As John Prine just sang in a song, “Summer’s End is around the bend just flying.”
Ready or not, Autumn begins Monday, Sept. 23 and with it comes some of our most glorious weather and a feast of fests.
If you don’t mind, we’re going to go ahead and get the party started now.
Here’s a look five fests this weekend around the Mountain State:
The 36th annual West Virginia Chili Championship – Join 20,000 of your closest friends at Pullman Square and Third Avenue in downtown Huntington for the 36th annual West Virginia State Chili Championship. Running 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, ChiliFest features chili teams from six states trying to cook their way to the International Chili Society’s World’s Chili Championship. Get $1 samples from top chefs and People’s Choice community booths with money going to the Ronald McDonald House. If you dare try the hot pepper eating contest, the tequila shot and holler, or the beer drinking contest (out of a baby bottle).
Held in downtown Point Pleasant, the 18th annual Mothman Festival runs Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 21-22. Come for the Mothman, stay for a bizarre talk about worm holes. The weird and wonderful fest celebrates the Mothman story and all things paranormal. Enjoy talks by experts on Big Foot, UFOs, Mothman, ghosts, and other paranormal subjects. There’s guided trips to the TNT area (where Mothman was sighted) as well as lots of vendors, cosplay, costume contests, kids fun and more.
Oktoberfest season officially started last weekend in WV as the Bavarian Inn and the Bavarian Brothers Brewing in Shepherdstown hosted the state’s first Oktoberfest. There’s still brews a plenty around the region including a three weekend celebration at Bahnhof WVrsthaus and Biergarten in Huntington that kicks off Saturday, Sept. 21. Super size that beer order at the Great Beckley Beer Fest from 1 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway on Neville Street, with 10 bands including local favorites Parachute Brigade, Matt Mullins, and the Bringdowns, Company Stores and others. Enjoy more than 60 brews from both WV and national breweries. Tickets are $30 and just down the road from Beckley, Oak Hill hosts its third annual Hank Williams Tribute and Beer Fest at 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21. John Lilly performs Hank Williams songs at the Lively Family Amphitheater just two blocks away from where the world-renowned performer was found dead on January 1, 1953. Enjoy craft beer and wine, local food, vendors, and a motorcycle cruise-in.
Why let the beer drinkers have all the fun, head out to Camp Muffly (Goshen Road exit off of I-79) Morgantown for the 26th annual West Virginia Wine and Jazz Fest that runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22. Admission is $25 for those 21 and older at the gates. Enjoy regional jazz ensembles, trios, and quartets while sampling a wide array of wine from around the region.
Join Funkle Sam (Parry Casto) and host band M.F.B. as they host the fourth annual Funktafest, a smorgasbord of regional funk from all over the Mid-Atlantic and South. Get funky from 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21 at Ritter Park Amphitheater in Huntington with 10 bands including headliners Tropidelic, Funk You and Opposite Box as well as five DJs spinning in between sets. There’s also local food and craft vendors and Funktivities that range from free Yoga to Sustainability workshops, instrument jamming, kids fun and more. Children 12 and under get in free. Admission is $20 at the gate or $15 advance. Still want to dance more? There’s also an After Party at the V Club with three more bands, comedy and a DJ on the patio.
Photographed by David Bess courtesy of WV Wine & Jazz festival