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Friday, September 10, 2010

University, Huntington abuzz with activity for big game

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University, Huntington abuzz with activity for big game

A Marshall University employee cleans the Joan C. Edwards Stadium in Huntington in preparation for the game against the West Virginia University Mountaineers on Friday night.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Marshall University staff has been busy for months planning events for the thousands of people who will descend upon Huntington for the Friday night football game against West Virginia University.
This year's Friends of Coal Bowl gives Marshall a chance to showcase not just the football team in front of a national audience, but also the university and the city, said Marshall President Stephen Kopp.
HerdFest 2010 will take place this evening with musical guests, vendors and even an inflated Marco, the school's buffalo mascot. It is more than 15 feet tall.
The event will be held on 3rd Avenue in front of Pullman Square in Huntington's downtown, said Tish Littlehales, director of alumni relations. It begins at 5 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
"This event will bring people together that may root for different teams so we can get to know one another," Kopp said.  
Traffic on Third Avenue in front of Pullman Square will be blocked so a street fair can be set up, Littlehales said.
This will be the second time the event has been held in Huntington.
The first was three years ago, also when the Thundering Herd hosted the Mountaineers, she said. 

But this HerdFest will be bigger than the first, with 30 vendors catering to more than just sports fans. Everything from Marshall University gear to Longaberger Baskets will be on sale at the fair, said Nancy Pelphrey, alumni programs coordinator.
"We want to make everyone feel welcome," Pelphrey said.
Two musical groups are scheduled to perform. The Davisson Brothers Band will begin at 6:15 p.m. and will be followed by the headline act, Little Texas, which will take the stage around 8:30 p.m.
Marshall's new head football coach, Doc Holliday, will speak, as will Kopp and Gov. Joe Manchin, Littlehales said. 

"HerdFest will be a wonderful way to kick off the weekend," Kopp said.
A brunch sponsored by Friends of Coal  and the Marshall University Foundation will begin at 11 a.m. Friday. The brunch will be held in the foundation building on 5th Avenue and will last until 1 p.m.
Speakers for that event include former WVU and Marshall head football coaches Don Nehlen and Bob Pruett. Tickets are sold out, Littlehales said.
The Friends of Coal website lists several other events taking place after the brunch, including a 1-2 p.m. fundraiser for Senate President Earl Ray Tomblin and a 3-4 p.m. fundraiser for Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va.
The group also will hold a 4-7 p.m. Super Tail Gate Tent Party. 
All of this leads up to the Friends of Coal Bowl with the game starting at 7 p.m.
However, Marshall students were not waiting until game time to get into the competition. On Wednesday and today, some are vying for game tickets by playing a college football video game.
The Marshall University Student Activities Programming Board sponsored the competition and is giving away tickets to students, said James Clark, student activities specialist with the organization.

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