By Wayne Sheets
Contributing Business Writer
The Mountain State Street Machine's 25th annual July 4 weekend Cruise In and Car Show went extremely well on Friday evening and Saturday, but unfortunately, the show had to be ended early Sunday because of rain.
Word came to Jim Knicely, the one who for the past 25 years has been the driving force behind the show, that the park was beginning to show signs of stress where the cars were entering and leaving because of the rain and he ended the show at 1 p.m. The rain ceased for the rest of the afternoon and the cars were able to leave the park before more than minimal rutting occurred. Overall, though, I think everyone considered the show a success. According to show officials, 500 antique, restored vintage, street rods and muscle cars and trucks registered for the show bringing an estimated 2,000 visitors to Elkins over the weekend.
The residents and merchants of the Elkins and Randolph County area proved yet again that they are a generous, gracious and hospitable people. There is not enough room here to thank all those who gave their time and resources that went into making the show a success and the weekend a memorable one for our visitors. Show officials said that more than 150 individuals, merchants and businesses contributed in one way or another toward the weekend event, all of which deserve thanks.
I want to personally thank Ron Corcoran, second assistant chief of the Elkins Volunteer Fire Department and firefighter and photographer Ron Gooden for dragging the department's bucket truck out and lifting me to more than 100 feet into the air so that I could get an "aerial" photo of the cars and spectators along Third Street. What an unusual photo opportunity - thanks guys. Your help in covering the event for posterity is deeply appreciated.
The show, as many may know, was dedicated to the memory of Jim Davis, a longtime member and supporter of the Mountain State Street Machine Car Club and local businessman. Jim's beautiful, meticulously maintained white and blue Shelby GT 500, now owned by his son, Mark, was displayed near the City Park pavilion where everyone could see it. Jim's widow, Mary, said, "The show was always Jim's highlight of the year. He looked forward to the show and the opportunity to meet the many friends he had made over the years and to make new ones. The last year he attended the show, he didn't feel like going, but he went anyway. The Elkins show was the only one he ever attended."
I ask several of our visitors what they would change to improve the event, and they said, "Really nothing. The park is a great place - it's quiet, cool, conveniently located and a very enjoyable place to relax."
Jim and Suzanne Knicely also deserve many thanks for all they have done over the past 25 years to make the show a success year after year. Other 25-year members of the club who have worked tirelessly to keep the show going are Bill Brock, Josh Small, Terry Biller and Jim McWilliams.
Last but certainly not least of those who deserve a great deal of credit for making the show a success is Elkins-Randolph County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Ellen Spears and her staff members Nancy Webley and Betty Rader. They handled most of the registration paperwork prior to the show and assembled the program - a monumental task.
If you could have seen the "rough" draft of the program you would agree with me that they could not possibly get all that scrambled data arranged in a meaningful format, but they did. Many of the chamber members also deserve a great deal of credit for helping with the show, especially Chamber President Merllene Yorkey, and her crew who were assigned the duties of handling traffic and parking cars. This was indeed a life-threatening chore. Sue Sheets, with the untiring and dedicated help of Mike and Chrissy Jackson, also did a great job getting things ready for the chamber's concession stand that chamber members, their spouses and friends staffed Saturday evening prior to and during the Colgate Talent Show. Thanks everyone, you did a great job.
Nikki Bowman, editor-in-chief of WV Living Magazine, visited with local area merchants at Tuesday's Downtown Merchants meeting. Bowman was in town meeting with business leaders, Davis & Elkins College President Dr. "Buck" Smith and some of his staff members, the American Mountain Theater, Durbin and Greenbrier Valley Railroad officials, and others in her quest for information for the magazine's fall issue. Elkins will be showcased in the magazine's fall issue and several of the merchants anticipate placing an ad in the magazine.
Bowman said of her magazine, "We showcase uplifting stories, beautiful photography, fabulous homes, travel destinations, do-it-yourself projects, down-home entertaining, small towns, uniqueshops and restaurants and much more. Our articles cover the entire state - not just one geographical location - and by doing so encourage our readers to visit treasures found in their own backyard. We are much more than a magazine. We are a community-building vehicle that celebrates our people, our heritage, our local businesses and ourartisans. WV Living captures modern-day life in West Virginia while remembering our roots and treasuring our traditions.
"We have a circulation of over 15,000 and is growing at a rate of 15 per week," Bowman said. "We sold over 1,000 subscriptions at the Ripley, West Virginia, July 4 weekend celebration.
Bowman, a West Virginia native, is the founding editor-in-chief of WV Living.
The second annual Ribs and Rails Festival will be on Labor Day weekend at the Town Square from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be more information available for this event in the next few weeks, but mark your calendar now to attend a great fun-filled event.
The Elkins Depot Welcome Center is sponsoring a concert by "Appalachian Jazz" on the Town Square from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug 20. More information will be available in the coming weeks also. This sounds like it's going to be a great event.
Tickets are now on sale for the Murder Mystery Dinner Theater scheduled for Aug. 1 at the American Legion. Tickets may be purchased at the American Legion business office, Cardinal Creations, from any American Legion member or online at www.ElkinsLive.com.
Promoters assure everyone a hilarious "blast" from the past in this spoof on "I Love Lucy" and the old gangster movies. The play was written by the Schwartz and Ambrose writing team of the Lakeside Players in Tafton, Pa. You can even join in the fun of a Mambo No. 5 sing-a-long and a Conga line as well as get a chance to join in on the dance floor in "The Tropicabana Song," which sounds amazingly like Barry Manilow's Copacabana.
The show is a classic Parables State Show with laughter, music, dancing and an intriguing mystery all rolled up into one evening of fun. An award and prize are awaiting the guest named the "Super Sleuth" of the evening.
Tickets are $45 single or $80 per couple. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Elkins American Legion Post 29 to help carry out its many community projects. For more information, call 304-657-7113.
Seating is limited to 200 people. Dinner will be prepared by the American Legion Ladies Auxiliary.