Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

August 4, 2013

15th Annual Downtown Bluefield Merchants Association Street Fair

By BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Click here for video

Historic downtown Bluefield went to the dogs — and cats — Saturday as the 15th Annual Downtown Merchants Association Street Fair came to a close on Saturday after a day of fun, featuring the second annual pet contest, Downhill Derby and “Bluefield’s Got Talent” contest.

For a brief moment Saturday morning, Art and Teresa Riley danced to the music that Pete Sternloff was playing over the public address system before the start of the Wade Center benefit auction. The music brought smiles to both of their faces.

“We have all put a great deal of effort into the downtown street fair,” Art Riley said just moments before the start of the auction. “We love this downtown and we love this city.”

Through the first 14 years of the event, the Bluefield Union Mission had been the beneficiary of the charity auction, but this year, that distinction went to the Wade Center.

“I think it was great,” Jessica McDaniel said after the auction. “We need more people in the downtown all the time. Praise God that we have people working on this street fair all day long.”

With all the activities taking place in the region, the organizers of the annual downtown car show were pleasingly surprised when the number of entries exceeded their expectations.

“This is a 1955 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 Holiday,” Bobby Lowe said of the vintage automobile that he lovingly restored. “I bought it at an auction and had to put a new interior in it along with window strips and a whole lot more.”

Kids packed the former Warlick’s Furniture building on Raleigh Street registering for the Downhill Derby, and others started showing up with their pets long before the 1:30 p.m. start time for the pet show. Chicory Square was filled with talent for the Second Annual Bluefield’s Got Talent Contest, and vendors were stationed on sidewalks at various locations around town.

“I have done pretty well,” Allison Forlines said as she arranged several pieces of her art on the table beneath a tent. “I sold a couple of pieces on Friday. I just got set up today, and I’ve already had some interest.”

Forlines recently graduated from Marshall University and is working at Bluefield College as she prepares to go to graduate school.

The awards presentation was at 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com