Festival Kicks Off

PARKERSBURG – After the cancellation of the first night of the 2014 Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival on Friday, large crowds took advantage of Saturday’s sunny weather to come out and experience the annual event.

The festival continues today from noon-6 p.m. at City Park in Parkersburg.

Festival director Rick Rubin said the festival appeared to be bouncing back well Saturday after Friday night’s cancellation, with large crowds visiting the concessions, vendors and other attractions at the park.

“I’d say we’re back on schedule,” he said Saturday afternoon.

“The park’s full of cars and we have a good crowd moving around. We worked on the grounds for about three hours (Saturday morning) with some straw out and some sawdust so the ground is coming around,” Rubin said, adding Saturday’s sunny and breezy weather was also helping to dry everything out.

Alexis Batten, of Parkersburg, was attending the festival Saturday with her family and thought it was a good event. While the family tries to come each year, they stayed home Friday night because of the rain but were glad to be out Saturday.

“My favorite part is the kids’ events because I have a 1-year-old,” Batten said, adding the family also likes the crafts and activities available during the festival.

Vienna resident Mike Taylor said brought his daughter Emma – soon to be 2 years old – to enjoy the festival Saturday. It marked his first time at the festival and he was enjoying the experience.

“We came out to watch the music, hang out and have a good time,” Taylor said.

A popular new attraction at this weekend’s event was the 23-foot-long dinosaur skeleton replica which filled its own tent on the festival grounds. It is called Tarbosaurus bataar – meaning “alarming lizard” – and is a genus of tyrannosaurid theropod dinosaur that flourished in Asia about 70 million years ago, at the end of the Late Cretaceous Period. Fossils have been recovered in Mongolia, with more fragmentary remains found further afield in parts of China.

Ray Garton, with Prehistoric Planet in Barracksville, W.Va., said he has been coming to the festival as a vendor for the past several years and contacted festival organizers with the idea of bringing the skeleton.

“It’s a great event,” he said of the multi-cultural festival. “It was kind of a bummer (Friday night) with all of the heavy rain, but we have twice as many people here (Saturday), maybe the ones who couldn’t make it.”

As part of the dinosaur display, Garton was giving lectures and answering questions about the dinosaur on Saturday afternoon. He was also scheduled to give presentations at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. today during the festival’s final day.

“It’s been a real receptive crowd. I was really pleased with how big the crowd was (Saturday afternoon) that wanted to talk about the dinosaur,” he said.

Today’s schedule of activities at the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival include;

* Noon-12:30 p.m.: Interfaith Prayer (Main Stage)

* 12:30-1 p.m.: Kevin Locke (Lakota Hoop Dancer) (Main Stage)

* 12:30-1:30 p.m.: Cat Bigley (Tai Chi) (AIM Stage)

* 1:30 p.m.: Dinosaur presentation

* 1-5 p.m.: Children’s Activity Center (Pavilion)

* 2 p.m.: Pipes and Drums of St. Andrew (Bagpipe Band) (Main Stage); K.O.M. Rivers Knitting Club (AIM Stage)

* 3 p.m.: MacConmara Academy of Irish Dance “Celtic Storm” (Main Stage)

* 3:30-4:30 p.m.: Professor Bubblemaker Medicine Show (AIM Stage)

* 4 p.m.: Graham Denmon (Electric Violinist)

* 4:30 p.m.: Dinosaur presentation

* 6 p.m.: Festival ends.