10/5/2013 6:10 PM
by Joe Hellriegel
BECKLEY - There has been much anticipation leading up to the Rocket Boys Festival and now it's finally here.
The Rocket Boys Festival kicked off with Homer Hickam and the Rocket boys visiting Beckley. Crowds gathered at the Exhibition Coal Mine to welcome the rocket boys and of course, meet them.
"The main thing is that people can get in here, it's a beautiful grounds, the exhibition coal mines is here, the planetarium is here, we have a place to launch rockets and sign books and its really a perfect venue," said Homer Hickam.
Actor Chris Owen who played Quentin Wilson in the movie October Sky was also in attendance, coming to Beckley for the first time.
"It's just been incredible everyone here has been open arms, the nicest people I've ever met, its funny, not to say we don't have it in Los Angeles but it's just not the same," said Owen.
The 2013 Rocket Boys Festival is a festival in every sense of the word, Homer Hickam is signing autographs along with the rest of the rocket boys and everybody says they're having a great time.
"Today we're here for the rocket boys, I mean you know that's Homer Hickam and those guys there, you know they're heros in their own right to be able to do what they did, for me it's just great to be apart of it and it's great to celebrate everything they did," said Owen.
"It's an opportunity to see the other rocket boys, I don't get to se them throughout the year, we all live far apart and this gives us an opportunity to come back and get together," said Hickam. "But of course we are little dangerous when we do that but we try to tamp it down as best we can and just have fun."