The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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October 7, 2013

Rocket Boys Festival wraps up with trip to Coalwood

BECKLEY — The final day of Rocket Boys festivities wrapped up Sunday with a trip to Coalwood, where Homer Hickam and his crew got their start.

Festival director Scott Hill said Hickam accompanied the group of over 20 to Coalwood, which was a nice treat.

“It’s great to hear more about Coalwood, but it just has a different feel to it when you hear it from Homer.”

Hill said five states were represented during the trip, and several attendees were from Milwaukee, Chicago and Atlanta.

“We went down and the folks at the Methodist Church fed us chili and it was a great time,” Hill said.

Overall, Hill said the second year of the Rocket Boys Festival being hosted in Beckley was very successful.

“We are growing and that’s what the second year is all about.”

He said his crew learned a whole lot the first year, and thankfully this year, Mother Nature helped out in the weather department.

“We had tremendous weather this year.”

Hill spoke with a couple who traveled 800 miles from Missouri to attend the event, and Hickam spoke with some folks who had traveled all the way from Alaska to enjoy the Rocket Boys Festival.

“We’re getting people from all over to Beckley and to Raleigh County. That’s what we’re supposed to do.”

Hill said the biggest change from last year was the addition of the West Virginia Speaks Up speaker series.

“I can’t say how much I appreciate the participants coming in, on their own dime to Beckley, to give some ideas on how to make West Virginia a better place to live and raise a family.”

He said the festival is still growing and the planners continue to learn with each year.

“We’re still learning a lot and we will pick up some tips as we decompress and take all that in.”

This year, a lot more people were involved in even more events, and Hill said the festival will only continue to grow if people want it to.

For photos of the event, to learn more, and to stay posted on updates for next year’s festival, visit www

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