Fun at the Autumn Harvest Festival
The Autumn Harvest Festival is known for bringing people from across the state, country, and even the world to Pocahontas County, West Virginia. Paula Garretson is the Vice President of the Pocahontas County Chamber of Commerce.
“I think the Autumn Harvest Festival and the Roadkill Cook-Off is something that you won’t find anywhere that I know of,” Garretson said. “The atmosphere is such fun, fun, fun.”
According to Garretson, one of the features that make the festival so fun is the many crafters who come to the event. “The important thing about the crafters is their craft has to be handmade in some way,” she said. “You can’t bring something that isn’t, and I think that’s a great thing.”
There’s also the Possum Trot, which starts at 9:30 in the morning. “It’s a 5K run,” Garretson said. “They get their own t-shirts, and there’s always lots of water and food.”
“We also have, for the dog lovers, we have a dog show,” she said, “and that will be held this year just over the railroad track to the left where the depot is, in that area over there. If you’re bringing your dog and you’re coming to the festival, sign up and be part of the dog show. That’s always fun. Kids love that.”
Parks and Recreation is teaming up with the Chamber of Commerce to provide activities for kids. There will also be a variety of live music performances and entertainment throughout the day. “The variety of music is going to be wonderful this year, I think. We have music in the gazebo or in the Opera House. I think this year’s variety of types of music is really going to help give everybody a place to go and sit and listen to different music at different times of the day.”
And of course, there’s the Roadkill Cook-Off, where teams compete to create the best roadkill-inspired dish. Cooking starts at 9 am, judging starts at noon, and tasting tickets are available until 1pm.
“The way people look at the different kinds of foods and the names of the menus that they’re cooking and they’re wondering, ‘Should I try that? What does it taste like? Is it spicy? Is it bland?’ Every year that I’ve been doing it I try to taste all the foods,” Garretson said.
“We give first place, second place, and third place, and we have People’s Choice, so that’s allowing people who have come and bought a food band to go in and taste the food and make a choice who they think is the best cook,” she said. “I think that’s kind of interesting to see.”
The Autumn Harvest Festival will take place this Saturday, September 27th from 9am to 5pm. While the day is filled with bizarre foods, fun events, and a wide variety of locally made items, Garretson said one of the most important parts of this annual event is the people.
“We appreciate all the volunteers because without the volunteers, we could not have this,” she said. “We have people that start working on the festival in January, will start re-doing things in January. On the festival day itself, we’ll have men and women out there at 5-5:30 in the morning, getting ready for everyone to show up.”
“We’re really friendly. We care about you, and we’ll help you. If you don’t know where something is, we certainly will make sure we can find you a way to get there.”