December 30, 2022, Welch, WV: The Holiday Season will conclude in Welch on December 31st with the 3rd annual CoalTown, USA Coal Drop to ring in the New Year at Martha Moore Park. The event is family friendly, free of charge, and open to the public. The festivities will start at 9 pm and end at midnight with the Coal Drop and fireworks sponsored by the City of Welch to officially welcome 2023! Other activities include street food vendors, karaoke, and the chance to shop from local merchants selling handcrafted items and specialty products. The street blockade on McDowell Street in downtown will start at 7 pm.
“It’s a wonderful West Virginia way to welcome 2023 to Welch with our residents, but I also invite visitors to come and celebrate with us! I guarantee that will be a unforgettable way to ring in the New Year,” Mayor Harold McBride, Sr. explained.
The City of Welch takes a creative approach to the traditional New Year’s Eve “dropping of the ball”. Attendees help countdown the seconds to the stroke of midnight and then a 100-pound lump of coal, suspended by a crane, descends and is dropped in front of the City of Welch Christmas Tree in downtown. The event concludes with a fireworks display. While the Coaltown, USA Coal Drop is celebratory, the event also reminds attendees about the history of coal mining in McDowell County and its continued importance, today.
Mayor McBride also described the inspiration behind the Coal Drop, “Three years ago, the City of Welch restored a long-standing ritual of dropping a huge lump of coal to mark the beginning of the New Year, as part of our CoalTown, USA initiative. It’s a perfect capstone on a great year of activities in Welch for our citizens and tourists.”
“I’m so proud of what The City of Welch accomplished in 2022. From a tourism perspective, we grew Coaltown, USA significantly. Were honored to be selected to exhibit the Smithsonian Crossroads Exhibit in the spring; we had a full summer that included the 2nd annual Coalfields Cookoff WV BBQ Championship and the inaugural CoalTown Beach Bash; in the fall we had the CoalTown, USA Fall Festival; and most recently, we celebrated National Coal Miners’ Day and several holiday events. Now, I’m honored to host the 3rd annual Coal Drop New Year’s Eve celebration and I can’t wait to see how Welch continues to grow in 2023,” he concluded.
Since the establishment of McDowell County in 1858, the main source of income for its residents has been derived from the coal mining industry. The population boomed during the 1950s and 1960s and reached more than 100,000 residents in the area. Despite its smaller footprint today, coal mining continues to drive industry and commerce in Welch and the New Year’s Eve Coal Drop is another way to celebrate the future of CoalTown, USA, while also remembering the heritage that built Welch.
For those who can’t attend in person, but want to see the CoalTown, USA Coal Drop, it will be livestreamed at midnight on the City of Welch Facebook page and attendees are encouraged to tag @cityofwelchwv in their social media posts.