With the arrival of autumn’s burst of colors, Twin Falls Resort State Park, and other West Virginia State Parks, are celebrating “Park-tober” by offering a wide variety of lodging discounts and special events to appeal to everyone from leaf peepers to rail riders.
“October is when the temperatures become cooler, the leaves explode in color, and West Virginia’s state parks provide the types of fun outdoors opportunities that don’t happen at other times of the year,” said Sissie Summers, programming coordinator for West Virginia State Parks.
“This month we have special activities and several parks offer fall discounts to encourage people to stay overnight in the lodges and cabins,” Summers said.
Twin Falls Resort State Park is hosting the “Fall Foliage Fiesta” during mid-weeks in October. Visitors can take 25 percent off standard lodge room rates Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays all month.
The park is surrounded by colorful deciduous trees and complimentary deep greens of eastern Hemlocks, Summers said.
“It’s a fiesta of color,” she emphasized. “The Fall Fiesta rate is also extended to groups when making advance bookings. Ask for the “Fall Fiesta” rate when making reservations...”
The park is also hosting a “Lunar Eclipse Sky Watching” Oct. 7-8. A full eclipse is expected to be visible, according to a spokesperson. And the park is offering a 50 percent lodging discount for the event.
Twin Falls Resort State Park’s 32nd annual Lumberjackin’ Bluegrassin’ Jamboree is also on tap Oct. 10-12.
An autumn tradition, family favorites will return this year, including the very popular lumberjack competitions, live bluegrass music, Appalachian clogging, along with numerous vendors providing a variety of crafts and foods.
Well-known area storyteller David “Bugs” Stover will kick-off the event Friday, Oct. 10, from 7 until 9 p.m., at the campfire circle with tales of Tony Beaver, the fabled West Virginia lumberjack and cousin of Paul Bunyan.
Many area residents may not be aware that Tony Beaver actually visited Wyoming County and is responsible for creating some of its most notable landmarks, according to Stover’s tall tale.
“In those days, the people could not figure out a market for the millions of giant trees here in Wyoming County,” Stover’s story goes.
“Tony Beaver was known to be able to solve most any problem as well as fell a tree with one swing.
“Our early lumberjacks sent word to the northern counties where Tony Beaver made his home,” Stover said with a nearly straight face. “Tony came down to visit and created many geographic sites on the way, including Flat Top and Sarver Flats in the park, with his humongous footprints and also changed the flow of the direction of the Guyandotte River, opening up the Ohio River for timber.
“It’s also been said that Tony formed Castle Rock when he accidentally knocked a large piece from the top of a mountain...,” Stover’s tale continues.
Of course, there will be ghost stories with local settings, including Twin Falls Resort State Park.
Those attending are urged to dress for cool weather and bring a flashlight.
The lumberjack competitions are scheduled Saturday, from 10 a.m. until about 3 p.m., at the ball field. Forestry teams from across the region will compete in an ax throw, log roll, crosscut saw, chainsaw, one-man bucking, bolt splitting, horizontal chop, pole-fell, among other contests and demonstrations.
An archery competition is set Sunday, beginning at noon, at the park’s ball field as well.
“...We are excited to have the opportunity to add such an event to our schedule,” said Tanya Humphrey, park activities coordinator. “We hope that this will bring more excitement and more people out to the Sunday festivities.”
Don Blanchard, known as the Chainsaw Artist, will demonstrate his chainsaw carving – with creations that include Smokey the Bear, Native Americans, eagles, among others – Saturday from 10 a.m. until dusk.
The Blue Maggie Bluegrass Band will be featured, at the amphitheater stage, Saturday at 3:30 p.m. and at 7 p.m.; Sunday the group will perform at 3 p.m. This Charleston-based group represents some of West Virginia’s best bluegrass music, according to a park spokesperson.
The Appalachian Country Cloggers with Lou Maiuri is featured Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at the amphitheater.
The West Virginia Mountain Valley Cloggers will perform Saturday at noon and Sunday at 1 p.m., also at the amphitheater.
Arts and crafts will also be at the ball field. On Saturday, vendors will open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Horse-drawn wagon rides, by Chester and Teresa Dean, will be conducted Saturday and Sunday from 12 until 5 p.m. daily.
Information about specific special events and discounts can be seen online at www.wvstateparks.com under “Event Calendar” and “Lodging and Camping,” Summers noted. New packages and deals are posted frequently at West Virginia State Parks; visit www.wvstateparks.com and click “Packages” for discount information, she said.
For more information about Twin Falls Resort State Park, phone 304-294-4000 or 1-800 CALL WVA and ask for Twin Falls.