Event center prepares for debut

BUCKHANNON – The Event Center at Brushy Fork, part of the new Army National Guard being constructed in Buckhannon, is gearing up for its debut.

The Upshur County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau oversees the planning and coordination of the event center. Conference Center Manager Laura McDaniels said this week events already are booked at the conference center starting in October.

“We have some ideas for showcasing the local theaters and possibly the local florists to do little centerpieces, and to be able to put little place-cards out that say ‘arrangement was provided by such-and-such florist here in West Virginia,” McDaniels said. “Just make it about showcasing what we have here.”

The tentative move-in date for the event center is Sept. 1, but the open house is “penciled in” for the early afternoon of Oct. 1, McDaniels said, adding the exact time has not been set. The opening will include a ribbon cutting.

The first event set to take place at the center is the Oct. 19 West Virginia Wesleyan College Homecoming.Other events are tentatively scheduled, but McDaniels said those dates could change because pricing has not yet been set.

“We have several events penciled in, but its very loose right now because people want to know the price,” McDaniels said.

McDaniels said tables and curved-top chairs have been ordered to suit a neutral color scheme so guests’ event decor won’t clash. The chairs are rimmed in black, while the dark blue fabric seats match a coloration in the carpet, CVB Director Laura Meadows said.

The chosen colors were not exactly what McDaniels said she had in mind, but in the interest of making a timely purchase, choices had to be made from in-stock inventory options.

“They are very limited with what they have in stock, and it was going to be a very long lead time,” McDaniels said. “With the (Army National) Guard purchasing as well, we just had to work with what was in stock.”

The Army National Guard and the CVB will split the purchase of the items. The CVB purchased its share in the amount of $44,991.02 using part of the $100,000 it provided to Buckhannon City Council in the last fiscal year to help with the event center.

After an opportunity arose through information provided by a local church, the CVB was able to purchase 600 dining plates and 200-250 mugs, saucers, bread and butter bowls and appetizer and desert plates, all colored in a neutral white palette to needs of any potential guests.

“I think we should have something that is very neutral,” member Sam Nolte said.

The dishes were purchased from the Stonewall Resort for $1,300, and additional pieces are still available for purchase online should the CVB choose to buy extras or replace any that break. Meadows said it might be a good idea to order some extra pieces to have on hand because the numbers offered by the resort were right in line with the CVB’s ideal head count for events that would also utilize a dance floor.