Cheat Fest provides fun for the whole family

Preston

The 24th annual Cheat River Festival was held this weekend in Preston County. 

The Cheat River Festival is held every year to raise money for Friends of the Cheat. This is a non profit organization that works to restore, preserve, and promote the natural qualities of the Cheat River watershed. 

“So a lot of people wonder what a watershed is, and it is the area of land that drains into a river. So, every part of the land around the Cheat River,” said Ellie Bell, festival coordinator. 

The group works to improve the quality of life and quality of recreation in the watershed.

People travel from all over the country to be a part of the festival. 

“And then we always have bands who are local and come donate their time to the cause. We have 300 volunteers which is more than we’ve ever had but with expanding to two days, it’s really necessary and all of our volunteers are super amazing people and they come from all over the country too. We have people come from Utah just to volunteer. People really care about the Cheat River,” said Bell. 

The most popular parts of the festival are the Kids Tent and the Art Market. 

“It’s a juried art market, so they’re really high quality artists, and really beautiful work,” said Bell. 

Kids are able to learn about the Cheat River. 

“Every year we pick a theme for the kids tent and it’s always different and the idea is to teach them the principals of the Friends of Cheat. That is to reduce, reuse, and recycle, as long as having a lot of respect for the watershed,” said Rachel Griffith, kids tent. 

“The kids tent is kind of a dream for kids. It’s a place for them to meet other kids with similar interests and for parents to even meet other parents with similar interests,” said Bell. 

“We also always do the acid mine drainage tye dye to teach the kids about the dangers of acid mine drainage and how it destroyed the river and the Friends of Cheat cleaned it up and made it all better,” said Griffith. 

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