COALTON — For the past 27 years, lifelong Coalton resident Mike Ross and people from near and far have gathered to celebrate the small town’s history and heritage. Ross played a central role in the founding of Coalton Days, along with then Governor Gaston Caperton with an initiative to “bring people home.” Ross was born in Coalton and remains there at the age of 83.
Ross noted, “We started this back in the 90s when I was in the State Senate with Governor Caperton. We had what we called ‘Homecoming West Virginia’ to bring people back to visit where they came from. We get a lot of people back and it’s like a giant family reunion.”
Kicking off this Tuesday with the Miss Sunday Best and Miss Coalton Pageant, Coalton Days will offer the community’s 26th annual festival. The three-day celebration usually boasts 2,000-3,000 attendees, as event goers enjoy free carnival rides, local bands, pageants, parades, car shows, food vendors and a free homemade meal provided by Ross and family on his own front lawn.
On Friday, July 23 at 7 p.m., Prize Bingo will be happening at the Coalton Volunteer Fire Department. Packets will be $10 and refreshments will also be available. Saturday, July 24 is jam packed with activities beginning with a 5K Walk registration at 8 a.m. and flag raising ceremony at 9 a.m. at the Post Office. From 9-10 a.m., Car Show registration will be held at the City Park and the Car Show will begin at 10 a.m. Ross added, “We’re going to have a nice car show.” Also, at 10 a.m. is the Gold Rush Climbing Wall. From 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Gracie Metheny will provide entertainment at the City Park and the Soda Pop Gypsies will be on from 3:30-5:30 p.m. For those wanting to show off their own singing skills, a karaoke session is also planned. The parade will begin at 3 p.m. and by 4 p.m., event goers can enjoy a homemade meal, graciously prepared and provided by Ross and his family.
The free community meal consists of 120 lbs. of spaghetti prepared with homemade sauce and hand-rolled meatballs made by his brother, Coalton Mayor Jim Rossi. Mayor Rossi and his meatball crew also host the famous Coalton Spaghetti Day Dinners that draw over 1,000 people, according to Ross. Event goers can join Ross on his front lawn at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 24 to enjoy this noteworthy dinner. A local bank is also expected to provide an ice cream truck on the lawn that will be stocked with plenty of cold treats for everyone.
Although written invitations aren’t given out, everyone is welcome and encouraged to join the 26th Annual Coalton Days celebration. Ross is hoping for a great turnout, as the 2020 festival was canceled due to COVID-19. “People come from all around,” he stated as he mentioned some special guests who are expected to attend. “Senator Manchin, Coach Bob Huggins, and maybe even the Governor will be there...You just don’t know who you’ll see there.”
Ross added that they have better roads now that provide easy access just 4 miles off Corridor H. Come on home or come for the first time to enjoy the 26th Annual Coalton Days festival.
See page B6 for more information.