“This festival is a real melting pot of fun!”Graffiti Magazine
Bollywood music plays throughout City Park while smells of Stromboli and hand-squeezed lemonade drift through the air. Kids of all ages pan for gemstones or make their own rain sticks, and parents shop for fair-trade gifts while they enjoy their French crepes. This was a reality for the ones lucky enough to attend this year’s Multi-cultural Festival.
The Mid-Ohio Valley is a small part of the world, but for one weekend every summer, the world fits itself into Parkersburg for the enjoyment of locals and visitors alike. In its 24th year, the Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival is no exception, with dozens of cultural entertainment acts, rows and rows of local and cultural vendors, free kids events, and the best weather the festival has seen in years. This 100% volunteer-run event attracts festival friends and families from all over the area, and even a crowd from out- of- town. This free event – that’s right, completely FREE – has been estimated to bring in thousands of people.
Whether it’s a MOV-native who comes home for the weekend or an I-77 traveler who stops for the afternoon while passing by, each person lends itself to a growing attendance tally each year, and from June 21-23 this year, Parkersburg City Park transformed into a haven of culture. With almost two dozen main stage acts this year, the festival played host to everything from “Goree African Drum and Dance” to the Scottish “Pipe’s and Drums of St. Andrew” to “Sayaw Filipinoh” Philippine Cultural Dance, to “Back Porch Alibi”, a local favorite Acoustic- Americana folk band.
Not only was this year’s fest loaded with great music and stellar shows, but we’d also be remiss to not mention the food! Luckily some of the festival favorites include Star of India and Philippines Best – two local small businesses that have been serving up the finest fare local foodies could ask for. We were also lucky enough to sample Mexican quesadillas, Greek gyros, and Weinerville hot dogs, just to name a few of the amazing food vendors.
Aside from the fun and excitement of a typical event, the Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival provides a great opportunity for our area. Jennifer Duckworth Randolph, one of the many event organizer’s, weighs in on the significance of the festival: “It’s important for our area because we don’t have a diverse population so cultural education is critical to expanding the horizons of our community members.”
Having this free festival helps expose everyone no matter their culture, race, nationality, or social class.
She goes on to talk about the impact on the local population. “Also it’s free. We want to allow all populations to come enjoy the festival. Often the ones that lack cultural education is simply because they can’t afford to travel or attend events that would provide that knowledge,” she said. “Having this free festival helps expose everyone no matter their culture, race, nationality, or social class. It’s a big annual reunion and brings everyone to celebrate all the things that make the MOV great.”
This display of pride for our area and our neighbors shines through with every person who continues to attend and support the festival. Friends and families come out to support their neighbors, and those rain stick-making kids will grow up to volunteer for events that resonate with them, and the Mid-Ohio Valley Multicultural Festival will continue for years to come. Keep your eye out for next year’s festival, and visit the MOVMCF website if you’d like to volunteer, vend, sponsor or attend in the future!