ROWLESBURG — For 61 years, Rowlesburg Park has been the place to be on Labor Day.
“This is Rowlesburg’s modern day claim to fame and visitors come from all corners of the USA to partake in a gastronomic treat found only in the Cheat River Valley. The park crew lights the barbecue pit fire on Sunday night so that the ox roasts slowly to a moist, melt-in-your mouth tenderness. The fire is tended all night to make sure your portion is of the high quality you expect. (I’ve heard rumors that the meat is really roast beef, not ox), ” according to an old post on the Rowlesburg Community Park website.
This year’s posters touted inflatables, vendors, live music all day, Rowlesburg’s famous pit-roast beef, and much, much more.
Vickie Jackson and Helen Edmunds were among the vendors. They were showing off their quilts. They donate all of the material and their time to making and selling quilts.
“The money from the sales goes to keep the old Rowlesburg school open,” Jackson said.
She said the two sew their quilts year-round and sell them during the festivals and on the RRC Quilts Facebook page.
C&R Woodworking also had a tent set up Monday. Curtis and Roxanna Stiles had handmade woodworked products. Items on display included cutting boards, Christmas ornaments, wine caddies, magnets, costers and laser-engraved signs.
Stiles said he and Roxanna also sell their stock on their C&R woodworking Facebook page and in local shops.
Monica Turner, from Newburg, and Dana Jackson, of Kingwood, set up a display of Watchtower material for those who wished more information about their church’s teachings.
“We thought it would be a good day to be out, and thought some of the people going to the ox roast might be interested,” Turner said.
Harold Watkins, from Newburg, said the food was good last year so he came back again Monday.
“Last year was the first time I had been here in a long time, so I thought I would come back again this year,” he said.
George Street said he was there to help with the french fries and sandwiches. He said festivals like the ox roast bring people into the town and helps the community.
“Having these festivals is something small towns have to do or give up,” he said.
Carolyn and Curtis Tayllor said they go to the ox roast every year because they like the food.
“I lived here all my life,” Delbert Shaffer said. “I worked here and took care of the beef for four or five years. I graduated from the Rowlesburg High School 60 years ago. I try to come every year.”
Janice Reed said she has been coming to the ox roast for about 30 years. She said she comes to support the community and because she enjoys the food.
“We’ve been married 19 years,” her husband David said. “So I have been coming here for 19 years.”