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Apple Festival memories

September 30, 2012
Weirton Daily Times

Another Apple Festival goes down in the record books with a little rain, a little wind, plenty of sunshine and plenty of great visitors to the 40th-annual event.

The crowd for the parade was tremendous. We saw it from the car as I didn't get done taking pictures and writing notes at the former Northwest Elementary School parking area until after the parade started moving down the street. There was no way we could get out to beat it, so we sat in the car and watched.

Much thanks goes out to Brenda Swiger, an instructor with the Sassy Shakers dancers who took part in the Lisbon Johnny Appleseed Festival last week. When it seemed that participants did not know what position they had in the parade, she and her daughter, Jamie Scott, stepped forward and lined up the 40 units.

Article Photos

The Smithfield American Legion Post 396 raised the flag for opening ceremonies. Members are, from left, Rich Harris, commander; Gilbert Powell, chaplain; Harry Lowry, Brilliant American Legion sergeant at arms; and Jeff Conley, sergeant at arms.

There were many fire departments taking part in the parade, and our Smithfield VFD selected the following winners:

Best pumper: Tiltonsville VFD.

Best brush truck: Canton Township VFD.

Best e-squad: Mount Pleasant VFD.

Best police department: Wintersville.

Chief's choice: Brilliant VFD.

The Smithfield Friends Church, with Robert Wetherell driving his Model L 1940s tractor, won first place in the parade. Children from Sunday school and junior church on the float were Angel and Abby Wilson; Brysson Flaherty; William, Chad and Jacob Evans; Emily Stewart; Ethan Devore; and Brandy Ramsey and her visitor.

Wayne and Angela Davies of Adena had their Spirit of America red, white and blue train chugging up and down Main Street. Angela said the train belongs to their 13-year-old daughter, Angie, who accompanies children on many trips and gives a cheerful smile and a friendly wave.

An adorable unit in the parade was the miniature-size Big 4 Development Conestoga wagon pulled by pint-size horses. One of the marching participants was a greyhound in a red jacket adopted from Wheeling Downs. Big 4 is a construction business located in Rayland.

U.S. Bank was applying one of a choice of four faux tatoos to children at its vendors booth near the stage area. Liz Matthews, who was operating the Brightway Center bake sale booth, had one of the tatoos on her face, and I asked its origin.

She took me to the U.S. Bank stand where I had a red, white and blue tatoo applied just above my wrist by Christy Holmes. I have been careful not to use soap on it and am happy to say that it is still intact. I want to show it to my two younger grandchildren this weekend.

Other members of the bank serving their customers so well are Linda Yanda, teller coordinator; Samantha Yanik, universal banker; Monica McKinstry and Bobbie Leasure, tellers. Bobbie told me about living across the street from our home in the late 1980s.

Nikki Pflugh had attractive handmade tote bags and decorative purses for sale at the festival. Just something she whips up in her spare time from her nursing job, council president seat, wife and mother duties.

Her sister, Debbie Coconaugher, village financial officer, had score sheets for festival winners printed, making my job easier in reporting on the contests.

We ran into Erin and Ronnie Delatore on the street. It was one of those "on no" moments when I looked into their faces, knowing that I had made their acquaintance in the past but could not come up with a name. In situations like that, I just have to say, "I'm sorry, but I do not remember your name."

Actually, we had breakfast with them on several occasions on our trip to Mississippi and Tennessee on the Gable Foundation bus trip.

We also came across Tim and Kim Zifzal, with Tim being the ultimate Browns fan since 1977. We talked again about Kim's grandmother, Dorothy Robertson, who is a big fan of my column.

I can't close off on writing about the apple festival without making mention of our longtime friend, Bob Rish, who was a part of the event since it got its start.

He was the coordinator for a time and always the sound man, occasional announcer and in charge of the beds for the Great American bed race. I helped him time the races for at least 15 years. It was great fun seeing the four runners thundering down the street and crossing the finish line. At that moment, Bob would yell "stop," and I would hit the button on my stop watch. It is ironic how fast those seconds go flashing by.

Likewise, it is ironic how fast the time of our friendship with the Rishes has flown by. His wife, Sally, has been gone several years, and Bob died on May 22.

He was sadly missed at the festival this year and with us. Until 2011, he kept up with all the younger volunteers in carrying out duties before, during and after the event.

(McCoy, a resident of Smithfield, is food editor and a staff columnist for the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. She can be contacted at emccoy@heraldstaronline.com.)

 
 

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