Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

September 16, 2012

‘Bigger than last year’: Crowd gathers for fun at Cedar Bluff Heritage Festival

CEDAR BLUFF, Va. — Homemade crafts, fair foods, local music and huge crowds came out Saturday to downtown Cedar Bluff, Va., for the 37th Annual Cedar Bluff Heritage Festival.

Linda Morris, treasurer of the Cedar Bluff Heritage Festival, said the crowd this year was larger than ever.

“This year we have had more people and vendors than ever,” Morris said. “We have all kinds of vendors out here, and I think the total count of vendors setting up was somewhere right around 149. The food is wonderful and the hot air balloons have been a big hit. The antique show and auction also brought tons of people in.”

Morris said the festival serves as a homecoming for many Cedar Bluff natives.

“A lot of people come back to meet old friends and visit with family,” Morris said. “A lot of class reunions are held around this weekend. It’s a big community event. It started out small with just a historical information booth, but it has really grown.”

Carriage rides across downtown as well as inflatables attracted the young crowd to the festival. Melissa Joyce of Richlands, Va., said the dunking booth was the favorite activity for her sons.

“The kids wanted to come out for the events, my husband wanted some of the deep-fried food and I wanted to look at the decorations,” Joyce said. “The dunking booth has been the highlight of our day. We try to come out to the festival every year. It’s been here since I was little, and I remember coming here as a girl. It’s fun to see my own kids doing something I enjoyed so much as a kid.”

Between shopping for homemade crafts and listening to music, many fairgoers indulged in traditional fair food including homemade molasses, home-churned ice cream, ribbon fries, and kettle corn. Edward Turley of Vansant, Va., said he enjoyed listening to the music while he tried to decide what to eat first.

“I come out to this festival every year I can,” Turley said. “The music has been the best thing for me so far. I like all of the music, especially the Jackson Family and the gospel songs. It is important that this brings people out. There is a lot of interesting stuff to see and do. I’ve spent my whole afternoon here.”

Sylvia Dye of Cedar Bluff said the festival is great for the town.

“I love seeing people I know, all of the activities, and just seeing what is going on,” Dye said. “I see lots of friends every time I come to the festival. It is good for our town and for our community. It brings in a lot of people from outside the community into town to see what our town has to offer. This is definitely bigger than it was last year and we have been very blessed by the good weather.”

Darlene Gills of Tazewell, Va., came out as a vendor promoting cancer awareness and prevention with Relay For Life.

“This is my first time at this festival, and it is an awesome event,” Gills said. “I will definitely be coming back. I’ve really enjoyed the wide variety of music. We had no idea how many people came out to this, so we were very pleasantly surprised. I love to see all of the crafts. There is just something to do for everyone.”

Chris Altizer lives in Pounding Mill, Va., but teaches at Cedar Bluff Elementary. He said the festival was a good way to be part of the community.

“We’ve come out every year,” Altizer said. “I see a lot of the kids I teach here. I was in the dunking booth earlier and the line was out and around the block to dunk me. There isn’t too much that goes on in Cedar Bluff, so this is the one time of year everyone comes out to see what the town has to offer. I’ve been coming out ever since I can remember.”

— Contact Kate Coil at

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