kpanek on August 1st, 2012

August 1, 2012: July 26 thru July 29 the First Annual Vintage Motorcycle event took place at McKee’s Sky Ranch in Terra Alta, West Virginia. Also at Sky Ranch that weekend were races, trials, and scenic rides.

Carver and Brown with Brough

Commissioner Carver & Gene Brown with Brough

Some of the best classic, vintage motorcycles were there on display.  Gene Brown of Denver, Colorado brought a 1961 BSA Gold Star Clubman. This motorcycle is original and has exactly 1 (yes, that is ONE) mile on the odometer. The original owner bought it and displayed it in his living room. Mr. Brown was pleased to show it to West Virginia Tourism Commissioner Betty Carver, as well as his 1932 Brough 80.

Famed motorcycle racer, Dick Mann and Bob Sholly, a well-known motorcycle racer of the 1960s and 1970s laid out the race course for Tom McKee at McKee’s Sky Ranch. Today Dick Mann specializes in restoring and selling vintage race motorcycles. Bob Sholly now owns Good Old Boy Country Auction in York, PA. He showed Commissioner Carver and Heritage Marketing Coordinator Jane Bostic memorabilia of his days racing with the great Gary Nixon.  

Sholly shows memorabilia

McKee, Sholly, Carver, and Bostic view memorabilia

  Mr. Sholly shared many stories of his days as a racer with visitors and participants. Motorcycle artist John Panek was the owner/tuner of a BSA Gold Star racing motorcycle in the Midwest in the late 1950s- early 1960s. He shared memories of racers, tracks, and machines.

Among the vendors were the Christian Motorcycle Riders with a donation-based offering for lunch and a delicious chicken dinner for a mere $10 and a wonderful cheese maker from Maryland Firefly Farm. More on Fairfly Farm coming soon.

Racers Camp

Racers Camp early Friday

Across the landing strip from the Vintage encampment was the camp of the participants of the Trials and Racing and Dick Mann. Friday afternoon the racing contingent had begun to arrive. By Saturday morning it was a very crowded area! There were races all afternoon Saturday. At the lower end of the landing strip was a swap meet and a West Virginia Motorcycle Safety Program trailer and display.

It was a great weekend for both segments of the motorcycling sport. We look forward to the Second Annual being even bigger and better.

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kpanek on July 17th, 2012

July 17, 2012: What does an innkeeper do on a morning there is no breakfast to be served? Well this particular morning, this innkeeper indulged herself by checking out a new café in Shinnston. Someone else cooked and served breakfast to ME!!

David Minor at Beck's Cafe

Co-owner David Minor takes a break

  Beck’s Café has opened in the Shinnston Sports Center. It is no longer a dark “bar” atmosphere. It is bright and airy with tables and café area in the front by the door and three pool tables (or is that billiards) in the back area of the space. Becky and David Minor have made it an inviting place with a limited menu – but they are open 6 AM to about 1 PM and open again at 4 PM as the Sports Center – BUT the menu is available all day.

This time I had the biscuits and gravy – something the Gillum House does not serve (we do low-fat that tastes wonderful) – and a Cappuccino (my City Manager told me they were wonderful and she was correct). Next time I will try their bacon, egg, and cheese croissant.       

Pool Tables at the Sports Center

Pool tables at Beck's Cafe and Sports Center

For lunch or dinner, they offer DB’s Special Pepperoni Bun (3.50), hot dog (1.00), or hamburger (2.75). Beer is also available.

Come check out Shinnston’s new Café and Sports Center. The streets are no longer rolling up at 6 PM!!

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kpanek on July 1st, 2012

July1, 2012: The Shinnston Community Band Independence Concert scheduled to take place at Ferguson Park has been delayed due to an electrical problem. There is not enough power due to the storm to have the lights for the Park, the sound system, and the lights needed for the Band. Due to the safety issue of lighting – THE CONCERT SCHEDULED FOR THE fIRST OF JULY WILL TAKE PLACE ON THE SECOND OF JULY  I was not shouting, just trying to make the message stand out. See you at Ferguson Park on the Second of July. The music will start around 7 PM.

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kpanek on June 25th, 2012

June 25, 2012: Yesterday was the Shinnston Community Band Picnic. It was held at the Shinnston City Pool at Ferguson Memorial Park. July 1 the Park will be the location of the annual Shinnston Independence Concert.

