Clevelanders looking for a family-fun but unique and educational weekend event to attend are in for a real treat at the annual Elizabethtown Festival being held on Saturday, September 8 and Sunday, September 9 within the walls of the former West Virginia Penitentiary in Moundsville, West Virginia. Located 15 minutes south of Wheeling, Moundsville is approximately a 3 hour drive from Cleveland.
A Bit of Penitentiary History This historic Gothic facility dates back to 1866 and was designed to resemble a castle complete with turrets and battlements. Situated on 11 acres, the penitentiary was built by prisoners, one rock at a time. The site of over 100 executions, the West Virginia Penitentiary was closed in 1995 but visitors can still take 90 minute guided tours of the facility.
The penitentiary is rumored to be haunted and Ghost Quest tours are offered the last Thursday of every month from 9 p.m. – midnight.
Elizabethtown Festival Founded in 1738 by Joseph Tomlinson and named for his wife, Elizabethtown was once a separate town but merged with Moundsville in 1866. The Elizabethtown Festival is a heritage festival honoring the former town that came into being before West Virginia was a state.
Activities at the Festival include heritage trade demonstrations including spinning, quilting, apple butter making, tatting, bread making, blacksmithing, butter churning and basket weaving.
Educational exhibits include a display of old time working tools, a hat decorating display, crafts from a by-gone era, a covered wagon to explore and there will be numerous goats to meet and greet and where you can see demonstrations of the making of goat milk candy and goat milk soap.
Children’s activities include a marble tournament, century- old children’s games, clothesline art, a wash day relay, a tractor pull and a pie eating contest.
One of the featured attractions at the Elizabethtown Festival will be Tim Benson who will be a giving a demonstration of the creation of bagpipe instruments.. He will then perform with the Uilleann Pipes along with his wife who will accompany him on the fiddle.
There will also be a chainsaw art demonstration by Jeff Roscoe and don’t miss the Elizabethtown Idol contest. Singers, dancers, acrobats, etc. are all welcome to compete.
A highlight at the Festival is always the food judging contests. This year there will be a Great American Apple Pie Contest showcasing made-from-scratch entries and the Best Elizabethtown Cookie Contest.
A variety of artisans and craftspeople will be on hand selling their wares and naturally, there will be lots of food available for purchase.
Hours for the Elizabethtown Festival are 10 a.m. – 8 p.m on Saturday and noon – 5 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information about the Elizabethtown Festival call 304-845-6200 or get online at www.wvpentours.com.
The West Virginia Penitentiary is located at 818 Jefferson Ave. in Moundsville, West Virginia.
While in Moundsville, check out tours for the Penitentiary and the Grace Creek Mound Archaeological Complex, the largest conical burial ground in North America featuring the 2000 year old Grave Creek Mound attributed to the Adena People, known as the “mound builders.” The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex is located right across the street from the West Virginia Penitentiary and the Elizabethtown Festival.
For more information about the Elizabethtown Festival get online at www.wvpentours.com.
It is approximately a 3 hour drive from Cleveland to Moundsville, West Virginia.