Summer hard in Southern West Virginia

Summersville Lake Lighthouse – Photo: Facebook

Think summer is over? Not so fast! Here are 8 festivals and activities that keep those vacation vibrations going ‘til the very end!

1. Appalachian Festival | Beckley-Raleigh County

August 25-27

This annual event is so big, it covers an entire region! Top Appalachian Festival attractions include:

  • Arts & Crafts Fair: Meet quilters and crafters at the Beckley-Raleigh County Convention Center for shows, displays, sales, and entertainment.
  • Tamarack: Visit the enormous art center in Beckley for art demonstrations, delicious food samples, and book signings.
  • Taste of Beckley: Live music and gourmet cuisine from local restaurants make this city block party a standout attraction.

That’s just the tip of the mountain, too. Some events happen all 3 days while others are one-day wonders. Your best bet is to follow the online schedule and pick your favorites.

2. Monroe County Heritage Days | Union

August 25-27

Are you a Civil War nut? In that case, you’ll want to spend all of Labor Day weekend at the Elmwood Estate for “War Comes to Union.” Military camps, musket drills, cavalry demonstrations, and a ladies’ tea conjure the past before your eyes. Many more activities are on the schedule, too.

Lively, colorful, and just a bit eccentric, heritage days never fail to make an impression. Kids love the spectacle as well.

3. Spartan Race Trifecta Weekend | Glen Jean

August 26-27

Do you thrive on challenges? Become a Spartan! Held throughout America, these intense obstacle races are becoming a national sensation. And the latest one is coming to the Summit Bechtel Reserve.

It’s a wise choice.

Known for its spectacular mountain setting, the National Boy Scout Jamboree headquarters has 10,000+ acres of wild terrain and games.

Spartan Trifecta Weekend ups the ante with wicked obstacles and challenges. Pick from 3 different races or try ‘em all: the Sprint, Super, and Beast. Either way, you better have grit.

Tickets for competing or watching are still available.

4. Oldies Rock & Roll Weekend Car & Motorcycle Show | Pipestem

August 26

At Pipestem Resort State Park, summer gets a final hurrah with this family event. Marvel at rows of exotic classics and bikes while soaking up the mountain scenery. Then, head to the amphitheater for some oldies by the Van-Dells!

Order tickets ahead of time for a reduced rate. You can also purchase them at the show.

5. Beer, Bacon, and Bourbon | Pipestem

August 26

Is it possible for summer to be more delicious? Probably not, but you be the judge. Beer, Bacon, and Bourbon uncorks craft flavors from morning to night. Sample artisan snacks and dance to classic rock tribute bands, too. For anyone 21 and older, Pipestem Spa and Event Center is the place to be.

6. Summersville Lake Lighthouse Festival | Summersville

August 26

At this lighthearted, old-fashioned fair, you’ll feel like summer is just getting started. Look forward to vintage cars, raffles, comfort food, live music, and games for all ages. You can even adopt a cat or dog from the humane society. Other highlights include henna “tattoos,” art from Tamarack, and lighthouse tours.

Since Summersville Lake Retreat is less than a mile from the water, bring some towels, too! The “Little Bahamas of the East” is prime for swimming.

7. Bluefield Blues Festival | Bluefield

August 26

At one time, this Mercer County city was a hopping music destination; its theaters attracted the likes of Frank Sinatra, Fats Waller, and Bing Crosby.

That heritage comes full circle with the annual Bluefield Blues Festival. Come to the atmospheric Depot District for live music, street food, beer, and entertainment. Upbeat and laid back, it’s a guaranteed mood booster.

8. Oak Leaf Festival | Oak Hill

September 1-3

Autumn may be the theme, but summer is very much in spirit at this small-town celebration. The Oak Leaf Festival has family favorites from rides and parades to crafts and music. It even has a top-notch cooking and baking competition! Sample chili and desserts, then help pick the winner.

As a bonus, Oak Hill will also host West Virginia Firefighters’ Weekend. Walk to the Old Collins football field on Central Avenue on Sept. 2 for demonstrations, “rodeos,” and live music.

How do you like to spend late summer in Southern West Virginia?