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West Virginia, is nestled deep in the heart of Appalachia. Our area is filled with a rich history of coal mining and the unique culture that emerged. Coal mining communities created a type of hospitality that is unmatched anywhere in the south. Consider this your personal invitation to come and relax in Mercer County, but be prepared…you will love it so much, you may just want to stay! Mercer County, West Virginia's Southern Gateway.

Bluefield’s Lemonade Festival: A Cool Way to Cool Off

The old saying goes, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” Come August 30, 2014 organizers of the Lemonade Festival in Bluefield, W.Va. will do just that…and much more. It’s the community togetherness, fun and nostalgia this event promises that makes attendees like Alexandra Ammar want to go back for the second year.

In 1941, Bluefield – known as Nature’s Air-Conditioned City – held it’s first Lemonade Days. When the temperatures reach 90 degrees, the Chamber of Commerce hands out free lemonade to residents the following day.

The Lemonade Festival – organized by the Bluefield Preservation Society – celebrates this custom with plenty of lemonade to go around, plus fun activities for the whole family.

Ammar attended the first annual Lemonade Festival last year, strolling the downtown streets filled with food and craft vendors, and had a blast.

“The festival is such a fun way to support the community,” she says. “There were people of all ages there and everybody was really enjoying the music and activities. And the kids in the lemon pie eating contest were hilarious.”

Ammar and her sister also participated in the LemonMade cook-off, creating dishes that had to include lemon.

“The contests are great because you get to be involved in more than just attending the festival,” she says.

Kelly Knowles, who is spearheading the 2014 Lemonade Festival, says festival-goers also delighted in last year’s gospel music concert – this year performed at 1 p.m. by the Mark Trammell Quartet – the antique car show and the Lemon Hunt, a scavenger hunt for the hidden prize lemon. These activities are back this year, as is a youth and family fun center featuring rock-climbing, inflatables and more.

Mary Jo Babbitt worked the Bluefield Fine Arts Commission’s booth last year, enjoying the opportunity to showcase local art and chat with the crowd.

“It was enticing to come out and participate in a community event like this,” she says. “The excitement from the crowd proved everyone was having a good time.”  

Knowles says they hope the festival grows each year. “People are seeking out small town festivals for nostalgic reasons and something fun to do on weekend.”

Well the Lemonade Festival is definitely it. The free-admission festival officially kicks off at 11 a.m. on Aug. 30 with a parade.

Saturday evening, the Bluefield Preservation Society will invite the public to attend a blue tie affair – complete with a concert – in the Granada Theater, a historic building the society is working to restore. Tickets for the concert are $25.  For more information, call 304-589-0239.

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