LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
When summer arrives and continuing through October, there are always plenty of festivals to attend somewhere in the Mountain State. One of those events here in the local area begins TODAY – the WV Blackberry Festival – held each year on the first weekend in August at Clarksburg City Park in Nutter Fort. What began as part of the state’s Homecoming 96 celebration is still carrying on!
“Nutter Fort took part in that Homecoming celebration in 1996 and it was held in front of the old Roosevelt-Wilson High School. That weekend was such a huge success that people wanted something similar to occur every year. Because of that enthusiasm, the WV Blackberry Festival, Inc. was chartered as a non-profit organization, and it’s been held every year since that time at Clarksburg City Park,” stated Sam Maxson, President of the Festival. “This is our 23rd annual event, and honestly, the growth we’ve experienced has been amazing!”
Maxson says the WV Blackberry Festival prides itself on being very family-friendly and offering many things to do and see for all ages. He noted, however, that the free entertainment that is offered each evening is THE BIG drawing card.
“We spend close to $40,000 each year and a lot of that is entertainment-related. Paying our entertainers and renting a stage and sound system for their performances takes the largest portion of our funds,” he noted, “but there are other expenses too that no one sees … our fireworks, permits and licenses, and insurance, etc. It’s a lot to arrange for each year, but we feel it’s worth it. The feedback we get is very positive and the crowds we draw are pretty…