CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (WBOY) — Some festivals in West Virginia you just can’t find anywhere else. In September, the Mountain State has multiple festival events to choose from every weekend, and if you’re looking for an event that will make your out-of-state friends say “what?”, here are a few good options.
West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival – Clarksburg
The West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival is scheduled for Labor Day weekend from Sept. 1-3. Since 1979, the festival has celebrated north central West Virginia’s Italian population. In addition to the three-day festival, the week leading up to the event will feature a pasta cook-off, and pepper and wine contests. This year, the event is adding a Children’s Arena and Garden Market. A full schedule of events is available here. While in the area, visitors should check out some of the incredible Italian restaurants in the area.
West Virginia Sunflower Festival – Alderson
If you can’t make the first week of the sunflower festival, don’t worry! On Sept. 2-3 and Sept. 9-10, the festival gives you the chance to explore sunflower fields while enjoying vendors and activities for kids. This festival is the perfect photo op, and professional photographers are available to book ahead of time. Click here for more details.
Nicholas County Potato Festival – Summersville
In addition to typical festival pageants, vendors and amusement rides, the Potato Festival also has a potato decorating contest, potato display, multiple potato eating contests—including mashed potato and tater tot variations, potato sack race, spud hunt and Potato Idol contest. The Summersville festival takes place on Sept. 8-9 to “celebrate friends, neighbors, and potatoes!” A full schedule is available on the event’s website.
Gauley Fest – Summersville
Gauley Season is when water is released from the Summersville Lake dam, creating some of the best possible whitewater rafting conditions on weekends from Sept. 8 to Oct. 22. On Sept. 14-17, Summersville hosts Gauley Fest, a fundraiser event for American Whitewater that celebrates the season. The festival will include live music, vendors and camping, and of course, rafting is available just down the road. A tentative schedule is available on the American Water website. Daily admission to the festival ranges from $40 to $60, depending on what day you go.
Clay County Golden Delicious Festival – Clay
This year will be the 50th annual festival on Sept. 14-17. The festival celebrates West Virginia’s state fruit, which was created in Clay County in the early 1900s. The event will include live music, pageants, vendors and parades, but festivalgoers can also look forward to themed baking competitions, the “Apple Dash 5K” and a skillet flinging contest. The event is free to the public and takes place on Main Street.
Mothman Festival – Point Pleasant
Every September, this festival celebrates the legend of West Virginia’s most famous cryptid—Mothman. Mothman has been spotted several times in the Point Pleasant area but is most known for his appearance on the Silver Bridge just before its collapse that killed 46 people in 1967—although West Virginians debate whether he was the cause of the collapse of a warning sign. The festival spans Sept. 16 and 17 and gives visitors a chance to visit the Mothman Museum, see the Mothman statue and enjoy Mothman-themed vendors and contests. More information about the festival is available on the event website.
Healing Appalachia – Lewisburg
This three-day music festival event is made to help heal the Appalachian region from damages caused by opioid and drug addiction by raising money for awareness and recovery efforts. The concerts will feature more than 20 Appalachian artists, including Tyler Childers and Trey Anastasio, and take place at the State Fairgrounds. Tickets for the three-day event from Sept. 21-23 are $174, but single-day tickets are also available for $60-90, depending on the day. A full schedule and more details are available here.
Autumn Harvest Festival and WV Roadkill Cook-Off – Marlinton
The Autumn Harvest Festival is usually held at the end of September/beginning of October but has been moved forward a week this year and is scheduled for Sept. 23. It includes craft and food vendors in downtown Marlinton, but the most notable event is the roadkill cook-off. This does not mean that the meats in the competition were killed by vehicles; the competition requires that all meat be handled properly for consumption. But the event does give attendees the chance to try things like squirrel gravy over biscuits, and teriyaki-marinated bear or deer sausage, according to the Facebook event.
WV Pawpaw Festival – Morgantown
The West Virginia University Core Arboretum hosts this annual festival to celebrate the pawpaw—a unique Appalachian fruit. The festival correlates with pawpaw season and is being held on Sept. 30 this year. The Pawpaw Festival is advertised as being family-friendly and open to the public on the Lawn Area at the Arboretum. In addition to music and food trucks, there will also be pawpaw fruit available to sample and buy as well as pawpaw trees and other plants available for purchase, according to a Facebook event.
Preston County Buckwheat Festival – Kingwood
The annual festival will take place from Sept. 28 through Oct. 1 in 2023 to continue the tradition of celebrating the area’s heritage in buckwheat farming. Like every great West Virginia festival or fair, the Buckwheat Festival has animal showings, a carnival, parades, lots of vendors and live music. But fairgoers can also enjoy Buckwheat Cakes and Sausage Dinners throughout the day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Buckwheat Brewfest will be on Friday evening, the “Buckwheat Mile” will be on Saturday afternoon, and the Buckwheat Cornhole Tournament is on Sunday. A full schedule of events and more information is available on the event website.
Keep in mind that these are just a few of the more unique festivals happening in West Virginia this month, but dozens of other festivals are also happening in September across the Mountain State.