BRAMWELL — With the opening of the Hatfield-McCoy Trail into the Bramwell area, business opportunities are expected to multiply.
One of those opportunities, which actually preceded the trail's opening by more than two decades, is the Highwall Park ATV and Music Resort, built on the site of a reclaimed strip mine near U.S. Route 52 between Bramwell and Maybeury.
Duane Kennedy, manager of the 292-acre site, said recently, "(Highwall Park) was first created in June, 1978. Right now, we have a complete performance stage, a 400-person capaqcity rain shelter, a bath house and two concession stands, which we'll have done by September 15, which is when we'll have our 'Coal Miners Appreciation Weekend' show."
The show will feature two churches and two catering compmanies proving concessions. In addition, volunteeer firefighters from Bramwell and Bluewell will be serving concessions. The show will be sponsored by Worldwide Equipment and WEL.
Highwall Park, he added, is primarily a music performance park with camping facilities, including ATVs.
"My father, David Kennedy, was working for the DNR when this site was a strip mine and helped Junior Linkous, who owned it then, in reclaiming it as a park. It is now a fully operational park reclaimed from the olp strip mine with a 60-acre aquifer under the property. We have bass and catfish, bears, deer, wildcats and hawks and, I've been told, eagles, on the property," he said.
The elder Kennedy, he added, was recognized as "West Virginian of The Year" by three different governors.
While the park is open 10 months a year (January and December excepted), Kennedy said next weekend's event is the biggest undertaking to date.
"We'll have music from all the suurounding counties, starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, with 'Blue Crossing' from Summers County, which is composed of railroaders who work for CMX. They will be followed at 8 p.m. by 'Blue Rock N-Grass' from McDowell County," he said.
On Saturday, he added, the music will start at 1 p.m. with "Stateline" from Giles County, Va.; followed by "Blue Rock N-Grass", then "2nd Generation" from McDowell County, before the headliner "Larry Cordle and Lonesome Standard" takes the stage at 8:30 p.m.
"Larry Cordle has written songs and/or performed with performers including 'Lynyrd Skynyrd', 'The Allman Brothers', George Strait, Brooks & Dunn and Ricky Scaggs and has written 41 Number One country and bluegrass songs, including 'Murder On Music Row', "Black Diamond String' and 'Highway 54' and performed at the Republican National Convention," Kennedy said.
All the groups performing, he said, are composed of coal miners.
"This is an event to honor all local coal miners," he said.
Looking forward to 2013, Kennedy said that contracts with Dale Ann Bradley; Dan Tyminski; Blue Highway; III (Third) Tyme Out and Larry Cordle & Ronnie Bowman had been signed.
Tickets will be $7 on Friday night and $15 on Saturday.
Kennedy said he was looking for a large West Virginia state flag as well as for more concession vendors for the weekend. He can be reached at 304-960-1947.
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