Outdoor parties with a purpose

Now that summer is here, area residents are taking advantage of the warm weather to host parties for charitable causes and community projects.

* This year’s Parkersburg High School multi-class reunion has a new location and more classes. The fifth annual PHS reunion will be July 20 at Dils Riverfront Park in Vienna behind Wal-Mart, said Ben Parks, coordinator along with Rick Perkins. The reunion committee has added five classes so graduates from 1980-89 are invited. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. There will be live music, a disc jockey, food, soft drinks, water and beer from the North End Tavern and Brewery. The cost is $15 a person. Proceeds will be split between the Ohio Valley Rowing Club and a PHS graduate who is battling cancer. Businesses or individuals wanting to help defray costs so more money can be donated can contact Parks, Class of 1982, at 304-488-9882 or Perkins, Class of 1986, at 304-200-0222.

* The Mountaineer Parrot Head Club of Wood County will be partying with a purpose-to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Association – from 7-11 p.m. Aug. 30 at Parkersburg Country Club. The group of Jimmy Buffett fans will be transforming the country club’s swimming pool area into a tropical island for the eighth annual Island Fest, open to the public, said spokesman Kim Kaplan. Tickets at $30 can be purchased at the Parkersburg Country Club, the Alzheimer’s Association office at 1218 Market St. in Parkersburg, at the fundraiser or from any Parrot Head member. Ticket includes entry into drawings, food and entertainment. There will be a 50/50 drawing and raffles for Margaritaville foods and gifts. The Caribbean Cowboys band from Asheville, N.C., which has played up and down the East Coast and Key West, will provide dance music.

* Awareness and money were raised for Catholic Charities West Virginia last Saturday night thanks to Mary Riccobene. The Vienna woman opened her home on the McDonough estate to representatives from Catholic parishes in Wood County so they could learn of the social services provided by Catholic Charities. At the outdoor dinner, Deborah Shaffer, Catholic Charities regional director in Parkersburg, explained that the agency provides utility bill assistance, food, prescriptions, disaster relief and shelter to the area needy regardless of religious affiliation. Catholic Charities, based in the Volunteer Action Center on the second floor of the Dils Center, is looking for volunteers and monetary support to implement new programs to help the poor and vulnerable, Shaffer said. James Auvil, chef/owner of CJ’s Italian Kitchen in Vienna, provided a fabulous meal of hors d’oeuvres, salad, grilled salmon over couscous and a dessert buffet at the gazebo, Shaffer said. “The dinner was Mary’s idea and gift,” Shaffer said.

* Dinner at one of the area’s finest homes and gardens was a fitting end to a visit by America in Bloom judges in Belpre last week. Two master gardeners with the national organization from California and Florida were in town to judge the Belpre in Bloom project, which they praised. They, along with local gardeners, toured the garden and had dinner at Doug Hines’ The Elms on Walnut Street. Hines, a Belpre in Bloom board member, has transformed The Elms into a grand home designed and furnished after mansions built in the 1750s from Virginia to Charleston, S.C. The “very Southern garden” features magnolias, crape myrtle and other flowers, shrubs and trees found in the South. Among the features of Hines’ 160-year-old home are five door windows that open to two of the house’s four porches. The Southern-style dinner of watermelon/tomato salad, buttermilk fried chicken, cheese grits, sweet collard greens and peach bread pudding was catered by Richard and Patrick Christy. The Christys plan to open 134 Bistro restaurant in the Frontier Shopping Center near Giant Eagle in Marietta this summer. The judges enjoyed their visit to The Elms and were impressed by Hines’ garden, Belpre in Bloom members said.

Contact Paul LaPann at plapann@newsandsentinel.com