Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


June 1, 2014

Summer fun: Local venues offer vacation options

— — Summer vacation season has officially arrived. Millions of people traveled during the Memorial Day weekend to attend festivals, races, sporting events and ceremonies honoring the nations veterans. Travel is part of the summer experience, but there is no rule that says vacationers must travel hundreds or even thousands of miles for fun. Good vacation experiences are actually very close to home.

The events available in Mercer County during the Memorial Day weekend are a good example. The Cole Chevy Mountain Festival offered the James H. Drew Carnival and a big variety of activities. A new event was presented that same weekend at the Mercer County Airport. Local car enthusiasts brought their vehicles to a car show while private pilots brought their aircraft for display. Local pilots gave many children their first airplane rides for free. In neighboring Tazewell County, Va., a Civil War re-enactment hosted near the Historic Crab Orchard Museum made local history come to life.

Local events didn’t end with Memorial Day. The Princeton Rays and the Bluefield Blue Jays will have baseball games until August. The annual Celebrate Princeton festival will take place in June, and the annual Blue Gray Shrine Horse Show will be in Bluefield this July. The Mercer County Fair, the Athens Town Social, the Downtown Bluefield Street Fair and the Lemonade Festival are among the activities listed by the Mercer County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“There’s nothing to do around here,” is an old complaint that doesn’t hold up when one considers all the activities and venues available in the region. Mercer County alone has Pinnacle Rock State Park and Pipestem State Park, and each of those parks offer activities ranging from hiking to fishing.

People who like motorized outdoor activities can turn to the new Pocahontas Trail, Mercer County’s branch of the popular Hatfield McCoy Trail, and other branches in McDowell County and the surrounding area.

Venues like the Chuck Mathena Center offer concerts and shows,  historic locations like the town of Bramwell, local restaurants, and other places found across southern West Virginia and Southwest Virginia offer summertime entertainment.

Supporting local vacation venues helps the local economy and eases the strain on summertime budgets. Day or weekend trips are less expensive than traveling hundreds of miles, especially when the activities closer to home are just as enjoyable as the ones being offered from far away.

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