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United Way Prepares for Campaign Kickoff

August 30, 2008
By Wayne Sheets, Contributing Business Writer

The United Way of Randolph County is preparing for its annual fundraising campaign kickoff on Sept. 13 at Elkins City Park. The auction will get under way at 11 a.m. in the large pavilion.

The annual auction is United Way's major fundraiser of the year. This year's event will see an all new and exciting line of items including a one-karat diamond ring donated by Sharp Jewelry, a Viking Sewing Machine from Elkins Sewing Center, washer and dryer from Davis Electric, handmade quilts including one from the Pennsylvania Amish Country donated by Reckart Equipment, West Virginia University and Elkins High School stadium blankets, cross-stitch pieces and locally handmade craft items contributed by local artisans, and my favorite, a camper compliments of Roy's RV Super Center. Locally made furniture from Colonial Millworks and Greenfield Cabinetry, home-canned and home-baked food in auction baskets and many floral arrangements from area flower shops will also be available.

Many of the items will be on display at the Jennings Randolph Federal Building lobby beginning Sept. 3. Silent auction items will also be available. This gives everyone an opportunity to pick out what they want to bid on before auction day.

"We appreciate each and every donor for their generosity and support of the United Way and extend our sincere thanks," Executive Director Bonnie Phares said at Thursday's board meeting. "Our businesses and crafters are the backbone of the auction and our fundraising efforts. Were it not for them we could never begin to reach our goal of $12,000 to $15,000 during the auction. More items are coming in every day and we look forward to and exciting and fun-filled day at the auction."

The Rotary Club of Elkins will provide barbecued chicken prepared under the watchful eyes of master chef Tom Williams, Dan Bucher and other Rotarians who have their "secret recipe" perfected to a science. The Davis & Elkins College food service department will also have a food concession on site and will be serving hot dogs with all the trimmings.

A 50/50 drawing will take place at 3 p.m. Last year's winner took home $576. At the end of the day, a $250 prize will be given to a purchasing bidder, sponsored by Huntington Bank as an incentive to get people to "bid and buy."

Ron Phillips will handle the auctioneering duties ably assisted by Walt Helmick and Bill Johnson. Have you ever wondered how the auctioneers learn to talk so fast?

If you would like to volunteer to help at the auction (your help would be greatly appreciated), donate an item or items, or would like more information, call the United Way of Randolph County office at 304-636-0516.

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A celebration of barbecue and trains will be at the Elkins Depot on Monday from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. The event at the Town Square is part of the continuing Centennial Celebration of the Elkins Depot, 1908 2008. Dubbed "Ribs & Rails," the festivities will feature a rib cook-off between competing vendors vying for best recipe recognition. In addition to the rib cook-off, there will be live music starting at noon featuring the Falling Branch String Band. From 1 p.m. to 2 p.m., The Ginsangers featuring Connie Townsend and Dave Parker, will perform. Appalachian Jazz will take the stage at 4 p.m. and perform until Hardly Ever takes over at 5 p.m. Incidentally, Hardly Ever will be performing at the Hick Festival at Camp Horseshoe, in Parsons today at 7 p.m. If you happen to be over there, be sure and make the group a part of your evening. They are very good.

Admission for Monday's Ribs and Rails event is $5 for adults. Children younger than 16 are admitted free with a paying adult. Tickets holders are eligible to win a variety of door prizes. The first 450 people to attend the event will receive a free souvenir glass.

The event is being sponsored by Davis Trust Co., Mike Ross Inc., Mountain Valley Bank, and the Randolph County Development Authority.

For additional information, call Nancy Barlow at the RCDA office at 304-637-0803.

The Mountain State Forest Festival and the Randolph County 4-H Leaders' Organization are partnering in asking support for 4-H by purchasing leaves to be painted in front of your business and/or home. The cost for each leaf is $15, of which 4-H receives $10.

The leaves will be painted prior to the Mountain State Forest Festival events. Applications and information may be obtained by writing to the Randolph County 4-H Leaders, P.O. Box 1130, Elkins, W.Va. 26241, or by calling the WVU Extension office at 636-2455. It is requested that checks be made payable to Randolph County 4-H Leaders.

Master Gardner Joel Wolpert, who oversees the Elkins Farmer's Market, is asking everyone who visits the market today, and Wednesday, too, I suppose, to complete a survey to help him get an idea of "how we're doing with improving the Elkins Farmers' Market. We'd like to gauge how things have changed (satisfaction, quality, availability, etc.) as the season progresses," he said. "We're also looking for ideas to build our customer base."

He is asking everyone to complete the survey even if you have completed one on an earlier date. Wolpert may be contacted at 304-823-2960.

The Downtown Merchants' meeting was on Tuesday at 5:15 p.m. to give those who might not be able to attend in the morning a chance to attend in the late afternoon after work. The time change produced little results, however. Perhaps no one got the word of the time change in time to take advantage of it. The next meeting will be at the regularly scheduled time of 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 9 at Ceramics with Class.

Discussions are in progress trying to find ways to get those who visit Elkins via the bus tours into the downtown stores. Ed Griesel said that he might have more information on this issue at the next meeting. I know from talking to merchants that this is a serious concern. Some motel and hotel operators are concerned as well, feeling they are being left "out of the loop" of those being used by the bus tours. Ways of alleviating this problem are being addressed.

I hope everyone has as safe, relaxing and enjoyable Labor Day Weekend. There are a lot of activities taking place in our hometown over the weekend; try to take advantage of as many of them as you can. Where did summer go?



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