Mike Cale and cohorts grill dogs and burgers

Director Cale and cohorts grill dogs and burgers

The weather was perfect – a bright, warm sunny day with a slight breeze. Mr. Mike Cale, Director of the Shinnston Community Band, Richard Herndon, and Evan Jones of Bandland were the chefs of record for the hot dogs and hamburgers. The rest of the bounteous spread was covered dish by band members. The food was plenteous and delicious.

Many of the kids (and grandkids) of the band members were in the pool having a great time until whistled in for the food. After eating it was back in the pool – faster for some than others who had to wait for Mommy & Daddy to be ready.

Little girl waits for Mommy to get in pool.

Come on, Mommy!!!








Finally shet gets in the pool

Thanks, Mom. Finally!!!




An added attraction was the wheeling in of a very special cart. Young and old had a great time with the age-old activity of blowing bubbles – with a twist. These bubbles were gigantic. It was fun watching the sizes and shapes the bubbles took on.

Blowing giant bubbles

Now THAT is a bubble!!

The Shinnston Community Band will perform July 1 at 8 PM with warm-up Kelsey Jefferies and then blue grass band BreakMountain at 7 PM. The Shinnston Community Band will also perform July 5 at the amphitheater at VA Park in Clarksburg and July 21 at the Shinnston Fire Department on Bridge Street after the Alumni Parade.

Don’t you wish you could have been there for the fun? Why don’t you dust off your instrument and join us this Fall as we start rehearsals for the Christmas Concert.

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kpanek on June 23rd, 2012

June 23, 2012: Are you a lover of vintage motorcycles? Do you have a vintage motorcycle you love to ride (and show off)? Are you looking for parts? I know just the place for you! McKee’s Sky Ranch July 26 thru 28, 2012.

For those who have not heard the news, MountainFest 2012 will NOT have a Vintage Motorcycle Show and will NOT have the Vintage Grand Prix. If the Vintage Motorcycles were your reason to go there just go east on I-68 a few more miles.

Take the Bruceton Mills Exit from I-68 and go South on WV Rte 26 to Kingwood and then east on WV Rte 7 to Terra Alta. Turn left on Sanders Road. This will take you to the right turn onto McKee’s Sky Ranch Road and a weekend of VINTAGE!!!

The activities planned are many.  Vintage Motorcycles will be on display July 26 thru July 29 with a Swap Meet all weekend. July 26 there will be a Dual Sport Ride and on July 27, a Road Rally. The Vintage Moto Cross (do you remember On Any Sunday???) will be held on July 28 and Vintage Trials on July 29.  

Jim Petty with his 1915 Indian.

Jim Petty w/1915 Indian he rode on 2010 Cannonball


There will be a “Vintage” AHRMA National on the 28th and 29th and Vintage Cross Country both days.

There will be a $10 per day or all 4 days for $30 admission. Swap Meet Vendors are required to pre-register.

Anyone needing more information should go to

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kpanek on June 12th, 2012

June 12, 2012: I have been AWL (Absent WITH Leave) for the last two weeks at rehearsals.  

May 29, I was blessed with a visit from my first cousin, Fred, who I have called Big Brother since his first tour of duty in Viet Nam and his lovely lady, Bruni. They live in Schweinfurt, Germany where Fred retired from the Army. 

Fred and Bruni at King Ludwig's Castle

Bruni and Fred

  I spent June 2011 in Germany thanks to him! Then on June 5, yours truly was performing her duties as City Clerk in charge of a municipal election instead of performing with a baritone sax. Tonight was rehearsal!! As much as I enjoyed the May visit, I did not realize how missing rehearsals had put me in the dumps! My spirits have been lifted!!

For those who have never been to Shinnston on or around July 1 – 4, the Shinnston Community Band takes the cement pad in front of the bath house at Ferguson Memorial Park to perform an Independence Concert. There are usually several local performers or groups who do a “warm-up” act. Kelsey Jeffers has performed and Chelsey Boyles has too. This year BreakMountain, a bluegrass band will be the warm-up. (They performed at the trailhead on National Trail Day and are VERY good!)

Sunday, July 1. 2012, approximately 4500 people will start arriving at the Park by 4 PM for the free Concert and Fireworks.

Crowd at the Park for Concert

Early arrivals for Concert

They will fill the grassy area with blankets and lawn chairs, buy food at the pool concession stand (or bring a picnic), buy baked goods from the Swim Team bake sale fundraiser, and settle in for a wonderful evening of music. Every house that rims the Park will have a yard full of family and friends for a cook-out and the music. At approximately 8:00 PM, the Shinnston Community Band with 60 or more musicians ranging from middle school to their 80s will file in and Mike Cale will raise his baton to start the concert. Many new numbers will be played. Some numbers are a standard – Armed Forces Salute to honor our current and former members of the military and of course, ending with Stars and Stripes Forever. As the last strains are played, the fireworks will start. Shinnston has one of the best fireworks in the area. In 2010 a couple came to the Gillum House from New York for the Concert. They said they enjoyed it immensely.

Reservations at the Gillum House for the Concert need to be made soon – July 1 is almost here. If you miss the July 1 concert in Shinnston, we are giving you a mulligan (a do-over) this year. Go to Veterans Park in Clarksburg on July 5 where the Shinnston Community Band will perform in the Ampitheater. For Gillum House reservations book online at or call 888-592-0177 for reservations.

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kpanek on June 11th, 2012

June 11, 2012:About 4 years ago, we decided to test the waters with Gillum House mugs. We are a distinctive bed & breakfast patronized by discerning guests who do not want to use or purchase “junk” or things that can be found “everywhere”. So we contacted Larry Riffle of Riffle Pottery in Cowen, West Virginia with a request. We wanted a mug big enough to be a  

First Gillum House mug

The original Gillum House mug

CUP OF COFFEE, not a teaser. The other parameters were a handle big enough for a MAN to grab and the Gillum House predominate color is burgundy.  They were such a hit that they “flew” off the shelf! Each mug is signed by Larry. By the time I re-ordered, Larry had pneumonia and family illnesses and deaths and had stopped potting for a while.

The while stretched into 3 years and I am so happy to say Larry is back!

Gillum House Bed & Breakfast got a new car!! We have had our 2011 Honda FIT for almost a month now. The other half of this operation is like a teenager with his first car!  So Saturday, June 9 a certain person in this house was ready for a Road Trip! “Call Larry and ask if the mugs are ready.” I did and they were. So away we went to Cowen in Webster County. South on I-79 to Exit # 57 (US Rte 19) to the Birch River Exit, turn left and drive 16 miles to the right turn into the Riffle Pottery driveway.

New Gillum House Mug

The new Gillum House Mug

What a collection of antiques and interesting items and photos decorating the walls and display areas of the showroom! And the wonderful pieces of pottery! All colors, designs, plates and platters, teapots, cups, and mugs, his Face Mugs, pitchers and bowls! The craftsmanship is awesome and the beauty of his designs entice you want one of everything, Although he has neglected to get a web site, Webster County native and well-known travel writer/photographer Thomas Fletcher wrote and posted an excellent article about Riffle Pottery. Larry also holds pottery classes.

Come to the Gillum House to use a Riffle Pottery Gillum House mug. Make your reservations online at or phone 888-592-0177.

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kpanek on May 19th, 2012

May 19, 2012: Today was the Harrison County United Way Bocce Tournament. I was playing on the WAJR-FM team at 9:00 AM. BUT I had to perform innkeeping duties before I could go. I love innkeeping and cooking but Reuben was counting on me.

I have in-house a lovely lady named Liz who is a vegetarian. It is interesting to make new things – and I tried out a new recipe in Liz this morning. I must admit, the second I put the platter on the table, telling her what it was, I was grabbing the car keys and heading to Ferguson Memorial Park. Our Park has 2 tournament grade bocce courts – under roof and with lights. Before I took the platter in to the dining room I grabbed my camera to take a photo of the new dish on the breakfast rotation.

Spinach Potato Hash

Spinach Potato Hash with Fennel Seeds

Liz is a vegetarian, not a Vegan, and I have enjoyed preparing breakfasts for her. So far she has had my sour cream & chives with 3-cheese egg bake with my herb bread and our baked oatmeal with vanilla yogurt. This morning was a brand new recipe that turned out VERY nicely. It is Spinach & Potatoes with fennel seeds Hash. Since I grabbed the camera just before taking the dish into the dining room, you do not see the honeydew and papaya fruit bowl with a sprig of mint from our herb garden. She also had herb bread toast.

