The City’s Beckley Events committee and local groups have been organizing a variety of events for this year’s Rhododendron Festival. The festival pageants are set for this Saturday, May 6 at Carter Hall of WVU Tech on Neville Street – the children’s pageant begins at 11 am and the Miss, Teen and Junior Miss starts at 5 p.m. Door admission is $5.
Festival fun kicks off with Sweet Treats on May 13 at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway. The dessert-tasting event, which benefits the United Way, begins at 11:30 am and runs to 2:45 or while supplies last. Each vendor donates at least 100 dessert samples, but may sell larger portions or other items – 17 vendors have registered by the event. For $5, attendees receive five sample tickets and a voting coin. The day will also include free concerts by Raleigh County Schools Day of Arts from 11:00 am until 2:30 pm. The Southern WV Partnership Fair will join the event and add several informational booths and the fire safety house. The Downtown Beckley Business Association is organizing pop-up shops at nearby Word Park.
Raleigh County Schools Performance Schedule on May 13:
11:00 am – Woodrow Wilson High Jazz Band
11:30 – Park Middle School Band
12:00 pm – Coal City Elementary Chorus
12:30 pm – Beckley Music & Drama Troupe
1:00 pm – Woodrow Wilson High Chorus
1:30 pm – Glenwood Middle School Band
2:00 pm – Park Middle School Choir
Fridays in the Park will begin on May 19 and run thru September 1 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm weather permitting at Word Park on Neville Street. The May 19 & 26 Fridays are included in the Rhododendron Festival. The concert series schedule features a variety of musicians, and opens with Chloe Florence on May 19 and Heaven’s Harmony on May 26.
The Raleigh County Library will host a rhododendron coloring contest throughout the month. Active Southern WV is encouraging the community to take photos of rhododendrons along the trails and enter the photo contest on Facebook using the hashtags #WVRhodofest17, rhodophotoWV, #wvstateflower, and #activeswv by May 28.
Beautification efforts will include a rhododendron planting by the Beckley Beautification Commission on either May 17 or 18. A continuation of mural painting near last year’s rhododendron mural wall will begin soon weather permitting by local students and volunteers. BAF is providing funds for the rhododendron/wildflower mural and Try This WV is funding the active fitness mural beside the YMCA.
110 Marshall will host a rhododendron painting class on May 19 at 6 pm (cost: $35 for a 16 x 20, $30 for a 12 x 16). Art lovers can also check out the new exhibit at the Beckley Art Center Cynthia Bickey Gallery on Johnstown Road.
The Beckley Woman’s Club will host a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre at the clubhouse on Park Ave on May 20 at 6 pm. “Murder on the Oriental Rug” is an Agatha Christie spoof. The cost is $30 per person or $50 per couple.
The rhododendron blooms at Grandview are beautiful during the month of May festival visitors are encouraged to visit the park. On Sunday, May 21, a park ranger will lead a one-mile walk to see blooms, learn about plant life at the park, and take in views at Main and North overlooks at 3 pm at Grandview Visitor Center.
Memorial weekend marks the start of summer activities with park openings and the City’s tennis tournament. Also, the City’s annual Founders Day is planned for May 27 from 11 am to 3 pm at Wildwood House Museum, located off of Kanawha Street. An opening ceremony and free tours will be available.
The RhodoBoogie Car & Bike Show will take place on May 27 from 5-8 pm at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway. The car & bike show is a new addition to the festival and will include music by David Runion. Vehicle registration will be from 5-6 pm and vehicle cost to enter is $10. The event committee plans to have three car & bike shows in 2017, and in an effort to be more consistent, the shows will be on the last Saturday of May, June & July.
By packaging these events under the festival umbrella, the committee hopes to attract more visitors to the events and promote the community as a great place to enjoy music, art, recreation and scenery. The festival brochure is available on the City’s website www.beckley.org and on Beckley Events’ Facebook page.