LOGAN, W.Va. — A bevy of local beauties kicked off an extra-long meeting of the Logan City Council Tuesday night. City Clerk Amber Miller Viars started off the meeting discussing the upcoming first annual City of Logan-Hatfield McCoy Trails Woods and Water Festival coming up the weekend of September 2. She introduced Lindsay Ellis, Miss WV Freedom Festival of 2015, who then crowned Haley Mullins as Miss Woods & Water Queen and Lauren Ramey, who was crowned Teen Woods & Water Queen.
“In 2016 we did not have a Freedom Festival,” the clerk explained, noting that the event had grown over the years and had become a huge and expensive challenge. “But we are determined to bring the Freedom Festival back. In order to do that, we would need a lot of money…”
To compound the problem the local economy has been hit hard by the double blow of a long, grinding economic recession that has hit the entire country hard, along with what many critics have called President Barack Obama’s war on coal, which has led to more than 11,000 coal miners losing their jobs and to a nearly $300 million hole in the state’s budget.
“We had wanted to do an event with the Hatfield McCoy Trails for some time and with the current enthusiasm for canoeing and kayaking we decided to do an annual Woods & Water Festival that will help raise funds to put on the Freedom Festival,” Viars said.
This summer, canoeing and kayaking have exploded in popularity in the region — especially along the Guyandotte River — leading many local groups and businesses with a desire to strike while the iron is hot. The clerk said that many hope that the small event will make it possible to put on an even bigger one.
The Woods and Water Festival will kick into high gear Friday, Sept. 2, with a fishing tournament that morning starting at 9 a.m. and running till 5 p.m. A raffle will take place from 6-7 p.m. followed by a fish fry. The event will break short that evening for a Logan High School Football game followed by live music at 9:30 p.m. and an outdoor movie in town.
Saturday’s schedule will be similar but with a poker run on the world famous Hatfield McCoy Trails, a kayak float poker run, games, raffles, a pig-roast and a party that evening at the Logan Shrine Club. Similar events will run Sunday, Sept. 4. People attending the event can pay ala cart for individual activities they wish to participate in, or they can get a $75 pass that includes all meals and soft drinks as well as events and a t-shirt.
The Logan High School Cheerleaders will also host an ATV wash fundraiser that weekend.
“The businesses in town have been wanting to do something like this for a long time,” Viars said, noting that the Hot Cup, the Logan Shrine Club, the Logan Banner and many more local businesses have offered up help, support and ideas to make the event better.
“We met with Edward Martin, the new publisher of the Logan Banner, and he has been extremely supportive,” she added. “It felt really great to hear what he had to say about our town and community.”
“Fire Chief Scott Beckett said that his agency has been trained to handle trail rescues and river recues and has been assisting the Hatfield McCoy Trails with several of their major events. He noted that canoeing and kayaking and river sports have become incredibly popular this summer and that many people who live in Logan County do not seem to realize, “that we really have a lot to offer here, when it comes to tourism and recreation.”