Festival showcases Preston’s music, art

KINGWOOD — John and Patty Fretwell were but two of the many people who turned out to enjoy the Preston County Music and Arts Festival on Saturday. The Fretwells, who were visiting from Florida, said they were pleased to find a festival was taking place.

“Something like this keeps people connected with downtown and keeps the storefronts open,” Fretwell said.

The day began with the Farmer’s Market. Carrie Plum, who stood behind her display of baked goods, had also brought along paintings she did of the Dolly Sods and the Terra Alta mountains as seen from W.Va. 7. She said she enjoyed painting and both paintings, like her baked goods, were for sale.

Karen Bright, from the WVU Extension Office in Kingwood, and Stephanie Duncan, who volunteers at Community Educational Outreach, offered visitors samples of sweet corn salad. The ingredients of which came from local gardens. Bright said the recipe for the salad could be found on the Farmer’s Market Facebook page.

Almost everything from mini doughnuts to cucumber water could be found once store fronts opened and vendors set up. Steve Sypolt, owner of the Brew Ha Ha, said he usually closes his doors at 2 p.m., but said he agreed to stay open later to serve people who came to the festival.

Bob Riffle, owner of the mini doughnut van, said he has used the same recipe for his doughnuts for 40 years. He said he bought the business from Jim Walker. “I’ve been making cinnamon and sugar doughnuts since the ’70s,” he said.

Frank Doman said the Pickers Dream shop has a variety of unique items for sale. He said among the items are antique lamps, Avon collectibles, jewelry, toys, lighthouses, music boxes, jewelry boxes and tools.

“I look at as much as I can,” said Mary Riley, who was walking her dog and taking in the sights. “I won’t get to see it all. I have another benefit to go to later.”

“I am interested in the art,” Courtney Wolfe, of Kingwood, said. “I love to draw.”

Dianna Love, owner of Dianna’s Closet, said she believes having the music and arts festival is an asset. “People come to the festival and they get to see what we (downtown merchants) have to offer,” she said.

Sharon Corbin, from S.C. Studio and Gallery, agreed. “Last years festival was a success,” she said, holding up a country scene painted by Denise Clark. “I’m excited they are going to have one every year.”

Musician Josh Waugh, of The OutWaugh’s, said he and his wife Sarah are teachers at Aurora School. Waugh said they both play guitar and sing. “This is our number one hobby,” he said about their music. “It’s an amazing thing. It lets the people know about the hidden gems in the county that they are not aware of.”

“I believe it’s a great asset for the town,” Kingwood Mayor Jean Manuel Guillot said. Guillot, who owns The Inn, was setting up a booth for the festival. “It showcases downtown and gives the artists a place to show their art,” he said.

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