The Hinton Railroad Days Festival is making a triumphant return to the area. In recent years, the community feared the festival would end due to unforeseen circumstances with the train and Amtrack. The train that always provided passage to the event from Charleston, The New River Train, ran for what many believed to be the last time in 2018; however, state and local officials fought to reinstate the annual trip. The following year, officials accomplished their goal, and the Autumn Colors Express was born. Sadly, the pandemic kept the festival from happening in the two subsequent years. On October 20, 2022, the festival returns in all its glory.
This year’s event reinstates the festival with a bang. Hinton Mayor Jack Scott said, “We put a lot of time and effort into this. [We have] got some new features.” The new features the Mayor refers to include a Kids Zone, an extra stage for entertainment, and the utilization of several downtown buildings.
The City of Hinton Event Coordinator, Amy Richmond, said, “Hinton Railroad Days is happy to be back this year! We have something for all ages from music, to food, to fun events scheduled on all four days. Please come down and enjoy our town and the Hinton Railroad Days Festival October 20-23, 2022!”
According to Mayor Scott, train whistles will be given out to children attending the festival. Children will also have the opportunity to enjoy the new Kids Zone located on the Courthouse Lawn. There will be a myriad of activities and vendors geared toward the younger attendees. Some activities include two bounce houses, a climbing wall, photo ops and the opportunity to meet the Football Team and the Cheerleaders.
Richmond noted that more than 100 vendors are setting up during the festival. Both sides of Temple Street and the Food Court in the City Parking Lot will be lined with booths. Additionally, artisans will be in the McCreery Conference & Event Center, both levels of the Railroad Museum, and in the Kids Zone. Vendors will set up all four days between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Live music and special performances will take place on two stages throughout Railroad Days. Students of the Starz Performing Arts Academy and the Lincoln County Cloggers are among the performers.
In addition to the many vendors and activities, the Veterans Museum, the Campbell-Flannagan-Murrell House Museum and the Hinton Railroad Museum will all be open to visitors. According to Richmond, the museums will be operational during the same time as the vendors, from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
The Friends of the Library group is holding its annual book sale during the festival. According to an announcement from the Friends group, the sale opens the day before Railroad Days begin on Wednesday, October 19, in the Masonic Building beside Kirk’s Market & Cafe.
Another new addition to this event comes from Greenbrier Valley Brewing Company which created a unique brew for the occasion called Rail Ale. Mayor Scott and two Hinton Councilmen recently made a trip to Greenbrier Valley Brewing to help steam brew a batch of Rail Ale. This brew will only be available during Railroad Days. Also, Hawk Knob Cidery is providing hard cider.
At the time of writing, the train ride is sold out for three of the four days, and they anticipate the fourth day selling out before the festival, according to Mayor Scott.
Richmond and the City of Hinton want to send a big Thank You to all the Railroad Days sponsors: Beckley Auto Mall, Mountain Plex & Practice Link, and the City of Hinton. Also, Mayor Scott wants to thank Adam Auxier and the entire team responsible for Autumn Colors Express.
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