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Ranson Festival draws crowd to annual fundraiser

By Staff | Jun 8, 2018

Tabitha Johnston/Chronicle Antique and imported cars line the streets of downtown Ranson during the annual Car Show. Proceeds from the show went to Jefferson County Community Ministries, according to Mayor Keith Pierson.

The 17th Annual Ranson Festival drew hundreds of visitors to Ranson’s city square Saturday.

The festival, which has presented a car show for nine years, featured dozens of crafters and vendors, and live music by the Ranson Elementary Choir and the Fabulous Hubcaps. The day also offered free children’s activities, like moon bounces, pony rides and face painting.

“A lot of hard work and effort goes into the Ranson Festival. This year, proceeds from the Car Show are going to Jefferson County Community Ministries,” said Ranson Mayor Keith Pierson. “Our goal is to put the show on and make sure people enjoy what’s here – this gives us an opportunity to show off our city.”

Pierson opened the festival and welcomed the Ranson Elementary Choir, directed by Bonnie Pullen, to start off the day’s musical entertainment with a variety of songs, including the National Anthem and “Country Roads.”

“Events like this give us a chance to get out and meet people,” said Paparazzi vendor Kim Viands, who grew up in Ranson but currently lives in Summit Point. “I’m really glad they started doing things like this – it lets the small businesses get out there.” Viands said this was her first time selling her nickel- and zinc-free fashion jewelry items at the festival.

Tabitha Johnston/Chronicle Bonnie Myers Pullen, left, directs the Ranson Elementary Choir as students sing the National Anthem at the beginning of the 17th Annual Ranson Festival.

“At the end of the school year we’re always busy with school events and festivals,” said Jan Dougherty, an 11-year Charles Town Kiwanis member, who was selling baked potatoes at a booth to raise money for the nonprofit organization’s charity work.

Dougherty, a mother of two, said she joined Kiwanis because she believed in its mission to improve local childrens’ educational opportunities through Kiwanis-funded clubs and scholarships. Mary Albertson, a 20-year member and mother of seven, agreed, saying she hoped event attendees would stop by to learn more about Kiwanis and buy a baked potato.

“Since this is our first year at the festival, we thought we’d give baked potatoes a try,” Albertson said as she rearranged the booth’s bacon bits and sour cream.

Over at the car show, 1972 Chevy C10 pickup truck owner Chris Alvarez, of Clear Spring, Maryland, polished his vehicle with the help of his 11-year-old son, Aidan.

“I just got bought it this year,” Chris said, adding that he drove down with three other members of The Art of Illuzionz vehicle club. The club, which was started by Chris and two other Clear Spring High School graduates in 1998, took a 20-year hiatus before starting back up again a few months ago.

Tabitha Johnston/Chronicle Chris Alvarez, left, of Clear Spring, Maryland, cleans the front of his 1972 Chevy C10 while son Aidan, 11, looks on.

Event photographer Bonnie Zampino, of Vintage Vistaz, said the event shows what a great community lives in and near Ranson.

“I just love the history of Jefferson County as a whole, and Ranson itself has a very unique history,” Zampino said. “For the community to come together and raise money for a good cause like this, I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Tabitha Johnston/Chronicle Zack Brown, of Hedgesville, cleans the tires of his Scion FR-S at the car show.