8 old-time festivals, ready for summer


John Henry Days – July 8-10, 2016

These Appalachian festivals, expos and games highlight what’s best about our mountain heritage!

Here’s where you can find 8 old-fashioned fairs in Southern West Virginia:

1. Music in the Mountains Bluegrass Festival | June 22-25

Soak yourself in a musical bath of nostalgia when famous performers come to Summersville Music Park.

For just 3 days, Music in the Mountains will feature the likes of Rhoda and the Rage, the Gibson Brothers and Balsam Range. Even the Grascals— 3-time Grammy Award nominees— will perform. They’ve entertained presidents and personalities like Jay Leno!

2. John Henry Days | July 8-10

You’ve heard of the Steel Drivin’ Man, right? Pay homage to the folk hero at John Henry Days!

Hinton’s old-fashioned celebrations add spark to the man-versus-machine tale. Listen to live music near the historic Great Bend Tunnel, John Henry won the historic showdown.

Catch other family-friendly entertainment— like a parade and car show—  against timeless Appalachian backdrops. Sit by the Greenbrier River as rubber ducks race each other!

3. Whiskey in the Park | Monthly

Smooth Ambler Spirits’ indulgent festival combines sumptuous dining with casual outdoor ambience.

From catchy live music to bold liquor, Whiskey in the Park is quality from start to finish. Each event is different. In July, jazz pianist Bob Thompson will perform while Bluegrass Kitchen dishes out sophisticated soul food.

4. Friends of Coal Auto Fair | July 15-16

Pack more than 500 unique show cars, acres of vendors and live musicians into your weekend!

The Friends of Coal Auto Fair is one of West Virginia’s best car shows, but it’s not a one-trick pony. Bring the family for an outdoor weekend filled with giveaways, games and surprise guests. Plus, southern rock band Confederate Railroad and country singer John Anderson will grace the stage!

5. Thurmond Train Day | July 16

What was life like in a coal boom town? Find out at Thurmond Train Day, which delves into the 19th century with tours and rail trail hikes.

State park rangers will take you on immersive tours through this ghost town, which boasts rows of historic brick buildings. Take a photography workshop and test your new skills at the National Bank of Thurmond and C&O station!

You can also pose on a handcart with a friend. Ask a ranger to snap a photo!

6. West Virginia State Water Festival | August 1-7

Head to Hinton for days of family-friendly games and contests!

Parades, a pretty baby contest, craft show and handfuls of contests make West Virginia State Water Festival one of summer’s best traditions. Fill up on pancake breakfasts and tour the grounds— you’ll come across a rubber duck race, street dancing and live music, too!

7. Appalachian String Band Music Festival | August 3-7

Share the joys of traditional music with thousands of other fans from around the world! The Appalachian String Band Festival is all about dancing, acoustic music and singing.

From Celtic, swing, bluegrass and cajun music to yoga and square dancing, there’s no shortage of things to do.

8. State Fair of West Virginia | August 12-21

This festival is so good, it’s been around for almost 100 years! If carnival rides, live entertainment and livestock shows tickle your fancy, don’t miss the State Fair of West Virginia.

Major highlights include a sea lion show, alligator wrangler, hypnotist and a lineup of musicians… just to name a few.

Which old-time festival is your favorite?