For the first time, multiple Barbour County affiliated organizations pooled their resources to create the Independence day weekend celebration for the county.
It's the first year the organization and planning of the event has been a joint effort on the part of all three main organizers. Despite being delayed by the June 28 storm - followed by widespread power outages - celebrations took place in the Friday rain showers and the fast approaching downpour and thunderstorm on Saturday.
"As it goes, we had to change our plans," said Teresa Nestor, secretary for the Barbour County Fair Association. The festivities were originally planned for the previous weekend.
The Inter-Mountain photos by Melissa Toothman
Winners from six divisions of the L’il Miss Barbour County pageant pose on stage, sporting their trophies and metals on Saturday. More photos are available online at cu.theintermountain.com.
Credit for the Independence Day events goes to the Barbour County Chamber of Commerce, with support from the Fourth of July Committee, Barbour County Fair Association and Commission, and several other county agencies, according to Commission President Phil Hart.
Although the flea market opened on Friday, the ceremonies officially commenced with Salute to the Troops, a program designed to honor veterans. Recognition also went out to those who serve in the military branches of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Reserves, Coast Guard and National Guard.
"Veterans have given so much to us, it's time to give back to them," said Master of Ceremonies Shannon Putnam.
She is also director of development at Mountain Hospice and former president of the Barbour County Chamber, two organizations that made the ceremonies possible.
"It was nice," said Herbert Holbert, a veteran of World War II about the ceremony.
Ronny Cleavenger, a former combat engineer mentioned some of the locations where he served including hills referred to by numerical designations.
"A lot of places over there didn't have names," he said, adding about the ceremony, "it was very good, I liked what they done. I was really surprised how many people showed up."
Bill Hawker, a veteran who participated in the naval air on aircraft carriers, first entered the Navy on Dec. 14, 1955, and served until Oct. 22 1961.
"I'd do it again. I loved every minute," Hawker said. It's either us or the enemy."
However, there was one complaint.
"A lot of people don't appreciate the veterans," said veteran Everett Curtis, who observed that many people in the audience didn't take their hats off or participate in the pledge of allegiance.
Many of the veterans agreed that their appreciation now beats their lack of appreciation in the past.
"They (veterans) was treated like crap," Curtis said, recalling the lack of welcome when returning home from war.
"It took the U.S. 40 years before they recognized Vietnam veterans."
After honoring the veterans in a ceremony leading up to the derby, veterans were invited to a reception nearby for refreshments.
"We've had many challenges on this event. We didn't wanna give up because the purpose of this event was to honor the veterans. Anytime we can do that it's a success," said Terri Kittle, a representative of Barbour County Chamber of Commerce.
Salute to the Troops was immediately followed by the derby, Full Size, 6-cylinder and 4-cylinder competitions.
"It's in your blood," said Henry Dawson of Elkins about racing in the derby. He has participated in derbies for 35 years. His son, Bryan Dawson, a 10-year participant, won first place in the Full Size derby with his car, IOU2.
Second place in the Full Size competition went to Paul Summers Jr. of Grafton with his car, 15 Junior.
First place in the 6-cylinder derby went to Terry McDaniel of Grafton with his car, 24. Second place went to Mickey Schoonover II of Philippi with his car, 625.
In the 4-cylinder derby, first place went to Virgil McCrobie of Thornton with car JW5557, second place went to David Kaufman of Philippi with car 7.
The derby for the Independence Day Celebrations and fairs in Barbour County are promoted by Thomas Motorsports, LLC.
On Saturday, the Lil' Miss Barbour County Pageant took place with 68 registered young contestants competing for the crown in their division.
There were six divisions of the competition separated by age. Each division awarded four categorical winners, but every participant took home a metal.
In the Baby Miss division, newborn to 23 months, most photogenic went to Eden Gabriella Kennedy of Philippi. Best attire went to Aubrey Martin of Flemington. Best personality went to Kingsly Alexander of Philippi. Gracelynn Marie Daugherty won the crown as division queen.
From the Teeny Miss division, ages 2 to 3, Jenna Ryan Hayes, 2, of Belington won miss photogenic. Summer Williams, 3, of Philippi won best attire. McKenzie Brooke Phillips, 2, of Belington won best personality. The division queen was Brooklyn McDaniel, 2, of Philippi.
For the Tiny Miss division, 4 to 6 year olds, most photogenic went to Ashley Luff, 5, of Philippi. Jaelynn Shay Hollen, 4, of Belington won best attire. Best personality went to Kristen Bolyard, 5, of Belington. Sandra Cutlip, 4, of Belington won the crown as queen of her division.
In the Petite Miss division, ages 7 to 9, most photogenic went to Linzy Wilson, 8, of Junior. Hannah Marie Hoffman, 7, of Philippi won best attire.
Best personality went to Coralee Rose Sullivan, 7, of Volga. The crown went to Emily Denison, 7, of Belington as division queen.
From the Junior Miss division, ages 10 to 12, Emma Kennedy, 10, of Moatsville won miss photogenic. Callie Carpenter, 12, of Belington won best personality. Madi Gain, 11, of Philippi won best attire. The division queen was Mykal Hoffman, 12, of Philippi.
The final division was Teen Miss, ages 13 to 15, with only three contestants. Rylee Shahan, 13, of Belington won best attire.
Best personality went to Alexis Serback, 13, of Belington. Carly Marie Ash, 14, of Belington won most photogenic and queen of her division.
By the end of the pageant, many guests feared that the thunder, lightening, and rain would prevent the fireworks scheduled later that night. However, the rain stopped just in time to allow the fireworks to be set off, capping off the weekend celebrations.
Contact Melissa Toothman by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.