by BILL ARCHER
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
RICH CREEK, Va. —
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Hundreds of people packed the main street of downtown Rich Creek Saturday as a sun-filled sky brought excitement to the friendly Giles County, Va., town that blocked off its main street to host the Rich Creek Autumnfest.
“We have a lot of volunteers working today,” Richard “Dickie” Allen of Allen Furniture in Lindside, Rich Creek, Pearisburg, Va., and Princeton said. It’s put on by the Rich Creek Merchants Association, but really, it’s put on by the entire community.
“It’s like a big family reunion,” Allen said. “We’ve been blessed with having great weather for this festival through the years, and today is no exception. After 22 years, it works like a well-oiled machine. Everyone enjoys it. You can see it in their faces. We work hard on it so we can have a nice laid-back day that everyone can enjoy.
“Everybody has issues, but this is a time to kick back, relax and just enjoy,” Allen said. “I’ve been on the committee all 22 years, and we’ve always had great cooperation from all of the businesses and the entire community. Just look at the faces of the people.”
Without a doubt, Dave Taylor of Maxwell, Va., was smiling as he greeted customers for his unique, handmade fly rods, spinning and casting rods. “I’ve been making fishing rods for 26 years,” Taylor said.
Taylor graduated from Richlands High School in 1944, entered King College, but dropped out after a year and went to work. He didn’t finish college until 1960, but after earning his degree, he got a job teaching at Richlands High School and worked there for 26 years.
“I fished all over the country and I fished with rods that I made,” Taylor said. He turns the handles on a wood lathe he has at home, but he purchases most of the other components. “It’s strange, but a lot of it comes from China. It helps me keep the costs down.”
Sue Bradley of the Autumnfest committee was hoping that the rain will hold off one more day. “The community response has been amazing,” she said. “Our merchants and the volunteers have been great. Without them, this wouldn’t be possible.”
Members of the Rich Creek-Giles Breakfast Branch Lions Club were busy assisting with a blood drive at the Autumnfest. “This is the fourth one we’ve sponsored,” Lioness Betty Herbert said. “In October, we’ll be down in Pembroke, (Va.) sponsoring a bloodmobile there. Summer is a critical time for needing blood and the holidays are also a critical time too. All of the blood that we collect here in Giles County, stays in Giles County. With each donor, we can save three lives in Giles County.”
Herbert said the club is working to grow its membership.
Activities will resume at 8 a.m. this morning with the Cruise-in Car Show, followed by a spaghetti lunch at First United Methodist Church in Rich Creek sponsored by the Youth for Resurrection Trip from 12:30-2 p.m. There will be a Cruise-in Bike Show in front of the Post Office from 12:30-4 p.m., and gospel music from 1-5:30 p.m.
“I’m looking forward to performing gospel music here,” Barry Bowman said. Bowman ran sound for all the performers on the stage.
— Contact Bill Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org