BECKLEY, W.Va. — Around 45 rockets blasted off into a chilly, blue sky Saturday afternoon. Families and friends gathered at New River Park in Beckley to watch their children’s hard work take flight.
This could only mean that the Rocket Boys Festival was back in Beckley for its third year.
“It’s a really strong event,” event director Scott Hill said. “It’s not your typical festival. It’s a little bent toward science, art, math and rocketry. We had 45 people shoot off rockets today. Homer Hickam is here signing autographs. It’s just been a good, solid day.”
Hill said he doesn’t think the festival lost anything when it moved from Coalwood to Beckley.
“Personally, I would have loved for the festival to stay in Coalwood, though,” he said. “That was the place it was about, but they lost their volunteers. They stopped the festival. This place was built for this festival.
“We have a venue that you can shoot rockets on and a planetarium. When it comes right down to it, it’s a great fit for Beckley. We have the hotels that they don’t have in Coalwood. They couldn’t have hosted as many people as we have had today.”
Tomorrow, the festival will take a trip to Coalwood, Hill said.
“If people want to actually see the place where it all happened, we take a van or a bus down to the town,” he said. “People can meet right in front of the Rahall Company Store at the Exhibition Coal Mine in Beckley. People should be ready to leave at 11 a.m.”
As the festival goes on, it will slowly change its shape, Hill said.
“We’re going to bend to a literary festival because that’s what Homer wants it to become..