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Jubilee grows in popularity every June

June 12, 2006|by DAVE McMILLION

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - When the June Jubilee started at War Memorial Park 19 years ago as part of an effort to spotlight the Martinsburg park, about 800 people came, said Ted Morgan, who has overseen the event every year.

Now, thousands of people routinely stream into the park for the event, and the crowd is so spread out that Morgan only can estimate the crowd in the "thousands" when he is asked.

Such was the case Sunday as Morgan surveyed the crowd.

"I'm really pleased with it," he said.

As usual, a narrow piece of property running along the park's fence and Tennessee Avenue became a makeshift parking lot, and hardly a space could be found.

Throngs of children enjoyed activities like pony rides and appearances from Ronald McDonald while adults took in some tunes from a live band, checked out a classic car show and browsed through arts and crafts for sale.

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The car show is one of the main attractions of June Jubilee.

About 140 cars were entered in Sunday's show and owners typically compete for awards in different classes.

Morgan said he thinks one reason June Jubilee is successful is because of the variety it offers.

Compared to other car shows where the car show is the only attraction, car owners can come to June Jubilee, park their classic automobile, and let their family enjoy all the offerings, Morgan said.

"We try to give them a full day. It's where you can bring the family out," Morgan said.

"It's ideal. It's perfect," said Charles "Hooch" Triggs of Martinsburg, who was showing his 1949 Studebaker Commander Starlight Coupe.

Jeff Adels of Kearneysville, W.Va., said the car show is small, but he likes it.

"They got a lot of quality cars there," Adels said.

In one section of the park, children were climbing into the mouth of a huge inflatable dragon.

Bucky Chapman joined in the playful moment, moving the dragons jaw up and down to make it look like the animal was chomping down.

Chapman, of Charles Town, W.Va., said he came to the event with his family, which included six grandchildren.

Chapman said he and his family always come to June Jubilee. The family always goes to church, then heads to the jubilee afterward, Chapman said.

"We wouldn't miss it. It's good family fun," said Chapman, adding that the event is easy on the pocketbook.

And that's another important part of the event, Morgan said.

Morgan said many events that offer arts and crafts "close the gate" and charge an admission.

Admission to the jubilee is free, and organizers instead relay on corporate sponsors to help fund it.

"We're going to keep it free. That's the intent of it," Morgan said.

June Jubilee's aim is to bring attention to the park, which is managed by the Martinsburg-Berkeley County Parks and Recreation Board, and to raise money for the park.

On Sunday, park visitors enjoyed some of the latest improvements, like a stone retaining wall and new walkway that runs between the concession area and the park's pool.

The walkway used to be dirt, but now stone paving blocks have been put down along the area that passes under a foot bridge.

"They have always worked hard at it, but they are really trying to make this a showplace park," Morgan said.

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