Area offers plenty to do

I become amused, and annoyed at times, when I hear people say there is nothing to do in the Parkersburg area, despite all the civic and fraternal organizations events open to the public, Actors Guild, Smoot Theatre, Parkersburg Art Center, museums, church- and school-sponsored functions, college events, fairs and festivals, outdoor recreational opportunities, indoor recreation and fitness clubs.

Here are a few upcoming events to add to the above possibilities:

* Jeff Fox, an electrician by trade and music promoter/fan by avocation, is bringing bands and singers to the Worthington Golf Club Ballroom in Parkersburg each month. Fox said the concert series is designed for live music fans who don’t want to contend with TVs, pool tables and loud conversation when listening to musicians in a comfortable, relaxed atmosphere. Beer, soft drinks and light food are offered in the ballroom, but they are secondary to the music, Fox said. Worthington GC is in walking distance or a short cab ride for music fans in town. Fox tries to be accommodating to the musicians by providing a venue with good acoustics and lights and a receptive audience. Nashville songwriter Kevin Gordon, Angela Perley and Chris Connor (Americana folk rock) and Parkersburg native/acoustic guitarist Mike Iafrate will kick off the PM Beat Music 2013 Concert Series at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at Worthington. Fox describes himself as an entry-level guy in the music promotion business who wants to bring good music and professional bands to Parkersburg. His entertainment website is www.pmbeat.org.

* Parkersburg Moose Lodge 1118 is having “senior dances,” free to the public, on the second Sunday of each month from 2 to 5 p.m. Most of those attending the dances are 40 years old and older with some younger participants, said Gary Cunningham of Blennerhassett Heights Road, who is a Moose member and disc jockey at the dances. Those attending get a free meal as part of the Moose’s community service project. Cunningham, a former “traveling DJ” for 33 years, said he plays a variety of older music, including big band tunes, Frank Sinatra, The Platters, Elvis and many more. He takes song requests that have included the Electric Slide and the Cupid Shuffle. The Moose Lodge wants to increase attendance, which has been 30 to 40 people, at the free dances. The next dance is this Sunday at the lodge off West Virginia 95 in south Parkersburg.

* The Mission Team at Stout Memorial United Methodist Church in Parkersburg is sponsoring a Fat Tuesday pancake supper from 4:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday in the fellowship hall. The community is welcome to sample the chocolate chip, pecan, banana, pumpkin, apple and blueberry pancakes prepared by celebrity pancake chefs and served with sausage or bacon. Proceeds go to Circles, an initiative to eradicate poverty one family at a time. Cost of the meal is by donation. Last year, about 125 people attended the pre-Lenten meal and Stout Memorial wants to double that number this year, said Barbara Smith, chairman of the Mission Team. “We had a blast last year,” Smith said.

* Actor Erik Estrada, a late 1970s heartthrob who starred as Ponch in the TV police show “CHiPs”, will be attending the screening of a new family-friendly film called “Finding Faith” on March 3 at South Parkersburg Baptist Church. Estrada plays Sheriff Mike Brown in the film that shows how faith can help a family after a tragedy (child abduction). The film and program are designed to educate parents and teens about Internet safety. There is no charge to attend the film’s showing at 6 p.m., although a love offering will be taken, said Debbie Gurtis of South Parkersburg Baptist Church.

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Thanks, Mike, for pointing out to me I misspelled tarantula in last Saturday’s column.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com