Friends of Coal Auto Fair returns for 12th year – Beckley Register-Herald

Posted: Saturday, July 16, 2016

Transportation is king at the Friends of Coal Auto Fair this year.

Whether you’re riding a ’31 Ford Coupe, an airplane or a mechanical bull, you’re on your way to have a good time, officials said.

The 12th annual event, staged this year for the first time at the Raleigh County Memorial Airport, is a fundraiser for the three local charities, including Hospice of Southern West Virginia.

“It’s amazing to be a part of Hospice,” the agency’s Public Relations Director Josh Jones said. “We call ourselves a special kind of caring and we try to live up to that moniker every day. I didn’t know anything about Hospice until they took care of my grandmother.

“I thought they were angels on Earth. It’s a blessing to work there and it’s a blessing for the Friends of Coal Auto Fair to choose Hospice of Southern West Virginia to receive donations, just like the Women’s Resource Center and the Raleigh County Humane Society.”

One man said he never passes up a chance to help Hospice, especially after they helped his aunt.

“Hospice is a beautiful place,” Meadow Bridge resident Joseph Harrah said. “As sad as it was for her to be there, the people were like family to her.

“I think Hospice makes people feel like they’re at home. I was impressed by how they cared for my aunt. I would never pass up an opportunity to help Hospice.”

This is Harrah’s fourth Friends of Coal Auto Fair and he said he really likes the new venue.

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“I just wish they had more stuff for the kids,” he said.

When Harrah made that statement, officials hadn’t set up the bouncy houses or other inflatables for the kids. Those will be set up all day today and kids can take a free plane ride with the “Flying High Without Drugs” program.

“We’re flying the kids, from 6 to 16, for free after they go through an anti-drug program,” airport manager Tom Cochran said. “Kids need to see what drugs can do the opportunities they would normally have in their life.

“We’re also getting kids interested in aviation. Aviation is a wide-open field of career choices. I wanted to have something related to that. We can promote an industry that is a rich, great industry. We have a real opportunity here.”

Getting to help create the pilots of tomorrow, while helping the groups of today, is a win-win for the Raleigh County Memorial Airport, Cochran said.

“The airport is here for the convenience and the public,” he said. “We love to support the community. We’re glad to help out with the Friends of Coal Auto Fair.”

The event opens at 8 a.m. today and will feature an concert beginning at 7:30 p.m. and featuring Confederate Railroad and John Montgomery and more. For more information about the Friends of Coal Auto Fair, visit

Admission is $2 for anyone over 12-years-old. Kids who are 12 and under get in for free.

— Email:; Follow on Twitter @RHCodyNeff


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