Mountain Festival rider

Kingston Johnson waves while enjoying a ride Tuesday during the Cole Chevy Mountain Festival’s James H. Drew Exposition.

BLUEFIELD — Flashing lights and loud noises are all part of carnivals, but there’s going to be a time today at the Cole Chevy Mountain Festival for children who want a quiet carnival experience.

The James H. Drew Exposition opens today at 4 p.m., but a Quiet Carnival will be held earlier this afternoon for special children who need a show without flashing lights or loud noises. This special carnival is by invitation only, according to Jeff Disibbio, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of the Two Virginias.

“We’ll expand it next year, but it’s for the autistic kids or people who suffer visual and audible over-stimulation issues,” he said. “Mr. (Jimmy) Drew has been kind enough to turn off the lights and sounds. The children are going to participate in games and each of them will win a prize, and get some carnival food and drinks that are acceptable to their guardians. We’re going to include some foster kids as well.”

The chamber and the James H. Drew Exhibition have coordinated with local organizations that work with children meeting the Quiet Carnival criteria and have guardians to help with supervision and any safety concerns, Disibbio said.

Besides games and carnival food, the children will have the opportunity to interact with sea lions with the Sea Lion Splash show and with acrobats.

Jimmy Drew with the James H. Drew Exposition said the show works to do events like the Quiet Carnival at other stops across the country.

The regular carnival will open at 4 p.m. today after the Quiet Carnival has concluded.

Disibbio said there are efforts to give back to the community by doing something benevolent like the Quiet Carnival at each Cole Chevy Mountain Festival. Last year, COVID-19 vaccinations were offered to the visitors. During the festival’s first Saturday this year, the Mercer County Health Department offered health screenings.

— Contact Greg Jordan at

Contact Greg Jordan at

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