Give back and give thanks

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While the feast at Thanksgiving often takes center stage, it is important to remember the meaning behind the celebration. Being thankful for the blessings you have is what makes Thanksgiving truly special.

To make your Turkey Day great this year, why not give thanks and give back? A focus of Ohio Valley Bank’s Community First mission is to help make the communities we serve a better place. Volunteering and helping others is part of that mission, and what better time of year to lend a helping hand than Thanksgiving?

There are many ways you can give back this Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season. To start, count the blessings you currently have. Nothing makes you more ready to help others than to be grateful. Here are some ideas to get you started on what you can do to help make someone’s Thanksgiving extra special this year:

  1. Host a food drive. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, start a food drive in your local neighborhood and/or workplace. Encourage people to donate non-perishable items, which will go toward a local soup kitchen or food bank. This is a great thing to keep going throughout the holiday season, and more importantly throughout the year. Donations do tend to come in more plentiful during the holidays, so strive to keep your food drive going well past the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.
  2. Volunteer to help prep/serve dinner. Many soup kitchens, shelters, and church groups often host Thanksgiving dinners for those in need. Look into what you can do to be involved. Whether you help with meal prep beforehand or serve meals, this is a great way to give back and truly see firsthand how important it is to lend a hand in your community.
  3. Host dinner for people who have no place to go. While we often celebrate Thanksgiving meals with our families, we may not realize that there are many people who don’t live near their relatives and end up spending the holiday alone. Whether it’s a co-worker without dinner plans, a friend, or maybe your children’s friends, open your home and give those folks that would otherwise be alone a place to enjoy dinner this year.
  4. Run or walk a Turkey Trot. Turkey Trots are a great way to not only get in some exercise this Thanksgiving, but many race proceeds go toward various charities. Sign up to run with your family and make it a tradition. Locally, on Thursday, Nov. 23, at Barboursville Park in Barboursville, W.Va., the Racing Hunger 5K Turkey Trot will take place. The proceeds will go toward providing meals and supplemental food assistance to locals in need. In Huntington, W.Va., the Huntington Turkey Trot is also scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 23. The race will take place at Ritter Park. All proceeds will benefit the Little Victories No Kill Animal Shelter.
  5. Visit senior citizen centers and/or nursing homes. Sometimes just spending time with someone can make their day. The holidays can be a lonely time for many people, especially the elderly. Contact your local center for visiting hours and get a group of friends together to volunteer. Singing songs, making crafts, or simply just having a conversation with a nursing home resident can make their day and Thanksgiving especially great.
  6. Help your fur friends. Animal shelters seek donations of food and toys year round. Don’t forget the critters this holiday and organize a donation drive for these lovable animals in need. Contact your local animal shelter for more information on how to get started.
  7. Reconnect with old friends and family. Sometimes without meaning to do so, we lose touch with our friends and even some family members. Instead of sending a card or letting another holiday slip away, give your old friend a call this Thanksgiving. It can make them feel special and it will make you feel good to reconnect as well. A simple phone call is all it takes to make someone’s day great.
  8. Donate blood. Giving the gift of life is a wonderful way to help those in need this Thanksgiving and holiday season. So often, we only think to give blood during times of crisis, however blood donations are needed year round. Contact your local hospital and/or Red Cross for more information.
  9. Volunteer at your local children’s hospital. No one likes to spend their holidays sick, especially children. Around the holidays many children’s hospitals or pediatric wings allow volunteers to come read and entertain their patients. Locally, the Hoops Family Children’s Hospital at Cabell-Huntington Hospital in Huntington, W.Va., is a good place to start. Contact Hoops for more information on what you can do to help.
  10. Stick with it. While Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to give back, our communities are in need the entire year. However you choose to volunteer or whatever helpful project you take part in, make it a goal to keep up your efforts throughout the year.

There are several other ways to give back this Thanksgiving. We hope you are inspired to help your communities. Have a blessed and happy Thanksgiving!

Have a holly jolly Christmas with local events

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Santa Claus and OVB President and CEO Tom Wiseman spread Christmas cheer at the Mini Bank

It’s the most wonderful time of the year indeed as many festive local events are set to make this holiday season memorable.

