PARKERSBURG - Tradition.
It's the word most associated with Parkersburg High School, which has been in existence for more than 100 years and has enjoyed great success both academically and athletically.
Kimberly Griffey, in her eighth year as director of the Parkersburg High School Red Wings, is bringing back one of the school's most long-running and cherished traditions -the annual Sports Carnival.
From 1951 to 1995, Memorial Fieldhouse was the scene of the annual event, which featured championship competitions in intramural sports along with performances by the school's music, dance and drill teams.
While previous versions of the Sports Carnival were spread over two days, Griffey and her partner in directing this year's event, Kristin Minnite, decided their initial effort would take place on a single night.
Thus, come Saturday night, April 20, the Sports Carnival will make a triumphant return to Memorial Fieldhouse after a 17-year absence.
Griffey, who participated in the 1988 Sports Carnival, has wanted to return the tradition to the school. When she proposed her idea to teachers and PHS administrators, it was met with great enthusiasm and she was given the green light.
Since that time, Griffey and Minnite have been recruiting students to participate in the evening's festivities, which will be divided between intramural sports and dance routines.
Sports to be contested include basketball, table tennis, tug-of-war, volleyball, arm wrestling, and -to put a modern-day twist on the event -cornhole.
One of the highlights of the entertainment portion of the program will be the traditional waltz, which will be performed by two dozen couples who have been busy rehearsing their steps.
The theme for the entertainment portion of the program will be Box Office Bliss, with performances to songs from hit stage productions such as Chorus Line and the Sound of Music. In addition to performances by the Red Wings, the PHS cheerleaders and ROTC also will provide entertainment.
Organizers have started a facebook page and it already has generated more than 1,000 members, not to mention a great deal of enthusiasm.
The Sports Carnival was the brainchild of the late Edgar E. Rhodes, a PHS coach and teacher who ran the intramural program for years, and Forrest Clark, the head of the physical education department. Memorial Fieldhouse, where the Sports Carnival will take place, is officially known as the Edgar E. Rhodes Intramural Center. Rhodes is a member of the Mid-Ohio Valley Sports Hall of Fame.