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W.Va. rally on Labor Day has registered 60,000 guests




MORGANTOWN, W.Va.

Ninety law enforcement officers, including State Police from across West Virginia, will be in the southern coalfields on Labor Day to help patrol an area the size of nine football fields and manage at least 60,000 people expected for the Friends of America Rally and free concert.

Troopers will supplement county and local departments, managing the venue at a reclaimed strip mine near Holden as well as shuttles from several remote parking lots. Parking at the main venue should accommodate about 10,000 cars, State Police Capt. George Spangler said Monday.

“We anticipate that obviously there will be four or five in a car,” he said.

Emergency services workers will set up medical tents and cooling stations that spray overheated concertgoers with mist, and helicopters will be on standby for emergency evacuation of anyone who is injured or seriously ill, Spangler said.

As of Friday, more than 60,000 people had registered for free tickets for the Logan County event, sponsored by coal companies including Virginia-based Massey Energy and more than 100 associations and businesses, including energy, paving, machinery and trucking companies.

That would make the event about the same size as a home football game at West Virginia University, when Mountaineer Field in Morgantown becomes the state’s largest city, surpassing even the capital of Charleston. WVU Police Capt. Bob Cheslock said game days typically require a force of 125-150, including city, county and State Police in addition to 46 of the 52 officers in his department.

Two of the state’s largest law firms, economic development agencies and Verizon Wireless are also among the rally’s sponsors, who say the idea is to focus attention on the need to preserve and protect American jobs.

Fox News personality Sean Hannity and Lord Christopher Monckton, a science adviser to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, are among the speakers, while rocker Ted Nugent will be master of ceremonies.

Entertainers scheduled to perform are Hank Williams Jr., John Rich, Halfway to Hazard, Blackwater Outlaws and Taylor Made.

Police have also designated an area for environmental activists who could show up to protest mountaintop removal mining, as they have been doing all summer.

Spangler said he has not been informed of any planned protests.


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