Political candidates to attend festival

PARKERSBURG – At least three candidates for federal office in West Virginia today will be at the annual Parkersburg Homecoming Festival.

Attending will be Democrat Natalie Tennant, Democrat Glen Gainer and Libertarian John S. Buckley, who are participating in the parade and other afternoon activities, their spokesmen said.

Tennant will walk in the parade and carry a Kentucky muzzleloader, a reminder of her days when she was the Mountaineer mascot at West Virginia University in Morgantown. She’ll fire the gun, too, said Jenny Donohue, Tennant campaign spokesman.

“It’s a big crowd pleaser,” Donohue said.

Tennant, who is the secretary of state, and Buckley are running for the U.S. Senate against U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, and Mountain Party candidate Bob Henry Baber.

A spokesman for Capito said she doesn’t plan to be in Parkersburg while comments from the Baber campaign were not immediately available.

Gainer, state auditor, is running against incumbent Republican David McKinley for the House of Representatives 1st Congressional District. McKinley will still be on vacation, spokesman Jim Forbes said.

Gainer, Tennant and Buckley, an attorney who once served in the Virginia House of Delegates, will participate in the Parkersburg Homecoming Parade that goes from Parkersburg High School to the Wood County Courthouse on Market Street.

“We are walking the parade,” Gainer spokesman Michael Edwards said.

The candidates will meet and speak to people along the parade route and volunteers will distribute candy to the kids.

“(Tennant) prefers to walk and shake hands,” Donohue said.

An open house will be held at the Gainer office at 820 Market St. after the parade, Edwards said. Gainer has no formal events planned on Sunday, but will enjoy the homecoming after church Sunday morning, Edwards said.

Tennant has engagements planned later today, a pig roast in Boone County and a picnic in Kanawha County, Donohue said.

Bringing his Live and Let Live campaign to town, Buckley was at the homecoming Friday night and also met with volunteers. He will greet voters at the start and finish line of The News and Sentinel Half Marathon this morning, John Vaught LaBeaume, Buckley campaign manager, said.

“John Buckley ran in this race back in 1991,” LaBeaume said.

At 9:30 a.m., Buckley will line up with supporters to march in the Homecoming Parade, LaBeaume said. He will greet voters while his support team maintains his place in line before the parade starts, LaBeaume said.

Today’s Homecoming agenda starts at 8 a.m. with The News and Sentinel Half Marathon and 2 Mile races.

The annual parade starts at noon, TheNewsCenter Talent Show is at 2 p.m., Almost Queen, a Queen tribute band, takes the main stage at 8:30 p.m. and the fireworks show is 10 p.m.

Sunday’s events include the Tiny Tot Races and the closing show by The Guess Who.