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Memories from Spencer

TC is back from vacation and blogging up a storm about his trip to Spencer for the Black Walnut Festival.

Black Walnut Recap

For nearly a month I have been on “blogging sabbatical” as I have been working on our blockbuster 60th anniversary series. So it took a trip to Spencer this past weekend to bring me back from writing dormancy.

My Saturday drive wound its way up along state route 119 out of Clendenin where I had a peak at the Elk River. Here I reminisced about some of the West Virginia’s best small mouth bass fishing and the great Flood of 1997, one of the top 12 weather events of the past 60 years. Back in ’97, Clendenin was cut off from the rest of WV for 2 days.

Into Roane County, my first stop was the Gandeeville Mini Mart where Joyce Lupardus treated me like a king. After filling up, I grabbed a Snickers bar and asked how business was. “Can’t keep up during festival week”, Joyce told me as I munched on the chocolate treat.

Driving past the Maple Hills farm I marveled at the beauty and majesty of the emerging fall foliage. Just 4 years ago, I had used this vista for a weather story. The windmill on the hilltop and the fabulous fall foliage makes this a must see setting every year.

Into Spencer I drove with a chilly drizzle sprinkling down from the grey and gloomy skies. As I passed Washington Park, the kids from the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church of Spencer made me feel right home as they invited me to jump on their float. The gang is big into community service especially the Lenten Fish Fries.

I parked near the tennis courts then began to make the rounds. Natalie Tennant, WV Secretary of State, and I chatted about the good old days in broadcasting and her days as the first female Mountaineer.

Mayor Terry Williams came over to make sure I was having a good time. “Thanks for coming to Spencer. Wish the weather was better”, Terry ribbed me.

Band Central on festival Saturday is behind the Farmer’s market near the Middle School. Here at least a dozen marching bands gather and prepare for their musical jaunt down Black Walnut Avenue.

I mugged with the Point Pleasant High Color Guard and the seniors of the Ripley Viking marching band. Band Director Sheila Poole gushed about her band’s performance of Grease at football halftimes this year. I will be showcasing the Marching Vikings on First at 5 this Friday.

As I took my place in the parade route, my car would be directly behind the dapper dou of Kalista Williams and Trey Harper, Little Miss and Mr. Firecracker respectively.

Soon I was driving down Black Walnut and onto Main, a 2 mile trip packed with 7 to 10 thousand festival goers. On this crisp Saturday, there were more Mountaineer sweat shirts and hoodies than tank tops, more dungarees than short pants.

The day seemingly came and went in the blink of an eye. But the memories will last until next year when I will see you at the 56th annual Black Walnut Festival.
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