In these days of longstanding woe and viral sickness, people look forward to any bit of relief and happiness that they can conjure up and capture. The only option these days is a virtual relief, remembering those past times of great gaiety and joyfulness on our home computers over the worldwide web.
Now, turn off your televisions and radios which repeat the same currently sad and bad news, being repackaged four or five times a day by the networks. Boring! Think happiness, comfort, good times, fun with friends, and read on!
This Sr. Editor has been confronted with dozens of photographs of Folk Festivals of the Past of late, which, to a degree, revive those fond memories of days gone by during a normal third week and weekend in June.
I refer to Glenville's West Virginia State Folk Festival, cancelled in 2020, but far from forgotten. The Folk Fest is reschedule for 2021 when, hopefully, the coronavirus season will be over and done with ... forever.
Actually, the postponement was a prudent decision to make not only for the wellness of our visitors and our volunteers, but also because with all of the COVID-19 Restrictions now set in place, the fest would have been more difficult for the volunteers to pull off anyway! All of the extra sanitizing, hand washing, social distancing, etc. Hence, it wouldn't feel like the Folk Festivals traditionally do. Can you imagine the old-timers and youngsters sanitizing their fiddles and banjos on a regular basis? At the Ghost Stories Open Mic at the Gilmer County Historical Society, I routinely pass old pictures in frames, along with other memorabilia, around the crowd to see, but now that would be a problem. I'm worn out just thinking of all of the extra precautions that would need to be in place before a “safe and healthy” Folk Fest would be approved by State Health Dept. officials.
Nevertheless, almost every meeting, including our local governmental ones, distant ones like my U. of Ky. History Alumni Advisory Committee, and my younger son and daughter-in-law's Baby Shower last weekend are “Virtual,” and not in person. On that latter circumstance, Patrick's wife, Morgan, is a nurse, so she doesn't want to take any chances with getting infected by others, even family members. That's understandable when you are six months pregnant.
This week, consequently, let us keep our “social distancing” and just enjoy those fond memories of Folk Festivals Past because almost every county seat town in West Virginia has a special day or weekend of gala festivities- almost all, CANCELLED. Remember when during the 3rd week of June annually in past years, all of you visitors could “normally” count on Glenville coming alive! The reason was hosting its supreme, gala statewide event, as we pulled volunteers together from all over the city, county and region to make it happen ... seemingly without effort in typical years.
Although in the past, the crowds had been smaller than usual, perhaps due to the rainy days which typically plague us here. Those who did attend the 2019 Folk Festival, however, found a larger attendance, resulting from the various new offerings and initiatives that were implemented. The new events were instructive, interesting, entertaining, and fun. So, kudos to Folk Fest President Dr. Megan Darby and her energetic committee for upticking the events, many going back to ideas and activities of early day festivals! We editors particularly liked the additional arts and crafts vendors and all of the historical farming skills demonstrations in the lot next to the Historical Society. In addition, the local small business sellers could set up shop in the Sue Morris Sports Complex, too- another new feature. Well done, good and devoted volunteers!
Truly, the events' planners last year had something for about everyone to enjoy- traditional and other music, square dances, history and genealogy lessons, ghost tales and folk tales, and GSC's Pioneer Stage's four full days of programming, notably an all-day Children's Music Camp. In addition, the Country Store Museum's Welcome Center was alive with visitors, along with the Gilmer Public Library's related programs, Little Kanawha River Trail children's activities (many cancelled, due to the high water), Quilting Crafts Competition (always beautiful), and assorted foods to eat, notably the Lions Club's Famous Hot Dogs.
The Saturday Parade of Traditional Belles and the new Jr. Belles, 3rd grade girls from many counties added zest to the lineup, plus the Antique Cars and Farm Vehicles made for one of the finest such spectacles in recent years. Indeed, it was a revived parade, just like the rest of the festival, of which you can look forward to enjoying next June!
Relative to music in the air everywhere, there were Bluegrass jammers, fiddle and banjo contestants strumming away, parade entrants with much applause (notably the Damon West Veterans Flag Unit), and lastly back to this past year's lovely Folk Festival Belles. As to these ladies in our newspaper's tradition, we later featured every one of them on the front page, making sure that you readers realized the great personal and civic contributions that each one made to her own county. Yes, there were some impressive ladies, indeed, and we only wrote a miscue on one, of whom we apologize. (Contact us again, kind lady, and we'll make it up to you!) Moreover, thank you all for taking out a year's subscription to this newspaper in order to keep up with the Festival Committee's plans and their events. As always, you ladies and husbands/companions are always welcome to return to Glenville for a visit, for an upcoming Pioneer Stage event or Glenville State College Music Dept. Concert, or for a Pioneer ball game. Or, just to visit us at this newspaper, for you're always welcome here!
