Sistersville's rich oil and gas history will be on display this weekend, as the 44th Annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival will kick off Thursday at the Sistersville City Park.
At the turn of the century, Sistersville became prominent by producing some of the richest oil and gas wells in the United States, with up to 20,000 people calling the area home.
In 1891, speculators kept drilling and were most successful with "Polecat Hollow" pumping. Later, in 1894, history was made with the drilling of "Big Moses". Recorded information claims this Tyler County well to be the largest gasser ever drilled in the world.
The West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival, with the assistance of Quaker State, restored the derrick, located on Riverside Drive, Sistersville, and named "Little Sister". During the festival, the well will is activated, and sounds of it's production can be heard throughout the city.
The event officially opens at 10 a.m. Thursday, a day designated as Senior Citizens Day, with free admission to seniors until 3 p.m. Entertainment will feature the Mountain State Bluegrass Express. Other events scheduled include flag raising ceremony, entertainment and amateur talent show.
The gas engine show, a staple of the fest, also gets under way Thursday and us held each day with approximately 12-15 states participating.
On Friday, activities include the gas engine show auction, Gib Morgan wrench-throwing contest, and entertainment from One-A-Chord.
Highlights for Saturday include an antique car show, rod and custom show, the West Virginia Oil and Gas Man of the Year luncheon, the Grand Oil and Gas Trophy Parade, featuring 15 bands, the Oil and Gas Band-O-Rama and entertainment featuring Barbara Lynn and the Silver Eagle Band. Children's activities and contests will be held throughout the day, as will a cornhole tournament. Registration for the parade, car show and other events is open until the start of the particular event.
A special event of the festival is the Second Annual Oil and Gas Juried Art Show, which is open to the public Thursday through Sunday at the Gold Derrick Gallery in the Gaslight Theater Building.
Other events will take place throughout the weekend, including craft sales and demonstrations, country store, educational exhibits, food and game booths, window displays, historic walking tours, festival sales booths and commercial booths.
General admission to the festival is $3 for adults 13-years and older and $1 for children between ages seven and 12. Children under the age of six are admitted free.