NEW CASTLE — Friends, family, food and fun were in abundance Sunday for the 146th annual Grand Army of the Republic bean dinner.
The day’s events began with church services hosted by New Castle Ministries followed by the flag raising and dinner. Chestnut Ridge entertained the crowd with its mix of gospel and bluegrass music, and historian Chris Hart gave a first person account of a Virginia Military Institute cadet who fought in and survived the Battle of New Market. Then the Walhonding Rube Band served up classic band sounds and the snappy beat of a variety marches and polkas. A Service Medley honored all veterans, who stood and were applauded by the audience when their service hymn was played.
The tension mounted as everyone waited for the announcement of new bean royalty, and finally Dairel Kaiser was named the 2013 Bean King. A member of the Rube Band for 17 or 18 years, Kaiser said he was surprised by his nomination.
“I’m overwhelmed and honored to show off the good side of New Castle,” he said after his coronation.
Former queens and kings were on hand to help Kaiser master the “royal wave.” 2012 Bean Queen Dianne Peffer had mixed emotions about giving up the crown.
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