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Peach Festival move meets with criticism in Hampshire County

By Liz Beavers, Mineral News and Tribune

FORT ASHBY, W.Va. — The announcement last week that the West Virginia Peach Festival would be moving to Mineral County has sparked a firestorm of criticism from many in Romney and Hampshire County.

Festival chair Barbie Hillenbrand and the planning committee announced the move via the Peach Festival Facebook page on April 3, citing the construction and renovation plans on the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind campus as the main reason.

Once that announcement hit social media, comments began pouring in from businesses and residents of Hampshire County who were upset with losing the festival. Some comments even included threats against committee members who had been a part of the decision.

Hillenbrand initially told the Mineral News & Tribune that the ongoing renovation and construction at the WVSDB campus will take up the area where the Peach Festival vendors had been located, and would also impact space for parking for an unspecified amount of time.

Hillenbrand has also said, however, that the Romney City Council’s current move to impose a vendor fee for those selling crafts, food, etc., also played into the decision. The proposed town vendor fee of $10 for a single day sale and $25 for a year, would be over and above the $60 fee non-food vendors already pay to participate in the Peach Festival.

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