Get ready for Freddie


ROCK CAVE — Visit Southern Upshur County today through Sunday for five days of activities as part of the second annual Groundhog Festival.
“Last year the community organizations that were involved considered it very successful,” event organizer Joann Hawkins said. “They were very happy and asked to do the same things this year. The turnout was good considering it was the first year. Everyone made money.”
Hawkins said the focus is on the community.
“The most common remark we heard was it was a good community event,” she said. “It brought people together and it was nice to get out and do something.”
The fun starts today with an opening ceremony at 3:45 p.m. at the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department, followed by a freewill dinner from 4 to 6 p.m. This year’s schedule also includes an opening ceremony with Laura Meadows, executive director of the Upshur County Convention and Visitors Center, giving brief remarks.
The potluck dinner is by freewill donation and will include lots of variety.
“We are also asking anyone who would like to, to bring their favorite covered dish,” Hawkins said.
On Thursday, the action moves to the West Virginia Wildlife Center, where French Creek Freddie will emerge to see if there will be six more weeks of winter or an early spring.
The gates open at 9 a.m. with free admission and the amphitheater gathering begins at 9:30 a.m. Stick around for French Creek Freddie’s appearance at 10 a.m. and a wood chucking contest. Free hot cocoa and cookies will be available.
On Friday, another freewill dinner will be served from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Banks District Volunteer Fire Department. The Country Ramblers will provide live music  beginning at 6 p.m. Stick around and meet and greet your Southern Upshur volunteer firefighters from 7 to 8 p.m.
The Banks District VFD is again the place to be on Saturday, Feb. 4. Come early from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. as the Central Upshur Lions Club hosts their 27th annual breakfast with pancakes as well as biscuits and gravy made with ground hog sausage.
Local arts and crafts vendors have been invited to display their wares from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. An old-fashioned social, complete with cake walk and bake sale, will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Live music is planned for the social, provided by Steve Peters and The Forgiven Disciples.  The Rock Cave CEOS are sponsoring the social and the Stargazers Garden Club is having the bake sale.
On Sunday afternoon, the Aletha Chapter 82 will serve food beginning at noon. Arts and crafts will continue from noon to 3 p.m.  The lineup of live music includes The Shelter at 1 p.m., Soldiers of the Cross at 2 p.m. and PFC with Keith Gould closing out the festival at 3 p.m.
Admission and parking for all events is free. The festival is sponsored by the Rock Cave CEOS.
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