Multi-Cultural Festival a Treasure

One of the best traditions of the Mid-Ohio Valley is sadly overlooked by many.

Well, another year has come and gone, and the 16th annual Mid-Ohio Valley Multi-Cultural Fair is over for another year.

Every year, WTAP helps support this worthy event with free publicity, interviews, coverage all weekend long, and volunteer talent to "MC" or introduce the various acts on-stage.

By coincidence, this tradition started the summer that  joined the station, and I must admit that I didn't understand why we wanted to cover it more than one day when I first started.

Some 15 years down the road, I find I typically will be assigned to shoot some of the sights and sounds without fail.  There's always a changing variety of products, crafts, dances and acts to share.

But it always amazes me at the number of people who do not partake of this free festival.  There is NO ADMISSION charged.  You can quite literally walk into city park, bring a lawn chair, sit down and enjoy an endless variety of music, dance and entertainment through the weekend. 

If you want food, there are a variety of food vendors with every different type of food you could desire (Indian, Asian, Polynesian, American, Italian, sweets and treats) available to you.  So, when one complains that it's the typical fair food found at other festivals, I know they didn't walk around the ring of vendors to see what was present. (True, some vendors sold out, or closed up do to slow sales, but the vast majority were open right to the very end.)

Each year, the festival organizers ask for donations from the crowd, to help support the acts and the next year again.  Every year, they turn to corporations, businesses and others for grants to help bring this into the area.

But every year, it's more difficult to find someone to write and follow up on the grants.  Over time, the number of volunteers fluctuates, as people retire, move away, or have health issues.  That's life. But there are usually new volunteers who help out.

Now is such a time.  A few of the distinguished leaders of the festival have to make some changes, step down and there will be an opportunity for new leadership.  If ever you felt you could help or wanted to make a difference to your community, now is the time.

People are needed on the governing committee, writing and pursuing grants, and to help coordinate all these efforts.  If you've got skills, and you share the vision of multi-cultural-ism, this is your wake-up call.

Parkersburg, the festival, and the volunteers need  you.  Contact Bea Cora, current president of the board, for more information.

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