Over the second weekend of October, folks in Mingo County will see thousands of tourists flock to Gilbert, WV for the 19th National TrailFest. TrailFest is described by Victoria Surber, one of the event organizers, as “one of the largest ATV events on the east coast”, and regularly brings more than 5,000 people to the area.
TrailFest was started by the Hatfield-McCoy trails in 2000, and the city of Gilbert took the event over in 2012. Though the event takes a lot of work, Gilbert Mayor Vivian Livingood says it’s worth it. “Although this event is very expensive to host, and very time consuming, we in Gilbert can see the impact it has on our entire area.”
The Friendliest People on Earth
Vivian is heavily involved in TrailFest and spends almost 16 hours daily working it. “I am so tired each night I can barely walk, but I love what it brings to our area.” She says. “TrailFest is a super time, and it also gets guests to come for another visit. Tourism is an industry that needs to grow in our area. We have beautiful mountains and the friendliest people on earth.”
Victoria agrees. “It brings an economic boost to our town and county businesses. It also brings tourism to the area, as the attendees see what a great setup the trails are and how they are treated. Most come back for other visits during the year.”
Lots of Mud
In addition to offering open access to the Hatfield-McCoy trail system throughout the weekend, TrailFest also brings vendors from throughout the United States to sell everything from ATV parts to snacks. Some of the biggest manufacturers will also be showing and demoing new machines, and there will be live music on Friday and Saturday nights. “And of course,” Victoria says. “There is lots of mud!”
You can also enjoy ziplining, rock walls, and a mechanical bull throughout Friday and Saturday.
There is still time to register for National TrailFest. To learn more about registration, find event schedules and see pictures from previous years, visit their Facebook page. “We hope everyone has a great time,” Vivian says. “We appreciate all the support we receive… we love giving our town and people a wonderful event to enjoy with their family.”