Established by William Wertz and other Elk River residents shortly after the turn of the 20th century, the venerable Pinch Reunion returns this week, in a new, streamlined format, to celebrate the town, its people and its heritage.
A historical marker in Pinch states that Wertz and fellow Elk River citizens founded the reunion in 1902 to “raise the civic, religious and educational standards of the community.” Rightly proud of its status as the longest continuously running community reunion in the United States, the 2019 Pinch Reunion will feature an array of activities catering to all ages of residents and visitors alike.
This year’s reunion has undergone a makeover, with most of its activities planned for a single day rather than over a week or more as in years past.
“With attendance down the last few years, the Reunion Committee knew this was the right time to do some reinventing,” Pinch Reunion Committee Angela Brown explained. “With the community made up of so many young families who are very busy and on the go all week, it was obvious to us that focusing on family-friendly events throughout the day Saturday made the most sense. We look forward to a great turnout which will give those who live in Pinch and Elkview and the surrounding areas a chance to see friends and family and spend time together.”
The 117th Pinch Reunion will step off with a parade at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, beginning with lineup at New Beginnings Church of the Nazarene, 105 Acree Lanes in Pinch.
Among those expected to participate in the parade are this year’s royal court: Pinch Reunion Queen Kailee Nutter, Teen Queen Alexa Sekercak, Community Queen Sara Lilly, Ms. Queen Cassie Hammes, Mrs. Queen Melissa Carter, Baby Miss Pinch Aubrey Belcher, Tiny Miss Pinch Xarria Mullins-Cole, Mini Miss Pinch Brylee Arrington, Junior Miss Pinch Kendall Kessel, Pre-Teen Miss Pinch Emily Casto, Little Mr. Pinch Xavier Mullins, and People’s Choice selectees Jayla Carter and Abel Belcher.
Also at 10 a.m. on Saturday, the Pinch Reunion Vendor and Craft Fair will open at St. Andrew Presbyterian Church at 80 St. Andrew Lane in Pinch. The fair will continue until 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Beginning at 10 a.m. at St. Andrew Presbyterian, as well, will be a school backpack giveaway, with free backpacks for the first 200 children requesting one, distributed under the aegis of the Elk River Backpack Blessings organization.
Also from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the church, the yearly Pinch Reunion Baking Contest, hosted by the Coopers Creek CEOS, will get underway. The contest is open to amateur bakers only, with a youth division (ages 5 to 12, $3 per baked entry) and an adult category (13 and older, $5 per entry).
“Parents of youth may direct, supervise and shop for the youngsters’ entries but not prepare them,” said Susan Hooper of the Coopers Creek CEOs in an email.
“Adult entrants are considered 13 and up. You may utilize such conveniences such as cake mixes, pre-prepared pie crusts and refrigerated or frozen doughs but no completely purchased products. Please bring your recipe. Disposable pans are easiest, but if you need a special container for presentation, make arrangements for its pick-up at registration,” Hooper said.
The entry categories are: Apple Pies, Other Fruit Pies, Cream Pies, Savory Pies, cookies, cakes, and cupcakes.
Call Susan Hooper at 304-542-5920 for more information about the Baking Contest.
Winners will be announced at the Wigwam in Pinch at 5 p.m., prior to the evening concert.
From 1 until 4 p.m. Saturday, a free family STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) field will be on site at St. Andrew Presbyterian. Available activities will include tours and exploration of the COSI Mobile Science Unit from the Columbus, Ohio, facility; a petting zoo; and exhibits from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.
At 3 p.m. Saturday, cruise into the Pinch Reunion Cruise-In for Cars, Trucks and Bikes on the parking lot of New Beginnings Church of the Nazarene.
From 5 until 8 p.m. Saturday, Mikele Buck, along with by Mr. B from Pinch as the opening act, will perform a free musical concert at the Pinch Reunion Grounds. Members of the Herbert Hoover High School archery team will sell concessions during the concert.
The 117th edition will conclude on Sunday, Aug. 11, with a Pinch Reunion Worship Service getting underway at 11 a.m. at Mt. Tabor United Methodist Church.
For additional details and updates, visit the “PinchReunionWV” page on Facebook