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FestivALL organizers announce four-day fall event

Chip Ellis
Larry Groce, director of FestivALL, says the first FestivALL Fall will be held Oct. 25-28. With him at a Capitol Market news conference are (from left): Emily Wall, chairwoman of Taste-of-All Charleston; East End Main Street Director Ric Cavender; Tammy Borstnar, director of Capitol Market; mayoral assistant Rod Blackstone; and art fair director Betty Rivard.

For a full schedule, visit festivallcharleston.com

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The first ever FestivALL Fall -- an outgrowth of Charleston's eight-year-old June celebration -- will be held Oct. 25-28, organizers announced Tuesday.

Built around a handful of existing events like the East End's Halloween celebration HallowEast, Charleston Light Opera Guild's fall show and the first Create West Virginia Conference in Charleston, the four-day weekend also features some FestivALL mainstays -- an art fair and children's art fair, sternwheeler cruises, stage and street performers, Taste-of-All Charleston and evening concerts.

Ever since the first FestivALL eight years ago, the most frequent request has been to find a way to continue the event throughout the year, founder and director Larry Groce said during a news conference at Capitol Market.

"This year we had an opportunity," Groce said. "The Create West Virginia Conference is coming to Charleston for the first time. We checked around and found it's not a busy weekend."

"October is a great time of year," Groce said. A lot of other events are planned during the month, "but not that weekend. We decided to give it a shot -- a four-day weekend."

Joining Groce at the news conference were representatives of many FestivALL Fall partners, who talked about their individual events.

HallowEast, now in its fourth year, will have four events, said Ric Cavender, director of East End Main Street: ArtMares, an art exhibit; the Main Street Murder Mystery, featuring the No Pants Players; the East End Zombie Walk; and the HallowEast Costume Crawl, a street dance and pub crawl.

The art fairs will be held at Capitol Market, not downtown, said organizer Betty Rivard. "Almost half the artists from the Capitol Street Art Fair are coming back here for a day and a half, and on Saturday we're having a children's art fair -- free walk-up crafts for kids."

Because of time constraints, Taste-of-All will not have its traditional event at the Civic Center, chairman Emily Wall said. Instead, participating restaurants will offer a handful of special FestivALL Fall dishes, at a discount, at their regular locations.

Create West Virginia, now in its fifth year, will bring at least 300 people to town for its annual conference, Jeff James said. The group was formed to inspire creative people and entrepreneurs because creativity brings economic development and attracts young people, he said.

Other events include the Light Opera Guild's performances of "Hello Dolly," Groce said, and a special Live on the Levee concert Friday night. "We've never had one this late before -- an encore Live on the Levee.

"And 'Mountain Stage.' We weren't going to do a show, but we'll be doing our first home show here after being on the road, on Sunday night.

"We hope you like it," Groce said. "If it works, we'll do it again."  

Reach Jim Balow at balow@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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