WEIRTON - The world-premier of "Super 8" is set for June 10 and Weirton is gearing up to celebrate the excitement.
Paramount Pictures spent several months filming in the local area during 2010, predominantly in Weirton, and with the film release just weeks away, city officials and local residents are planning to continue the excitement generated last fall. On June 5 area residents will be invited to Weirton to be a part of the celebration.
Park Board member Deb Witkowski, who also served as a movie extras coordinator and an extra in the film, made several announcements during a press conference held on Friday, along with several other committee members. She said "Super 8" is proof that big things can happen to a little town and she is a proud resident.
Weirton is planning a 'Celebr8 Weirton Summer Kick-off' in conjunction with the worldwide premier of the Paramount Pictures movie 'Super 8' filmed in the area last fall. Over the next few weeks, additional details will be released as plans are finalized. Pictured are event committee members including, front from left, Craig Howell, managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times; Dennis Jones, Weirton Area Museum and Cultural Center president; Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh, event chairman; Deb Witkowski, movie extras coordinator; Brenda Mull, Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce president; and Amber Nest, Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce office manager. In back is Terry Weigel, Board of Parks and Recreations executive director and Eric Minor, WTOV-9 managing editor. -- Angelina Dickson
"There was almost 700 local residents cast as extras in the film," she said.
Witkowski then introduced event committee chairman Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh who discussed more of the details surrounding the "Celebr8 Weirton Summer Kick-off."
Marsh said Pam Haynes of the West Virginia Film Office came to Weirton in February to critique how the filming went and suggested city officials plan a celebration around the movie premier. So, beginning the first week of March, he said local business leaders came together to help organize the event to help continue the excitement surrounding the film.
Throughout the day on June 5 - the Sunday prior to the film's release - plans are being made for a 1970's theme parade beginning at 5 p.m. and a street fair in front of the Millsop Community Center with food, entertainment and games to follow.
"We are going to get local kids on their bikes to participate as the grand marshals for the parade along with owners and their 1970's vehicles that were used during the filming will participate as well," said Marsh.
In addition, several movie production department representatives are hoped be in attendance and Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille of "Chiller Theater" and WJAS Radio - who ran a sci-fi show in Pittsburgh on local channels - will be available for a meet and greet and autographs. Local band Legend will also perform live.
Families looking to bring their children to the celebration will have access to games and rides courtesy of Kurt James Fun and Games. A walking tour of film locations and souvenir brochures are also being discussed followed by a grand-finale fireworks display at the end of the night.
The two major sponsors for event are Hancock County Savings Bank and the City of Weirton.
"This is a great time for Weirton with so many things going on that are moving Weirton forward," said Cathy Ferrari, chief operating officer of Hancock County Savings Bank. "Hancock County Savings Bank is excited to be involved not only financially but our people will be there to help."
City Manager Gary DuFour said city council passed a resolution authorizing $10,000 from the city's general fund along with "in-kind" services to be contributed to support the event. He said it was one of the few resolutions he has seen passed without question and it's a proud moment for local businesses and everyone who participated in the film. He read and presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Mark Harris and city council.
Marsh said vendors looking to be part of the street fair following the parade can make arrangements with the Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce at 304-748-7212.
(Dickson can be contacted at email@example.com)