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‘New Deal at the Crossroads’

Kump House to host Labor Day Weekend event

July 31, 2012
The Inter-Mountain

"New Deal at the Crossroads," a daylong festival recognizing the 1930's, will be hosted from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 1 on the grounds of the historic H.G. Kump home.

The house was built in 1925 for West Virginia's 19th governor, and now serves as the Kump Education Center. Located at 401 S. Randolph Ave. in Elkins, the home and former working farm mark the "crossroads" of Highways U.S. 33, U.S. 219, U.S. 250, WV 55 and WV 92.

The "New Deal at the Crossroads" theme will focus on 1930's crafts, music, arts and history. Family oriented events include Randall Reeder, a professional Will Rogers impersonator and look-alike who will share stories from the 1930's. Will Rogers is most remembered today as an enjoyable humorist and witty social commentator.

Jane Birdsong will portray Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt as she welcomes guests. Mrs. Roosevelt visited the Kump home several times as she traveled between two of West Virginia's first planned communities of the New Deal, known now as Arthurdale in Preston County, and the Tygart Valley Homesteads in Randolph County. These communities were created during her husband's administration to help alleviate wide-spread poverty during the Depression.

As a special fundraising event, an old-fashioned pie auction, featuring fresh-baked homemade pies donated by some of the area's most accomplished bakers, will be hosted at 3 p.m. Doug Conrad, serving as the auctioneer, will sell the more than 30 pies to the highest bidders.

Activities are planned for the whole family, including a Children's Art Tent with 1930's "take-home" activities such as paper dolls and marble painting. Puppet shows also will be presented. To add to guests' enjoyment, local music performers the Elm Street Alley Cats, Jump Start and the Appalachian Mule Team will entertain with 1930's style and traditional music. All activities are free except for the tours of the H.G. Kump House.

Guided tours of the historic home will be available during the day. Tour participants will view it much as it was when Eleanor Roosevelt visited. Included on the tours will be demonstrations by local handcraft artisans who will show various fiber arts such as tatting, caning and weaving, and also pottery techniques of the 1930's.

Ed Griesel, a local hobo expert, will recount facts and stories about the role of hobos during the Depression. Rob Whetsell, local author and curator, will set up a display on the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in West Virginia. Also, information from Arthurdale and the Homesteads will be available.

The Elkins Rotary Club will prepare and sell its special char-grilled chicken in the Kroger parking lot beginning at 11 a.m. In addition, crafts and antiques reflecting the early 20th century will be for sale by a limited number of vendors. Vendors wishing to participate should call 304-636-3590 for more information.

Proceeds will benefit the development of the Kump Education Center and its ongoing restoration.

More information is available by calling 304-636-3590 or by visiting events.



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