MADISON - According to local law enforcement and organizers, last week's annual West Virginia Coal Festival had an increase in attendance and only minor incidents, making the festival a success.
According to City of Madison Police Chief Chet Burgess, the festival was well attended and his officers had few incidents to investigate.
"We had more attendance than we have in the last few years," Burgess stated. "We had a presence there the entire time and it was increased after 4 p.m. Overall I was pleased with how things went from a law enforcement perspective."
Burgess said that in the early years of the festival, there were some issues.
"Back then, it was so well attended and there were so many people in a small space that we did have some issues and they were often related to alcohol," he said. "I would say that was in the very early years of the festival. In the last 15 years, we've had limited issues and it has went pretty well. Our department plans for it and we work it every year."
Organizer and festival board vice president and treasurer Delores Cook said year No. 26 of the event went well.
"We would like to thank everyone that made the 26th annual West Virginia Coal Festival a success despite the economic condition of Boone County," she said. "Our volunteers were fabulous and thanks to all who contributed in any way. Between 1,200 and 1,400 people visited our coal museum and I've nothing but good comments."
Cook cited that there were many attendees from out-of-state and one man who visited from Africa.
"We received nice compliments on our entertainment, arts and crafts, parade, vendors, gospel sing including the cooperation of the weather."
The winner of the 50/50 drawing was Benjamin Sonvag of Danville.
Cook added that the concerns regarding the fireworks being displayed 20 minutes early this year wasn't planned.
"We had a little problem there," she said. "Usually when the band finishes, we start the fireworks. But I would like to note that on our program we state that the schedule is subject to change. We apologize for any inconvenience it caused and our volunteers do our best to put on the best festival we can."
Boone County Commissioner Brett Kuhn saw evidence of increased attendance this year.
"I thought the attendance was excellent and it was great to see so many folks taking an active interest in the West Virginia Coal Festival," he said. "It was great to see so many local vendors. Along with coal, the local vendors are the backbone of the whole event. I give a lot of credit to Joy Underwood, Delores Cook and Larry Lodato and all of the many volunteers who make this festival possible each year."
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