In reminiscing about past festivals, the weather could pose a rainy mess, but it never dampens the spirits of the people, especially visitors, attending these various options for enjoyment.
Also, recall the funfilled Square Dances nightly- by far the most lively event activity, as always! The many expert bands and callers make it easy to dance for everyone to join in creating the Squares. There's always an available partner, as Mack Samples, among others, like Taylor Runner of Morgantown, are master dance callers and matchmakers for the squares. Mack was the parade's Grand Marshal in 2018. So, cheers to Mack and his wife, Thelma, who enliven the dance floor between the City Park and United Bank!
Back to the Belles, we invite all 55 counties to honor their special ladies as Folk Festival Belles. However, it's difficult to get either the county CEOS's or County Commissions to make these appointments. Last year, there were 29 of the 55 counties represented. I might inject that 20 years ago there were over 40 represented, all bringing their enthusiastic families to see them receive our accolades. Nevertheless, in each recent year what they lacked in numbers, they exuded in quality, beauty, and charm, along with being very accomplished in the home economics' arts and community-minded volunteerism. As a result, they admirably represented their small and large, but all fine counties. Moreover, several of their companions brought much zest to the activities, as well. For example, the Hon. Jerry Mezzetesta, a former Hampshire County State Delegate and a friend of mine, visited with Belle Patty, and we three had a beaucoup of fun, talking about the Southern WV Coalfields and problems in other parts of the state. That was a highpoint for me!
Also, real brighteners for the Belles are their local organizers, Susie Kirkpatrick and Genia Richards, who use much finesse in taking them from event to event. Kudos to all of these local coordinators and the Gilmer County CEOS, Baptist Church, Presbyterian Church, Senior Center, and GSC's Goodwin Residence Hall for their special roles performed during the Belles' visit here.
Also, here in Glenville you can choose your own show, for the numerous Folk Festival Tents are all full of storytellers, musicians, and vendors.
In addition, the Gilmer County Historical Society does a marvelous job in providing varied historical and instructive programs, if not colorful programs on West Virginia connected women, like First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as Dr. Jason Barr's entertaining programs, the latest being the Mountain State's rich Jazz origins. Also, this newspaper publisher-sr. editor coordinates the Ghost Stories Open Mic on Thurs.-Fri. nights. All are welcome to share their own Ghost Encounters! Plus, the local Society provides Historic Holt House tours, along with oldtime crafts and fortune telling (Eke, Bev Tanner, the Burnsville Fortune Teller says I'll be okay-Hurrah, and about two years ago, she predicted I'd have a grandbaby, which has proven to be true). The Ghost Stories and House Tours are great for children, particularly.
So, kudos to the whole Folk Festival Planning Committee for pulling off yet another successful fest in 2019! Also, commendations to Glenville State College for holding more events in the Pioneer Stage on Main Street and hosting the Fri.-Sat. evening programs and Fiddle and Banjo Contests in the Fine Arts Center, which always adds much new life to each year's festival!
So to our Festival Committee, we editors commend all of your efforts and you are much appreciated!
Glenville is a laid back place, as the Hillbillies say, so just relax and think of all of the good times ahead for you who will choose to return to Glenville for the 2021 WV State Folk Festival!
We editors, of course, appreciate fan mail and emails, so thanks to 2016 Mason County Folk Festival Belle April Pyles for her kind remarks about my “Who is, Whose, and Whom” column of last week. Unbeknownst to her, she had uncovered a little known, yet fundamental quagmire in human history, of which I was able to put to the test of a historian. She thought it was funny, so I now know that one of my readers may be way out in front of the rest of you. As for myself, I enjoyed writing that column more than any other in recent memory.
Thanks, April, and keep dry over in Mason County!
Another subscriber, Jeanie Swanson, a former excellent news feature writer for us, now lives in South Carolina, but was home here for a brief visit last week. She and her sister, Margaret, like to freshen up their mother and father's graves around Memorial Day each year. Jeanie is surviving the South's summer heat and hurricane waves very well, but is planning on upping her temperature and tension by returning to school, a Methodist Seminary, to earn her Master's Degree in Divinity. A very positive goal for a U.S. Army retiree, so best wishes for your continuing success in new ventures, Jeanie!