Christmas isn’t just about gifts and food, it’s also a great time to come together as a community while spending time with your family. Our area has many different holiday activities on tap for everyone to enjoy.

Kicking off this year’s festivities is the Holiday Bazaar in Mt. Sterling, Ohio. The event, slated for Saturday, Nov. 4, will take place at the Community Center. In Jackson, Ohio, there will be a Winter Wonderland and Craft Show Nov. 5-6 at the YMCA.

You won’t want to miss the largest night time illuminated Christmas Parade in Southern Ohio, which is scheduled for Saturday Nov. 18 in Waverly. The parade will begin at 5 p.m. and wind through the streets of town. More festive events, including a Jingle Bell 5K Run and indoor craft show at Waverly High School, will also take place Saturday morning. For more information and a full schedule of the weekend’s festive events, call 740-947-9650.

See the Christmas season come to light starting Nov. 17 with the Christmas Fantasy Light Show in Point Pleasant, W.Va. The event will run until Dec. 31 from 6-9 p.m. every evening at Krodel Park. Across the river in Gallipolis, Ohio, the Gallipolis City Park will be illuminated in the holiday season as well. The 5th Annual Gallipolis in Lights Park Lighting will take place Nov. 22. To celebrate the lighting’s kick-off, a variety of entertainment is scheduled. The Gallipolis Twirling Angels will perform at 5:30 p.m. with live Christmas music on the stage to follow. Cookies and hot chocolate will be available to keep everyone warm and toasty.

You will be able to see one of the classic holiday tales come to life with The Marshall University School of Theatre’s presentation of “A Christmas Carol.” Shows are scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Nov. 15-18, at the Joan C. Edwards Performing Arts Center in Huntington, W.Va. Tickets are free to full-time Marshall students. For more information on regular pricing and tickets, call the box office at 304-696-6395.

From Nov. 22-Dec. 22 you can check out the Holiday Exhibit at the French Art Colony in Gallipolis. The exhibit will feature work by a local artist. Hours are from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.

Festive fun will take center stage on Friday, Dec. 1, in Point Pleasant with the evening Christmas parade and Tree Lighting at Gunn Park. The events will begin at 6 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 2, the Mason/New Haven Christmas Parade will also take place at noon. Christmas Parade fun is slated on Dec. 2 in Gallipolis as well. The parade will start at 1 p.m. with the route making its way down 2nd Ave. to the City Park. Santa will be the featured float and will be in his house at the park following the parade. Be sure to check out our OVB elves in the parade with the bank’s Christmas Express float!

Santa will also be available at his house in the park for several more days before he makes his way back to the North Pole for Christmas Eve. For more information, call 740-446-6882.

More holiday activities will take place Dec. 2, including Christmas on the Frontier at Krodel Park’s Fort Randolph in Point Pleasant. In Wellston, Ohio, enjoy Christmas Treats on Wellston Streets from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. The traditional hometown holiday event will feature a silent auction of decorated Christmas trees, carolers on the streets, special events in local businesses, and arts and crafts.

On Sunday, Dec. 3, the Mt. Sterling Community Center will host Christmas in the Village from 2-4 p.m.

“A Charlie Brown Christmas LIVE!” will bring another holiday favorite to the stage on Dec. 5. The performance featuring the Peanuts gang is slated for 7 p.m. at the Keith Albee Performing Arts Center in Huntington. For more information, contact the box office at 304-696-6656.

On Dec. 9 in Huntington, round up the kiddos to get their picture taken with Santa all the while supporting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Huntington. The event will run from 10 a.m.-noon at FPC Huntington. In addition to pictures with Santa there will be super heroes, including Batman, as well as cookies, crafts, and face painting. All event proceeds will help children and their families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House.

In Gallipolis, the “Voices of Christmas” show will take place Dec. 16 at the Ariel Theatre from 7-9:30 p.m. For more information, call the Ariel at 740-446-2787.

