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Civic Center adjusts for water crisis

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - The chemical leak and resulting water crisis that left hundreds of thousands without tap water also shook things up at the Charleston Civic Center.

The Rough 'N' Rowdy Brawl amateur boxing contest, originally scheduled for Friday, Jan. 10 and Saturday, Jan. 11, was rescheduled to this Friday and Saturday.

The Kanawha-Charleston Health Department did not require the event to be postponed, but Civic Center officials and Rough 'N' Rowdy promoter Chris Smith agreed they should postpone the event. The Rough 'N' Rowdy is always a big draw, and the lack of water would have prevented the Civic Center from offering food services.

"We just felt it was inappropriate to move forward on the event with the information that was provided," said Jim Smith, the Civic Center's assistant manager and director of operations "We're making it through. We had to adjust a little bit, but I think it will be beneficial to everybody."

The West Virginia Fairs and Festivals Convention, meanwhile, continued on.

Smith said many attendees from around the state were already in Charleston, and Fairs and Festivals board members decided it would be too inconvenient to reschedule the convention.

"Hotel reservations, the travel, all that was taken into consideration with their board," he said.

The Civic Center doubled up on its hand sanitizer stations and made sure plenty of bottled water was on hand.

All tickets sold for last weekend's Rough 'N' Rowdy can still be used for this weekend's events. Additional tickets also are available.

The West Virginia Hunting and Fishing Show also starts at noon on Friday, and will last through Sunday.

Smith said having two large events at the same time is nothing new for the Civic Center, and likely will help both events.

The venue previously has hosted large concerts with the Hunting and Fishing Show, and both events saw an increase in ticket sales.

Smith said Civic Center staff stayed busy all last weekend because, in addition to the Fairs and Festivals Convention, the Grand Hall also was used as a staging area for the Federal Emergency Management Agency's water distribution operation.

Workers sorted water at the Civic Center to be sent to giveaway locations around the Kanawha Valley. Smith said FEMA moved out Sunday night, and by Monday morning the last of the water had been trucked away.

Contact writer Zack Harold at 304-348-4830 or Follow him at


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