Kump House event raises $5,000

Old-fashioned children’s games, crafts, food, live music and pies abounded at the Kump House on Saturday, which celebrated its second annual Fair at the Crossroads with a steady stream of visitors braving the heat and humidity.

The Fair, on the lawn of the historic house, featured an art tent and games such as croquet, jacks and marbles for children, house tours and a scrumptious pie auction. The 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. event raised $5,000.

“We had wonderful volunteers, and we were lucky with the weather,” said Heather Biola, Kump House coordinator. “One of the most outstanding things about Elkins is that we’re not wealthy, but we all try to help out.”

The fundraiser, a celebration of 150 years of West Virginia history, kicked off with a tribute to the local John Hart chapter of the Daughter of the American Revolution, which was instrumental in obtaining a $10,000 DAR grant for continuing Kump House renovations.

Crafters included Riece Brown of Elkins, who builds one-of-a-kind guitars and lap steels. Brown specializes in rare and hard-to-find woods for his creations. His guitar woods come in black walnut, birdseye maple, Italian Alpine spruce and mahogany and start at $900.

“I build family heirlooms,” Brown said.

One of his hand-made guitars was fronted with recycled black walnut from a 250-year-old fireplace in Virginia, Brown said.

“The best wood in the world for guitars comes from West Virginia,” Brown said. “Red spruce, from the Spruce Knob area. Since it’s in a National Forest, it has to be collected above 3,800 feet and from an already-downed tree.”

Artists At Work Gallery members Melinda T. Shafer of Coalton Cottage Originals and Emily Eda of Contrary Wife Quilts shared a tent and were at the fair for the first time as vendors.

“I did better than I thought I would, and I made some contacts,” said Emily Kelly Ede, of the Contrary Wife.

“I’ll probably do it again next year.”

The Fair also marked the debut of “Hoodwinked in Richmond,” an original one-act play by Jane Birdsong. The play depicted the political chicanery that happened before the Virginia Legislature voted to secede from the Union. The cast of local actors featured John Huerta, Julius Martin, Bob McCutcheon, Bill McWhorter and Dave Shombert.

An old-fashioned pie auction raised $1,200 with more than 40 tantalizing fresh-baked sweet and savory pies going to the highest bidders. Local bakers donated the pies for the fundraiser.

Enticingly named pies included: five-pound apple pie, heavenly peanut butter pie, shaker two-crust lemon slice pie and a silken chocolate tofu pie.

“I’m visiting family nearby and it was great to find a local event with games for the kids,” said Carol Sauerbach. “The apple butter is so fresh, the jar is still hot.”

Apple butter and beer-making demonstrations rounded out the activity-filled day. And roast corn, hot dogs and homemade apple cobbler with vanilla ice cream were available for the hungry.

All proceeds went to the ongoing restoration of the Kump House and the development of the Kump Education Center. The spacious 26-room mansion built in the 1920s was the former home of Herman G. Kump, the 19th governor of West Virginia.