Festival celebrating West Virginia’s Rocket Boys goes online

BECKLEY, W.Va. (AP) — A festival that celebrates West Virginia’s Rocket Boys will be held online this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Rocket Boys Festival will be livestreamed Tuesday through Thursday. According to the festival’s Facebook page, author and former NASA engineer Homer Hickam is scheduled to attend.

Festival director Scott Hill said the virtual event will give fans worldwide a chance to learn more about Hickam and his story.

The festival celebrates the three years from 1957 to 1960 when Hickam and his friends launched rockets while in high school. They eventually won a national science fair.

Hickam’s novel, “Rocket Boys,” is about those experiences and growing up in the McDowell County community of Coalwood. The book was adapted into the 1999 movie “October Sky.”

The festival originated in Coalwood in 1999, then moved to Beckley in 2012.

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