Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

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September 15, 2013

Thousands enjoy excitement at 34th Annual Autumn Jamboree

BLUEFIELD, Va. — The town of Bluefield, Va., came alive Saturday as the community provided an early welcome of fall with the 34th Annual Autumn Jamboree. Fall is still a week away, but an early Saturday morning chill, appeared to be just the tonic that the community needed to come out and enjoy the true warmth of Virginia’s Tallest Town.

“I got in a little too deep and the water came up over my hip waders,” Jack Asbury said after emerging from the steam in the heart of downtown Bluefield, Va., where he and other volunteers with the Bluefield, Va., Kiwanis Club members had been “herding” rubber ducks in the annual duck race. “The water’s pretty cold,” he added.

Asbury served many years as the Bluefield, Va., chief of police, and has remained active in the community. Jack and his wife, Viola Asbury have an advertising business, but spend much more time with community service. “We do have a lot of fun,” Viola Asbury said. Lynn Burnette won the first race “with duck number 13,” Asbury said, and Rhonda Beatty won the second race.

“This has been a good year so far, and we still have fireworks tonight,” James Hampton, Bluefield, Va., town treasurer, and 25-year veteran chair of the Autumn Jamboree committee said. Hampton traditionally opens the event by singing the National Anthem, and keeps things flowing in both the downtown where the music, fun rides and food is as well as at Graham Recreational Park where the Dave Nipper Black Powder Shoot-Off and 3-D Archery Shoot take place.

“The Public Works Department does a lot of work to get all of this ready,” Hampton said. “They put out all the straw bales, set up the tents and keep all of the grass cut so it looks good all year round. They even do the hay ride which is a popular attraction.”

Music flowed constantly from the stage at Jack Asbury Park, people of all ages enjoyed the Crosspointe block party. “That block party has drawn a big crowd all day long,” Hampton said.

People were walking down the middle of Virginia Avenue in the heart of downtown looking high in the sky at Randall Hash’s radio controlled hover craft drift gently up and down above the downtown skyline.

Hash also brought his vintage military Jeep to the 3rd Annual Autumn Jamboree Classic Car Show.

“That’s pretty neat,” Bluefield, Va., Mayor Don Harris said as he watched Hash operate the RC craft.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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