Even more holiday lights will come to life Dec. 8-17 with the Christmas Light Show at the West Virginia State Farm Museum in Point Pleasant. These lights transform the museum grounds into a unique Christmas village. You can view the lights from 6-9 p.m. each evening.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

 

Save money with DIY Halloween costumes

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OVB employees got all dolled up for the perfect DIY Halloween costume

Ghosts galore, spooky tricks and tasty treats can only mean one thing – it’s time for Halloween! Like any holiday, however, Halloween can end up being quite costly. Don’t let money scare you like ghosts and ghouls. There are many ways to have a Happy Halloween without frightening your finances away.

While many people associate Halloween with candy, costumes are generally the focal point of the holiday. Halloween costumes appeal to all ages, and unfortunately can be expensive. Many store bought costumes have a high price tag, but don’t feel forced to overspend. With some extra time and a little creativity, you can make your own costume that can be just as good, if not better, than one you purchase.

Halloween is the perfect time to tap into your creative, artistic side. As DIY projects continue to be all the rage, why not work some do it yourself magic into this year’s costume? Whether you are making a costume for yourself or making multiple costumes for your children and family, DIY is the way to go. Not only will you save quite a bit of money, but your costumes can even be unique and different.

Here are some of our ideas to help you get started with your DIY Halloween costuming:

  1. Go classic. Halloween costumes that never go out of style are traditional ghosts and witches. While these may be a little basic, it’s an easy, low-cost option. Both of these costumes are also great for the last minute Halloween party-goer. To create your ghost costume, simply cut two holes for eyes side by side in a white sheet. If you already have an old white sheet that you don’t mind cutting up, even better! For a witch costume, all you really need is a witch’s hat, which can typically be purchased at an inexpensive price. Simply wear your witch hat with black clothing and hocus pocus: transformation complete!
  2. Search your closet. In an age where fashion trends are constantly changing, it can be comical to dress as a blast from the past. Wear older styles that you still own. You might have to do some digging, but taking it back a decade makes for a great costume, and one that’s almost cost-free. A “groovy” 70s you, your “gnarly” 80s self or taking it back to that “da bomb” style of the 90s all make for pretty cool costumes.
  3. Puns are fun. Want an easy to make, unique and funny costume? Time to break out the puns. One example is be a “cereal killer.” To make this costume, just take an old shirt and hot glue empty cereal boxes on it. For an added splash, throw some red paint or fake blood on it too. Get it? A cereal “killer.” Another easy pun costume example takes a stab at one of the big movies currently in pop culture, Fifty Shades of Grey. No, we don’t mean something naughty. All you need is a grey shirt and some grey paint sample cards. Simply hot glue the samples to your shirt and boom: you’re “fifty shades of grey.” For another twist, paint some cat or dog whiskers on your face and wear a party hat, you party animal. Another idea is to gather your friends and go as “The Four Seasons.” No, we don’t mean the musical group, but the actual seasons with each person wearing either a winter, spring, summer or fall themed-outfit. There are many more easy and fun pun costumes. Check out your Pinterest boards for inspiration.
  4. Accessorize. Adding a simple headpiece or accessory to a regular outfit can make for a fun, easy and relatively inexpensive Halloween costume. For example, adding cat ears to a black, white, pink or grey dress and/or shirt/pants combo is a simple costume. Make it even cuter by painting some whiskers on your face. Ladies, transform into a princess simply by pairing a costume tiara with a party dress you already own. As for the guys, you can be a king just by adding a costume crown to any suit you already have in your closet. Devil or Angel? You can be either by pairing devil ears or an angelic halo and wings to color appropriate clothing. When you add just a small detail to your current clothes it makes your costume creation process simple and nearly cost-free.
  5. Go simple scary. Want to be frightening this Halloween? All you need to do is rip some old clothes and splash either fake blood or red paint on them. Pair it with a cheap scary mask or use face paint to transform into a spooky zombie.
  6. Do Halloween as a group. There are so many creative, fun, low-cost group costume options. An easy example is to dress a rainbow, where each member of your costume party simply dresses head to toe in their assigned color. Find pieces from thrift stores or your closet and do a group theme as characters from your favorite movie or show. When it comes to group themes, half of what makes your costume so great is seeing your idea come together with multiple friends.

There are many more creative and fun DIY Halloween costumes. Shop your local craft stores for fabric and supplies to help you get started. A hot glue gun can work wonders if you don’t sew. Glue dots are also a nice tool to aid in your costume creation. Search the internet for inspiration. Once you have an idea, you will be surprised at how quickly it comes together. Your wallet will thank you too.

