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.
11 a.m.: Ken and Mary (German Accordions) (Main Stage); Drum making workshop for children with Baba Jubal (Pavilion)
11:15 a.m.: Voices of Triumph Community Gospel Choir (AIM Stage)
Noon: Mick Souter (Appalachian Music) (Main Stage)
12:15 p.m.: Baba Jubal (Storytelling and children drumming) (AIM Stage)
1 p.m.: Michael Jacobs (Native American music) (Main Stage)
1:30 p.m.: Theater makeup demonstration (AIM Stage)
2 p.m.: Maidens IV (Celtic music) (Main Stage)
3 p.m.: Elevate (Main Stage): Drum circle with Tarab Raqs (AIM Stage); Hula Hoop Workshop with Angie Iafrate (Pavilion)
3:45 p.m.: Kids Hula Hoop Jam with Angie Iafrate (AIM Stage)
4 p.m.: SH Kang's Tae Kwon Do Demonstration (Main Stage)
4:30 p.m.: Bokwa Demonstration with Toni Holbroook (AIM Stage)
5 p.m.: Tarab Raqs (Belly dance and Near Eastern music) (Main Stage)
6 p.m.: Maidens IV (Celtic music); Stained Glass making demonstration (AIM Stage); Unique Hair-braiding (AIM Stage)
7 p.m.: Lady D and Mission (Blues) (Main Stage)
8 p.m.: Hula Hoop Jam (AIM Stage)
8:30 p.m.: The Flow Band (Reggae) (Main Stage)
"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.