6 other festivals you should know about

Can’t wait till Bridge Day? Fortunately, our area is chock-full of entertainment: heritage festivals, craft brews and local artistry! Try these other festivals around the Gorge:

1. Mountain Heritage Festival | June

Old-fashioned games, lazy outdoor cookouts and live music— Ansted’s Mountain Heritage Festival has it all.

Indulge in 3 days of timeless pleasures like flea markets, kiddie carnivals, fortune telling and local arts n’ crafts. The schedule is also sprinkled with only-in-West-Virginia merriment: coal shoveling, horseshoe pitching and cornhole.

Sounds like fun, right? Make your stay even more pleasurable with homemade meals! Fill up your plate with BBQ, hot dogs and spaghetti. Or, help choose which recipe will win chili cook-off glory.

2. Thurmond Train Day | July

Thurmond WV

Did you know this ghost town was once a vital train depot? Find out what boomtown life was like at Thurmond Train Day.

National Park Service rangers set the scene for you, although your imagination won’t have to fill in the dots— Thurmond looks pretty much as it did more than 100 years ago.

Snap photos of colorful brick warehouses and proud architecture in the commercial district. Buildings like the National Bank of Thurmond, with its ambitious classical facade, reveal this town’s former riches.

You can also learn about trains, past and present. Operation Lifesaver will share details about railroad tracks and transportation safety. Or, don a hardhat and pose on a handcart! Rangers can print off a photo for you.

3. Fayetteville Lions Club 4th of July Celebration | July

This tiny town packs a ton of heart into its Independence Day festival. Bring the family for an entire day of beloved classics: a parade, live music and games galore.

Light-hearted competitions will get you into the summer mood, presto! Join a watermelon seed spittin’ contest, a sack race, water balloon toss and silly races.

At dusk, settle on a camp chair and watch fireworks at the town park.

4. Oak Leaf Festival | August-September

Give summer a fond farewell at this spirited jamboree, which brims with live music, local talent and fireworks.

Each year, several bands fill Oak Hill with rocking oldies, pop and country. The festival also has karaoke challenges, carnival rides, arts n’ craft stands and a firemen’s rodeo.

Who has the best chili recipe? Which baker has the most scrumptious slice of cake? Find out during the festival’s competitions!

5. Gauley Fest | September

Since the Gorge is home to one of the world’s best whitewater rivers, it makes sense that the biggest paddling festival on the planet comes here.

Top vendors and reps flock here by the dozens, so bring your questions and hunt for some deals! While you’re at it, enter a raffle for drool-worthy paddling prizes. But don’t miss Gauley Fest’s silent auction— all kinds of brand-name gear is up for grabs.

6. Grape Stomping Wine Festival | September

How many grapes can you stomp? Find out at the Grape Stomping Wine Festival, where you get to squish around in your bare feet!

When you’re not pounding fruit, listen to live music and sample wine. The festival also has a car show, vendors and plates of comfort food.

If getting your toes wet sparks your curiosity, take a tour of Kirkwood Winery and discover how to make wine!

Which festival is your favorite?

Sam Babcock