Annual Multicultural Festival under way

PARKERSBURG – The 18th annual Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival kicked off Friday with a Latin music night, leading into the weekend festival that celebrates the cultural diversity of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

The groups Grupo Konde Norteno, which made its multi-cultural festival debut, and returning band Grupo Fuego filled City Park with Latin music for the opening night of the three-day festival.

The Multicultural Festival continues Saturday and Sunday in City Park, with free admission all weekend. There will be a variety of activities, entertainment, food and other attractions throughout the weekend.

Tim and Nancy Penn, of Parkersburg, said they were looking forward to their first visit to the festival on Friday evening. The couple moved to Parkersburg last summer and were interested in the Latin music performances opening the festival.

“The multi-cultural event looked like it would be something where you could see all of the different sides of Parkersburg and it would be fun,” Tim Penn said.

Jerry Shaw, of Parkersburg, was at Friday’s opening night with his wife and two children. The family likes coming to the festival as often as possible, he said.

“We just enjoy the experience – being in the park, the music, the food, the exposure to different cultures. There’s always different entertainment,” Shaw said.

Connie Cunningham, of Parkersburg, was also enjoying the entertainment and other offerings on Friday evening.

“We’ve come for several years,” she said.

Rick Rubin, president of the festival’s board of directors, said he thought things got off to a good start Friday night with good crowds for the opening night performances. He thought the weekend would be a positive one with the variety of activities and entertainment.

“It’s a great family event,” Rubin said of the festival.

Other activities Saturday and Sunday include the International Boulevard, the Children’s Activity Center in the Pavilion and the Arts in Motion Tent. The Arts in Motion (AIM) Stage is a new and expanded venue for local artists and performers during this year’s festival. The new stage is featuring dance demonstrations and lessons, drum circle participation, a hula hoop jam and other activities each day.