Oh, I also have to mention her fine husband's name, Dan Swanson, better known locally here as “Dan The Music Man!” He's been awfully kind to share his musical talents over his FB site- a good cheer up for “Coronavirusville!” Hence, thanks to Dan, too!
Another reason why 2020 is not a good time for Folk Festivals or large public gatherings revolves around the huge DOH construction area for the New Glenville Roundabout at the College's North Entrance and Mineral Road. It will allow motorists to drive in circles for hours, if they have forgotten where they were going in the first place. It will greatly help this Sr. Editor who often wonders why he went into the room where he has stopped. Haha! My brother, T.A. Corcoran, Jr., tells me that this bit of mystery is typical in the lives of folks our age. Hey, he's my older brother, and I'm the youngster, not a senior!
To end this column, have a great week, be kind to others, especially to your neighbors, family, and friends who might need help during this pandemic, and, lastly, hope that all of you Dads had a Happy Fathers Day last Sunday!
Moreover, thanks to my kids- Dave, Jr. and Mary Kay, Catherine, and Patrick and Morgan for wishing your Sr. Editor a “Happy Fathers Day!” I, indeed, like being a Father!
As you read this Thanksgiving Day Edition of our Glenville newspaper, we editors hope that you have already enjoyed a sumptuous and delicious meal with big turkeys or hams, have had many cheerful conversations, and have reconnected with your families or friends. Each family has its own traditions relative to this traditional celebration and holiday. And, since it always falls on a Thursday, even us editors and our staff have the day off. For other holidays, we may not have days off, due to our printing deadline schedules.
(Note: On that latter deadline issue, we'll alert you to these updates during this Holiday Season.)
As for our staff, we had a great Thanksgiving luncheon early- that being on last Fri., Nov. 22, when we all could gather without work schedule agitation. The ladies made up some pretty powerful and delicious desserts, of which this Sr. Editor has delighted in. We had wanted to stay away from turkey or ham, in that there are so many of those dinners, for which we could attend around the county. For example, kudos to the Cedarville Community Association for, once again, offering a splendid combined Thanksgiving/Hunters/Homecoming Dinner on last Sun. evening, Nov. 24. A great way to greet Homecoming family and out-of-county hunters at the splendid Cedar Creek State Park's Activities Building.
Then, on Thanksgiving Day itself, a Community Dinner is being sponsored by the kindly members of the New Found Freedom Baptist Church. This annual feast will take place from 2-to-4 p.m. on this Thurs., Nov. 28 at the Glenville Presbyterian Church, which has the kitchen facilities that Pastor Lloyd Stewart, his family and friends need to pull off this holiday gathering. These community-style dinners are especially appreciated by residents who don't have family to celebrate with, visitors to the county who'd like a traditional meal on that holiday (as most of the local restaurants are closed), and families who can't get all the meats and trimmings together fast enough to enjoy the holiday itself.
Also, countless Gilmer County and West Virginia residents invite their neighbors, singles, or seniors living alone to their special holiday dinner. Kudos to them!
Yes, we editors admire all of the families who open up their hearts and homes to those who may be needing that festive boost or to celebrate with those they love.
We truly hope that all West Virginians have found such a place of contentment on this Thanksgiving Day. Our heartfelt wishes for you to enjoy yours! David H. Corcoran, Sr., Publisher-Sr. Editor
Preparing for ...
The Christmas Season!
Planning for a splendid Christmas Season and Happy New Year for 2020 are already underway in Gilmer County ... and to the benefit of our residents and visitors. But, to make special events take place in any community, it does take planning, effort, and volunteering! Only then will holiday events happen without glitches, disasters, or tears.
So, kudos to the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Dept. for, once again, sponsoring its gala Christmas Parade, which is to take place at 5 p.m. on next Sat., Dec. 7 in downtown Glenville. This event is always highlighted by Santa Claus' appearance, riding atop a fire truck and waving to the kids and families on the sidewalks. He's then available at City Square Park's Gazebo for photographs and seasonal greetings to the children who are brave enough to go sit on his knee. He's truly the “jolly ole fellow” you see in the movies. Indeed, we're most fortunate to have him and the Volunteer Fire Dept. here in West Virginia. To volunteer in some small way, to sign on to the colorful parade, or to donate to the cause, just call Fire Chief Martin Hess at 304-804-2008 or 304-904-8786.
Additionally to this event, the Angel Tree Project is going on to provide gifts to needy children. The local churches are involved in this, sponsoring gifts to those kids. Talk with your pastor or youth minister to find out more because many children this winter are in need, so we understand.
