Sunny skies close out final two days of festival

PARKERSBURG – A second day of sunny weather allowed the 2014 Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival to out on a bright note Sunday, in contrast to this year’s rainy start.

Thousands of people gathered at City Park on Sunday for the festival’s final day to experience various foods, crafts, activities and entertainment.

Miranda Haught, of Vienna, was attending the festival on Sunday with her brother, Adam, and her 21-month-old son Jaxon. It was her first time attending the festival and she came primarily for the children’s activities at the City Park Pavilion so Jaxon could give them a try.

“I thought I would bring him out and let him give them a shot,” she said.

“I’ve actually lived here my whole life and never went, I never had the opportunity to come out” to the multi-cultural festival in the past, Haught said, adding she “definitely” will be coming back in the future.

Charlotte Owens, coordinator of the children’s activities at the festival, said Saturday and Sunday were busy days in the park pavilion as children came in to work on crafts and projects.

“We had a great day (Saturday), I think we had well over 200 children in here,” she said, adding the return of drummer and storyteller Baba Jubal Harris to the pavilion and the Arts in Motion Stage got a lot of children involved.

Owens said the children’s programs have long been a popular part of the Multi-Cultural Festival and she is especially glad to see children who come back year after year for the activities and crafts.

“It’s very fun. (On Saturday) a young – I would say middle-schooler – came in and it was really fun because she said ‘I’ve been coming here since I was a kid,'” Owens said.

Michael and Francesca Kunk were also among those tending the festival Sunday. Originally from Texas, they had just bought a house on Washington Street on Saturday and visited the park Sunday after seeing the signs for the festival.

“This is amazing, it’s incredible. I really enjoy it,” he said.

Kelly Lawrence, with Green Mantle Studio of Athens, Ohio, said this was her first weekend as a vendor at the Multi-Cultural Festival and thought the event was a good one, which she hopes to return for in the future.

“It’s a very sweet crowd, I like the people and I like the festival,” she said.

Bea Corra has been involved with the festival since its creation and served as director for several years. She said the cancellation of Friday night’s activities due to rain and lightning was a first for the festival’s history. Previous years have seen a single performance here or there canceled due to weather, but this was the first time an entire evening of entertainment had to be halted.

However, the return of sunny weather on Saturday and Sunday afternoons saw large crowds come for the event, she said. The vendors also reported good business on Saturday and large crowds had returned for Sunday during another sunny day. She attributed the positive results to the work of the festival’s volunteers, especially director Rick Rubin, for their efforts leading up to and during the festival.

Corra said she is looking forward to the future, especially next year’s event which will mark its 20th anniversary.