By GREG JORDAN
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
Hot sunshine was beating down and the air was muggy Wednesday in Chicory Square as volunteers set up a lemonade stand — it was time to start pouring free lemonade for the Bluefields for the first time in 2013.
A second serving of free lemonade is scheduled today from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Lemonade will be served at Chicory Square in downtown Bluefield, Cole Harley Davidson in south Bluefield, Food City in Bluefield, Va., and Graham Square in Bluefield, Va.
Ever since the late 1930s, free lemonade has been served in Bluefield, and neighboring Bluefield, Va., every time the official temperature recorded at the Mercer County Airport reaches 90 degrees. This line was reached Tuesday afternoon for the first time in 2013, so lemonade volunteers were ready Wednesday afternoon.
A pickup truck stopped and the driver called out, “Can I have a slice of lemonade?”
Bill Nabors of Bluefield, who added he is 490 in dog years, tasted the lemonade. “Just like Mom used to make.”
Miss Cole Chevy Mountain Festival Queen Torri Bradshaw arrived just as Nabors pulled away. It was her first time on lemonade duty.
“It’s a lot of fun,” she said of the lemonade giveaway. “Yes, I love lemonade. It’s one of my favorite drinks.”
City Manager Jim Ferguson stopped by to sample what he said was his first cup of free lemonade, and not just for summer 2013.
“I was telling them this is my first cup of free lemonade in all the years I’ve been here,” he said.
Two Bluefield residents said they get free lemonade every time the booth is set up in Chicory Square.
“We always do when it hits 90,” said Penny Pennington, who resides at the West Virginia Manor with her friend Joan Redden.
“It makes you feel good when it’s hot,” Redden said.
“Especially when it hits 90 in the air-conditioned city,” Pennington added. “It shows that Bluefield cares.”
Elizabeth Sudduth, co-chair of the Lemonade Committee with the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce said the official record for the largest number of lemonade servings is 18 set in 2007.
“This will be the first of at least 19,” lemonade co-chair Chris Catron predicted Wednesday. “We’ll hit 90 today.”
Across the state line at Graham Square, people appeared as soon as the lemonade volunteers arrived.
“We’ve actually had about 10 so far,” said volunteer Allison Nicewander, 19, of Bluefield, Va.
“Twelve,” asserted 7-year-old Isabella, a lemonade taster who was sitting nearby.
Mary Irvin of Bluefield, who was taking her grandchildren to the local swimming pool, stopped by for some lemonade first.
“Well, we like it, we love it,” Irvin said.
“It’s good,” her granddaughter Ashley agreed. Lemonade was her favorite summer drink “besides water.”
Karen Hale of Falls Mills,Va., and her grandson, Grayson, had a cup of lemonade and learned some of the promotion’s history. She had never heard how it was started.
“This is my first,” she said after being served. “It’s very refreshing.”
Kwik Kafe provides the lemonade for the chamber, said Marc Meachum, president of the Greater Bluefield Chamber of Commerce.
“It’s really, really nice of them to do this for us,” Meachum said.
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org