HINTON, W.Va. — Railroad Days is still on in Hinton but with some changes.
The Hinton Railroad Committee met on Monday afternoon to discuss the future of the popular festival and have scaled it back to only one weekend, that will be October 19 and 20. This decision coming on the heels of the cancellation of the New River train, which carried thousand of visitors to Hinton during the four weekends in October.
Hinton City Manager Cris Meadows told MetroNews they decided that the festival full of vendors, music and railroad history must go on because the festival vendors support a lot of community efforts.
“There are so many programs that raise money through this festival that it becomes apparent that we have to have something to try and help those people continue to raise the money,” he said. “Plus showcase the railroad here at Hinton.
“Anything from the band boosters to the key club to Kiwanis. There are some church groups that raise money to feed those that are needy.”
The Collis P. Huntington Railroad Historical Society announced on Wednesday that the New River train is no more because of increased costs from Amtrak. The train, that went from Huntington to Hinton during the fall and everywhere in between, had Railroad Days as its most popular destination.
“It’s devastating for our community,” Meadows said. “Any festival is awesome when you truck in thousands upon thousands of people to come to your festival. For a small town like Hinton to have half of its population trucked in for the festival each day for four weekends, it’s a tremendous impact for the community.”
“Everyone is just as devastated as I am. There are so many people that rely on fundraising at the festival and just enjoy coming out for that festival.”
Meadows said Railroad Days has always been the largest and most successful festival for the town and a lot of that was because of the train. He still sees the festival sticking around for the long haul.
“I think we will continue to keep the festival going,” he said. “Of course, the impact of the train will be tremendous but we are committed to continuing with this festival.”