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Annual festival honors the oil and gas industry

By Staff | Sep 16, 2009

HANGING TOUGH — The ‘Little Sister’ oil derrick stands guard on the banks of the Ohio River in Sistersville. The structure serves as a constant reminder of the town’s rich history and the bygone era of the oil boom.

The 41st annual West Virginia Oil and Gas Festival will kick-off on Thursday Sept. 17 in the Sistersville City Park and will run through Saturday, Sept. 19. As always, the event offers plenty of family-oriented fun as the community celebrates the rich history of the oil boom.

Deemed ‘Senior Citizens Day’, the festival will officially open at 10 a.m. on Thursday, with the old gas engine show. Senior programs begin at 1 p.m. with a performance by The Mountain State Bluegrass Express .

Later that day, the flag raising ceremony will pay tribute to the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, followed by the 6th annual gospel sing at 5:30 p.m.

The highly anticipated amateur talent show will close the evening and is slated for 7 p.m.

On Friday, the gates will open at 10 a.m. At 6 p.m., the traditional Gib Morgan wrench throwing contest will be held. Surf’s up will take the stage at 6 p.m. and 7:45 p.m. with some old time rock ‘n roll.

Festivities begin early on Saturday morning with gates opening at 9 a.m. and the AACA Fall Meet Antique, Rod and Custom show is the first event of the day. At, 10:45 a.m., the festival will honor the WV O&G Man of the Year, Donald B. Nestor, with an invitation only luncheon.

The grand O&G parade will follow at 1 p.m. along the parade route. This year the honorary parade marshal will be Kenneth Mason, owner of Drilling Appalachian Corporation (DAC) in Alma.

Event organizer Barbara Vincent said, “For many years, Mr. Mason has been an advertiser and supporter of the festival.”

Additionally, 11 marching bands will showcase their talents in the parade, including Tyler Consolidated, Paden City, Hundred, St. Marys and Valley. Following the parade, the 11 bands as well as two others will compete in the Band-A-Rama on the TCHS field.

Meanwhile at the City Park, the Happy Valley Boys will perform on the stage from 2:30-4 p.m. A horseshoe pitching contest, tractor pedal pull and a boxing/wrstling exhibition are also scheduled.

At 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., Curtis Chamberlain, a professional musician from New Concord, Ohio with 15 years of performance experience, will take the audience on a trip down memory lane. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music from Cedarville University and travels extensively throughout the year providing musical entertainment for over 300 facilities in Ohio. His concert appearances contain a variety of big band style music from the 1930s and 1940s by such artists as Glenn Miller, Bing Cosrby, Benny Goodman and many other.

Chamberlain croons out the songs and also plays a lively saxophone. Combined with big band back-up music and a nostalgic stage set, his show has a vert authentic flavor.

Following Chamberlain’s performance, a joint concert with the Gracemen and the Godsmen quartets will fill the park with music at 7 p.m.

In addition to the schedule entertainment, festival goers can enjoy craft sales and demonstrations, a country store, educational exhibits, a derrick building contest, food booths, game booths and commercial booths all three days.

General admission to the park will be $3 for adults and $2 for children ages 7-12; children under the age of 6 will be admitted free. Senior Citizens will be admitted for free on Thursday from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Season passes will be available at Wesbanco, First Federal and Union Bank at a cost of $6 for adults and $4 for children.

For more information, call 304-652-2939.