BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Festivalgoers at the Exhibition Coal Mine at New River Park enjoyed mild temperatures on Saturday, October 28, 2023, for the annual Fall Festival.

Blue skies, playful winds and sunshine greeted festival goers.

“It’s our second year, and, as you can see, we’re very busy,” said Beckley Parks and Recreation Director Leslie Baker. “Lots of people, here. We’ve got a lot of locals. We’ve got a lot of trick-or-treaters, and we have a lot of people that have just stopped by, and campers have been here today. So once again, really pleased at the turn-out.”

A spirit of community and cheer was present. The Fall Festival could have been what Americans envision when imagining a small-town fair. Tangy notes of barbecue wafted in the breeze from Bandit BBQ’s food wagon. Steamy hot chocolate from Hilltop Coffee warmed hands. Church volunteer Donna Totten and others from Manna House Ministry ladled homemade chili onto hot dogs and offered baked goods.

In the heart of Appalachia, it was, perhaps, only fitting that a crowd had gathered around a large pot, where local chef James Williams of Corner Gas-n-Grill stirred a cinnamon concoction.

“We’re making homemade apple butter,” Williams explained. “They love it. It brings back memories for them, from when their grandma and moms and dads used to do it.”

Vendor Amanda Ramsey of Ramsey Creative Emporium dressed as Mother Nature at her booth, where her colorful wares also attracted a crowd.

“They absolutely love our glow-in-the-dark tumblers, our artwork,” said Ramsey. “They’ve been really interested in all of the hats, all of our custom hats.”