PARKERSBURG - From diverse foods and a variety of music from around the world to vendors offering a variety of unique items for sale, visitors to the 16th annual Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival this past weekend had a lot to take in and experience.
The free festival, which ran from Friday to Sunday at City Park, brought in many people from around the area as the threat of rain was a constant concern.
"The weather has been great," said Bea Corra, president of the Board of Directors for the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival. "Every storm that was predicted has passed us by.
A number of different musicians participate in a drum circle Sunday at the 16th annual Mid-Ohio Vall
"It is like we have had a big umbrella over the park and we have been blessed with good weather."
Visitors Sunday got to enjoy Scottish music from the Pipes and Drums of St. Andrews as well as Greek song and dancing and a drum circle among many activities.
The economy was a factor in the number of people who came to the park throughout the weekend as many people were looking for activities they could do at a reasonable price and close to home.
The Pipes and Drums of St. Andrews performed Sunday at the 16th annual Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival at City Park. (Photos by Brett Dunlap)
A number of the vendors reported having a good weekend with regular lines at certain attractions, Corra said.
"I think people are choosing how they spend their money and choosing more inexpensive things," she said. "Overall, I am very pleased with the weekend."
The festival was able to bring in a few new vendors which in turn has brought connections to other vendors, music acts and so on which will be pursued for next year's festival, many from West Virginia.
"I like to use West Virginia artists as well as people from Ohio and Pennsylvania," Corra said.
The festival remains a place where the cultures of the world and their people are celebrated.
"This is an event where people of different nationalities and cultures can blend together and mingle," Corra said. "It is one of the only events in this area where people in their native outfits can come and feel comfortable and feel welcome.
"I am always happy to see people in clothing that represents their own nationality and they are comfortable in doing that here."
Drum major Curt Mitchell of the Pipes and Drums of St. Andrews said they always like coming to the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival.
"We enjoy the crowd and the people who appreciate Scottish music," he said. "We want to bring Scottish music to the people in the local area so they can have an appreciation of their Scottish heritage.
"Many people from this area originally are decendants of Scots/Irish that settled this area."
In a time in Scotland's history, bagpipe music was banned by the British, but the music continued with the fiddle which was originally brought over to America.
"A lot of Appalachian music has its roots in Scottish music," Mitchell said. "The crowds here have been very receptive, they always are."
The festival helps them find new people to learn the bagpipes and drums as well as finding people for the color guard.
"We have gotten several people who have contacted us in the past through this festival," Mitchell said. "We see it as a recruiting opportunity."
Many people came to the festival Sunday for the different varieties of food available as well as the music and things to shop for.
"The funnel cakes and face-painting is what brought us out," said Chris Morgan, of Parkersburg.
Morgan was at the park Sunday with his family. They have been coming back to the festival regularly over the years. They try to make it down for one day, but will regularly try for two. There are a number of activities they can do with the kids.
"It is awesome," he said. "All of the food they have, all the vendors have a lot of different stuff and the music is from everywhere. It is just really cool."
Jeff and Amber Wilson, of Parkersburg, said they come to the festival every year for the variety of foods offered and things being sold.
"We came out to look at all the different things people are offering," Jeff said. "There is a variety of cultural items."
Amber Wilson said it is the one time of the year when they can find something truly unique.
"You always find things here that you don't see the rest of the year," she said.