Of the fair, MLK anniversary and a sad passing

LEETOWN – There’s unquestionably a special feeling in the air as the Jefferson County Fair continues through late Saturday. If you haven’t made it to the fairgrounds in a while or if you’re new to the area and wondering whether to head out, we’d urge you to get there ASAP.

Hopping on the Ferris wheel and other rides is as fun as you remember and there’s good reason for those lines at the food booths. Make time to take a look at the animals and other projects on exhibition – the payoff to months of hard work by young people and adults in our community – and you’re likely to walk away awed and inspired.

Beyond all that, there’s the lineup of formal entertainment. Fair organizers have labored mightily to offer an array of special events, from mud bogging, tractor pulls, a texting contest, even a magic show from Michael T. and a performance by beloved local clowns Bubbles and Mr. B.

Planners clearly want to make sure the 61st annual fair offers something for everyone, and we say they’ve done it again.

Next week brings a landmark anniversary: It’ll be 50 years since the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and we’re hoping to hear from you as we put together a special feature for our Aug. 28 edition.

What do you remember about that day? How is our country different today because of the vision King laid out on Aug. 28, 1963?

Share your remembrances and insights at editor@spiritofjefferson.com (or by mail at 114 N. Charles St., Charles Town 25414) by midnight Sunday and then look for our coverage of the half-century anniversary in next week’s Spirit.

We were greatly saddened last week to learn in an email from Alice Germond that her husband of a quarter-century, legendary newsman Jack Germond, had passed away at his home in Kabletown.

“He lived a marvelous, full and well loved life,” she wrote. “I think he was a great reporter, I know he was a hearty eater and the good conversation as important as the food. … He had a bold journalistic ethic, and that matters. He was fortunate to spend his life working at a job he would have done for free during some halcyon times in the newspaper business.”

Alice Germond also noted her husband’s love of horse racing. It was the track at Charles Town that first drew him to the Eastern Panhandle. Later, the Germonds bought a summer home with a view of the Shenandoah River from the back deck and after his retirement, they left D.C. to live full time in this quiet, bucolic corner of West Virginia.

“Jack indeed played the horses, always studying the form and hoping for that elusive Triple Crown winner – but there was no such thing as a bad day at the track,” her email continued. “He welcomed the day sitting on our deck in West Virginia watching the bald eagles who returned to soar over the Shenandoah and the bluebird’s nest. In the evening, (he watched) the sunset mirroring the day’s end.

“He fit his life and times so very well,” she concluded. “I love him and it’s been great.”

Mr. Germond’s obituary appears elsewhere in this edition, as does a formal appreciation and illustration in our editorial section.


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