Set for July 17-19 at the YMCA Paul Cline Memorial Youth Sports Complex, the mostly free event combines fun with education about coal and its importance to the region.
Aside from the display of mining equipment and exhibits staffed by coal producers, the three-day social event includes hundreds of hot rods, customs and classic cars from throughout the southern Appalachian region, as well as specialty vendors, appearances by local celebrities, and a concert headlined by national recording artist Randy Owen of Alabama with opening acts Abby Abbondanza and Taylor Made.
Last year’s show, according to organizers, attracted more than 80,000 people and more than 650 show cars. This year’s event is expected to be just as popular – and is a trend that has continued since the event’s second year, when the coal element was introduced.
In 2005, just before the second annual show, the Whitewater Run Car Show became the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, and along with it came an increase in an already coal mining-prominent sponsor list. In fact, many of the region’s biggest industry names now serve as organization chairpersons.
However, the beneficiary of the event’s success has not changed – the initial idea for the show as a way of raising money for the operating costs of the area’s $5 million YMCA sports complex in Beckley remains in place.
“In just a short time, the … fair has established itself as one of the fastest growing car shows in the state of West Virginia,” Friends of Coal said.
“The continued strong support from our sponsors, committee members, the show’s participants and the community of Beckley [West Virginia] will help ensure its success for years to come.”