Block party to spin Buckhannon back in time

The Blast From the Past Block Party, a weekend of free family fun for all ages, will roll back into downtown Buckhannon for its second annual event.

Event organizer Rick Hopkins said that last year’s event was such a success that it will be even bigger this year. He said he also hopes that the event will continue to grow as it enters its third and subsequent years.

“Next year, it could be a three-day event,” Hopkins said. “We’re trying to create interest downtown where the community can bring their family and just have a good time.”

The Buckhannon Blast From the Past Block Party will be held from 6 to 10 p.m., Friday, July 26 and from 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday, July 27. West Virginia Classic Wheels Car Club, the event’s sponsor and organizer, will partner with Create Buckhannon at Jawbone Park that weekend for Festival Fridays. A registration fee of $10 applies to those who register classic and antique vehicles in the car show between Friday and Saturday at Jawbone Park. Money collected through the weekend events will support local charities. There is no charge to come enjoy the events.

“We get our gratification from the fact that we’re helping needy families,” Hopkins said about the charitable donations. “I’ve always wanted to try to do something for downtown Buckhannon and do something for the community that benefits everybody.”

Those who register their vehicles also will qualify for a special 20 percent discount at select motels and diners. A special wristband will be provided at registration as proof to the participating venues.

“The businesses have been very supportive. As soon as you tell them it is for family fun, how much it is helping the businesses, and that the money stays in the county and goes to charities, they’re in,” Hopkins said.

There will be a public pancake breakfast Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. at C.J. Maggie’s on Main Street as an additional fundraiser. The cost is $5 per person.

Hopkins said that one reason for the event’s theme is to give everyone a taste of how Buckhannon was in the 1950s and 1960s, from the attire to the hot rods. The registered vehicles will be parked along Main Street from the Upshur County Courthouse to Buckhannon City Hall.

Those who register a classic car will be able to participate in the Rod Run led by a police escort from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, when they can spin their wheels down to the West Virginia State Wildlife Center in French Creek for a special barbecue.

Other entertainment and activities of the two-day event include costume and dance contests, a DJ, games, food, a cornhole competition, a twirling performance from a local baton group and live entertainment from The Fabulous Rockolas from Johnstown, Pa. – an oldies band that will perform hits from the 1960s and 1970s at 7 p.m. Saturday.

With help from the live band, the block party will transport Main Street, Spring Street and Jawbone Park back to the 1950s and 1960s. Guests are encouraged to dress with the theme and participate in the costume contest that Saturday.

“I think it’s going to be a tremendous boom for downtown Buckhannon. It’s going to bring a lot of people here, and they’re going to be spending money downtown,” Hopkins said. “A lot of cities’ downtown areas have just become so desolate that people don’t have anything to come to town for. We’re just trying to provide something so the community can come and enjoy themselves.”

For helping make the event possible, the car club extends a special thanks to the Upshur County Sheriff’s Department, Buckhannon City Police, Buckhannon Fire Department and Upshur County Emergency Squad. Hopkins said the event also receives support from the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Create Buckhannon, the Chamber of Commerce, Buckhannon City Council and the Upshur County Commission.