ST. MARYS - The second annual West Virginia River and Rail Festival and West Virginia Bass Tournament will be June 8-10 at the St. Marys Marina and in downtown St. Marys.
Formerly the West Virginia Bass Festival, the weekend-long event made some changes in 2011, with a shift in focus and direction.
The festival will feature many of the highlights of past festivals, including the annual fishing tournament. There will also be live entertainment through the weekend, including gospel music on Friday and bluegrass music on Saturday.
The West Virginia Bass Tournament will continue this year as part of the second annual West Virginia River and Rail Festival in St. Marys. The festival will be June 8-10, with teams fishing on June 9-10 with daily weigh-ins. There will be entertainment and activities at the marina and downtown St. Marys for those not fishing. (File Photo)
Festival organizers said the event began 28 years ago with the same purpose as today, to promote tourism and help the local businesses. Since 2008, the Pleasants Area Chamber of Commerce has taken on the responsibility of the festival.
To better serve its original purpose, the festival was renamed last year as the West Virginia River and Rail Festival to encompass several local assets. Being a small river town has been a great part of its history, but St. Marys also has a unique feature in its downtown area as CSX trains run daily on a working track that literally splits the small town in half, organizers said.
The expansion of the festival has led organizers to designate two key event areas - Riverside and Trackside. Riverside is the traditional festival grounds at the marina, while Trackside is located along Second Street in downtown St. Marys. A free shuttle service will be available between the two areas during festival hours.
On Friday, the "Fishers of Men" Gospel Night will begin at 6 p.m. and performers will include Essential Element, The Freemans, Anthony Mossburg and No More Tears.
An afternoon and evening of bluegrass music will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. Performers will include Rough Cut, Long Reach Bluegrass Band, The Price Family, Lost & Found Bluegrass Band and Idletymes. On Sunday, Union Valley and No One You Know will perform on the festival stage.
Other events at this year's festival include mud bogs, the Mid-Ohio Valley Model Train Show, the Snips N Tips Quilt Show, inflatables, a rock wall, a zip Line, Euro Bungee, River and Rail Trail Rides, hot air balloon rides, horse and wagon rides, a train simulator and a children's fishing tournament.
Among the returning events is the Cottrill's Car Care Raft Bash, which is open to local businesses, restaurants, schools, families, organizations, sports teams and friends. The raft must be home-made and non-motorized and manned by a minimum four-person crew. A canoe and kayak race will also be part of the event, which will be 1 p.m. June 10.
The festival schedule features: