Huntersville Tradition Days…Step Back in Time and Join us for a Bicentennial Like No Other


Michael Moore

It has been said, “All good things must come to an end.”  And so it is with the Pocahontas County bicentennial, as we prepare to say goodbye to a nearly year-long celebration of the founding and birth of our beloved county.  But saying goodbye to the festivities doesn’t have to be a sad and somber ceremony.  In fact, we’re going out on a high note.  We’re wrapping up the bicentennial fun with an event that celebrates the time and traditions of the days when Pocahontas County came to be – the annual Huntersville Tradition Days.  This year the big event is slated to run from September 30 through October 1 and will undoubtedly be a fitting tribute to our county’s birth and history and we’d love for you to join us.  But before we get into the details of the Huntersville Tradition Days, let’s go back and take a look at just how Pocahontas County got her start and some of the ways we’ve celebrated this great big, beautiful county we love so much.  Here are a couple excerpts from previous blogs to help set the stage for our Pocahontas County bicentennial finale in Nature’s Mountain Playground.

First, here’s a quick Pocahontas County, West Virginia, history lesson from our December 13, 2021, blog – Happy 200th Birthday Pocahontas County…Come Celebrate with Us.

“For the uninitiated, the meaning of bicentennial simply refers to the two-hundredth anniversary of a significant event.  Think of it as celebrating a 200th birthday.  Now people the world over have held bicentennials as long as there has been something 200 years old to celebrate.  Whether it’s a town bicentennial or even a national one, as the United States commemorated in 1976, everybody loves a good birthday party.  And Pocahontas County is no different.  The big event for us begins with a ceremony slated for Saturday, December 18, 2021, in Huntersville, highlighting the mock signing of the 1821 bill that established this beautiful county.  (You guessed it, here comes the back story).    

The original bill that brought our county to life, enacted on December 21, 1821, was the result of a petition made by over 150 families living in the region we now know as Pocahontas County.  The motivating factor behind this petition was, simply stated, the hardship of travel.  The case laid out in the petition detailed the difficulties settlers faced in traversing anywhere from 40 to 100 miles of mountainous terrain in an attempt (and many times failing) to reach the courthouses of the surrounding counties.  Don’t confuse this with our modern-day wrangling to get out of jury duty.  These folks faced rugged mountains, deep valleys and dangerous rivers – on horseback at best and probably more often on foot.  The request was therefore made for the creation of a new county.  As the writers of the petition put it, 

“…they live in a section of country which appears to have been designed by nature to have little (if any) intercourse with that part of their respective counties in which the seat of justice has been located.”  

In other words, saying to the powers to be, “We can’t get to neighboring courthouses so please award us permission to be a county of our own with our own courthouse.”  The request was granted.  And on December 21, 1821, by an act of the Virginia Legislature, and with land redesignated from Bath, Pendleton and Randolph counties, Pocahontas County was founded.  Now here’s an interesting side note.  As fate would have it, the Virginia Legislature also passed a second act at that time, creating two counties – Alleghany and Pocahontas.  Somewhere along the way, a rumor surfaced that the names of the two newly created counties were transposed by an unknown clerk, resulting in each newly formed county getting the other’s name.”  December 13, 2021

So now that we’ve established a bicentennial celebration meaning and looked into the origins of our county (complete with a fun historical twist of fate), here’s a review of how we’ve celebrated Pocahontas County over the last eight months.  This excerpt comes from our June 3, 2022 blog – Happy 200th Birthday Pocahontas County – A Bicentennial Celebration Preview.

“Whether you favor birthdays or rather they be forgotten, one thing I think we can all agree on is birthdays are a special event that happen only once. You’ll never have another sweet sixteen, thirtieth, sixtieth, or ninety-ninth birthday. And just as birthdays mark the passage of time in our lives, they can also serve to memorialize the age of a town, county, state, or even a country.  But in our minds, a one-day town celebration seems to fall a little short for such an awesome place as Pocahontas County. So, here in Nature’s Mountain Playground, we’re going big.   What makes our birthday celebration different from a town bicentennial ceremony or festival slated for a single day is we’re celebrating county-wide, all summer long and we’d love for you to join us. That’s right. We’ve extended the celebration way beyond the month of December to give you an opportunity to join us in a variety of ways throughout 2022. This is your chance to say, “Happy Birthday Pocahontas County!” So, grab your calendar, open that day planner and get ready to pick some dates to celebrate with us, because this birthday, like all birthdays, is only happing once and you don’t want to miss it.”  June 3, 2022

And here’s a quick reminder of the events covered in that June 3, 2021 blog.       

Cass Days June 17-19, 2022 

          Pearl S. Buck “History Alive” Performance June 25 and September 10, 2022 

            Ann Bailey Trail – Workman Cabin Bicentennial Hike July 2, 2022 

            The Ballad of Cass Drama July 16-24, 2022 

            Autumn Harvest Festival and West Virginia Roadkill Cook-off September 24, 2022

If you missed any of these events, don’t worry, you still have an opportunity to join the celebration.  As I said, our bicentennial finale is going out on a high note with the Huntersville Tradition Days running from September 30 through October 1, 2022.  And you’re officially invited to join us in celebrating 200 years of heritage and history during the annual festival in Huntersville, the original county seat of Pocahontas County.  Step back in time with us as we demonstrate and celebrate the heritage and skills that were a fundamental part of life in Pocahontas County 200 years ago.  The celebrating kicks off Friday evening starting at 4:30 with a hunter’s feast at Court House Square; then follow up your feast with a slice of Pocahontas County birthday cake.  After dinner you’ll want to be sure to stay for the rest of the fun, including a pie auction, live music, and ghost stories at the Civil War cemetery.

Saturday, October 1, be ready to hit the ground running as the Huntersville Historical Traditions folks have an entire day of family-fun planned.  Park the car and start your morning off with a horse and wagon ride around Huntersville.  Once you’ve got a lay of the land, strike out on foot and check out some of the time-honored traditions that will be presented during the day.  A few of the favorites will include: blacksmithing, cooking over an open fire, cider making, corn shelling, broom making, basket making, quilting, spinning, and rug making.  Be sure to check out the special bicentennial quilt and cheer on your favorite baker in either the salt rising bread or corn bread contest.  The day at Huntersville will also include tours of the Huntersville Presbyterian Church, museum, and jail as well as a petting zoo for the kids and traditional children’s games.  Watch and learn the details of loading and firing a muzzleloader rifle and honor the brave soldiers of the American Civil War as you tour the Huntersville Civil War encampment and observe a memorial service procession from the Presbyterian Church to the Civil War cemetery.  And what celebration would be complete without live music?  We’ll have lots of traditional mountain music to fill the air as local performers tune up and play from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The day promises to be one you won’t soon forget.    

Photo: Michael Moore

The Huntersville Tradition Days will transport you back in time; a weekend full of the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of our early 19th century heritage presented in a fun, family-friendly setting.  There’s no better way to cap off our county-wide bicentennial celebration than to come back to where it all started.  The food, tradition, history, and music, all brought together in a town celebration – we’ve thought of it all.  The only thing we’re missing is you.  So come join us, right here in Nature’s Mountain Playground, for our bicentennial finale at the Huntersville Tradition Days this September 30 through October 1, 2022.  Help us say, “Happy 200th Birthday Pocahontas County!”  We can’t wait to see what the next 200 years will bring.