2017-07-19 / Front Page

County Expo debuts this weekend with fair exhibits, new activities

It has a new name and lots of new volunteers, but this weekend’s showcase of Morgan County talent and community spirit still promises a lot of the same kind of fun.

Starting this Friday evening, July 21, the Morgan County Expo – formerly the Morgan County Fair — will kick off in Berkeley Springs State Park.

“The Expo is all about celebrating our community's ingenuity, creativity, and real & potential entrepreneurialism. We have worked to bring together an event that demonstrates Morgan County At It’s Best, and encourages everyone to share in this celebration - in some way,” said Expo Committee Board president Terri Bliziotes.

Friday night events, which begin at 5 p.m., include some familiar activities. Family Swim Night at the Berkeley Springs State Park pool begins at 5 p.m. and runs through 8 p.m. At 5:30 p.m., Youth Art in the Park kicks off, where visitors can see and art made by local youth artists.

Also in the park on Friday night is the annual Samantha Redston People’s Dog Show, where pooch owners let their pets show special skills and good behavior for a chance of winning top dog. The dog show begins at 5:30 p.m.

Individuals and families interested in geocaching can register at 5 p.m. to join in a new event – a hunt for hidden treasures in the park using GPS devices. Those who find caches can earn prizes. The event will also be the first meet and greet of the Morgan County Geocaching Club.

From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., a music and dance jam will be provided for free by The Granary. All Friday events are sponsored by the Berkeley Springs Lions Club and the Morgan County Partnership.

On Saturday, a full day of Expo events are on tap. The Expo opens at 10 a.m. at Berkeley Springs High School. Parking for the event is again at Widmyer Elementary. A free bus shuttle service, provided by Senior Life Services of Morgan County, will carry Expo visitors to the high school.

Starting ahead of the Expo opening, Valley Health Systems will operate a Health Fair on the second floor of the high school from 8 a.m. until noon. Their fair will include health screenings, educational sessions and free giveaways.

As the official Expo opens, vendors and community service groups will welcome people through the high school building and center plaza.

Judged exhibits, including crafts, art, baked goods, canned goods, horticultural products and other categories, will be on display in the school’s exhibit hall until 5 p.m.

The Morgan County 4-H Cake Auction, an annual favorite, will take place at 2:30 p.m.

The Master Gardeners will have their Crazy Planter contest, the Delectable Mountain Quilt Guild will provide demonstrations and a raffle, and the Morgan County CEOS will sell baked goods entered in the Expo judged competition.

New this year, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Starting Points and the Morgan County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management will sponsor a Big Truck Event in the school’s main parking lot. Public safety demonstrations will take place there and on the baseball diamond during the Expo.

Music and entertainment will be provided from 12:30 to 5 p.m. by the BlackCat Music Shop. Attendees will hear from the Ukulele Orchestra, the Youth Band School of Rock and All Grassed Up.

Under the tent on the plaza, people can learn to drum with JONA, try some yoga by Healing Waters leaders, learn some ole’ barn dancing with WindDance Farm and jam with Ukulele pro and Black- Cat Music. Outside, kids can play on the climb, bounce, build and challenge inflatables. There is also an opportunity to dunk your favorite county official, minister, and others at the Parks & Recreation dunk tank.

Those with a competitive spirit can sign up for the 4-H watermelon eating or donut eating contests, the Farm Bureau Kiddy Tractor Pull, a corn hole tournament and chicken poo bingo.

Expo organizers have also prepared a Passport to Taste Morgan County’s Best – a collection of foods and weekend specials from local restaurants.

Expo events end at 5 p.m. on Saturday.

Bliziotes said the weekend’s events have come together with dedicated work by many volunteers and organizers, with special support from the WVU Extension Service and groups like the Lions Club.

“The event would be still sitting in a fantasy someplace had these people not been involved. Planning an event like this does take many people willing to get involved through sponsorships, organizational collaboration, and most importantly, individual volunteering,” said Bliziotes.

“It is amazing and heartwarming to watch such an event come together and has been a really great experience for me personally. We are looking forward to seeing families and youth in full force on July 21 and 22,” she said. “It's all about making sure we take stock of what makes us an exceptional county to live and grow up in.”

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