Fate of Beckley’s Chili Night and other events in question as COVID-19 cases surge

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Every year in Beckley on the first Saturday of October is the iconic Chili Night. It takes place along downtown and sees thousands of people come out for the famous festival.

However, last year’s Chili Night was canceled due to COVID-19, and it’s looking like this year’s might be in jeopardy as well. 

The Beckley Events committee is planning to meet this Monday with city leaders to discuss Chili Night, and see if there needs to be any changes. 

“We’re hoping to do some version of Chili Night, maybe a scaled back version.”

Right now a scaled back version involves allowing less people into the festival and scaling back the number of vendors. On a typical year they sell about 4,000 tickets, but scaling this one back could mean only selling a maximum of 1,000 tickets.

And there is still the worst case scenario of completely changing how Chili Night operates, or even cancelling it altogether.

“We really hope we don’t have to do that. I know there’s several organizations that have planned around it. There’s going to be an art display in the windows, a number of different artists will be playing, and I know our downtown businesses really depend on it.”

Chili Night is just one of many events that might be canceled in the coming months due to concerns with COVID-19. Just recently the Beckley Exhibition Coal Mine announced they would not be hosting their Haunted Coal Mine event this October. 

Other events throughout the region have been canceled, as well. Princeton’s annual AutumnFest has been canceled, and so has Lewisburg’s Taste of our Towns. It’s all because of the recent increase in spread of COVID-19 throughout southern West Virginia. 

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