The City’s Beckley Events committee and local groups have been organizing a variety of events for this year’s Rhododendron Festival.  The festival pageants are set for this weekend with the children’s pageant on Saturday, May 5 at the Beckley Woman’s Club and the Miss, Teen, Junior Miss and Mrs pageant at Black Knight at 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 6.  Door admission is $5.

Festival fun kicks off on Thursday, May 10, with rock painting at the Beckley Art Center from __ to – pm.  Bring your own rock and paint it the theme of the Rhododendron Festival or Sweet Treats.  The rocks will be hid around the Beckley Intermodal Gateway and Downtown for the community to search over the May 12th weekend. Saturday, May 12 will be a busy day in the area.  Active SWV will offer its eNeRGy walk/run at WWHS track during the morning. The free event includes a kids run at 9 am and a 5k walk/run at 10 am.  The annual Sweet Treats will take place on May 12 at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway.  The dessert-tasting event, which benefits the United Way, begins at 11:30 am and runs to 2:45 or while supplies last.  Each vendor donates at least 100 dessert samples, but may sell larger portions or other items – 16 vendors have registered by the event.  For $5, attendees receive five sample tickets and a voting coin. The day will also include free concerts by Raleigh County Schools Day of Arts from 10:30 am until 4:00 pm.  The Southern WV Partnership Fair will join the event and add several informational booths.

Fridays in the Park will begin on May 18 and run thru August 31 from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm weather permitting at Word Park on Neville Street.  The May 18 & 25 Fridays are included in the Rhododendron Festival. The concert series schedule features a variety of musicians, and opens with Thomas Danley on May 18 and Park Middle School (11 am) and the Chris Oxley Quartet (11:45) on May 25.

The Raleigh County Library will host a rhododendron coloring contest throughout the month and Active Southern WV is encouraging the community to take photos of rhododendrons along the trails and enter the photo contest on Facebook using the hashtags #WVRhodofest18,  by May 27.

Beautification efforts will include a rhododendron planting by the Beckley Beautification Commission on May 17.

110 Marshall will host a rhododendron painting class on May 18 at 6 pm (cost: $35 for a 16 x 20, $30 for a 12 x 16).  Art lovers can also check out the new member’s exhibit at the Beckley Art Center Cynthia Bickey Gallery on Johnstown Road.

The City’s annual Founders Day is planned for May 19 from 11 am to 3 pm at Wildwood House Museum, located off of Kanawha Street. An opening ceremony and free tours will be available.

The rhododendron blooms at Grandview are beautiful during the month of May festival visitors are encouraged to visit the park. On Sunday, May 20, a park ranger will lead a one-mile walk to see blooms, learn about plant life at the park, and take in views at Main and North overlooks at 3 pm at Grandview Visitor Center.

Memorial weekend marks the start of summer activities with park openings.  The RhodoBoogie Car & Bike Show will take place on May 26 from 5-8 pm at the Beckley Intermodal Gateway. Attendees can enjoy music by Randy Gilkey, who auditioned for America’s Got Talent. Vehicle registration will be from 5-6 pm and vehicle cost to enter is $10. Any vendors interested in setting up a booth during the show should call 304-256-1776. The event committee plans to have three car & bike shows in 2018 – the shows will be on the last Saturday of May, June & July.

By packaging these events under the festival umbrella, the committee hopes to attract more visitors to the events and promote the community as a great place to enjoy music, art, recreation and scenery. The festival brochure is available on the City’s website and on Beckley Events’ Facebook page.