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Barboursville Fall Fest draws community together

Sep. 14, 2013 @ 11:20 PM

BARBOURSVILLE -- Sitting on a hay bale and eating a candy apple in the sunshine Saturday afternoon may have been the pinnacle of 4-year-old Olivia Leslie's experience at Barboursville Fall Fest, but she knew there was plenty more to come when the sun went down.

"There's a concert later. It's past my bedtime. I can't go," said Leslie. "That's something for big kids."

Winding down from a day of rides and treats, Leslie, in so many words, summed up the entire goal of the festival, which is to provide a weekend filled with activities for Barboursville residents of all ages, said Barboursville Recorder Kim Hayden, who is in charge of organizing the event.

The festival, now in its 32nd year, went off without a hitch from the parade Thursday evening to the show for "big kids" featuring Dressed to Kill and headliner Aaron Tippin on Saturday night.

"It's been very smooth," said Hayden. "It's been very exciting, and I am hearing a lot of people say that they are enjoying it. We want the parents to have just as much fun as the kids, and I think that is what's happening."

Hayden credited the numerous volunteers and the city's street department with making the festival a reality. She said the logistics of the festival make for a lot of challenges for everyone, but the extra effort from those people is what makes the festival work.

The festival annually blocks off portions of Main Street and Central Avenue, including the intersection of those two routes, where the main stage is stationed. While local vendors and shops line Main Street, food vendors and some interactive attractions can be found on Central Avenue, which is where Christy Hedrick and her daughters, Isabella, 10, Savannah, 8, and Alexandria, 4, sat along the street eating shaved ice and cotton candy with their neighbor Angela Tittel.

Each girl said they were excited to have their treats, and they were more than eager to hop on their favorite rides for the day -- the Scrambler for Isabella, the mini-roller coaster for Alexandria and basically every single ride for Savannah.

Tittel, whose own children are 25 and 18 years old, said she was glad to be able to experience the event with the young Hedricks.

"It brings families together, and I love that," said Tittel. "Honestly, what brings me back is the different musical acts they get every year, and I get to see a lot of friends, including people I went to school with, who I haven't seen in years. It's like a little reunion, and you know you are going to see a lot of friends when you come."

The trip to Fall Fest was the reunion for Brad Caserta, of Barboursville, who was chaperoning Leslie. Caserta, who grew up in the area, said it had been five years since he attended the festival, but he said it still was the same.

"It's the same as I remember it, but there's no reason it should change," said Caserta. "It's Barbourville, W.Va., and it's Fall Fest. It's good people, good food and a good time."

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