Tag Archives: Festivals

Recap – West Virginia Squares (full show)

By Dawn Nolan
Photography by Shawna Hatten
The original Hollywood Squares might have gone off the air in 1981, but fans of the game show were delighted when a twist of the entertaining hour was held during two evenings of this year’s FestivALL. Presented by the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame, “West Virginia Squares” was held on June 23 and 24 at The Clay Center. Huntington native Peter Marshall reprised his role as host. He began each evening with clips from the television classic, which was followed by musical performances from America’s Got Talent winner Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr.; Hee Haw Music Director Charlie McCoy, Donnie Davisson of the Davisson Brothers Band, Mountain Stage host Larry Groce and pianist Bob Thompson.
Monday’s cast was comprised of Charlie McCoy, Three’s Company’s (and original Hollywood Squares member) Joyce DeWitt, songwriter Billy Ed Wheeler, Tony Award winner Michael Cerveris, Landau Eugene Murphy, Jr., Larry Groce, Donnie Davisson, Chasing Nashville’s Autumn Blair and Bil Lepp, storyteller and five-time winner of the West Virginia State Liars’ Contest. Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, Miss West Virginia, Charisse Haislop, and radio host Steve Bishop joined the history-centered show on Tuesday. Broadcasting Hall of Famer, Bob Brunner served as the shows’ announcer.

Each evening’s questions centered on WV music and state history, and the contestants were students and 2014 Golden Horseshoe Award winners from Raleigh, Calhoun, Lincoln and Boone County. Winners received prizes from local businesses and tourist attractions. West Virginia Public Broadcasting filmed the episodes and is planning on distributing

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Recap – Taste-of-All Charleston 2014

By Dawn Nolan
Photography by Shawna Hatten
One of the first things you noticed when walking into the Charleston Civic Center on June 22 was the plethora of delicious smells wafting through the building. Over 20 vendors had gathered inside the Grand Hall to hand out scrumptious samples to hungry attendees in exchange for tickets at the annual Taste-of-All Charleston event. Sponsored by Mardi Gras Casino & Resort, the culinary tour of the Capital City featured dishes from new (Black Sheep Burritos and Brews, Grano, Mi Cocina de Amor) and well-known eateries (Ridge View BBQ, Ellen’s Homemade Ice Cream, Quarrier Diner). The majority of the food items cost between $2 and $4. Leftover tickets were donated to the Charleston Ronald McDonald House.

In addition to the savory and sweet food selections, the event included performances by Bare Bones, a local capella group, West Virginia Mountain Valley Cloggers and musician Ryan Kennedy.
An afternoon “Chef Off” pitted Chef Philip Bricker of the Charleston Marriott, Jeni Burns of Ms Groovy’s Gourmet Catering and Chef Andrew Quisenberry of Quarry Manor against each other in a timed competition with pre-selected, secret ingredients. In the end, Quisenberry’s bacon-wrapped pork roulade with spiced puffed potatoes, mushroom herb sauce and crispy kale salad won the judges’ (Bridget Lancaster, America’s Test Kitchen; Scott Maroney, Executive Chef, Mardi Gras Casino & Resort; Chef Paul Smith, Buzz Food Service; Don Wilson, Generation Charleston) approval.
The Amateur Cake Contest, judged by Sarah Plumley of Sarah’s Bakery; Lisa Dravenstott, executive pastry chef at The Civic

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Event Preview: Bollywood Night 2014

Written by Dawn Nolan
Bollywood Night 2014 is a “celebration of Indian food, movies, dance music and fashion”. This year’s fundraiser will be held at the Charleston Civic Center on Saturday, May 17. This year’s theme is “Bellies, Bodies and Brains”. Proceeds will be divided between three non-profit organizations – Manna Meal, WV Health Right and the Kanawha Pastoral Counseling Center.
“From Those to Whom Much Has Been Given, Much is Expected” – Nilima Bhirud, Chairwoman
The festivities begin with a social hour at 6:00 p.m. A buffet dinner of “delicious, multi-cultural cuisine” will follow at 7 p.m. Bollywood style performances by 100 dancers, including the Charleston Ballet, January’s Dance Studio, Lisa Hughes’ students, Zumba instructor Amy Burdette and partner, Beth Fellure and friends, Victoria Russo’s Latino dance group and the Charleston Filipino community, will take place from 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. A fashion show, choreographed by Meenu Choudhary, and silent auction are also scheduled.
Tickets for Bollywood Night 2014 are $100 and tax-deductable. They can be purchased online at www.bollywoodwv.org.
(Video from bollywoodwv.org)
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oy_GVP3XuLY&w=640&h=360]

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Event: WV Strawberry Festival

Written by Dawn Nolan
Springtime marks the beginning of festival season in West Virginia, and the Mountain State has plethora of food-centered festivities – whether you’re craving chocolate, ramps or even fresh fruit. One of the oldest celebrations, the WV Strawberry Festival, is taking place in Upshur County this week. “The WV Strawberry Festival began in 1936 when the Buckhannon community wanted to honor our local strawberry farmers and give them an opportunity to sell their berries,” recounts Laura Meadows, Executive Director of the Upshur County Convention & Visitors Bureau.
This year’s festival runs through Sunday, May 18, and its theme is “Old Traditions, New Beginnings”. “We have so many traditional, time honored events like the Strawberry Blonde contest that has happened for years, but as we’ve grown, the Strawberry Festival has added some new events, like the Horse & Carriage Parade,” explains Meadows. “We will hold on to the traditions everyone has grown to love but want to keep the Strawberry Festival a fresh, new and exciting time.”

