Rhododendron Festival, other local events canceled

Twins Alex and Alainna Sharp enjoy some cotton candy during the 12th annual Sweet Treats and Rhododendron Festival in Beckley in May 2018. (Register-Herald file photo)

Beckley Events has announced that several May and June 2020 events have been canceled due to health safety concerns associated with the COVID-19 virus.

The current guidelines to reopen the State of West Virginia suggest that no more than 25 people are allowed at gatherings or events. The City’s events which are being canceled include:

l Rhododendron Festival

l Coffee and Tea Celebration

l Sweet Treats

l RhodoBoogie Car Show

l Fridays in the Park for May and June

l Founder’s Day at Wildwood postponed until August

“We are disappointed and sad to cancel these spring events. The events would have been wonderful. We appreciate the vendors and musicians who had planned to participate,” according to Beckley Events director Jill Moorefield.

Although there will not be an official Rhododendron Festival, residents can still plan visits to Grandview and other local parks to view rhododendrons in bloom during May, but please follow social distancing guidelines, Moorefield added.

Beckley Events Facebook page has been offering daily posts highlighting the city’s Monuments, Markers and Murals/Public Art Tour over the past month. The entire tour list will be added to the City’s website soon. Moorefield hopes to offer spotlight posts on their page about the vendors and musicians who had planned to participate during the canceled events.

“If the city administration deems it is safe, we hope to be able to have a few summer events. The Great Race is still scheduled for late June, and it is expected to visit Beckley on June 26. Other summer events offered by the committee may include a condensed Fridays in the Park series, the annual downtown Cruise-in Car Show on July 25 and the Appalachian Block Party on August 29. Smooth Impressions Car Club Show is planning a show downtown on September 5. Plus, the annual Kids Classic Festival is celebrated in September. However, please note that all of the events are pending until it is determined to be safe to host events,” Moorefield added.

A new event started this past Saturday has Beckley Events teaming up with the Shade Tree Car Club and Smooth Impressions Car Club to offer a Neighborhood Car Cruise in Bowling Addition. The first cruise included 80 vehicles.

“It was so good to see the smiles of the car owners and the residents, and many people thanked us for offering the cruises.”

Upcoming neighborhood cruises may include one around the McLean Addition to Harper Road on May 9 and then a cruise from Ghent through Shady Spring, Daniels, by Little Beaver State Park, The Oaks and Grandview to see rhododendrons in bloom on May 16, weather permitting.

— From staff reports

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