The teams scheduled to play today were:  WesBanco Bank, Fairmont Federal Credit Union, WYK Associates, WBOY-TV, WAJR-FM, Pepsi, City of Shinnston, and United Way.

Reuben Perdue of WAJR-FM usually manages to put his body through discomfort for charity but this time it was to be pure fun. Since the WAJR-FM staff  bailed on him, Reuben recruited Steve Hamilton, a member of Reuben’s Facebook Morning Edition Fan Club, Carla Hinerman, Municipal Judge for the City of Shinnston, and Kathleen Panek, innkeeper.


WesBanco's Joe Flynn plays bocce.

Joe Flynn of WesBanco plays bocce

In our first game, we were surprised to win over the WesBanco Team led by Joe Flynn who drove down from Pittsburgh to play. Thank you, Joe! Then we beat Fairmont Federal Credit Union in the second winners’ round. Then we lost to WBOY and to the City of Shinnston, placing third in the Tournament. Marie Battles of the United Way presented the Trophy to WBOY-TV who had a helping hand from one of the ladies from WKY Associates to replace one of their ladies who had to leave to cover a story. It was a fun day that raised money for a great Cause.

Bocce leagues in Shinnston start on Monday, May 21. The next scheduled Tournament is the Italian Heritage Festival Bocce Tournament on August 25. Come play in Shinnston!


Pssst!!! Tonight Liz told me the breakfast was VERY good!!

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kpanek on May 7th, 2012

May 6, 2012: Shop Shinnston is hosting an event GIRL’S NIGHT OUT! on Thursday, May 10 from 6 to 8 PM. Shops in Shinnston are offering specials and discounts. 

Shabby Chic Sisters are having FLASHBACK! Go back in time to the hats and gloves no respectable woman would go anywhere without. Try on the hats and gloves and BLING! Remember the costume jewelry of that time? They will be serving cupcake samples and discounts throughout the store.    

Wine Tasting at lambert's

The Girl's taste wine at Lambert's

Home Style will have discounts, surprises and Lambert’s Winery of Weston for a wine tasting. Treasure Chest will have a special Pink Tag Sale – items with a Pink Tag are 30% off. Godfrey Girls Consignment Shop will have specials and have invited herbal specialist Anne Romance of Green Heron Gardens to speak on Women’s Health. Godfrey Girls will also have a drawing for a basket valued at over $100. Visit our newest shop, Sacred Heart Christian Book and Gift Stoppe.

Get your entry card at the first shop you visit, get it stamped or signed at each participating shop, and qualify for a drawing of a wonderful basket of goodies.

Advance reservations are required at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast to complete the Girl’s Night out. Say (or post in comments when booking online) Girl’s Night Out when booking a room and get the Girl’s special rate of $75 + tax, sumptuous breakfast included. Valid May 10, 2012 only. Cannot be combined with any other offers.

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kpanek on May 3rd, 2012

May 3, 2012: The Bice-Ferguson Memorial Museum has brought programs from the West Virginia Humanities Council to Shinnston, West Virginia in the past. I was able to attend the programs with presentations of Colonel Ruby Bradley and of Mother Jones.

Hallie Marie - Coal Camp Memories

A young Hallie Marie

 The Bice-Ferguson Museum is bringing a wonderful treat to Shinnston on May 17, 2012. Thursday, May 17 at 7:00 PM, Karen Vuranch will bring Hallie Marie to life in a performance of “Coal Camp Memories” appropriately at the UMW Hall on Charles Street in Shinnston. And admission is free, courtesy of the Bice-Ferguson Museum and the West Virginia Humanities Council. I have been fortunate to have seen Karen Vuranch as Mother Jones and Pearl Buck and to have seen “Coal Camp Memories” twice. I will be seeing it a third time on May 17!!

I sincerely hope folks from all over will take this opportunity to see this riveting performance.

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kpanek on May 2nd, 2012

May 2, 2012: Spring is almost sprung!!! The tulips, forsythia, daffodils are gone. But they bloomed early this year. Guests coming in May are in for a treat. Blooms are everywhere!!

