By STEVE RAPPACH
The Weirton Daily Times
CHESTER, W.Va. — Safety concerns amid ongoing road construction, as well as adequate available parking, have forced the cancellation of the third-annual Teapot Day celebration.
Scheduled for Aug. 12 in Chester, the 2017 event will take a hiatus as the West Virginia Department of Highways continues its work along the U.S. Route 30 exchange, which surrounds the “World’s Largest Teapot” — the city’s landmark and site for the annual celebration.
“We believe that to host such an event amidst this activity would not be safe for attendees and we apologize for any inconvenience,” a statement on the event’s Facebook page reads.
The one-day festival, held since 2015, has included food, games, music, entertainment and a variety of vendors.
Proceeds from the celebration would have gone toward restoration and preservation of the teapot, first constructed by Babe Devon in 1938.
The teapot originally was situated along Carolina Avenue in Chester. Until it closed in 1980, homemade pottery, hot dogs and souvenirs were sold out of it. The structure also moved locations several times until 1990, when it was moved to its current location at the junction of state Route 2 and U.S. Route 30.
Event coordinator Susan Hineman said she spoke with Chester Mayor Larry Forsythe and Police Chief Todd Murray following Monday’s city council meeting before making the decision to cancel.
“Due to trying to park people and a lot of confusion (with the closing of the entrance ramp into town), it would be a traffic nightmare,” Hinerman said.
Moving the festival to September or October was considered, but Hinerman learned that crews have been behind schedule with the roadwork, which now is expected to continue until at least early fall.
Without a definite date of completion, she opted to hold off with the celebration for this year.
“People get impatient when they’re in a line of traffic, trying to turn around and back up,” Hineman said. “Just for everybody, it was easier to cancel it.”
According to Hineman, the Teapot Day festivities will resume in 2018.
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