HINTON, WV (WOAY) – Hinton was forced to cancel one its biggest events of the fall this week.
The Foliage Train Festival is typically held in October. It’s usually a big draw, as well as a boost to Hinton’s economy in several different areas.
“We put together a festival that brings between three and five thousand people a day into this small community,” said Hinton Railroad Museum Volunteer Pat Hanifin. “(We) show off our railroad heritage. Certainly, it’s a wonderful opportunity for fundraising for our charitable organizations.”
With the 2020 festival being cancelled due to COVID-19, four days worth of substantial revenue is gone from Hinton. Hanifin explained that groups and companies throughout the town will feel this loss.
“The whole area is impacted by this,” Hanifin said. “There’s no question about that. Of course the hotels fill up. The restaurants do excellent business. The food suppliers are really excited for this to go on. And the whole community is involved in this.”
The Railroad Museum staff was working to find some way to safely hold the festival this year. Ultimately, with town safety being the most important aspect of planning, there was no way to execute it. It wasn’t the preferred outcome by any means.
“I don’t think I can say enough about the impact,” Hanifin said. “It bothered the community. It bothered the people in the community. I hated to be the one to give that kind of bad news. It’s a setback. There’s no question that it’s a setback for the community.”
The 2021 foliage train festival is still scheduled for next October.