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OVB employees dress as everyone’s favorite campfire snack 

Happy Halloween!

5 events to make the most of Halloween

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Your friends and neighbors at Ohio Valley Bank invite you to join in on the fun happening at our branches this Halloween.

HOLZER TREAT STREET

No, you’ve not traveled back to the 50s. That’s our bankers from the OVB Banking Center at Holzer dressed up Sock Hop style for the annual Holzer Treat Street event. The event brings in hundreds of kids for a trick or treating experience like no other. Stop by OVB’s booth. Treat Street is Tuesday, October 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Gallia County Fairgrounds.

WELLSTON HALLOWEEN BASH

The OVB Wellston Office, part of the Milton Banking division, will be hosting a Halloween Bash on Thursday, October 26 from 5 to 7 p.m. The bank will be turned into a carnival with games, balloons, face painting, and more.

Halloween Bash MBC Wellston

GALLIPOLIS TRICK OR TREAT

Also on Thursday the 26th, the OVB Main Office, located at 420 Third Avenue in Gallipolis, will be participating in Gallipolis Trick or Treat from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Stop by the bank’s tent outside the Third Avenue entrance to the bank, surrounded by the annual Decorated Pumpkin display.

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BARBOURSVILLE CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAY

The OVB Barboursville Office is anxiously planning a football-themed Customer Appreciation Day on Friday, October 27, from 10 am to 2 p.m. The tailgate fun will include free hotdogs and refreshments, corn hole, and Hits 97.9 FM will be onsite.

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JACKSON MONSTER MASH TRUNK OR TREAT BASH

Halloween weekend concludes with the Monster Mash Trunk or Treat Bash at the OVB Jackson Office on Saturday, October 28, from 2 to 4 p.m. Kids will compete in a costume contest for a $50 grand prize. There will also be plenty of other games, face painting, and treats to enjoy.

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OVB to take part in Get Smart About Credit

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OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush presents Adventures in Credit to area school.

October is not only about Halloween, it also plays host to the American Bankers Association Get Smart About Credit event. Don’t let your finances scare you. Be sure to Get Smart About Credit!

Ohio Valley Bank will once again celebrate the event this month with their financial literacy programs. Now in its 15th year, Get Smart About Credit is a national campaign sponsored by the American Bankers Association to help youth understand credit and other financial lessons. Get Smart About Credit Day will officially be held Thursday, Oct. 19, however, OVB will be celebrating the event throughout the fall season.

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Celebrate autumn with festive area events

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Autumn is officially here. With the vibrant changing leaves and soon-to-be cooler temperatures, the fall season is also widely celebrated locally.

Beginning this month, our area communities have many fall activities on tap. From family events to historical reenactments, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Kicking things off in a festive fall manner is the Annual West Virginia Pumpkin Festival in Milton. The event, which began in 1986, is one of the state’s largest fests. This year’s festival will begin Thursday, Oct. 5 with events taking place through Sunday, Oct. 8.  The festival will feature a cultural array of family activities. More than 100 skilled artisans will display crafts and there will be a variety of exhibits and demonstrations, such as blacksmithing, pottery making, quilting and woodworking. In addition, the event will host a variety of musicians, featuring the sounds of bluegrass, traditional and contemporary styles. A 5K run will also take place.

In Point Pleasant, the West Virginia State Farm Museum’s Annual Country Fall Festival is slated for Oct. 7-8. The event features a variety of family activities serving as a great kick-off to the autumn season. Also in Point Pleasant, history will come to life Oct. 6-8 with the Annual Battle Days Festival. The event will take place at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park and Main Street. Historical reenactments along with other demonstrations are scheduled. A parade is set for 11 a.m. on Main Street Saturday, Oct. 7. The Battle Days Encampment will also take place Oct. 6-8 at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park.

