New Deal Festival Offers Unique Living History and Never-Before-Seen Exhibits

Arthurdale Heritage’s annual New Deal Festival gives children and adults a unique glimpse into the past as America gears up for battle in World War II. This year, the festival commemorates Arthurdale in 1942 as America and Arthurdale go to war. The festival begins at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, July 14th and features living history reenactors, unique artisan demonstrations and never-before-seen museum exhibits.

New to the festival is the Traveling 219 exhibit. The Traveling 219 Project is a continuation of the work of the Federal Writer’s Project that offered a candid snapshot of rural West Virginia during the Great Depression and the early days of World War II.  Volunteers revitalizing this project by collecting oral histories along Rt. 219 to document everyday life in WV.  You may have heard some of their stories featured on WV Morning or Inside Appalachia.  Their  display will include stories they’ve collected about Eleanor Roosevelt plus related photographs and artifacts.

FDR (Bill Donogan) at the 2010 New Deal Festival
FDR (Bill Donogan) at the 2010 New Deal Festival – Taken by Maria af Rolen – All rights reserved

An annual tradition, guests can visit with reenactors portraying President Franklin Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. This year’s festival features expanded historic reenactments and an authentic World War II military encampment as well as recruiting station. Children and students can also interact with reenactors to gain a better perspective of life military and civilian life during wartime.

Fratkin Collection

Also, returning to the festival is the expanded Fratkin Collection. Housed in the New Deal Homestead Museum, this collection is on loan from Robert and Susan Fratkin and features original FDR campaign posters, Civilian Conservation Corps badges, National Recovery Act posters, and much more. The Fratkin Collection is a special opportunity for guests to see artifacts that are rarely displayed locally.


The Appalachian Blacksmith Association is back again at the New Deal Festival celebrating their annual “Hammer-In” at the Arthurdale Forge. The group features blacksmith craftsmen from across West Virginia. The Appalachian Blacksmith Association is a regional affiliate of the Artist Blacksmith’s Association of North America. Guests also have the chance to see master potter Jamie Davis Bryan demonstrate pottery techniques. Additional artisan demonstrators are being scheduled. For a current list, please visit our website at:

Gates open at 9:30 a.m. Purchase your festival tickets in advance and save. Online tickets are $5.00 per adult, $3.00 per child 6-11. At the gate, admission is $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for children 6-12. Kids 5 and under are free. Parking is free. Advance tickets can be purchased online at:

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