Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

October 11, 2013

Peel Chestnut Mountain Pumpkin Festival comes to close after 20 years

POCAHONTAS, Va. — While traveling through Charleston a good 20 years ago, Russell Synan came across a unique community pumpkin festival.

“I was working for the power company, and I came by a place where they were having a pumpkin festival,” Synan, of Peel Chestnut Mountain, said. “The more I thought about it I said we should just do the same thing on Peel Chestnut Mountain. So I ordered some big pumpkin seeds, and started raising big pumpkins. And it just grew from there. And it got bigger and better.”

Held on Russell and Pat Synan’s farm nestled near the mountainous border of Tazewell and McDowell counties, the annual Peel Chestnut Mountain Pumpkin Festival has grown into a community reunion.

“The first year I didn’t have a stage,” Synan said. “Later we built a stage. We made a lot of friends and a lot of people come in each year. It’s like a reunion.”

But all good things must eventually come to an end. Synan admits he isn’t getting any younger, and the crowds are getting bigger. After much thought and deliberation, he has decided that Saturday’s gathering will be the final Peel Chestnut Mountain Pumpkin Festival. The celebration begins at 10 a.m., and continues until 5 p.m.

“This is the 20th year and the last,” Synan said. “I’ve slowed down. We hate to close it down. But we’re not getting any younger. We hopefully will transfer it to the Pocahontas Lion’s Club. If the town of Pocahontas and American Legion and Lion’s Club can agree to have it down there, we will just transfer it there.”

However, the town has not yet agreed to take over the pumpkin festival, so there is no guarantee at the moment that it will continue at a new location, Synan said.

In anticipation of a large crowd for the final gathering on Peel Chestnut Mountain, a full schedule of activities and events are planned for Saturday. Synan said activities will include hay rides, face painting for the kids, a flea market, multiple vendors, pumpkins for sale, good music and the popular Peel Chestnut Mountain “baloney sandwiches.”

“We are noted for our baloney sandwiches,” Synan said.

Musical performances Saturday on the mountain will include Wes Dixon, Booge and Linda Monk, the Five Strings for Jesus, Phil and Kay, the Whites and the Synans.

Synan said everyone is invited, and encouraged to attend, the final pumpkin festival on Peel Chestnut Mountain.

“If the weather is good, we are expecting a big turnout,” Synan said. “We encourage everyone to come out for the last festival on the mountain.”

— Contact Charles Owens at cowens@bdtonline.com

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