Organizers are busy making final preparations for the 21st annual Oak Leaf Festival, which will be staged Aug. 29 to Sept. 1 in Oak Hill.
On Thursday, Aug. 29, the festival will commence with a gospel sing from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Oak Hill Church of the Nazarene (3221 Main Street East, Oak Hill), according to Oak Leaf Festival director Saundie Smith.
Friday, Aug. 30's activities will feature the Sweet Taste of Oak Hill, a baking competition which will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Individuals can bring in their baked goods to enter the contest, and members of the public can sample those fares and cast votes for their favorites. Cash prizes will be awarded.
There will also be a wine tasting competition that evening, and Jeep Night from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday with include a large variety of Jeeps parked along Main Street.
From 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, the Last Chance Band will provide the music for the evening at the Lively Family Amphitheater.
The Parade of Lights is also slated for Friday, beginning at dusk.
Events on Saturday, Aug. 31 will kick off with the raising of the flag with the national anthem and a color guard from 9 to 9:30 a.m. at the amphitheater.
The annual Oak Leaf Festival parade, a popular staple, begins at 10 a.m. Saturday in East Main Street and follows a course of more than 2 miles to the downtown area. The theme will be geared toward celebrating the 100th anniversary of the W.Va. State Police.
A lip sync contest will begin at the Lively Family Amphitheater at about noon following the parade Saturday, according to entertainment chairman Robert Pauley. The lip sync event is "something different that people are taking hold of," said Pauley. In addition to a number of competitors in last year's inaugural event, there was "a big crowd sitting here watching," he noted.
This year's contest, for which there is a registration fee, will be divided up into three age groups: 5-12, 13-18 and 18-and-over. Prizes will be awarded. Contestants can enter in advance or sign up 30 minutes before at the amphitheater.
Contestants can play for up to 90 seconds, and songs must be approved before they take the stage.
For more details, Pauley can be reached at 304-237-5808.
Throughout the day Saturday, nearly 100 vendors will set up in the downtown area as the activities progress.
Music later in the day will be provided by the Krista Hughes Band and the Ann Sumpter Band. And, the evening's musical entertainment will be capped off by a performance by Scherrie & Susaye, formerly of The Supremes.
There is no admission price for the concerts, Pauley stresses.
"It's all free; you can come and sit down and enjoy this," he said. The 2018 festival's main act featured former leaders of The Temptations, The Platters and The Drifters, he said. That show attracted "nearly 5000 people; you didn't see any green spots (on the amphitheater grass) here. People came together for one evening and sat and relaxed and enjoyed a Saturday evening of Motown music."
The festival will conclude on Sunday, Sept. 1 with a performance by the band Black Garlic, as well as a chili cookoff and fireworks.
"This is something for the community, man," Pauley said of the festival.
During the weekend, Smith and Pauley said there will be many games and activities, including appearances from Capt. Jack Sparrow, princesses and other characters, who will participate in read-aloud and other activities with the children. There will also be pony rides and video gaming contests.
"I think it's going to be a terrific weekend," Smith said. "We're hoping the weather holds out for us."
For more information or to obtain vendor applications or entry forms for the parade and other events, visit the festival website at www.oakleaffestivalwv.org or call 304-663-1608. Or, stop by the Fayette County Chamber of Commerce office on Oyler Avenue. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
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