festival forecast logoFestival history shows that the Clay County Golden Delicious Festival got its start with a suggestion made in 1972 by the Commissioner of Agriculture, Gus R. Douglas, who stated the Clay County should find a way to honor their golden delicious history. The Clay Lions Club pioneered the first festival in 1973 with guest entertainer Tex Ritter and a 6 foot-wide apple pie. The management of the festival was later taken on by VFW Post #4419 and then passed over to Clay County Parks and Recreation. Each year a handful of volunteers kept things going and in 2013 the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary. To mark this celebratory year, retired Commissioner Gus R. Douglas will return to Clay to be the parade marshal.  Mr. Douglas served West Virginia as its Agriculture Commissioner for 44 years and was the longest serving Agriculture Commissioner in the history of the United States.
There is an historical marker posted in Bomont by the WV Division of Culture and History which shows the birth of the apple to be in 1912. Celebrating over 100 years of apple history it seemed fitting for the annual festival theme to be “A Centennial Celebration” which was suggested by Board Member, Donald Jarvis.
There are always new contests, exciting displays and fun entertainment planned for the four-day event. Craft your own party hat for opening night and enter the “Crazy Hat Contest” where the winner will receive a $40.00 anniversary cash prize. Visit the WV Music Hall of Fame museum trailer (alley beside Rite Aid) to see exhibits about WV musicians including Clay County artisans. Peruse the quilt show for art in stitches as a new exhibit will be unveiled called “The Mystery of Radie’s Quilt” boasting Clay County’s quilt history from the early 1900’s. Dog Tricks, kid’s crafts, exciting skits and fun music will be shared, Bible lessons will be taught at the “Good News Extravaganza” hosted by Child Evangelism Fellowship. Batman and Robin will share a message with the kids about being a hero and will pose for photos. Outdoor apple butter making will welcome guests who want to learn see and learn about the craft. “Big Bird” and many other costumed characters will be strolling through the festival and posing for fun photos. The Clay Lions Club will have its mobile eye unit with Dr. R. Tom Sizemore as a guest volunteer.  The full festival schedule is now available on the festival website.
Clay Businesses and offices are encouraged to decorate their workspace for the festival and enter the always competitive Business Decorating Contest. Judging will take place Wednesday, September 19th, 2013. Please email
clayapplefestival@gmail.com or call (or text) Terri at 304-651-7353 to register. Extra points will be given for use of the festival theme, “A Centennial Celebration”.
Clay County has been more than blessed with artistic talent and each year the festival comes alive with talented individuals who share their gifts with our guests. To list a few of those coming to the stage are Tiffany Cadle-Farmer, Tom Pringle, Rebecca Jarvis, April Ferrebee, Jeana Dozer, Natasha Patterson, school choirs from around the county, Sebrina Grose, Bill Triplett, Marietta Taylor, Cathy Shuler, Jordan Asbury, Farrah Crane, Teddy Vaughan, Jim Perdue, Valerie Facemire, Hook Moore, Steve Mullins, Rick and Steve Ruggieri, George Rose, Doug and Megan Paxton. There are many more local musicians or dancers who will be on the stage to celebrate our county’s heritage. Art comes in many forms; festival vendors feature many talented Clay County cooks, Clay County farmers and crafters. The Youth Art Auction features the artwork of talented Clay County High School students who sell their work to the highest bidder.
Visit the festival website at: www.claygoldendeliciousfestival.com for forms and information. Make plans to join the 2013 celebration September 19th to the 22nd; the third full weekend of September.