Also, if the above isn't an option for you, perhaps donating food is. In fact, Glenville McDonalds is collecting nonperishable food for Gilmer families this holiday season. Please drop off food donations during store hours.
Hence, kudos to all those making this season joyful for others! DHC,
In looking ahead at Christmas, I'm wondering how “jolly” it will be for me?
Not getting off to a good start, your trusty Sr. Editor has already been “deposed” as the Gilmer County Historical Society's vice-president. The Society's most recent newsletter informed me of the recent membership's decision, at which I looked with disbelief- not anger- they might have been in the right.
Oh well, it's not the first time I've been fired, but the for time for, I suspect- laziness? (You get that way when you grow older, haha. Yes, “nap time” is now one of my pleasures in life, aside with an editor's frolicking.)
I don't blame the Society's high-ups for their action because, in fact, I'd been open to the idea of stepping aside to let some new, younger leader step forward. And, I think Society President Steve Ostaff- as a kindly gentleman- is open to the same idea.
My time there was sort of numbered anyway, because the current leadership wants to let up on historical programs at our monthly meetings. Just ironically, I was in charge of those programs, of which we had some really interesting ones in past years. Not at our recent meetings, though. We did have a few somewhat exciting ones at the 2019 WV State Folk Festival, though, including a Genealogy Workshop by member Becky Oppe, of Parkersburg, and two Ghost Tales Open Mic Nights by myself and other attendees. The highlight, however, was a “Hank Williams, Sr.” review and memorial by Glenville State College's Dr. Jason Barr, now the Music Dept.'s Chair. Much interesting stuff in his talk for us Hank Williams, Sr. fans! In fact, Dr. Barr has always presented interesting musical programs to the society over the past several years, many on his favorite jazz genre. I didn't know that there were numerous Jazz Bands in WV in the early 20th century until I heard him speak of their popularity.
Also, the society was one of the hosts, along with the City of Glenville's Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick, for the Veterans Parade & Program the Saturday before Veterans Day itself earlier this month.
Now, in my “Swan Song,” I can take credit for getting the Historical Society the new “Gilmer Rifles” Historic Marker from the State's Division of Culture & History, which now graces the outside of the Historic Holt House Museum. When State Historian Dr. Joe Geiger called me about the marker, he asked where it should go? It could have gone at our historic Courthouse, or near the other Civil War markers at Glenville State College, or- if I was selfish- at this newspaper office, where the oldest home in Glenville, a log cabin, once stood. But, I said, “The Historical Society to give it another reason for tourism visits.”
In addition, I couldn't have found a better speaker to dedicate it than in former U.S. Army Ranger and retired State Police Commander Jeff Miller, a resident on SR 5 West. He gave a very well-researched, informational, and eloquent speech about the “Gilmer Rifles” who fought bravely and brought back honor to our county.
No doubt many of them spent the rest of their lives farming, running businesses, raising their families here, and doing the county proud. This is something to think about as you read this new Historic Marker to your children. Veterans, as Jeff Miller at the dedication and Dr. Gary Morris at the inside program, are among the staunch advocates for our Gilmer County's progress. And, the county's Volunteer Fire Dept. and American Legion Post #33 of Weston added much zest to this year's Centennial of the Veterans Day holiday. It was a great day which all of our local Veterans could enjoy being honored at. I hope we'll all be back for the 125th Anniversary of Veterans Day, giving us something to shoot for!
In the main, I believe that the Historical Society will be able to advance without me, so I leave it with good will, but with a heavy heart, especially remembering the super efforts of Hunter Armentrout, Marion Reed, Gary Coberly, and others to make it click.
* Thanks to Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick and City Council for making parking free for downtown Glenville in December.
* Some of the commercial opportunities here and elsewhere are noted in this issue of our newspaper, notably on the “Winter Wonderland of Savings” page.
* Log Cabin Crafts in Letter Gap has many handmade Christmas craft items that the Furr family works on all year long on for this gala time of the year: Yuletide. Visit them to see the colorful selection on this Sat., Nov. 30.
* Talking about handicrafts, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on next Sat., Dec. 7, the “Christmas Crafts Show in the Glen” will occur at the Rec Center. And, from 30-to-40 crafters are there to show off their, at times novel creations. Last year, I bought a handpainted "Guardian Angel" from Joyce Greenlief there, plus other items for my family and friends. Good stuff, there too!
* The Historical Society will also be a crafters delight, mainly on Wednesdays during December. Check out these items, too!
