WEIRTON - The world-premier of "Super 8" is set for June 10 and Weirton is gearing up to celebrate the excitement Sunday.
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.
Deb Witkowski, a member of the city's park board, who also served as a movie extras coordinator and an extra in the film, made several announcements during a recent press conference involving 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.
"There were almost 700 local residents cast as extras in the film," she said.
Witkowski then introduced Ward 3 Councilman Fred Marsh, event committee chair, 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.
Plans call for a 1970s 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 1970s vehicles that were used during the filming," said Marsh.
In addition, several movie production department representatives will be in attendance as well as Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille. Cardille is a Tri-State Area science fiction legend who was the host of "Chiller Theater," a late-night program that featured horror and science fiction films that ran from 1963 to 1983 on WPXI-TV and its predecessor, WIIC-TV. Cardille currently works for WJAS-AM.
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.
"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 Weirton Area Chamber of Commerce at (304) 748-7212.
(Dickson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)