Call it Festival 2.0.
The Mullens Spring Festival, a four-day celebration, was held last week.
The time (early May) and weather (two rainy days) were much like the Dogwood Festival, which began in the early 1980s.
But, there were some new twists.
The City of Mullens and the Rural Appalachian Improvment League (RAIL) partnered to sponsor the festival.
While the Dogwood was held downtown, the Spring Festival moved to the more compact area encompassing the former Ray Wells lot and the Mullens Opportunity Center.
The move got rave reviews.
“We haven’t had any problems,” said Reece Neely, a city commissioner and one of the organizers of the event.
Safety was one of the considerations in moving the festival, he indicated.
“Here you don’t have children out walking in the street,” Neely pointed out. “It’s much safer.”
Response from festival participants has also been positive.
“The Myers Amusements people like it better out here,” Neely remarked. “And the vendors like it as well.”
“We are glad to join with the community for this festival,” said Dewey Houck, the founder of RAIL.
“What I like that we have a lot of local participation,” he remarked.
“We’ve really put an emphasis on local,” Neely agreed.
The weather was coooperative on Wednesday evening, the first day of the festival.
It rained on Thursday and Friday, but use of the MOC came in handy.
The annual dogwood tree planting event, which honors the memory of area residents who passed away in the last year, was moved indoors on Friday.
The service took place in the MOC gymnasium, and about 100 people attended.
There was also gospel music on Friday evening.
Mullens Fire Department hot dogs, a traditional festival feature, were sold at the MOC kitchen.
“This is the first time that we ever sold out of hot dogs,” one VFD member said on Saturday evening.
Sunshine returned on Saturday.
Activities included a spaghetti eating contests, the Pinewood Derby and sidewalk art. The nice weather allowed the musical performances by Stoney Trent as Elvis and the Cheat River Band to be held on the MOC’s outdoor stage.
AmeriCorps representatives had a blacksmithing demonstration.
Mayor Jon McKinney was happy with the festival. “Everything was paid for by the local businesses,” he remarked.
“I am very pleased,” he said.
John Conley can be reached at 304-732-6060 or on Twitter @PIHnews.