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Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival cancels 2021 edition

Organizers choose to err on side of caution amid COVID

Spectators take in a performance by African drum and dance group G.O.R.E.E. during the 2019 Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival at City Park. (File Photo)

PARKERSBURG — Organizers of the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival decided to wait another year to celebrate a milestone.

The 25th edition of the festival that combines music, food and crafts from a variety of cultures and nationalities was postponed in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, uncertainty remains, and organizers said on the event’s Facebook page that “the time left is too short for us to produce an event of this magnitude with the scale and quality and safety it requires.”

Planning had been under way for the festival, slated for June 18-20.

“We were wanting to be safe and not endanger people, and (we) hope it would be safe in time,” festival President Charlotte Owens said. But “we don’t want to string people along.”

People gather to a learn about making arrowheads from Jason Dreveenak, president of the North American Bushcraft School, during the 2019 Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival at City Park. (File Photo)

Ultimately, the group decided to err on the side of caution.

“It would be much better that we missed an opportunity but everybody was well enough,” Owens said.

That doesn’t mean the festival and its supporters are throwing in the towel completely on 2021. They hope to partner with Artsbridge for a musical event in September.

The festival’s pageant will continue this year, as it did in 2020, Owens said. The deadline to enter the competition for Young Miss (ages 7-9), Preteen (10-12), Teen (13-15), Queen (16-21) and Ms. (21-plus) is Sunday, April 11, with the pageant set for April 18. More information is available on the Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Festival Pageant Facebook page.

Owens said she and other festival volunteers are happy the community has embraced the event over the years and appreciate those who have attended, performed and volunteered. They are also looking for additional volunteers as they plan for 2022, with dates of June 17-19 already claimed.

More information about the festival and volunteering can be found on the event’s Facebook page and at movmcf.org.

Evan Bevins can be reached at ebevins@newsandsentinel.com.

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