Pam Dudding-Burch Contributing writer
Cold weather and high winds still did not stop many Prepper vendors from setting up early on Saturday, May 6, for the 4th Annual Prepper Festival on Main Street in New Castle. Every person that attended was met with the same smile they would have received had it had been pleasant and sunny.
However, the day before the Prepper Festival, the teasing question was asked, “Did the Prepper Organization make a deal with the electric company to encourage people to attend?”
Many in Craig and the surrounding counties lost power intermittently for over 24 hours on Thursday and Friday night, May 4 and 5. The 4th Annual Prepper Festival in New Castle was held on Saturday, May 6 from 9 – 5 p.m.
A Prepper is said to be one who actively prepares for survival in uncertain times, including an economic collapse, natural disaster, unusual cosmic event or a man made catastrophe. Some people who consider themselves ‘Preppers’, as well as others who just wanted to prepare for a possible ‘natural disaster’ and have 2-3 weeks of supplies, sought information before purchasing items.
Green and khaki camouflages, as well as equipment and storage foods, were abundant. Raffles and drawings were offered at most booths and the Main Street businesses had their doors open for people to come in and cool off, eat or shop before heading back out to discover more ‘prepper’ tidbits which were available in the one country block.
Workshops were held during the day in the location of the previous Antique Store. Expert speakers talked about topics many found necessary and interesting such as: “Wild Edibles”, “Herbal First Aid Remedies”, “A Call to Thrive not just Survive “, “Building Your Personal Prepper Manual”, “Ham radio for preparedness”, “Suturing and Wound closure”, “Essential Oils for Emergency Preparedness” and “Meals in a Jar”.
Thrive Life Foods handed out free samples in which most were surprised at the richness of the flavor. “It’s all in how it is harvested and these I consider fresher than fresh,” explained the vendor. “These are high quality, freeze dried foods which have a shelf life of 25 years.” He added it was also the ultimate backpacking food as well as express meals.
Southwest Virginia Oath Keeper booth seemed to stay busy with citizens asking many questions. “That is what we are here for,” the representative shared. “The public has questions and we hope to help guide them to the information they need.”
One of the speakers, David Jones, was an ex-military man who served 24 years in the U. S. Army and is a retired Army Chemical Office. He taught nuclear biological and chemical warfare defense to military personnel all over the world. He talked about being recognized as a weapon of mass destruction expert six months after 9/11 occurred. He spent the next 22 months in the Middle East traveling to 16 different countries conducting vulnerability assessments on US interest in the area. David now works as an emergency management specialist for the Federal government.
He shed much information of what to expect in case of a nuclear hit. “Whatever you do, stay in your safe place of home, until it becomes a threat.” Jones said. He also shared much information and was asked many questions. He gave such responses as: “the answer to pollution is dilution”, “Clorox can be your best friend”, and “always be prepared and have a bug-out bag ready as well as blankets, food and water and more”.
David stressed to become familiar with your area and where you can go in case of an attack. “Knowledge can save your life!”
The Prepper Festival was proudly sponsored by Doomsday Tactical Supply, Beyond Off Grid, The Emporium, Thrive Life Foods and Seeds for Generations. They sent many thanks out to all the people who made the festival possible and for the donations for the raffles which included a Ruger 10/22 Takedown rifle in stain black with 2 mags, a Beyond Off Grid Summit event video course, an Excalibur 9 tray Dehydrator and 5 silver Liberty dollars.
David Givens, with Dave’s Live Sounds, had the Court House yard set up for the many bands that played throughout the day, adding to the atmosphere of the Festival. The Blue Connection started the day off, and at lunch, Gabe Dixon and the Whiskey River Bank continued to draw attention. Covenant and Rusty Seesaws ended the evening on a high note.
Though the weather seemed to have deterred some vendors and citizens, there always seemed to be a new set of faces on the street every hour, as most vendors stayed busy by telling people about their products.
“We were hoping to see more people out,” said a few vendors. “We still had a good day, as we not only sold equipment, but were able to answer a lot of questions today,” another vendor added.
“This isn’t the weather we were hoping for,” shared some who helped organize the event. “But, it was still a success as we heard many compliments about the vendors, workshops, food and music.” Plans for next year are already in the making.