Rhododendron and azalea usually bloom the middle to the end of May. Our red azalea and white azalea are almost in full bloom (the purple azalea next door is in frll bloom). I went out and took some photos this morning of two of the bushes in our yard.  

The bush looked dead.

It looked dead last week

  Tucked into the corner of Walnut Street and Davis Court at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast inside the hedge, is a bush I was certain was dead. It was just sticks reaching up to the sky. This morning as I came out of the kitchen, I looked over at it. To my wonder, it has buds all over it getting ready to burst into bloom! Going over for a closer look, I found one that has burst forth! 

Yellow flower bush

My yellow flowers

They are so lovely when blooming – but this bush does not bloom for long.

We have two very large rhododendrons, one on each side of the driveway. Both are the pinkish purple in color. We did have a white one at one time but I do not know if John’s penchant for burning yard waste at the end of the driveway – WAY too close to the poor white rhodo – or the large rhodo next to it overshadowing, but the poor thing gave up the ghost and was removed. One of them is taking its time but the one has been budding for a week and now looks as if it will be in full bloom in another week.  

The small rhododendron

The smaller rhododendron bush.


Visitors to Shinnston are in for a beautiful sight if they come to visit in May!

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kpanek on April 29th, 2012

42698 – Then end of the line! Today was the last time Engine 42698 left the Station. It was a tribute to the memory of Drexel Westfall and his wife Martha Jane who both passed away last month.

In 1998, Candy Fiorito and her “partner-in-crime” Lexie Barnes had an idea of a way to spread GOD’s message. They took their idea to Drexel Westfall with a paper cut-out and notes of what they needed. 

Candy Fiorito and Lexie Barnes

Candy and Lexie - Partners in "crime"

Drexel not only made it, but made it so the set disassembled into compact, easy to carry sections with carrying bags for each section plus put handles into the weght blocks to stablize the set because 6 women were going to be setting up and taking down. Then John Panek was enlisted to paint the Hallelujah Express 42698. That Easter, the Paneks and their friends had a picnic Easter dinner because the dining room table was otherwise occupied.

The Hallelujah Express

The Hallelujah Express

 The Hallelujah Express was blessed as the service the morning of 04-26-98 was the first performance of the Hallelujah Express ministry. Candy Fiorito, Lexie Barnes, Leigh Merrifield, Patty Vincent, Lexie’s daughter Dee, and Candy’s daughter Holly then took their puppet ministry on the road. They not only performed at their home Church, First United Methodist Church of Shinnston and churches in the area, but to surrounding states and as far away as Maine. People donated puppets in honor of and in memory of their friends and families. Each puppet became a person and was treasured.

John and Ed Westfall chat about Drexel and the Hallelujah Express.

John Panek and Ed, son of Drexel Westfall chat

The program starts with the conductor calling All Aboard! as the people with  tickets for good works, tithing, etc try to board the train to Heaven only to be told their ticket will not get them to Heaven. Only the person with Jesus in his heart can board the train. “Jerry Lee Lewis”. “Hank Williams Jr”, “Elvis” (“Elvis has left the building”), “Dolly Parton”, and many others perform.  

The Finale song

The Finale

  Life (including grandchildren, parents, schedules, and knees) has indicated it was time to bring the Hallelujah Express back to the Station for one last performance. And that would be the theme of the 2012 Mother/Daughter Celebration.

The ladies followed the tracks up to the Ticket Booth to receive their Boarding Pass (table assignment – Mama Lucille Anderson and I were seated at Wondrous Love) and then shown to the correct tables.  

Mama Lucille and the Mothers and Daughters

The Mother/Daughter Celebration

  The Railroaders and Hobos (men and boys of the Church) served Hobo Stew in tin cans, tea, lemonade, and water were served in pint Mason jars, and each person received a “Hobo Pack” with bun for “build your own sandwich”, chips, and cookies tied up inside.

The Hallelujah Express brought much joy to the audiences and I can say without equivocation, to the ladies and everyone involved with it. It was a day of joy and sadness – the joy of performing and the sadness that all good things must come to an end, on 42912 – 14 years later, almost to the day!.

Thank you Hallelujah Express!

