Drinks, dancing, zombies, cobwebs and fog machines – what else could someone ask for during Halloween? 

The Parkersburg Art Center is hosting its annual MasqueRave Fundraiser Party on October 27th at 8 p.m. at the Art Center on Market Street. Chaired by the Parkersburg Art Center’s Parkersburg Art League (PAC Pals), the event will feature music, food, drinks, dancing and more.

Although the Art Center has been hosting the event for years, the PAC Pals recently took it over to reach a new demographic who isn’t as involved in the art scene. According to Kasey Snyder, PAC Pal President, “a lot of people think of the Art Center shtering to kids – and then just art exhibits. We, as a group, thought that Halloween would be a great event to reach out to some new folks who haven’t been in the Art Center, or don’t know what it offers.”

This year’s theme: Tales from the PAC is a play of the famed Tales from the Crypt. Party goers can expect gossamer draped walls with projections to make the art appear that it is moving. Additionally, keeping with the theme, lots of skeletons and dungeon scenes will line the main event gallery floor. “Their decorations are next level. They take free photos they print out for you, they have drinks available and provide some great snack foods. Their DJ did great and everyone was dancing and enjoying each other,” Jennifer Randolph, 2017 Overall Best Costume Winner said.

This year, Premier Productons will be back to keep everyone dancing as well as a performance of Thriller by Brickhouse Cardio Club. When dancers need a break, the Pals have secured snacks including Chick-fil-A, Auntie Anne’s, Mr. Bee’s, Regal Movie Theatre popcorn and Marta Bailey’s famous mini pepperoni rolls.

The event is all about bringing community together in the name of celebrating art. The PAC Pals consider it “partying with a purpose” since all funds raised go back into art programs for kids in the community. These programs include the free winter Arty Parties which allow cooped up children the chance to come stretch their creative muscles and be out of the house when it’s cold. Additionally, the PAC works with the Boys and Girls club to fund art scholarships and summer camps to eligible participants. The sense of community carries into the set up for the party. 

“We wanted to create more of a home atmosphere. Not in a big ballroom where everyone is all spread out. There will be a big dance party, but also lots of nooks and crannies to eat and mingle and get to know people in your community in a fun atmosphere,” Kasey said. 

One of the highlights of the event is the costume contest. Winners are selected from the following categories: Most Creative, Sexiest, Best Group, Scariest and Overall Best. People truly show up to win the costume contest, Kasey said, and it’s always stiff competition.

Described as “incredibly epic” by Kasey, Jennifer was La Muerta from The Book of Life. 

“I made the entire thing complete with a 5’ brim hat and same size trumpet skirt with battery operated candles. It looked so cool lit up at night. And you couldn’t see my feet so it gave that floating effect I was going for. I love the message from the movie that it takes courage to truly live. It was an awesome honor to be selected and recognized, but the reason I do it though is just to see that look of awe I get and being asked for a picture. It just makes all the hard work worth it,” Jennifer said.

Costume winners don’t have to settle for just bragging rights though, as the PAC Pals have worked together with local businesses to create some fun prizes for winners. The Overall Best Costume will win a tandem prize sponsored by Hot Tomato Portrait Studio and Randomosity 740 to include a wardrobe consultation and photo session. Additional prizes include art by Nicole Harris, Halloween themed mugs made in the clay studio and a Boozy Bag courtesy of the PAC Pals for the Best Group winners. 

Tickets are available for $20 a piece at The Parkersburg Art Center or on their website, but some might have some luck hunting the Party Pumpkin. Each day until the party, the PAC Pals are hiding a pumpkin with two tickets attached somewhere in the Mid-Ohio Valley. The rules of the Party Pumpkin are simple: watch their social media for clues, find the party pumpkin, take a selfie with the party pumpkin and post your photo with the hashtag #PACpartypumpkin. The pumpkin is yours to keep to add a little Halloween to your day.

Although the party is a great event, it really comes down to the PAC Pal’s commitment to providing quality art activities in the community for children. 

“Growing up with grandparents who were heavily involved in the art community, it has left a huge impression of the importance of art to me. The Art Center has become sort of an epicenter for my family. It is so wonderful to be able to serve the art community in this capacity and to know that all our hard work goes right back into funding more art programs for our local youth. It’s my hope that more young adults find a way to be involved at the Art Center, whether it’s attending a class, a paint party, MasqueRave, a fundraising event or one of the many art shows, there is honestly something for everyone. It’s truly a wonderful place,” Kasey said.

MasqueRave would like to thank their generous sponsors and donors: Premier Productions, Easton Printing, The Blennerhassett Hotel, Richard & Liza Adams – In memory of Sharon Wharton, Skip & Jan Draber, Nicole Harris Art, The Clay Studio potters; Vance Hewitt and Karen McGlaughlin, Crown Florals, Hot Tomato Portrait Studio, Randomosity 740, Kiki Angelos, Marta Bailey, Regal Cinemas, Mr. Bee, Serenity Coffee House, Sams Club, Scots Landscaping, DiCarlos Pizza, The Actors Guild of Parkersburg

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