The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

Local News

July 17, 2014

Auto Fair offers plenty of family fun

Some people come for the cars. Some people come for the concerts. But many people come for the camaraderie and friendship found at the Friends of Coal Auto Fair.

This year’s event, July 18-20, will welcome back hundreds who have been attending the auto fair for the past 11 years.

One of those 11-year attendees, Fred Farris of Beckley, said the auto fair is a great way to have a good time in a small community.

“I just love continuing the tradition,” Farris said. “It’s a great opportunity to get out with friends and have a good time and enjoy each other’s company.”

Each year, Farris showcases his black 1965 Imperial Crown, which he said is the type of car named Black Beauty in “The Green Hornet.”

He describes his car as a “preservation car,” meaning he has kept it just the way it was when it came from the factory.

Farris loves sharing his car’s story with other auto fair attendees, and hearing about the other cars as well.

“You meet so many people that come in from different areas and swap stories. It’s a great time.”

As a member of the White Water Antique Automobile Club, Farris not only gets to make new friends from other areas, but he also gets to spend time with fellow car club members.

The club, founded by Bill Bibb of Oak Hill, has even been recognized for several years for the most members represented by a single organization.

Farris will also be spending some time with his sister and her husband, Emily and Richard Meadows, who bring their Mustang GT convertible out to the show. Richard’s brother will also be coming from North Carolina with his Corvette to the event this year.

“I just love the fellowship of this event. I also like it when kids come out and they show an interest.”

Farris, a middle school math teacher, said he is happy to talk with kids about cars and answer any questions they might have — they’re even welcome to take a seat behind the wheel as long as they promise to keep it in park.

He also extended a special thank you to the YMCA of Southern West Virginia, sponsors of the Friends of Coal Auto Fair and all the volunteers who make the event possible.

“We are blessed and fortunate because not a lot of small communities have an opportunity to attend something like this.”

Another car club member and frequenter of the auto fair is Jerry Phillips.

Phillips is a member of the Antique Automobile Club of America, and his car, a 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 XL, has even won national awards through the organization.

Although Phillips and his wife Sue, of Scarbro, will not be attending this year’s auto fair, they certainly plan on coming back next year.

He typically helps set up at the auto fair, assist with parking and answer any questions from event attendees.

“Our car club has 50 members and we all try to participate. We try for a good turnout and always enjoy a picnic together. It’s a good, clean, well-organized social event.”

In addition to viewing the wide array of vehicles on site, Phillips enjoys the friendship found among the car owners.

“There’s just a fellowship and a great friendship among these people. Most car people are good friendly people and they like to treat people well.”

For more information about the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, or to purchase tickets to see Jake Owen and Kellie Pickler Saturday night, visit www.friendsofcoalautofair. com.

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