TORNADO, WV (WOWK) — The 17th annual “Tour De Coal” community event took off, with over a thousand kayakers floating down the Coal River. This 12-mile float started from the Meadowbrook Park in Tornado and ended in Saint Albans.
This special event is where kayakers pay a fee to participate, supporting the Coal River and Meadowbrook Park funding.
“They’re here to have a good time, and they’re here to support the clean-up of the coal river,” said Bill Curry, Coal River Group.
“It’s given a whole purpose to the park” said Matt Curry, Coal River Group.
This float event will generate approximately $50,000 to be used to continue sustaining the Coal River.
“To keep it clean, and we’re so proud of it, and that’s what we’re showing off today, to all these new people,” said Curry.
The float brings people from all over the country to West Virginia and is the second-largest kayaking event in the United States.
Kayakers share why they keep returning to participate in this fun event every year.
“There’s a lot of rope swings, beaches, and good people on the river. It’s a fun day” said Curry.
“This is my fourth time, and it won’t be my last” said Joni McGraw, Float Volunteer.
They even help clean-up trash from the river during their float.
“My husband and I, we just filled a big bag. My son was able to fish out a big tire” said McGraw.
The “Tour De Coal” is an amazing example of how the community in and out of the state of West Virginia can come together to give back to the natural beauty of the state.
This event was followed by a celebration on Main Street in Saint Albans called “Yakfest”. The celebration includes food, shopping, and entertainment for participants and the community.