Thousands crop up for Harvest Moon Festival

Martha Hesson, of St. Marys, was at The Basket Ladies booth weaving a basket Sunday during the Harvest Moon Festival at City Park. The event had over 100 vendors. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

PARKERSBURG — With sunny skies and warm temperatures, thousands flocked to City Park on Sunday for the final day of the 57th annual Harvest Moon Arts and Crafts Festival.

The festival at City Park featured over 100 vendors selling such items as basketry, handmade jewelry, woodwork, pottery, home crafts, artwork and more. Many items were handmade one-of-a-kind and could not be found anywhere else.

Vickie Marshall, executive director of the Wood County Recreation Commission, said they had a great turnout of people throughout the weekend with over 4,000 people estimated to have attended the two-day event.

“It has been awesome,” she said. “The exhibitors are happy with many of them having almost sold out.”

The festival had a number of new vendors this year.

Jace Biehl, 8, of Parkersburg, worked on a clay project Sunday during the Harvest Moon Festival at City Park. Biehl got to work with an experienced artisan who instructed him in how to work with clay. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

With the changing of the seasons and the holidays coming up, many people came out to the festival to look for fall-themed items for their homes, birthday gifts, decorations for Halloween and as possible Christmas gifts for friends and family.

“I hope people got some knowledge of how much work goes into this for these artists and craftsmen,” Marshall said.

She would like to see more young people start to take up these crafts. Marshall would like to organize a contest for next year’s festival inviting local schoolchildren, from elementary to high school, to create craft projects that would be put on display, have visitors vote on which ones they think are the best and award some kind of prizes to the winners.

“Some people are getting to the point they can’t do it anymore,” she said. “I would like to see many people in the younger generation do it.

“We want to do like an art show to encourage the youth to start taking up craft making.”

Regina Lawrence, of Belpre, has the use of certain soaps demonstrated by Ingrid Baumann of Jiva Bath & Body during the Harvest Moon Festival at City Park on Sunday. It is estimated over 4,000 people attended the 57th annual festival over the weekend. (Photo by Brett Dunlap)

Many people came out to see what was available during the weekend.

Kevin Biehl brought his family out, wife Jasmin Ross and son Jace. They moved to Parkersburg about a year ago and live close to City Park. They missed the festival last year, but wanted to be sure they made it this year.

“We saw all the tents being set up last week and knew we wanted to come over and check it out,” he said. “We knew we wanted to come this year, because we are very artsy people.”

Biehl was impressed with what he saw. His son was able to spend time with a clay sculptor and get some instruction.

“It is amazing,” he said. “The fact (Jace) can come here and have an experienced claymaker help him and teach him how to use clay.

“We have already spent a lot of money on a lot of cool stuff people make themselves. This place is awesome.”

Regina Lawrence, of Belpre, came with her daughter Crystal Richards.

“I just love this festival,” she said. “I come every year.

“I like all the different things you can find.”

This was Richards’ first time at the festival, having just moved to the area recently. She was impressed with the amount of different crafts available.

“I love it and I will definitely be back,” Richards said.

Martha Hesson, of St. Marys, was at The Basket Ladies booth weaving a basket Sunday afternoon.

“Things have been good,” she said. “It has been a good weekend and the weather has been cooperative.”

Even though temperatures got into the 80s over the weekend, Hesson said she believed it helped bring people out to the festival.

“The crowds seem to be good this year,” she said.

People were interested in watching her and the others at their booth making baskets and others wanting to sign up for classes about how to make baskets.

Hesson has been coming to the Harvest Moon Festival for over 10 years. She enjoys doing local shows and supporting the local community.

“I live about 20 miles away in St. Marys,” she said. “I like doing local shows.

“You see a lot of people you know here and it makes it nicer.”

Brett Dunlap can be reached at bdunlap@newsandsentinel.com