The population of Coalton swelled by at least 3,000 people on Saturday as the annual Coalton Days celebration came to an end.
Organizers said the festival was very successful and the weather contributed to one of the largest turnouts ever.
"It is a fabulous turnout," Coalton Mayor Jim Rossi said. "It keeps growing every year and everybody is enjoying it. Participation has been great."
The Inter-Mountain photo by Anthony Gaynor
W.Va. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin waves to spectators during the Coalton Days parade on Saturday. Tomblin was the parade marshal for the event, which was one of many held on the day in the small Randolph County community. More photos are available at cu.theintermountain.com.
Coalton was packed with residents and several local and state political leaders. Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin served as parade marshal for the grand feature parade and West Virginia University men's basketball coach Bob Huggins also was on hand to meet fans.
"This is one of my favorite days of the year to come and see all the great West Virginians here," Tomblin told the crowd in attendance from the porch of Mike Ross's residence.
Ross opened his lawn for food, drinks and carnival rides for the last day of events. Ross had several performers slated throughout the day, including an Elvis impersonator.
"It is the largest crowd ever," Ross said. "The weather is fantastic. It is crazy to see so many people together. There are 3,000 to 5,000 people here. It is wonderful to be able to bring so many people together.
The day began with tractor pulls across from Coalton Elementary School. Several people brought in their high- powered specialty built riding lawn mowers and garden tractors to see who could pull the most weight furthest. Eric Broadwater, of Cumberland, Md,, was on hand with his green John Deer garden tractor.
"This is my first time here and it is a nice event and a nice place," he said. "I started pulling last year and it is a lot of fun. It is a family thing, my wife and son both do it."
Throughout the day attendees had the opportunity to meet several elected officials mingling with the crowd. Delegate Bill Hartman, Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor and Supreme Court Justice Robin Davis were among many in attendance.
"It is a beautiful day and the community spirit of Coalton is amazing," Hartman said.
Taylor was pleased to see such a large turnout at the annual festival.
"The commission donated this year to sponsor Coalton Days activities," he said. "It is a great investment when you have this kind of turnout in the community."