The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 4, 2013

1st weekend in October

— The first weekend of October is one of the busiest of the year in Beckley. It definitely can take away the whine of kids complaining, “I’m bored! There’s nothing to do.”

If you hear this refrain, simply shove a copy of the 2013 Beckley Fall Festivals special section under their nose and that will set them straight.

Now, the Rocket Boys are rockin’ and chili is the order of the night in Uptown Beckley.

The Rocket Boys Festival has already kicked off with speakers presenting a Conference of Ideas to better West Virginia. Today at Tamarack there are free screenings of “October Sky,” the film based on Rocket Boy Homer Hickam’s novel, an actor’s workshop at the Raleigh Playhouse and Theatre with actor Chris Owens who portrayed Rocket Boy Quentin in the film and a concert featuring, among others, Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys.

The really fun stuff starts Saturday.

Runners have their way early in the day, taking to the streets for the 16th annual Beckley Half-Marathon. Soon after, the city’s first Buddy Walk in support of those with Down syndrome gets under way at New River Park.

From late morning until late afternoon, Rocket Boys-related events take over the park.

Did you know there is a state championship for paper airplane flight? Well, there is and that champion will be determined Saturday afternoon right here in Beckley.

Later on, present-day rocket boys and girls will launch their own rockets, while music, vendor sales and more percolate in the background.

When evening rolls around, Chili Night —which sometimes can cause a different type of rocket firing (if you know what we mean!) — gets under way in Uptown Beckley. 2013 marks the 23rd time for this festival that permeates the air with the spicy smell of a wide variety of chilis simmering.

In addition, there will be music and a smorgasbord of non-chili vendors to browse.

The weather, which we all know has been a bit suspect of late, is calling for a near-perfect day —mostly sunny with a high of 80, then partly cloudy and a low of 60 after dark.

Who could ask for more?

There is plenty to do in Beckley, even when its not the first weekend of October.

When these dates roll around — look out! You’ll have more things to do, and enjoy, to keep you satisfied — at least until Bridge Day.