Ritchie County to hold festivals

CAIRO – A pair of festivals for people interested in old engines and old marbles will be held on the same day – May 4 – in Ritchie County, only a few miles apart.

Those interested in antique engines and similar items can attend the ninth annual Engine and Wheels Festival at North Bend State Park, those interested in marbles can attend the West Virginia Marble Festival in Cairo – and those with interests in both subjects can spend time at both since the events will be only a few miles apart.

The Engines and Wheels Festival will begin at 8 a.m. and run through 6 p.m. May 4 at the Jughandle Day Use area of North Bend State Park. Admission and parking are free. There will be exhibits of turn-of-the-century oil field, industrial and farm machinery, along with old-time engines, tractors and antique cars. Local engine and wheel enthusiasts will be on hand displaying their knowledge of equipment and the mechanisms that make them work.

“There is still plenty of room, so if you have an engine, tractor, or car, dust it off and bring it out for the day,” said Fred Steed, chairman of this year’s festival.

Steed also said organizers will have more room for crafter at this year’s event. Crafters are ask to preregister with North Bend State Park at 304-643-2931.

Other activities at the engine festival will include free blood pressure checks from the Ritchie County EMS, face painting and balloon art. An outdoor grill concession stand will be hosted by the Cairo Climbers 4-H Club. The Ritchie County Car Club will also be in attendance from noon-3 p.m.

Also on May 4, the 18th annual West Virginia Marble Festival will be open to the public from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Community Building in Cairo.

The location is adjacent to the town square in Cairo, which is the historic home of three marble manufacturers. Activities will include the sale of antique and contemporary marbles, exhibits, marble identification, books and more. Food will be available, and both admission and parking are free.

For those interested in selling or just displaying marbles, set-up is free and begins at 8 a.m. For those arriving Friday evening, the community building will be open 6-8 p.m. May 3 for marble chat, networking and informal mixing.

The festival is part of “A Program of Saturdays on the Square,” co-sponsored by the Museum of American Glass in West Virginia in Weston, W.Va. The museum is home to the National Marble Museum and The American Flint Glass Workers Union Archives.