If you’ve ever wanted to taste dishes like squirrel gravy or teriyaki marinated bear or deer sausage, we have the place for you! On Friday, September 23rd and Saturday, the 24th, check out an event that has been rated as THE FESTIVAL in West Virginia by Parade Magazine. Now in its 24th year, The West Virginia RoadKill Cook-off is one of the region’s most fun and exciting annual events and it coincides with Marlinton’s 31st annual Autumn Harvest Festival. In years past, the Food Network, the Travel Channel and the Discovery Channel have all covered this wild and offbeat festival. Up to 20,000 people are expected to attend this year!
You may experience something entirely new as “anything goes” in all dishes so long as the main ingredient is an animal commonly found along the road such as groundhog, possum, deer, bear, crow, squirrel, snake, turkey, etc. Cooking begins at 9am and judging starts at noon. The judges reserve the right to deduct points for every chipped tooth resulting from gravel not removed from the roadkill.
You can taste the grub after 10:30am or whenever your stomach is ready! Tasting wristbands are $5. Come early as samples are limited.
On Friday night, live music will be performed by Rockin’ Redneck Square Dance and prizes will be awarded for best costume!
Saturday’s festivities kick off with the Mon Power Possum Trot 5k Walk/Run. There will also be over 70 craft vendors on site, all day Mountain Heritage Music, Harvest Games for kids, Hudson Cream Biscuit Bake-off, WV Roadkill Pageant Royalty, a Dog Show, and the Hammons Music Festival.
Rack of raccoon, smear of deer, and a side dish of awesome possum doesn’t necessarily sound like your normal, common table fair provided at a nationally recognized event, but that’s exactly what you can expect at this year’s annual Roadkill Cook-off in Marlinton, WV. Certainly not a black tie affair, the cook-off features local grill masters making due with ingredients that at one point in time involved a vehicle, a road, and one unlucky or suicidal critter.
Given our area’s rural landscape and snaking road systems, the likelihood that one of our state’s native animals will end up on the side of the road with all fours pointing to the sky is fairly high. Coupled with the WV legislature’s decision in 1998 to make it legal to salvage recent roadkill, an alternate table cuisine and culture slowly began to flourish in the WV hills.
Wild animals, the primary constituent of roadkill, are usually lower in calories and saturated fat than domestic meat, while being higher in Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats and slightly lower in overall fat. Best of all, sans the vehicle insurance premium, roadkill is typically a very cost effective means of putting food on the table compared to the ever escalating prices found at your local grocery store.
Part of the Pocohantas County Autumn Festival, the Roadkill Cook-off brings focus to the many ways and ingredients that one can use to prepare a freshly deceased wild animal. Groundhog, deer, rabbit, squirrel, snake, and mole are a few of the wild animals that may be presented at the event. Occasionally, a domestic animal, such as a pig or chicken, jumps a fence and finds itself staring down a pair of headlights, which also are fair game when it comes to the cook-off.
Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners and are as follows: 1st place – $1,200, 2nd place – $600, and 3rd place – $300. $150 will be given to the Best in Show. For more information, please contact the Pocahontas County Visitor’s Bureau or on the web: pccocwv.com/roadkill
– HashtagWV, September 2016
HASHTAGWV ART & ENTERTAINMENT Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, Christina Entenmann-Edwards has been a WV resident since September 2008. She was born and raised in Fairfield County, Connecticut, and is no stranger to hard work and the entrepreneurial spirit. In 2006, she graduated from Quinnipiac University (Hamden, Connecticut), Cum Laude, with a B.A. in History. In 2010, she graduated with an M.B.A. from Liberty University (Lynchburg, Virginia). In February 2012, Christina launched HashtagWV as the area’s first full-color, free arts and entertainment tabloid + online platform. Christina completed the Leadership West Virginia class of 2021, which is an innovative program that grows, engages, and mobilizes leaders to ignite a life passion to move West Virginia forward.