rexroad of Rexroad and Wolfe, a festival vendor. “This festival has a family atmosphere and good food. The crowd varies from young to old so there is something for everyone.”
The festival is hosting free concerts including: The Soul Miners (voted Best Band by Morgantown Magazine), Ryan Cain and The Ables (2014 Ameripolitan Awards Nominee for Best Rockabilly Band), Joseph Sisters (have opened for Jerrod Neiman), Josh Oldaker (Harrison County native), Joseph Hott, Subway Band, Beatlemania Magic, The Famous Hubcaps, and The Short Mountain Boys.
“The crowds for these shows are some of the most loyal people ever. I’ve been attending the festival since 2005 and about two years ago we had a monsoon, but the crowd didn’t leave,” said Josh Oldaker, performing Saturday. “They sat through everything, umbrellas and all.”
Some events for the family will include: carnival games and blow-up slides from Cartoon Headquarters, The Mark Mills Car Parade which will include a showing of antique cars, a Pet Parade, and fireworks on Saturday at 10:30PM.
“It’s a place to bring kids and not worry. We have security. I’ve been with this since the start and we’ve never had a problem in 19 years,” said Maxson. “The committee, including myself, always walks the grounds as does the fire department.”
Other events will include a 5k run, baking contest, and talent show. It is recommended for everyone in attendance to bring a lawn chair to watch the shows. As a bonus, all event parking is free.
“They’re in for a good one. Don’t come just one night. You have to come all three nights, because we’ll be here.” said Maxson.