A few weeks ago I was invited by super-VISTA Jerry to come to the Union Farmer’s Day Festival.
The parade was a much bigger to-do than I expected. I couldn’t believe how crowded the five-block, no-stoplight town was! I’m certain the entire population of Monroe county came out for the event, some of them in their Sunday best.
Including Colonel Sanders
After the parade, I headed over to the Historical Society where Jerry works. He proudly showed me around, pointing out lots of dusty old things (many of which he didn’t know the name of or use for yet) and introducing me to everyone we passed. Two weeks in town and he already knew first and last names and an interesting tidbit about everyone in town! Granted it was only 20 people, but still.
In honor of the big event, there was an art exhibit on display and a fantastic bluegrass duo playing. These two were amazing and I found myself drawn to them repeatedly, especially when Jerry was blethering on endlessly about the Civil War history of the area, which he did often since all of his Civil War expert buddies were in attendance.
The art on display was a collection of dolls by Pete Ballard (below), the most fabulous historic artist in all of West Virginia.
Using scraps of fabric he had collected over decades in the costume industry, Ballard created 4 dolls dressed in Civil War period clothing (and gave them creepy little hands). These dolls will be permanently on display with the historical society in their 100 year-old, Union-built log cabin.
As if the scene weren’t already set with the music and the art, this lovely lady sat in front of the log cabin looking stoic for most of the day in her old-timey dress. Fantastic!
All in all I’d have to give Farmer’s Day and the Monroe County Historical Society a thumbs up! Rural West Virginia is full of events like this, so keep your eyes open for more this summer!