By Wendy Holdren
Communications staff, first responders and event staff held their last planning meeting Friday at City Hall in preparation for today’s big events.
“Chili Night is very successful and this year we’re adding the Rocket Boys to the mix,” City of Beckley Director of Emergency Services Kevin Taylor said. “We’ve had to make extra plans for staffing, traffic and communications.”
Beckley Police Chief Tim Deems, Beckley Fire Chief Billie Trump, and coordinators for the Rocket Boys Festival and Chili Night, Leslie Baker and Jill Moorefield, were among the meeting attendees.
Taylor said he expects everything to go smoothly, as the team has made a highly structured plan.
He said the big unknown is how many people will attend the October Sky Rocket Boys Festival and if those patrons will venture to the 22nd Annual Chili Night.
“At the old location (in Coalwood), anywhere from 5,000 to 7,000 people came to the festival,” Taylor said.
He said uptown Beckley usually reaches capacity during Chili Night if the weather is good, so it should be an interesting night.
“The key is this is not the first time we’ve done this. There have been political events, the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, and all the emergency responders have become familiar with one another.”
He said in case of emergency, incident action plans are in place for both events.
As for traffic, directors will be in place and multiple lots will be utilized for parking, including the new Beckley Intermodal Gateway.
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for half marathon
Hundreds of runners are set to take their mark for the 15th annual Beckley Half Marathon beginning at approximately 8 a.m. today.
Organizers of the Half Marathon are urging motorists to use caution and watch for runners along the marathon and 5K run/walk routes and plan for possible traffic delays. Between approximately 7:45 and 8:15 a.m. today the area from the corner of Kanawha and Main streets to Johnstown Road will be closed to traffic in order for runners to line up for the race.
The Half Marathon route begins at Mountain State University, goes south on Kanawha Street to Booth Street, then crosses to Eisenhower Drive to Brookshire where runners will move down the East Beckley Bypass to Woodrow Wilson High School, then back up to Kanawha Street to the finish line at MSU. The 5K routes will remain the same trek through town.
Anyone who has not registered for the Half Marathon or 5K run/walk may do so in the Cougar Den of Mountain State University’s Learning Resource Center between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. today.
The races are expected to end by 10:30 a.m.
— Carra Higgins