Celebration of culture

August 14, 2008|By TIFFANY ARNOLD

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - Retired Redskins player Roy Jefferson will lead the Jefferson County African American Culture & Heritage Festival parade in Charles Town and Ranson on Saturday.

Jefferson, who is this year's grand marshal, will be joined by retired NFL players Pat Fisher, Ron McDole, Charley Taylor and Sonny Randall. Organizer George Rutherford, president of the Jefferson County chapter of the NAACP, said there might also be an appearance by a former baseball player for the Chicago American Giants, part of baseball's Negro League.

The Jefferson County African American Culture & Heritage Festival enters its 16th year as a yearly celebration of local black history. The three-day event starts Friday and ends Sunday.

Activities are scheduled throughout the Charles Town-Ranson area and include youth performances, a black history exhibit and gospel music.

The bulk of the events happen Saturday. Vendors and children's activities will be at the festival grounds, at the 300 block of South Lawrence Street. Doo-wop group Pookie Hudson's Spaniels - the band that played with the late Pookie Hudson, of "Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight" fame - will give a free concert later that night. Here are highlights from this year's schedule:


Friday, Aug. 15

7 p.m. - Youth performances at Betty J. Roper Auditorium, at Wright Denny Intermediate School, 209 W. Congress St., Charles Town.

Saturday, Aug. 16

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. - Health fair. Star Lodge Masonic Temple, South Lawrence and Avis streets

Noon - Parade. The parade starts at Third Avenue and North George Street in Ranson and will proceed south to Washington Street in Charles Town, west on Washington Street to Lawrence Street, south on Lawrence Street to Congress Street, where the parade will disband.

1:30 p.m. - Opening ceremony, festival grounds. Retired Redskins player Roy Jefferson will recite the speech given by Martin Luther King Jr. after King received the Nobel Peace Prize.

2 to 5 p.m. - Black history exhibit Fisherman's Hall, 340 S. West. St., Charles Town

2 p.m. - "Freed: African American Ladies of the Civil War," festival grounds

2:15 p.m. - Rockville Marching Wildcats, festival grounds

2:45 p.m. - Band demonstrations, festival grounds

4 to 5 p.m. - Karl Miller Gospel Revue, festival grounds stage

5 to 5:45 p.m., and 6 to 6:45 p.m. - Not Done Yet performs, festival grounds

5:45 p.m. - Electric Slide, festival grounds

7 p.m. - Pookie Hudson's Spaniels, festival grounds stage

9 to 11 p.m. - Youth block dance, festival grounds

Sunday, Aug. 17

3 p.m. - Ecumenical gospel program, Betty J. Roper Auditorium


WHAT: Jefferson County African American Culture & Heritage Festival

WHEN: Friday, Aug. 15, through Sunday, Aug. 17

WHERE: Festival grounds are on the 300 block of South Lawrence Street. See schedule below for other activity locations.

COST: Free

MORE: For more information, contact George Rutherford, 304-725-9610.

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