An opportunity to celebrate the old and the new.
By Bonnie Williamson
Shepherdstown may be the oldest town in the state of West Virginia, but something new happens the last Saturday in June. Shepherdstown gets to show off.
The annual Shepherdstown Street Fest will be held June 25, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. The festival is held on the two blocks of German Street, on either side of the town's main intersection at King Street. A stage is brought in, local bands perform, and local vendors, artists, and businesses offer their unique wares.
"The Street Fest gives us an opportunity to celebrate our town, our culture. We have really talented artists here," says Dave Rosen, a city councilman in charge of marketing the event. "It's a great opportunity to share all that our town has to offer in this great one-day event."
Local bands set to perform include: Moondog Medicine Show, a blues band; Gypsy Ramblers, who play a mix of gypsy, jazz, dawg, and blues; The Golden Butter Band, who play a blend of edgy and melodic music; Bob Keel and the Aveys, folk; the Fox Hunt, rowdy country and bluegrass; Todd Coyle, blues; Holy Ghost Tent Revival, roots music; Dan Tait Trio, jazz; and Paul Pfau and the Dimestore Band, funk rock.
One speaker at the event represents a different kind of culture for Shepherdstown: running.
"The C&O Canal is close by and people hike, bike, and run near the canal all the time," continues Rosen. "Mark Cucuzzella, organizer of the annual Freedom's Run marathon held here in October, will be giving a speech called, ‘Learn, Evolve, Run! An Introduction to Healthy Running and Walking.' We have a real running culture here in Shepherdstown." Cucuzzella operates the Two Rivers Treads store in town.
In addition, there will be a martial arts demonstration with Master Jong Lee's students of the Jong Hap Mu Sool Martial Arts School.
This is the fifth year for the Shepherdstown Street Fest, explains Rosen. The festival is run completely by volunteers who, along with Rosen, include Lori Robertson, Chris Stroech, Cari Rosen, Sarah Poland, Dolores Nichols, Chris Crawford, Bob Keel, Jim Ford, and Donn Marshall.
Rosen credits Donn Marshall as the mentor for the event. Marshall, a consultant for nonprofit organizations, moved to Shepherdstown from Washington, D.C., after the tragic days of 9/11.
"My wife Shelley was killed at the Pentagon. I wanted to move my children to some place safe. Shepherdstown is a safe haven for me. It has been so wonderful here for us. Getting involved with the festival is my way of giving something back to this town," he expresses.
Marshall worked with Cindy Schott, one of the committee members who organized the first festival. Through Cindy, he met his current wife, Heather. The Shepherdstown Street Fest was initially developed to fill a lull in activity in town during the Contemporary American Theater Festival (CATF). CATF, held at Shepherd University, is an annual event in which new plays are staged.
"The theater festival is held in July. By the third week of the festival, things began to slow down in town so we created the street festival to attract people," Marshall notes. "We decided to change it to the last Saturday in June and always hold it then— create institutional memory." The festival depends on donations from the community. Around the Panhandle is proud to be a platinum sponsor for the event.
For more information about the Shepherdstown Street Fest, call 855-787-3383 or email at info@ ShepherdstownStreetFest.org.