Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

August 4, 2012

Street fair kicks off with good crowd

BLUEFIELD — Sunny skies helped the 14th Annual Downtown Bluefield Street Fair get off to a big start Friday afternoon as large crowds came out to visit vendors, watch performances, and participate in contests.

Crowds gathered at Chicory Square Friday afternoon for musical performances, to watch the Miss Downtown Street Fair pageant, and to see the Starz Performing Arts Academy’s dancers. Vendors also lined the sidewalks with activities, including children’s games and a dunking booth.

Art Riley, president of the Downtown Bluefield Merchant’s Association, said a larger-than-anticipated crowd came downtown Friday afternoon. The Downtown Bluefield Merchant’s Association sponsors the annual street fair.

“We’ve had a really great crowd here today,” said Riley. “We have about 12 to 14 vendors set up already and they are doing a lot of business. It has been better than our usual turnout, which is very encouraging. We have had great weather and are ready to do it again Saturday.”

Heather Raskosky, a tumbling instructor at the Starz Performing Arts Academy, came out to watch her students and daughter perform.

“It’s wonderful to get the younger kids out here and show them what downtown has to offer,” Raskosky said. “They also get to perform in front of people they wouldn’t normally see, so that helps them build extra confidence and get in extra practice. It gives us a sense of pride in our community. We are always surprised at what they’re always adding downtown and what new things there are. Our kids always enjoy performing for crowds like this.”

Hortense Summers of Cleveland, Ohio stopped by the street fair as part of a visit to her hometown.

“I’m originally from Bluefield and I’m here for the Park Central reunion,” Summers said. “I decided to come down and see what was going on. It’s very nice. Those young ladies can certainly perform and they seem to enjoy it. It’s nice to be back home. Bluefield doesn’t get much excitement. You are always hearing about the negative, so it is good to see something positive. I like that this gives young people a chance to have something to do and show off their talents.”

In addition to musical and dance performances, creatures of the four-legged variety had a chance to strut their stuff during the dog show. Monica Blair of Rock came out to see the contest.

“I think it’s great and provides more reasons for people to come down here,” Blair said. “The wide variety of activities appeals to a wide variety of people. I also think the dogs in the show are cute.”

Danny Fitzko of Kernersville, N.C., was convinced to enter his 3-year-old boxer Butch in the contest after coming in to visit relatives in Bluefield.

“My stepmother thought we should bring him up,” Fitzko said. “I think he’s got a pretty good chance. He loves doing tricks and I think he’ll win biggest dog. He loves seeing all the other dogs and the people. Kids who are smaller than he is come up to pet him. He just eats it up.”

Missy Holleman of Bluefield also entered her 4-year-old miniature dachshund, Razor, in the show.

“I just wanted to participate; it seemed like fun,” Holleman said. “He really enjoyed the costume part of the show. I think this is a great way to bring people out. It’s nice to see so many people out here with their pets.”

Vendor Earl Feathers said Friday was his first time at the street fair.

“I make a lot of furniture for children and pets,” he said. “I read about this in the paper and thought it would be a good idea to show what I have to people. So many people complain about how there is nothing to do in Bluefield, but this is a great event. The citizens need to get behind these events, come out and join them. I’m hoping we’ll see even more people out here tomorrow.”

The Bluefield Downtown Street Fair continues today at 9:30 a.m. with the Bluefield Union Mission auction, the downhill derby race, musical performances, games and more. Lemonade Days, sponsored by the South Bluefield Merchant’s Association also gets underway today at Cole Harley Davidson from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.

— Contact Kate Coil at

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