WEIRTON - Area residents piled into downtown for the Celebr8 Weirton Kick-off on Sunday for the festivities associated with the release of "Super 8," a Paramount Pictures movie filmed in the community last year and set to be released this week.
Vendors were set up along the main drag as the event began with a parade down Main Street at 5 p.m. with local children riding their bikes as the grand marshals followed by a 1970s showcase of vehicles used in the movie.
Following the parade, Eric Minor, WTOV-TV9 managing editor, welcomed the crowd to the celebration. He said the purpose of the event was to continue to perpetuate the excitement which began infecting the city last year during the filming of "Super 8."
Minor said it was truly a 1970s weekend and informed the people gathered around of some information associated with that time.
"In 1979, gas was 85 cents a gallon; a walkman - the latest technology at that time - was $200; and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Orioles to win the World Series," he said.
Event chairman, Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh, said Pam Haynes of the West Virginia Film Office suggested the city do something to generate excitement in anticipation of the release of "Super 8." A committee of approximately 15 people was formed to bring the event together.
A few dozen local youth rode their bicycles in the parade Sunday, acting as the honorary grand marshals. The display was reminiscent of a scene in the film where a youth rode his bicycle along Main Street. -- Craig Howell
Marsh introduced special guest Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille - the host of Chiller Theatre, a late night Saturday program that showed horror and science fiction films from 1963 to 1983.
"Congratulations on the movie," said Cardille. "It couldn't have happened to a better city and perhaps you all could have another movie filmed here."
Cardille thanked everyone for inviting him to be a part of the celebration and said he was glad to see such a large turnout at the event. He talked about his experiences with Chiller Theatre and the industry throughout the years. Those wishing to meet Cardille and get memorabilia had the opportunity to do so throughout the remainder of the event.
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Names of the movie ticket winners will be found online today at www.weirtondailytimes.com, www.weirtonchamber.com, www.hcsbank.com and www.cityofweirton.com. A hard copy of the list will be available at the chamber office at 3174 Pennsylvania Ave. For more information, call the chamber at (304) 748-7212. Tickets must be claimed by Wednesday.
Cardille thanked Marsh and said if someone visits New York City and goes to the Museum of Television and Radio, old television shows and movies can be viewed.
"I was inducted in 1996 and I feel like I made it because of you," he told the crowd.
Marsh later presented Cardille with honorary citizenship of the city of Weirton. He also thanked each of the committee members for their contribution and role in planning the event.
"Everyone had something to contribute," he said.
Three people, Marsh announced, needed special thanks for their participation -Amber Nest, Deb Witkowski and Brenda Mull - because without them, he said, the event would not have been possible.
Attendees were encouraged to sign up for a chance to gain access to a special advance screening of the movie on Thursday, the day before the world-wide release of the film, as well as a chance to get the free tickets to the opening weekend.
Those winning for the drawing for Thursday's special advance screening will receive one ticket, which will be non-transferable. A photo identification will be required when checking in at the theater the night of the screening. There will be a minimum of 150 tickets selected for this drawing.
Those selected for the opening weekend drawing will receive two tickets with the time and date of the showing listed. Six hundred names will be pulled for this drawing, providing 1,200 residents with tickets.
The winners were selected today by representatives of Hancock County Savings Bank and the Celebr8 Weirton planning committee.
A list of winners will be announced this afternoon.
Those who came out for the festivities were invited to stay throughout the evening as local band Legend performed and fireworks were released to close the night.
Sponsors for the event included Hancock County Savings Bank, the City of Weirton, WTOV-TV9, Brooke County Economic Development Authority and First Choice America Community Federal Credit Union with special thanks to the Top of West Virginia Convention and Visitors Bureau.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)