The 2006 Friends of Coal Auto Fair is expected to be one of the biggest events to ever hit Beckley and the southern part of the state.

Beckley-Raleigh County YMCA CEO Jim Gilchrist says he expects a crowd of 20,000 to pass through the gates of the Paul Cline Memorial Sports Complex on July 22 alone — just one day of the three-day event.

Areas of interest such as concessions, carnival rides, information booths and registration do not run themselves, however, and for that reason, Charlie Birkelbach, senior programming director for the YMCA, is calling on the community for help.

“We have about 150 jobs and we’re going to need at least 350 people to cover them,” Birkelbach said.

In addition to show cars, the auto fair, which is scheduled July 21-23, will include a poker run, motorcycle stunts, attractions for children, vendors and more.

Birkelbach says volunteers are needed to help with not only those events but also with the July 22 Taylor Made and The Charlie Daniels Band concert.

“We’ll need (ushers), people to help us set up chairs and to clean up,” he said.

Parents and players from the Sophia Little League have already signed up as volunteers, but Birkelbach says many more volunteers from the community are needed.

If the auto fair goes well, Birkelbach says, people should expect to see more events at the complex, but adds success will not be possible without help community support.

“This complex is a wonderful thing to make available to the community,” he said. “The proceeds are for the complex and the children — for the community.”

Birkelbach says anyone interested in volunteering for any part of the weekend can do so by calling the YMCA at 252-0715.

— E-mail: mjames@register-herald.com

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