Yes, the holidays in Gilmer County are festive. Moreover, it's easier shopping close to home than traveling to the distant big cities. Truly, look for the festive happenings right here at home and on our newspaper's “Winter Wonderland” page!.
A final note for all of you readers and advertisers to have a splendid holiday season from us editors!
With the annual Deer Season, once again, here, we editors and Gilmer Countians take this opportunity to say, "Welcome, hunters, to our county!"
We wish you all well in your hunts, a time of vacation for most of you, and a respite from your daily working/career/retirement routines. For others, it is a good reason to return to your home county of Gilmer in order to partake of your family's delicious Thanksgiving seasonal dinners. Then again, some of you may be here just for the good hunting and the comradeship with fellow hunters and friends. Nevertheless, whatever the reason you're here in Gilmer County, we warmly welcome you, and invite you to eat in our local restaurants, to shop in our area's stores, to transact any business that's been pending for you here at the Courthouse or elsewhere locally, and to enjoy the beautiful scenery which draws many people back here, year after year.
But, most of all, be careful and mindful of the safety rules and protocols that apply to hunting! (Already this season, a young man fell from his tree stand, sustaining fairly serious injuries.) We don't want any of you to become the victim of any such accidents or an unintentional shooting. The past several seasons have been safe ones, so we'd like to keep it that way. Also, be considerate by being sure to get the permission of the property owners before hunting in their forests and fields.
Finally, don't litter here; pack your garbage out and dispose of it properly! We Gilmer folks truly value our county and state's beauty! In fact, Glenville Mayor Dennis Fitzpatrick has made it a priority in his administration to keep the city clean of litter and unsightly front yards, so we, here, hope that you'll appreciate our care to keep our house clean for your pleasure, safety, and good health. Hence, we hope that you'll do the same for those who follow you through our “hills 'an' hollers!”
In conclusion, good luck, good hunting, and Happy Thanksgiving Week! David H. Corcoran, Sr., Publisher-Sr. Editor
Gilmer County's Volunteer Fire Dept. is sponsoring 2019's Christmas parade
At 5 p.m. on Sat., Dec. 7- rapidly approaching, the Gilmer County Volunteer Fire Department and its active Auxiliary Group will sponsor their Annual Christmas Parade in Downtown Glenville, featuring a visit from “Santa Claus.”
Yes, our Gilmer County firefighters, their families, and volunteer friends have impressed Santa Claus so much over the past 13-14 years that he takes the day off to visit Glenville for the celebration and to give much joyfulness to the area's children and their families.
And, yes, if you want to volunteer to help out in this countywide children's event- either you personally or your organization- the Fire Dept. welcomes you. They need dedicated volunteers for this time-consuming and working event on Christmas Parade Day. Generally, newcomers, youth and church groups, and others come out to help bring all of the community together, thereby making it, once again, a splendid Christmas Parade as it has been for the past decade-plus!
My, time does pass fast, because it seems like just yesterday that the Fire Dept. and its then Ladies Auxiliary picked up the Christmas Parade, after it lay dormant for a year or two. At that time, now Fire Chief Martin Hess affirmed, “We need this Christmas Parade for the sake of the area's kids; they look forward to it, especially seeing Santa Claus.” How right Mr. Hess was.
Most impressively, every year the Fire Dept. has sponsored it, the Yuletide lineup has grown longer and larger. It started off small, but as Mr. Hess predicted, “Wait and see, for it will grow every year to be more impressive!” And, his foresight was, indeed, accurate.
He is just thankful for not only all of the firefighters and their support group's commitment and helpfulness, but also that of this entire Gilmer County community. “We all work together for our community and children's benefit,” he was quoted as saying some years ago.
Had the firefighting group not been so community-minded, there would be no Christmas Parade! Sadly, 20 years ago and before, the downtown merchants originally sponsored the event, but they ultimately retired or went out-of-business. Then, the Junior Women of Glenville tried it out for a couple of years, but they were hampered with terrible snowy or rainy weather, both of which held down the crowds and disheartened these fine ladies. Their membership later had to give up on it, but they now come out to provide hot drinks for the attendees. Good show, local ladies! When the Fire Dept. started it up again, all of these former sponsors applauded them for their leadership and community-mindedness.
It's worth the trouble because the Christmas Parade each year brings joy to the eyes of the children and warmth to the hearts of their parents, grandparents or guardians, who are photographing their little ones, right and left. For this reason alone, the firefighters, their ladies and other volunteers deserve our most sincere THANKS! Keep up the good work, kind people of the Gilmer County fire stations!