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Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival makes history

For the first time in the 33-year history of the event, historic roundhouse is used as arts and crafts show venue

October 20, 2012|By DAN DEARTH | dan.dearth@herald-mail.com
  • Clowns parade down King Street Saturday during the Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival parade in Martinsburg, W.Va.
By Ric Dugan, Staff Photographer

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The B&O Roundhouse in Martinsburg finally found a place Saturday in the city’s annual Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival — almost 150 years to the day that Confederate soldiers set fire to the original structure.

For the first time in the 33-year history of the event, organizers used the historic roundhouse at 100 E. Liberty St. as the venue of the festival’s arts and crafts show.

Barbara Frankenberry, president of the festival’s board of directors, said the arts and crafts show initially was held at the West Virginia Air National Guard base in town. But when terrorists attacked on Sept. 11, 2001, the event had to be moved to the Berkeley County Youth Fair Grounds.

She said organizers jumped at the chance to move the arts and crafts show to the roundhouse when they learned it was available.

“We all decided it was the right time,” Frankenberry said of the board’s decision. “It’s just a historical place and we had to take advantage of it.”

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Built around 1850, the roundhouse complex was used as a hub to service locomotives. On Oct. 19, 1862, the structure was burned by Confederate soldiers.

The roundhouse was rebuilt after the Civil War and used until it closed in 1988. It was designated as a historical national landmark on July 30, 2003.

On Saturday, the renovated roundhouse bustled with hundreds of visitors who bought apple pies and shopped for arts and crafts, including furniture, jewelry and toys.

Jan Angus, a festival board member, said about 70 vendors participated in the festival, which was created to celebrate the area’s apple industry.

She said proceeds from pie sales and booth rentals would be used to fund next year’s event.

Vendor Jenn Grubbs, owner of Panhandle Primitives, a country decor company based in Inwood, W.Va., said she paid $150 for a 10-foot-by-10-foot booth at the roundhouse.

She said she believed the old site at the youth fairgrounds offered more parking.

“I enjoy the festival,” she said. “It’s nice to see something in your hometown that’s accessible.”

Martinsburg resident Vicky Robinson said she tries to attend the festival every year.

She said she was there Saturday trying to do some early Christmas shopping.

“I like the variety,” she said.

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