Eighteenth Annual Ranson Festival an opportunity to learn about community
RANSON — For 18 years, the city of Ranson has offered the Ranson Festival each spring to draw visitors and residents alike to a celebratory event. This year was no different. In fact, it was another resounding success.
“The attendance this year seemed much larger than in year’s past,” said Debbie McClure, director of the Ranson Convention and Visitor’s Bureau who organized the event. “We combined the car show with the festival about 10 years ago. We did that to bring even more people into the area and make it a complete family event.”
The strategy worked as the number of cars entered in the car show competition each year has continued to grow. The 2019 show saw 166 entries, McClure said.
Many attendees came just for the car show portion of the day’s activities.
“I loved seeing all the antique cars,” said Harpers Ferry resident Bessie Nelson.
Those entered in the car show vied for top awards as the top 30 vehicles as well as 14 specialty winners were recognized. Specialty winners included the Mayor’s Choice, Ranson City Council Choice, Chief of Police Choice, Ranson CVB, Ranson City Manager and Participant’s choices. Anticipation mounted as judges could be seen making their way through the streets around Ranson Circle where the cars were lined for viewing. The afternoon culminated in the award ceremony just after 3 p.m.
In addition to the car show, the festival hosted many activities for all ages. Food vendors, bands and crafters were on hand to entertain and offer their wares.
“We loved the delicious pork barbecue,” said Julie Bound, who mentioned the food was only on of the things her family enjoyed. “The demos at Independent Fire Company were our favorites.”
Colleen Uhlenhopp, with son Micah in tow, agreed.
“The fire department open house and activities were the most fun,” Uhlenhopp said.
Another favorite for the day was the arrival of Batman and the Batmobile, an attraction that has become tradition at the festival in recent years.
“My sons just love Batman,” said Charles Town resident and Jefferson County native, Nicki McNutt. “As for me, I love the opportunity to catch up with people I haven’t seen for a while.”
Another popular stop for families with young children was the Ranson Police Department booth, where officers took time to fingerprint children and provide their prints to their parents. In addition, visitors to the booth could take a spin on the prize wheel to walk away with some Ranson PD items.
“We were definitely busier this year than in the past,” said Police Chief Bill Roper, who manned the booth much of the day.
McClure called the day a success and said it would not be possible without the countless hours put in by volunteers, including the Ranson City Hall staff, the city council members, the mayor, members of the Ranson Public Works, the Ranson Police Department and the Ranson CVB board members.
“There is no way to host an event as large as this one has become without helping hands,” McClure said. “We couldn’t do it without the help from everyone of these folks.”