Whenever the temperature hits 90 degrees in Bluefield, WV, the city offers free lemonade. Lemonade Days is a well know tradition that is happening today.
The Bluefield, WV Chamber of Commerce reports that lemonade was first served in the "Nature’s Air Conditioned City" in 1941 and has been served a total of 197 times in the 72 years since then. The tradition has survived lemon and sugar shortages during WWII, criticism from area clergymen, a strike by the lemonade lassies (the ladies who served the lemonade), and some controversy over what constitutes a legitimate lemonade day. One thing has remained the same: Bluefield-ers can enjoy a good old-fashioned cold glass of lemonade during the unusually warm days of Summer. This year it as begun in Spring! It reached 90 degrees in Bluefield yesterday. The Bluefield Chamber of Commerce also reported in the Summer of 2007 proved to be a record-breaking season with 18 days reaching 90 degrees or over. This exceeded the previous 1988 record of 17 times in one year. They also report that there have been 35 summers during which the temperature did not reach 90 degrees! Hence the nickname: "Nature’s Air Conditioned City" .
Bluefield is where I go to do my shopping and get supplies. The city is several towns over from were I live. It is an old city, not particularly large, compared to cities you may live in or shop at. It is a city that holds on to it's traditions, while seeking revitalization of it's coal and railroad heritage. One idea being formulated is a Farmer's Market. I can't wait! It is a twin city, for right across the city and state border is Bluefield, VA, named after the original.
|View from East River Mountain|
The city is located on the East River mountain and is home to Bluefield State College
From The BSC website history page:
"...The history of Bluefield State College is the heroic story of remarkable achievement in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles. The legacy of Bluefield State provides an inspiration and a challenge to those who follow. The creation of Bluefield State College was the product of hard work by citizens of southern West Virginia who envisioned better educational services for African-Americans in the region. The dire need for coal miners created a huge population of black Americans who migrated into America's last frontier wilderness. To serve the racially segregated public schools in the coal camps, progressive citizens of both races worked together to establish Bluefield Colored Institute, a "high graded school for Negroes," in 1895..."
"...In 1954, The board of Education U.S. Supreme Court decision declared racially segregated public education unconstitutional. Soon, white students seeking high quality, low cost, fully accredited higher education opportunities began to attend classes at Bluefield State..."
My daughter now attends BSC to pursue her dream to become a teacher and perhaps some day will go to law school to become a human rights attorney. The school's population has now changed to predominately Caucasian. But the pride of offering higher learning to African Americans was trail blazing at the time and it is evident the school still holds a great amount of pride for. The College is a great fit for a word wielding humanitarian like my oldest daughter!
There is so much history in that free cold glass of lemonade.