Beckley’s Sweet Treats event now seeking dessert participants and teaming up with the Bill Withers Memorial Festival on May 14

Dessert vendors can now register for Beckley’s Sweet Treats event and be part of an exciting Saturday during the Rhododendron Festival in May. Sweet Treats will be teaming up with the Bill Withers Memorial Festival, and the Raleigh County Emergency Preparedness Fair.  The activities will take place on May 14 at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway Plaza (top of parking facility) on Neville Street. Dessert ticket sales and dessert-tasting hours are from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm (or while supplies last).  A few youth performances will open the event, followed by the Bill Withers Memorial with an impressive lineup of performers celebrating his music and message throughout the afternoon (12-7 pm).

The Sweet Treats event offers an opportunity for local businesses and organizations to promote their products, plus help raise funds for the United Way of Southern WV and the Bill Withers Memorial Foundation. Dessert participants are encouraged to provide 100 to 150 samples of their product. Dessert participants will collect sample tickets in exchange for samples.  Participants may also sell larger dessert portions, other food items, and/or take orders at their booth. Vendors are welcome to remain set-up for the afternoon performances.  Food vendors should follow the requirements of the Raleigh County Health Department. Registration details may be found on the city’s website, click on Beckley Events, or call 304-256-1776, or follow Beckley Events Facebook page.  Dessert / food vendors should register by April 15 to reserve a spot.    

Dessert-tasting tickets will sell for $5 per strip (includes five sample tickets for dessert / drink samples, and a Peoples’ Choice voting coin).  A supply of tickets will be pre-sold at the Youth Museum the week of the event, and tickets will also be sold during the event, while supplies last. Ticket proceeds will benefit the United Way & the Bill Withers Memorial Fund.  

The entertainment begins at 11:00 am showcasing youth music students from Beckley Art Center, Mia Bailey of WWHS, and Beckley Children’s Theatre Ministry. Around noon, the HGTA Theatre group will perform and include Bill Withers’ songs. Local musician Matt Mullins has organized several groups for the afternoon concerts honoring Withers including The Carpenter Ants, Matt Mullins and The Bringdowns, Lords of Lester, 3Chill, The Parachute Brigade, Aristotle Jones, and Scott T. Smith. The community is invited to attend the free performances at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway. Donations will be accepted for the Bill Withers Memorial Foundation to help fund the statue bronzing and memorial.  The statue, created by sculptor Pastor Fred Hightower, is ready to be cast in bronze once funds are raised. Follow the Bill Withers Memorial on Facebook and Instagram or visit @billwithersmemorial for more information.

Sweet Treats and the concerts on May 14 help kick off the 2022 Rhododendron Festival.  Some of the other festival events planned during the month of May include a photo contest, pickleball tournament (May 14), rhododendron-themed painting class at the library (May 14), Founders Day at Wildwood (May 21), a Rhododendron cruise to Grandview and walks with a Ranger (May 22), and RhodoBoogie Car Show with music by JonBen Slate (May 28), plus other local events that are packaged with the festival.