Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV


February 22, 2014

Renewal of vows: Bluefields look to repeat history

— — Let’s face it. Everyone loves a wedding. And 90 years ago, the symbolic “Marriage of the Bluefields” was a significant historic event for our region. According to local historical records, a crowd estimated at about 10,000 gathered in the old Bluefield fairgrounds to celebrate “Greater Bluefield Day” on July 12, 1924.

The celebration culminated with the town of Graham, Va., formally changing its name to Bluefield, Va.

Fast forward to nine decades later. The city of Bluefield, and the town of Bluefield, Va., are now planning to renew their wedding vows this summer.

And city and town officials are hard at work planning the event with the hope of making it another special day for the local history books.

Former Bluefield City Manager Jim Ferguson, who was still hard at work planning the celebration last week only days before his Feb. 16 resignation from the city manager post was scheduled to take effect, has asked 90 area couples to join in the celebration this July 12 by renewing their individual wedding vows.

Ferguson told the Daily Telegraph last week that he would like for the celebration to be as big as it was in 1924, but added he would settle for a crowd of 1,000 or more. So would we.

Bluefield, Va. Town Manager Mike Watson adds that officials in Virginia’s Tallest Town also are actively working to help plan the July 12 celebration.

“For historical purposes, if we have the vow renewal, we would need some way to record the names of everyone involved.” Watson said during a planning meeting for the ceremony last week. “A ticketed event the night before at the city auditorium might be a good event.”

A 12-person committee composed of volunteers from both Bluefield and Bluefield, Va., are currently working to plan the celebration. And a seven-member subcommittee also has been appointed to work out some of the specifics of the planned wedding celebration.

Some might argue that the renewal of the wedding vows of the two Bluefields is nothing more than a publicity stunt. So what? It still sounds like a great idea to us. And it’s a unique and exciting way to get people, and with hope a few out-of-town visitors, in the two Bluefields for the weekend of July 12.

We too would like to see a large crowd — a thousand or more folks would be wonderful — at the anniversary celebration this summer. The renewal of the wedding vows is a great way to promote the region’s rich history while also paving a future path toward renewed cooperation and agreement between the two Bluefields.

So go ahead and mark your calendars for July 12, 2014.

You are officially invited to a wedding.


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