Best of September in WV

Ahh, fall in West Virginia. The temperatures of summer drop, the leaves begin to change and it seems as if a crisp breeze is always around the corner.

Towns and cities across the state have plenty of festivals that capitalize on this smooth seasonal change in September. Here are some of the best. 

1. Mothman Festival

Point Pleasant, Sept. 16-17, 2017 

If you have read John A. Keel’s The Mothman Prophecies, or seen the movie based upon it, you may be familiar with the local lore in Point Pleasant about a prophetic “Mothman” who appears as a foreshadowing omen before disasters.  

But did you know that Point Pleasant has an entire festival for its beloved-but-eerie mascot?  Come to the small town on the Ohio River and get your picture taken with the town’s Mothman statue.

The Mothman Museum will be open, of course, and there will be plenty of live music, food, and vendors as well. You have to see it to believe it.

2. Wheeling River Festivals

Wheeling, Sept. 3-4 & 15-17, 2016 

Located in the northern panhandle, Wheeling has always been a river-based shipping hub. Every 3rd weekend of September, the city celebrates with its Heritage Port Sternwheeler Festival, a barrage of food, live music, fireworks and a mass of steam-powered sternwheel riverboats parading up and down the Ohio River— several of which are open for public tours.  You’ll swear that you’ve stepped back into a Mark Twain novel.

Or, for a more modern (but still plenty retro) take on the river, check out the Vintage Raceboat Regatta. Old-time speedboat enthusiasts will race along the river, and of course there will be plenty of food, music, and fun in addition to that. 

3. Mountain Brews and BBQ Festival

Franklin, Sept. 17, 2016

This is a no-frills, no-fee, one-day event that features a last hurrah for some of the best parts of summer: beer and bbq! Bring your blankets and lawn chairs for the live music, fire up your grill for the amateur bbq competition, and sip the best craft microbrews from around West Virginia.  Entrance is free, but to taste the bbq and drink beer you’ll have to pay (cash only). All proceeds will go to a good cause. If this one-day affair is not enough for you, consider checking out the separate but nearby Treasure Mountain Festival, too!

4. West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival

Clarksburg, Sept. 2-4, 2016

Our state has always attracted a wide diversity of immigrants, whether they came to log, mine, work on the rivers or be entrepreneurs. Clarksburg has been celebrating the legacy of Italian immigrants and their descendants for more than 3 decades now, since 1979.

There is traditional Italian dance, a crowning of the queen “Regina Maria,” live entertainment (Tony Danza and Frankie Avalon have performed here) and of course, more excellent food than you’ll ever be able to eat. This is one of West Virginia’s most long-standing and venerable festivals. Don’t miss it!

5. Jackson’s Mill Jubilee

Weston, Sept. 1-3, 2017

Back when Lewis County was still part of the Old Dominion, and West Virginia did not yet exist, the site for this festival, Jackson’s Mill, was the boyhood home for future Confederate general Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The Jackson’s Mill Jubilee highlights regional history, with reenactments, live old-time music, historical authors, and traditional arts and crafts.

6. West Virginia Roadkill Cook-off

Marlinton, Sept. 29-30, 2017 

Pocahontas County is one of West Virginia’s hidden gems, situated in the high mountain country in the eastern portion of the state. Every September, the mountain folks here have a unique festival that playfully celebrates some Mountain State kitsch– a “roadkill cook-off!”  

If you’ve ever wanted to taste squirrel gravy, bear sausage, or maybe just some down-home biscuits if you’re feeling less adventurous, this is the place to be. (Don’t worry, it’s not really roadkill, but fresh, quality wild game!) There’s plenty more fair-style fun to enjoy, including a Roadkill Beauty Pageant!

7. Launch a rocket!

Beckley, Sept. 22-23, 2017

Each year, the original Rocket Boys return home. You may have heard of this crew from the popular blockbuster, “October Sky.” 

The Rocket Boys Festival used to be in the boys’ hometown of Coalwood, but moved to Beckley in 2012. Meet and talk with the original Rocket Boys, watch “October Sky” or participate in a rocket-launching contest. There is an abundance of food and craft vendors, as well as musical entertainment (This year, West Virginia’s America’s Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy will perform!)

Which of these unique fall mountain festivals will you be experiencing for yourself?

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This post was last updated on July 20, 2020