FAIRMONT, W.Va. — After a year without any festivals or fairs due to the pandemic, the Three Rivers Festival returned to Palatine Park on Thursday. While the first day of the festival, which featured a parade through downtown Fairmont, was picture-perfect weather, the conditions in the latter two days of the festival left something to be desired.
Regardless, attendees welcomed the festival back in full force.
“It was fun, just a little wet,” said Jon Dodds, a member of the festival board.
Lines were forming well before the carnival opened up on Saturday. The carnival featured nine different rides, plus plenty of festival eats. No matter what, there was something for everyone to enjoy.
“All of this stuff is a blast,” said Evie Whaley, who attends the festival annually. “I mean, I went on [one of the rides] multiple times. It’s scary as heck. It’s awesome.”
Along with the joyous energy radiating through Palatine Park, there was one other prominent emotion: relief. After a year of social distancing and virtual events, it was clear that everybody was relieved to be back outside together.
“The thing I’ve missed most is the community,” Dodds said. “When we get community members and people coming out, we start to feel that sense of community.”
The festival will conclude on Saturday night. The highlights of the final night include a pepperoni roll eating contest, followed by a fireworks display over the Monongahela River.