Monday, October 04, 2010

Fall West Virginia Festivals

I try to make it a regular habit to visit various fall festivals that happen in this part of the state of West Virginia.  Last weekend was the Buckwheat Festival, and this coming weekend is the Forest Festival.  Although, I had hoped to attend the Buckwheat Festival, instead, Jamie and I visited a couple of old friends in Preston County along with some other friends.

Although we didn't attend the festival, in many ways we participated in what makes these festivals so special.  We were able to connect and catch up with friends we haven't seen in a long time.  The couple we visited opened their home to us after they had spent the entire day parking cars for the Buckwheat Festival.

Beyond connecting with old friends, there are some other aspects of events like this that make them a priority for me.  Of course, there's always the really unhealthy food that is readily available in this carnival atmosphere, but that's not exactly it.  (I do enjoy some fresh pork rinds from local farmers at the Buckwheat festival though)  It's the coming together of people from all over the region to celebrate some of the ties that keep us connected together.

Even though you would never guess it in the supermarkets or the suburbs, our roots in the United States are those of an agrarian nature.  The Buckwheat Festival, celebrates the end of the harvest, serves as a fundraiser for local organizations, and allows people from all walks of life to sit down and enjoy a meal together.  The meal?  All you can eat buckwheat cakes with two sausage patties and a cup of milk.  (My personal record is 13).  The cakes are hearty as is the atmosphere at the Kingwood Fire Hall. A person can see people from all over the region and from every walk of life enjoying a meal together, and there's really something beautiful about that.

If you are from this region, I hope you are able to observe and enjoy the foretaste of shalom that I am talking about at the Buckwheat or Forest Festivals.  If you are not, I strongly suggest you find out what your community does to celebrate the end of the harvest and our agrarian roots.  Go there, and tell folks about it.  Also, if you make it a point to attend one of these festivals, why do you go, and what is your favorite part of the festival?

And wherever you might find yourself, I hope you will take the time to enjoy the reunion, homecoming, and reconnection with friends and family that events like these offer.

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