Want the 2014 Strawberry Festival Program? Stop by our Chamber & Visitors Center on Main Street, Buckhannon to get a copy for $3!

One of the week’s most enjoyable activities, Party Gras, is scheduled for Friday, May 16 and Saturday, May 17. “Main Street is closed down, and we have live music and entertainment,” says Meadows. Other popular attractions are Strawberry Idol, a singing competition held in the Courthouse Plaza and the long-running Arts & Craft Show at WV Wesleyan College. “It’s always a favorite;

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Event Preview: Lemonade Day West Virginia

Written By Dawn Nolan
Most children get their first taste of business through conventional methods – bake sales, car washes, and of course, lemonade stands. West Virginia Lemonade Day, which will be held May 3, 2014, expands upon the lessons learned during these activities, providing registered participants with the tools needed to create and execute their own business plan. “Lemonade Day is an entrepreneurship curriculum geared towards elementary and middle school students,” says Matthew Thompson, CNP, Program Director at Vision Shared Inc. “They learn about setting goals, planning for success, investing, advertising, buying and maintaining supplies, building a stand, making a product, budgeting and accounting, opening a bank account and giving back to the community.”
Classrooms, church groups, Girl and Boy Scout troops and other aspiring business owners will have stands set up all over the state. “They can choose the location that is best for them,” says Thompson. “Most will be in high traffic areas like grocery stores, parks or festivals.” A full map of stand locations is available on the Lemonade Day West Virginia website.

Once the participants close up shop, sellers must determine how they want to spend their hard-earned profits. “They can use the money how they wish, but we encourage them to save some, spend some and share some,” explains Thompson. “That’s our mantra.”
The nationwide event was established in 2007; however, it is the second year that West Virginia has been involved. “Last year was our pilot program,” recalls Thompson. “We had about 2,000 kids participate around the

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Event Preview: Badlands Bluegrass Country Festival

Written by Dawn Nolan
Carolyn Stephens – Festival Promoter
Pull on your boots, pack some supplies and make your way to the mountains because the Badlands Bluegrass Country Festival returns to the Poor Farm Fairgrounds in Williamsburg on June 20 and 21. This year’s lineup includes performances by The Hackensaw Boys, The Wild Rumpus, Deer Run Drifters, Black Iron Gathering, Fox N Hounds, Black Horse Band, Sky Smeed, Mountain Station and The Wolf Creek Band. “We try to have about 1/3 of the bands be from the local area, another 1/3 from the state and then some regional or a national act,” says Carolyn Stephens, festival promoter. The revelry kicks off at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 20. A complete schedule is available online at www.badlandsbluegrass.com/music.

Headliner: Hackensaw Boys

Proceeds from the event benefit the restoration of McCoy Fort, a colonial structure in Greenbrier County. “A favorite pastime of mine is historic preservation,” explains Stephens. “I’m involved with the Williamsburg District Historic Foundation, and we were trying to come up with a way to raise money to match the funds from grants.” For Stephens, that was what first sparked the idea of a music festival.

The Wild Rumpus

After having a permanent stage constructed on her family’s farm in 2011, Stephens organized the first annual Poor Farm Fest. The inaugural Badlands Bluegrass Country festival followed in 2012. Thanks to the attention and funds the events have drawn, archaeological work site has been done on the site, the Fort has been dismantled and tagged and the project

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Lewisburg, W.Va., is for chocolate lovers

Written by Candace Nelson
The City of Lewisburg, W.Va., satisfied its sweet tooth this past weekend with chocolate brownie s’mores topped with salty caramel drizzles, chocolate mousse cake with fresh whipped cream and raspberry coulis, chocolate Brazilian truffles and more.
The Eighth Annual Lewisburg Chocolate Festival hosted its largest event to date, complete with chocolate-themed events including tastings, musical performances, dinner specials and street performers.
“We’ve sold the most tickets this year than we ever have,” said Cindy Lavender Bowe, chairperson of the event. “And, it just keeps growing every year.” More than 40,000 tickets were sold this year. Tickets were mostly purchased online, but some were available in person at the festival.
Each ticket entitles a person to one tasting. Packets of five tickets were sold for $5. Patrons trade one ticket per tasting they want; multiple tastings at each location are available for multiple tickets. The money raised benefits a charity each year; this year’s recipient was the local United Way of the Greenbrier Valley.
More than 35 vendors, including restaurants and local businesses, participated in the event, offering tastings of everything from chocolate fountain-dipped treats to chocolate stouts. Most are made in-house at the restaurants or come from local sources, while some locations partnered with outside chocolatiers or candy companies to produce the treats. Regardless, all vendors showcase creative delicacies. Many also have additional items for purchase – from grab ’n go lunches to merchandise.

More than 8,000 people attended the Lewisburg Chocolate Festival, held April 12, 2014.

Each vendor produces between 500

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