The 14th annual Frontier Fest kicked off Friday morning on a hillside about eight miles outside Grafton. Students from across Taylor County got an early look at all the festival has to offer. Organizer Terry Austin said he wants to provide kids with the opportunity to learn about life on the American frontier in the late 1800s.
"Just a little bit of everything. We have the shooting demonstrations, we have a blacksmith, just anything to do with the old frontier and give these kids a taste of culture from the northwest," Austin said.
Pamela Spring came to the festival with her fourth grade class from Anna Jarvis Elementary. She said the event is a great opportunity for her students to learn about American history in ways that might make it easier for them to absorb.
"Students learn in different ways. Some can learn by just reading, some can learn by seeing, and some need that actual, you know, touching something, looking at something just to be able to understand things a little bit better," Spring said.
Austin spent time as a cowboy in the northwest, and he thinks there's a lot that students can learn from the cowboy culture, including things they won't experience anywhere in West Virginia. Those experiences are ones that Austin said the students appreciate years after they come.
"The big thing for me though is years later, that you see these kids when they get big, and they say the best event they ever went to was Frontier Fest. That's the reason we keep doing it," Austin said.