Unveiling ceremony set for restored sign

ELKINS — A ceremony is set for Sept. 29 to officially unveil a newly painted Coca-Cola sign as well as an Elkins Main Street logo on the Clara Belle’s building on Davis Avenue in downtown Elkins.

The project was recently completed by Jack Fralin and George Kelly, both of Best Bets Arts of Roanoke, Virginia. The company has restored dozens of Coca-Cola signs across the country.

The event will take place from 1-3 p.m. and include games, live music and refreshments. The project was paid for by Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated and spearheaded by Fourth Ward Elkins City Councilwoman Marly Hazen.

“CCBCC has a ‘ghost sign’ program to restore historical Coke murals throughout Appalachia. There were five or six of these faded signs on the old Stalnaker building, some thought to be nearly as old as the city,” Hazen said. “So, we kept the historical downtown look of the old Coke sign while adding the new ‘Unexpectedly Cool’ (Elkins Main Street) design to welcome folks into downtown Elkins.”

Madalyn Humphrey, Elkins Main Street executive director, said she is pleased with the addition of the Elkins Main Street logo to a building leading into town.

“We are grateful Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated chose our town. The Elkins Main Street logo above the restored Coca-Cola sign beautifies the entrance to our downtown,” Humphrey said. “This mural welcomes residents and visitors to our downtown so they can discover the many unexpected treasures we hold. This has motivated the continued movement to brighten up our beloved town.”

Hazen added that she believes the signs show the city has an interest in beautification. She urged people to come out to the unveiling event.

“It’s a very visible way to say that this is a colorful, creative community. Elkins has moxie,” Hazen said. “We’re unexpectedly cool. Come be a part of it!”

She said there is talk of additional art projects taking place downtown.

“There have been lots of discussions lately about how to bring more public art into Elkins. Volunteer projects like Elkins Make It Shine and 304 Day are making a difference here,” Hazen said. “Please keep having these conversations and keep stepping up! Your ideas are what makes Elkins a city that not only enjoys art but participates in it.”

Hazen also praised Mountain State Forest Festival officials for helping with the project. “They set up the unveiling party, and one of the reasons Coke wanted to work in Elkins is because of the Forest Festival,” she said.

Hazen said the project was a collaborative effort involving several different agencies and individuals.

“Big thanks to everyone who helped make this happen: the generosity of CCBCC, the enthusiastic participation of Pete and Debbie Tenney and Jessica Isner of Clara Belle’s, the quirky design of Elkins Main Street, and the cheerful support of Van Broughton and the community as a whole,” she said.