BRANCHVILLE - The 49th Annual Raylrode Daze Festivul will bring great fun, fellowship and food to the town of Branchville Sept. 17-24.
The world's oldest railroad junction will hold week-long events celebrating its rich rail heritage while providing the community with a chance to enjoy a parade, carnival rides, music and concessions.
Tom Jennings, Farmers & Merchants vice president/branch manager, has served as president of the Raylrode Daze Festivul Committee since 2001.
"What makes our festival significant is the fact that it has endured for 49 years. People have been coming here since it started, and it's almost like a family tradition now. They want to be in Branchville the last full weekend of September," Jennings said.
"The next thing that I think that makes us a little more appealing is our Branch Junction area. We're very fortunate to be able to have that area that we have fixed like an old western town. We have our shootouts there, we have Can Can Girls there and our entertainment is on that stage," he said.
Jennings added, "Then the buildings are rented out for arts and craftsmen, and it's a good place for people to come and bring their chairs and sit and congregate. You don't have to worry about being out on the street and in the way."
The festival will hit full stride on Friday, Sept. 22 as the town holds the opening ceremonies at noon in front of the Railroad Depot.
The ceremony will include welcoming remarks from Mayor Glenn Miller, along with greetings from Grand Marshal Jerry Thompson and Honorary Conductor Amy Bryant. The 2017 Miss Raylrode Junction Court will also make an appearance.
Jennings said he has enjoyed working with the festival for the past 16 years and invites everyone to attend this year's event.
"I enjoy it, and it's fun. I have a very good group of people that work with me and if it wasn't for them, I couldn't do it," he said. "We are very fortunate that we have the rich railroad heritage that we have here."