Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival welcomes former Steeler

West Virginia

The 39th annual Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival in Martinsburg welcomes a sports celebrity to also be the grand marshal. 

Former Pittsburg Steelers running back and Vietnam Veteran Rocky Bleier was chosen as the 2018 Mountain State Apple Harvest Festival’s Grand Marshal. 

“To be able to help celebrate it is quite an honor for me to be involved,” said Bleier.  

Frederick resident Richard Jackson has been a fan of Bleier since 1970. He says he even came in contact with Bleier at a previous job in Pittsburgh. 

 “This is a dream. He’s been my idol since I was a young kid,” said Jackson. “I’ve actually waited on him in a restaurant back in Pittsburgh back in the 70s. So I’ve followed him all over the place.”

To continue the tradition, Jackson brought his son Alex. Alex says he’s been going to football games since he was around seven. 

“He talks about Rocky Bleier all of the time growing up. I grew up a Steelers fan and it just seemed like the right guy to be with you know. It just means a lot,” said Alex. 

Richard even got him to sign the rally towel associated with the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

“It’s on the official terrible towel,” he said. 

The festival brings a strong sense of community to downtown Martinsburg. 

“It brings everybody together to see how much agriculture affects us,” said Mike Hornby, Chair of Stag Brunch for Rocky Bleier. 

“I think we’ll probably talk a little football and sports and history and background,” said Bleier.

The coronation of Queen Pomona takes place this evening. Tomorrow’s festivities include the sports breakfast, apple trample race and the grand feature parade that winds through the streets of Martinsburg at 1 P.M. A variety of other things with the “Apple theme” are there to enjoy throughout the weekend.

The full schedule can be found here

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