PARKERSBURG - Due to a lightning-filled storm Friday evening, the first night of the 2014 Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival at City Park was canceled just as it was scheduled to get underway.
The festival will continue today and Sunday as scheduled, said festival director Rick Rubin. The hours are 11 a.m.-10 p.m. today and noon-6 p.m. Sunday at City Park for the free festival.
In the half-hour before the scheduled opening ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday, festival officials were monitoring the weather as sprinkles began. The rainfall continued to increase slowly in intensity until 6 p.m., when lightning and thunder could be seen and heard growing closer as people stood under tents and shelters or walked around with umbrellas at the park.
"One reason is because of the lightning," Rubin said in making the cancellation announcement at 6 p.m. Friday. "Rain we can handle, but with lightning we don't want anyone to get hurt.... It's a safety issue.
"We've got two more days so we're just going to batten down the hatches and see what happens (today)," he said.
Rubin said he was not certain what would happen with the acts scheduled to open the festival Friday night - whether they would return today or go on to their next scheduled event - but said today's schedule would go forward as planned.
The Ugata Drummers, one of Friday's acts, had been scheduled to perform on the Arts in Motion stage and after the cancellation, decided to go ahead and hold a drum circle in the City Park Pavilion for those who remained at the park, officials said.
Longtime festival volunteer and former director Bea Corra said this was the first time she could remember the festival's opening night experiencing any severe weather problems. She could remember years when rain fell on Saturday and Sunday, but this was the first opening Friday she could remember experiencing negative weather.
In addition to concessions, activities, entertainment and other attractions at the Multi-Cultural festival, the International Boulevard will be 11 a.m.-6 p.m. today at City Park. It will feature exhibits from several nations, hosted by local residents who have heritage or business connections with those nations. National flags identify each booth and there will be a variety of cultural items from each nation on display including artwork, textiles, decor, pottery, jewelry, posters, maps, books and other things.
Today's schedule of activities at the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival includes:
* 11 a.m.-5 p.m.: Children's Activity Center (Pavilion)
* 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.: Sami Marrero (Zumba) (AIM Stage)
* 12:45-1:45 p.m.: Baba Jubal (Drumming and Storytelling) (AIM Stage)
* 1:45 p.m.: Dinosaur presentation
* 2-2:45 p.m.: Visinata (Eastern European Music) (Main Stage)
* 3 p.m.: S.H. Kangs Tae Kwon Do (Korean Martial Arts Demo) (Main Stage)
* 3:45-4:45 p.m.: Traci Levine (All Ages Hula Hoop Session) (AIM Stage)
* 4 p.m: Kevin Locke (Lakota Hoop Dancer) (Main Stage)
* 4:45 p.m.: Dinosaur presentation
* 5-5:45 p.m.: Visinata (Eastern European Music) (Main Stage)
* 5:15-6:15 p.m.: Steve Dixon, Magician (AIM Stage)
* 6 p.m.: Philips Bird (Guitarist) (Main Stage)
* 6:30 p.m.: Tom Carroll (Jazz) (Main Stage)
* 6:45-7:45 p.m.: Professor Bubblemaker Bubble Ballet (AIM Stage)
* 8:30 p.m.: The Freedom Band (Reggae) (Main Stage)
The National Weather Service in Charleston reported 0.96 inches of rain fell Friday evening at the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport near Parkersburg, with the Walker area east of Parkersburg getting as much as 1.23 inches of rain.
Local officials reported some streets were covered with water during the storm, along a few downed lines or tree limbs. Some traffic lights in Parkersburg were also affected. The weather service issued a flash flood watch Friday which was scheduled to remain in effect until 6 a.m. today.
In the period after the storm Friday, First Energy reported about 313 customers without power in Wood County - primarily in Parkersburg and Mineral Wells - along with 41 in Wirt County and 261 in Calhoun County. In Ohio, AEP Ohio reported about 108 customers were without power Friday evening.
The number of outages decreased as Friday evening progressed.
According to the weather service in Charleston, today's forecast calls for a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms before 8 a.m. and then a slight chance of showers between 8-9 a.m. The rest of today is expected to be partly sunny, with a high near 84 and a chance of precipitation around 20 percent. Tonight will be partly cloudy, with a low around 61.
Sunday's forecast is for a slight chance of showers between 2-3 p.m., then a slight chance of showers and thunderstorms after 3 p.m. and partly sunny conditions with a high near 85. Sunday's chance of precipitation is 20 percent.