By Hayley M. Cook
WILLIAMSON - No feudin’ - just fun. That’s the slogan of this year’s 15th Anniversary Hatfield McCoy Reunion Festival, set to take place in Matewan.
The three-day event is being held Friday through Sunday, and it looks like there will be plenty of activities and entertainment for Tug Valley residents and visitors alike.
“This is a really special time for Matewan and the Hatfields & McCoys,” said Natalie Young, Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce director. “After the History Channel miniseries came a slew of cable shows hitting on what we refer to as: ‘Feud Gold’ … American Pickers, NatGeo’s Diggers, and the reality show, ‘White Lightning,’ to name a few. And now focus has shifted to Matewan as the winner of a statewide ‘Turn This Town Around’ campaign sponsored by New South Media (West Virginia Living Magazine), West Virginia HUB, and West Virginia Public Radio. So I think it’s safe to say the 15th anniversary is going to be huge.”
On Friday, at noon, the vendors will be opening up shop and preparing a host of fried foods and sugary snacks that the festival is known for. There will be plenty of games and prizes to enjoy as well.
The opening ceremony, starting at 7 p.m., will mark the beginning of the fun and festivities, and a free concert starting at 5 p.m. will allow everyone to get a taste of some great country music. At 8 p.m. the band “A Mile to Nowhere” will perform.
On Saturday,, there will be even more live music and great vendors to enjoy, this time opening up at 10 a.m. The popular “tug of war” event will take place on this day as well, at 1 p.m.
Shelia Kessler, the mayor of Matewan, is “beyond excited to see who wins this year … bragging rights last a long time!” However, Kessler notes that it is “all in good fun!” Descendants who wish to participate on behalf of the Hatfield Clan may contact Stephanie Hatfield at (304) 785-0453 and descendants of the McCoy Clan may contact James Quick at (304) 855-8808.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, Casey Lyn Tackett, with Lyrick Promotions LLC, will be performing some country/folk music. Then at 3 p.m. Henry Johnson, also with Lyrick Promotions LLC, will perform.
Also at 3 p.m. will be the Hatfield-McCoy parade. If you are interested in being part of the parade, you may contact Katie McCoy via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Francine Jones at (304) 235-0310. Veterans, schools, classes, bands, descendants, churches, pets and themed floats are all welcome to participate.
Living historical re-enactments will be taking place throughout the day as well. At 6 p.m. a concert featuring Kentucky’s very own Sundy Best will begin, with guest performances by McVanHat and Morgan White. Tickets, priced at $15 each, can be purchased for this concert at www.hatfield-mccoyreunionfestival.com.
Sunday will feature an outdoor church service in Matewan with a “pig-out” dinner at Wingo’s Grill afterward.
For more information on the church and gospel music, contact Josh Addair via Facebook at: www.facebook.com/joshuaaddair. For information on the “Pig Out” dinner contact Kathy McCoy at (304) 426-4700.
On Sunday, there will be a reunion picnic at Preacher Anderson Hatfield’s cabin in Blackberry Creek that is open to all descendants and their friends.
Action in Mingo also will be providing activites and fun for all, with “heritage” activities that will celebrate the rich past of the area. AIM will be located behind City Hall in Matewan, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The AIM activites include crocheting/knitting demonstrations, doll making, square dancing, clogging and much more. There also will be games for children, including sack races and an egg toss.
According to Big Jim McCoy, from the TV show ‘White Lightning,’ there will be approximately 25 vendors there. His mother, Mamaw McCoy, is also expected to be present, with a demonstration on how to make lye soap.
For more information about the reunion, visit the official website of the event at www.Hatfield-McCoyReunionFestival.com.