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kpanek on April 21st, 2012

April 21, 2012: In September 2010 there was a coast-to-coast motorcycle endurance run from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina to Santa Monica, California. This run was called the Cannonball and ALL motorcycles had to pre-date 1916. One of the participants was Jim Petty of South Carolina riding his 1915 Indian.

Jim Petty at MountainFest 2011

Jim Petty talks about 2010 Cannonball Run

 Jim Petty came to Morgantown, West Virginia in July 2011 for the MountainFest 2011 Vintage Motorcycle Show, exhibiting his 1915 Indian ridden in the 2010 Cannonball and the 1927 Indian Chief he was going to ride in the 2012 Cannonball (all motorcycles must have been manufactured between 1917 and 1929). Last night, he arrived at Gillum House to pick up the painting of his 1927 Indian Chief.

After an evening of conversation with artist John Panek followed by a restful night at the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast, Jim sat down to a breakfast of blueberry muffins, orange juice, pear juice, Sour Cream & Chives with 3 Cheese Egg Bake and Kathleen’s English muffin bread straight from the oven. This breakfast started with a fruit banana split.

Breakfast starter - Fruit Banana Split

Fruit Banana Split breakfast starter

More conversation about the flat track motorcycle racers of the late 1950s and early 1960s (John’s era of flat track racing in the Midwest and Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs, Illinois) took place at breakfast. Then it was time to put the painting in the car and start back to South Carolina. Jim said the painting was going to be displayed for a while at Indian Motorcycle Charlotte (a sponsor of Jim in the Cannonball 2010) while they do some work on his 1927 Indian, getting it ready for the 2012 Cannonball.

Artisi and Owner with painting

Artist Panek and Owner Petty display painting

To see more of John Panek’s paintings, come visit the Gillum House Bed & Breakfast.

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kpanek on April 12th, 2012

April 12, 2012:

Raw Ramps

West Virginia Ramps

 I have noticed people are looking for Ramp Dinners in West Virginia.

Ramps grow wild in West Virginia. Everyone knows Spring is here when they start seeing signs posted: RAMPS. For those who do not know what a ramp is, it is of the onion family but have a flat rounded green as opposed to the usual green onion top. I have been told by those who love green onions that ramps taste wonderful. My personal opinion is that GOD took the worst of green onions and married it to the worst of garlic and called it a ramp. From personal testimony I can say if one person in a couple is going to eat ramps, they both should. Do not breathe on me for a couple days after eating a batch of ramps! (I must admit to making a great ramp potato soup!)

Jimmy’s Diner on Hood Avenue in Shinnston (on US Rte 19 on the north end of Shinnston) will be having a Ramp Dinner Buffet on Saturday, April 14 from 2:00 PM to closing fr 10.95 + tax. Come to Jimmy’s for your ramp fix.

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kpanek on April 7th, 2012

April 07, 2012: What is more important for a family than making memories? 30, 40, 50 years later siblings and cousins gather together for a reunion and tell stories to their children and each other – “Do you remember when…..”

A Young Family

A Young Family with the Easter Bunny

Today was one of those days in Shinnston for some families.  It was a bright, sunny crisp day – perfect for a morning at the Park with the children. Today the City of Shinnston’s Recreation Coordinator Nathan Drain and his Activities Committee held the Easter Egg Gather although the grass did give a bit of a Hide & Seek to it. The Easter Bunny came hopping out to each group of children (3 separate age groups came for their designated times) to entertain, pose for photos, and help “find” the eggs. Most of the eggs were filled with candy but some held passes to the pool for this summer and some had a ticket to be redeemed at the Prize Table. Approximately 75 children came for the fun. In addition to the eggs and music, there were Inflatibles from Cartoon Headquarters  for the children to enjoy – a Bounce House and a hit the ball and toss the ball.

Fun Activities - Inflated

The Inflatibles were waiting

The Park is a center of activity in Shinnston with the walking trail going around the perimeter, pavilions for picnics and reunions, tournament-grade bocce courts (May 19 there will be a fundraiser tournament for the United Way), horseshoe pits, and coming this summer – Cornhole!! The zero-grade entry pool with water slide is very busy all summer. On July 1the Shinnston Community Band will assemble before a crowd of several thousand for the annual Independence Concert followed by Fireworks. Shinnston is a City that knows how important it is to create memories of fun and family.

Racing for eggs

Easter Bunny helps as kids race to the eggs

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