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Leaf Peepers, Run For It on tap in Tucker County

By BAYLI HELMICK

The Inter-Mountain

DAVIS, W.Va.  — Preparations are underway for the 29th annual Leaf Peepers Festival, scheduled for this Friday through Sunday.

Hosted by Alpine Festival Inc., the festival will feature returning favorites along with new activities to create a fun weekend with events for all ages.

Multiple events will be held throughout the weekend, including musical performances; craft shows; art exhibits; inflatable play areas for kids, sponsored by Young Life; and live glassblowing demonstrations by Chip Turner from Appalachian Glass.

Tina Lipscomb, treasurer of the Alpine Festival Inc., encourages everyone to come out and have a good time.

“The Leaf Peepers Festival is the ultimate celebration of autumn in the mountains,” Lipscomb stated. “It’s a great family fun festival.”

She invites everyone to attend one or multiple events at the Leaf Peepers Festival.

“We encourage everyone to come out,” Lipscomb stated. “It’s a great fall festival for young and old.”

Events will start on Friday morning with scenic chairlift rides at Canaan Valley Resort, interpretive fall foliage horseback rides at Mountain Trail Rides and an outdoor swap at Driftland Ski & Sport Shop in Davis.

On Friday evening, locals and visitors alike can enjoy wagon rides with horse-drawn wagon rides in Davis and wagon rides at Canaan Valley Resort.

The 8th annual Leaf Peeper’s Fireman’s Parade, sponsored by the Davis Volunteer Fire Department, will take place at 7 p.m. Friday, set to include fire trucks, floats, antique cars and more.

Friday also will be the only day that features West Virginia Heritage Exhibits, including an Amish lifestyle and horseshoeing exhibit hosted by Bennie Bender; a stream restoration exhibit hosted by the Canaan Valley Institute; “Animal Olympics” hosted by volunteers from the Canaan Valley National Wildlife Refuge and sponsored by the Friends of the 500th National Refuge; and interactive improv sessions hosted by EMay and sponsored by STArt.

On Saturday, the festival’s morning events will begin with an IOOF Breakfast, the Fields of Fire Dolly Sods Tour, a silent auction, Little Peeper Petting Zoo and gemstone mining.

The annual Oktoberfest will start at 10 a.m. and last until 7 p.m., featuring multiple craft and food vendors, music and a talent show.

Another major part of the weekend’s events will be the annual Tucker Community Foundation Run For It fundraiser, which will start at 11 a.m. Saturday. Registration for the 2K and 5K Run For It race will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, and 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday at the Davis Volunteer Fire Department.

Proceeds support causes within the Community Foundation’s area, which includes Barbour, Grant, Mineral, Preston, Pocahontas, Randolph and Tucker counties, as well as Garrett County, Maryland.

Before the Run For It, runners are invited to the WV Highland Artisans Gallery for coffee, sweet rolls and buns from 8 to 11 a.m.

The awards ceremony for Run For It will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Frontier Communications Stage in Davis.

Saturday afternoon also will offer the Blackwater Canyon Bike Ride at the Purple Fiddle in Thomas, and the River Restoration Film Showing at the National Youth Science Center in Davis.

Art showcases and displays will be featured throughout Saturday, including the WV Highland Artisans Gallery offering champagne and hors d’oeuvres and the Thomas Art Crawl featuring artspaces Creature, White Room, Lamplight Gallery, Gradient and TipTop.

Families can enjoy numerous events on Saturday at Blackwater Falls State Park, including a Touch of Geology, Native Americans in West Virginia, a Campfire and Sundown in the Park.

Friday and Saturday will also offer events such as the Broken “H” Traveling Train Exhibit, Totem Motive Wood Carving Exhibit, Fred “Powerhouse”Powers and Pioneer Games all held in front of Alpine Lodge in Davis.

On Sunday, Canaan Valley Resort will host the 20th annual Fall Colors Golf Tournament starting at 9:30 a.m. Numerous prizes will be up for grabs, including a Hole in One Car sponsored by Performance Chevrolet.

Sunday, the festival also will feature the Leaf Peeper breakfast special, a car show, a nature hike, a cake walk and the annual Duck Race.

The 800 Duck Race will be held at the Beaver Creek Bridge with cash prizes given to the first, second, third and last duck to cross finish line. All proceeds from the Duck Race will all go toward the Leaf Peepers Festival.

Multiple bands and solo artists will perform at a variety of stages all weekend long, including the Chaga Tea Project, Bear Hill Bluegrass Band, Chad Elliot with Tommy C. Lewis, Bob Keel, The Railsplitters and Belle of the Fall.

WV Appalachian Craft Show and craft auctions will take place both Saturday and Sunday at the Davis Fire Hall in Davis.

A full schedule of events and additional details about the Leaf Peeper Festival can be found online at http://canaanvalley.org/leafpeepers.

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