Residents, vendors discuss Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival

Photo by Brett Dunlap Raquy Danziger of Dum Rhythm Celebration plays the Kemenche string instrument during a performance Sunday at the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival held at City Park. Dum Rhythm Celebration features Turkish style darbuka/dumbek drumming. The ensemble performs compositions comprised of rhythms from Turkey, Egypt, Iran and India as well as funk, samba and hip hop.

PARKERSBURG — People who attended the 22nd annual Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival over the past weekend got to experience different cultures from around the world.

The annual festival saw thousands of people come to City Park in Parkersburg who had the chance to partake in different foods, fun, entertainment and a variety of activities. There were 80 vendors and presenters throughout the festival.

“We have had a lot of positive responses from people,” said Jessica Duckworth, festival president. “I say we have seen as many people, if not more, as we saw last year.

“Every few hours you can look and see a few thousand different people mingling around.”

The rain held off until around the end of the festival Sunday evening.

Photo by Brett Dunlap Catherine Miller, owner of PCM LaCreperie of Lewisburg, makes crepes Sunday for people attending the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival held over the weekend at City Park.

Scott Church, of Belpre, came to the festival to take in some of the different sights and sounds.

“We wanted to listen to some of the entertainment and see some of the vendors,” he said.

He has been to the festival a number of years with the diversity of many groups and vendors as a highlight for him.

“It is just getting out and enjoying the weekend,” Church said.

Throughout the festival a number of food vendors were on hand with dishes that highlighted a number of cultures and cuisines. The people behind PCM LaCreperie of Lewisburg said this was their first big festival. The business makes a variety of crepes, a type of very thin pastry usually made from different types of flour. Crepes are thin, but are made in a similar manner as a pancake with a number of different fillings that can be added.

Photo by Brett Dunlap Peyton Davis, of Parkersburg, works a little marionette puppet Sunday during the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival.

The business had a variety of sweet and savory crepes.

Owner Catherine Miller and her crew are all full-time teachers who are working fairs and festivals throughout the region. Their trailer was brand new with the Multi-Cultural Festival being its second time out and their first full weekend festival.

“This is our first multi-day festival and it has been going well,” Miller said. “We are pleased.

“I looked for different festivals to be a part of and I liked the multi-cultural idea. I thought I would give it a chance and I have loved it.”

The food trailer was a dream of Miller’s who said her daughters and son-in-law urged her to start cooking crepes after a trip to France. Miller said her family has a history of doing food vending at fairs and festivals with her father doing it in 1964 at the West Virginia State Fair with an ice cream trailer. Her brother has a number of concessionaires he runs.

Her food trailer was designed with input from her whole family.

“It is our dream,” Miller said. “It is a family affair and that is what makes it so special.”

The trailer was a big hit with many festival goers over the weekend.

“We have had a very good crowd throughout the festival with a lot of repeat customers,” said Lynn White who works with Miller.

All of the signature crepes they offered were named after Miller’s children and grandchildren. The Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival was such a big hit for them, they are planning to be back next year.

“If we are invited back, we will definitely be coming back,” Miller said. “Parkersburg has been absolutely divine.”

Peyton Davis, of Parkersburg, came to the festival Sunday with her family to celebrate Father’s Day. Their family tries to make it out to the festival annually.

“I have fun every year,” she said. “There is good food and a lot of stuff to do.”

Her mother Sarah said there is always a lot going on at the Multi-Cultural Festival.

“It is the atmosphere,” she said. “We really like going to the festivals with the music and the food.

“There is a lot to look at.”

Festival Director Jennifer Randolph said the festival brings in a lot of people.

“For many it is like a family reunion as they see many of the same people every year,” she said. “It is like a big family reunion and a big party in the park.

“We have been doing this for 22 years so you get to know the regulars. It really is a sense of community.”

Both Randolph and Duckworth, who are sisters, said they rely on a lot of volunteers every year to put the festival on.

“A lot of people have come together to make this happen,” Randolph said.

The sisters hoped people who came enjoyed themselves and discovered something about another culture that they may not have known about before.

“We hope the people who came to the festival this weekend either learned something new or tried something new,” Duckworth said.