Rowlesburg community come together for annual Labor Day Ox Roast


ROWLESBURG, W.Va. – A few hundred people congregated in the community park on Labor Day afternoon for the annual Rowlesburg Labor Day Ox Roast.

Lori Sisler, the park commissioner, said the event is “like a homecoming to the community”. People who have moved away come back home for amazing food, namely the beef, music and to socialize with friends and family. All of this, Sisler said, creates a strong sense of community, while also raising funds for the park.

People enjoying the annual Ox Roast

“It’s so amazing,” Sisler said. “And, it will, probably, be one of the last festivals that’s not actually going to be canceled, so we were really excited to have the outdoor event.”

Phil Wotring, who is part of the park commission, went around taking pictures of different people around the park.

Organizing the annual OX Roast, he said, is “a lot of hard work”.

“And our only reward is we get to see these big crowds and all the kids and all the people enjoying the facilities,” Wotring said. “And we’ve renovated the facility. We’ve worked very hard in the past year to renovate it, and it just makes you feel good that it was all worthwhile.”

A couple watching the band warmup from the bleachers

Sisler said recent renovations include new roofs on the buildings, repainting and redoing the bathrooms.

A lot of this work is usually paid for through the Ox Roast and other similar events, which allow the park to fundraise.

However, because of the pandemic, Wotring said, they have not had many events in the past year.

“This is, really, our first big one,” Wotring said.

And again, it took a “lot of work” to organize in a safe and effective manner.

“It does,” Wotring said. “That’s what makes you feel good, when it works, you know when everything you’ve done works. That makes you feel good, makes you feel like it’s all worthwhile.”

The annual Ox Roast will be back in 2022, and Wotring said he hopes everyone who missed it this year can come to enjoy it.

“Come next year if you’re not here and we would love to have you,” Wotring said.

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