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July 7, 2014

‘Best of White Hall’

Summerfest to honor local first responders with family fun event set for July 18

WHITE HALL — The upcoming White Hall Summerfest is aiming to show the “community at its best.”

This free event is scheduled for Friday, July 18, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot in White Hall. The White Hall Business Association is hosting the Summerfest is an effort to promote and honor the local emergency service providers and specifically raise awareness for the needs of the White Hall Police Department, said Jonathan Board, president of the WHBA.

The evening will be packed with fun for the whole family, including music by the Davisson Brothers Band as the headliner, and John Schooley and Friends, as the opening act. Attendees are welcome to bring their own seats to the concert if they wish.

The gathering will feature treats from Rommie’s Frozen Yogurt and Ice Cream Bar, popcorn courtesy of Tygart Valley Cinemas, and offerings from a variety of other vendors. Kids can also enjoy bounce houses, balloons, face painting and other activities.

Because this is an occasion designed for families, there will be no alcohol.

“This is going to be an event unlike any other in the White Hall area, and it’s all going to be free, which is just amazing,” Board said.

He said the WHBA members are giving their time, effort and dollars to offer the Summerfest at no cost to the public.

“This is like the best of White Hall,” Board said. “You have the community coming together, you have the businesses coming together, and we’re all coming together to support our local police force.”

The WHBA, which will be a year old this month and is now nearly 100 members strong, got the idea for the Summerfest after learning about the unique needs of the White Hall Police Department and wanting to help, he said.

Just like any small business or corporation, small towns sometimes can’t meet all of their needs with their own finances and require assistance. Because the local police department is incredibly valuable and a big part of the community, the nonprofit corporation jumped at the opportunity to lend a hand by initiating a fundraising campaign, Board said.

Police Chief Geno Guerrieri explained that the White Hall Police Department, which is currently located at the town hall, is outgrowing its office space and is in need of a new facility. There is a pavilion outside the town hall that could be turned into a police department, but that project is not in the budget right now.

The White Hall Police Department would like to be able to move forward and build a bigger facility to meet its needs. As the town of White Hall continues to grow, the police department is constantly staying busy, Guerrieri said.

Right now, the department has eight police officers, including two full-time and six part-time. It hopes to expand and hire some more full-time officers in the near future, he said.

Guerrieri thanked the WHBA members for taking it upon themselves to do something to help the police department and to give back to the community. He said the upcoming Summerfest will be great for the citizens of White Hall and Marion County, and he hopes it becomes an annual event.

Board said the WHBA plans to make some exciting announcements during the event, and will do everything it can to try to satisfy the needs of the White Hall Police Department. The organization is very optimistic about being able to help the police force accomplish its goals and tasks.

“It’s going to be great and a powerful moment and an opportunity for the community to really celebrate those that benefit us so much,” he said of the Summerfest.

Emergency service providers put their own lives on the line and do so much for the day-to-day lives of the community members, Board said. He expressed his appreciation to all of the supporters who have stepped up to get involved in these efforts.

Since the White Hall Business Association was started last summer, it has seen success and has had a positive impact on White Hall, he said.

“We have sent volunteers to accomplish some incredible things in the past year,” Board said.

For instance, the White Hall Business Association held the first Job Expo and Business Showcase, which was attended by more than 1,000 people in North Central West Virginia and will again take place this October. The organization also planned the inaugural Taste of White Hall, which featured more than 10 restaurants from the area.

In addition, over the last year, the association conducted a comprehensive survey throughout White Hall to gather information to help the town. Its members were a part of “Adopt-A-Highway,” too, cleaning up U.S. 250 from the town hall to just in front of Muriale’s.

Board said the nonprofit is in the development stages of its first Cyber Safety Symposium, a free event that will bring local and national industry experts to the area this fall.

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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