The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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April 7, 2013

Sun, soup and song

BECKLEY — After heavy rain and snow Thursday across southern West Virginia, more than 250 people “shook off the winter doldrums” at the third annual “Souper” Saturday to benefit Theatre West Virginia and Beckley Renaissance.

“This has been, by far, the best weather we’ve had. We had a good turnout,” said TWV General Manager Gayle Bowling. “This is a great time of year to kick off the spring with an event and to taste delicious soup.”

With highs in the mid-60s, Amelia Brekeller, of Meadow Bridge, said the weather is what drew her to Beckley for the event.

Betty Sanger, of Beckley, said she and her husband typically come out to all the events in Uptown Beckley. This year she spent some of her time at Souper admiring the newly unveiled Upper Big Branch Miners Memorial on the lawn of the Raleigh County Courthouse.

“It is really nice that they put this up. I wanted to come by and make sure I got to see it today,” she said.

One of Sanger’s extended family members was lost in the explosion and the memorial is important to her family, she said.

Many people took the time to read the names on the memorial and look at the fresh landscaping.

“It is nice to stand with other people and remember April 5 and think about the miners who work every day to keep our lights on,” said Craig Hundley, of Fayetteville.

This year McBee’s St. Patrick’s Irish Cheese Soup won the people’s choice award. Coming in second was Theatre West Virginia’s Witch’s Brew Soup and, in third, Taya and Abraham’s International Grocer’s Indian Butter Chicken Soup.

This year’s “Souper” Saturday included fun activities for kids, like temporary tattoos, cornhole with the Chick-fil-A mascot, and the children’s art mural.

Attendees enjoyed live music at Jim Word Memorial Park and a silent auction.

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