In Gallia County, the autumn season means it’s time for the Bob Evans Farm Festival. The annual event is set for Oct. 13-15 in Rio Grande, Ohio.  The festival offers a wide range of entertainment, handmade arts and crafts, farm contests, children’s activities, demonstrations and musical performances. What makes the festival so unique is that it takes place at the original Bob Evans Restaurant, which will have a food tent on site. Additional food including Ohio-made cheeses and trail bologna will be available as well as traditional fare including bean soup, corn bread, kettle corn, pies, apple dumplings and ice cream.

In Jackson County, Ohio, the Foothills Art Festival is scheduled for Oct. 13-15. The 36th annual event will take place in the Main Lodge at Canter’s Cave 4-H Camp, located five miles northwest of Jackson. Hours are Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and Sunday from 12-5 p.m. The festival is a long standing tradition held within the foothills of Southeastern Ohio and features approximately 100 artists and over 500 works of art.

More festive fall fun is in store at Point Pleasant’s Fort Randolph and Krodel Park with Harvest Fest/Tales in the Tavern. The event is slated for Saturday, Oct. 28 from 4-8 p.m. Harvest Fest will bring history to life in the area once again.

The Pumpkin House, which is located in the Kenova area of Cabell County, will bring autumn and Halloween fun starting Friday, Oct. 27. The house is certainly unique decorated with more than 3,000 hand-carved pumpkins. Visitors can see the famous house through Oct. 31. Along with the Pumpkin House, the C-K AutumnFest will take place in Kenova and the community of Ceredo. There will be arts and crafts booths, an old-fashioned bake-off and local vendors.

In Madison County, Ohio, the London Strawberry Festival will host their Halloween Car and Motorcycle Show Saturday, Nov. 4. The event will take place in the Walmart Parking Lot in London. There will be contests for best decorated car, best decorated cycle, best decorated truck, best adult costume and best youth costume.

For more information on any fall events that may take place in your community, contact your area chamber of commerce or tourism center. Have a fun, festive fall!

 

Dress savvy, save savvy: shop for professional attire on a budget

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Dress for success is a mantra that is often preached within the workplace. However, shopping for your professional wardrobe can be quite costly.

To look your best at work and not spend a fortune, we’ve created a shopping guide to help you out. Before you get started, thoroughly read your workplace’s dress code in order to make sure your attire is suitable. If you aren’t sure of a clothing piece even after reading the dress code, the best thing to do is not purchase the item until you have spoken with someone from human resources.

Once you know what is acceptable for your workplace, take a look in your closet. If you notice several items that you no longer wear or no longer fit, remove them. If the items are still in good shape consider taking them to a consignment shop, where you may receive some money in return. Many social media sites include groups where you can sell nice, used clothing as well. Be sure to take note of clothing that is both in good shape and work appropriate. By examining your current wardrobe before you head out to shop, you will be able to assess what you need to buy rather than what you want, which will help you save money.

Begin with the basics. The basics are major staples of your wardrobe that can be paired with other pieces to make multiple outfits. Basics include:

  1. Blouses and or/button-down shirts in neutral colors. These tops can be layered with cardigans/sweaters, paired with ties or statement necklaces, and can go with a variety of dress slacks and/or skirts.
  2. Dress slacks in neutral colors, including tan, grey, navy and black.
  3. Solid color skirts, which could be paired with many different top combinations.
  4. A few good pairs of work shoes, in colors such as black, grey, navy or tan/brown.
  5. Appropriately styled denim jeans for casual dress days.

Just because you should take care of your “basics” first, doesn’t necessarily mean your work wardrobe has to be boring. Instead it gives you the ability to create multiple outfits. Most basic shades can easily match appropriately to patterned pieces. By mixing and matching your basics with other pieces, you will be able to make more out of less, which helps you save tremendously.

Accessories are your friend. A great way to jazz up or change any outfit is by using accessories.  For men simply changing up your tie or adding some cool cufflinks can add individuality while keeping your attire acceptable for the office. Vests are another nice addition to mix and match with your outfits. Accessorizing for women can include appropriate statement jewelry pieces, such as a necklace, bracelet or pair of earrings. Simply adding a necklace to your basic wardrobe can make your outfit feel brand new. Dress scarves are another great touch to give an outfit a whole new style.

Another way to help you save money as well as add to your professional wardrobe is to choose versatile pieces that can be both dressed up and down. For example, you may choose a nice blouse or top that pairs perfectly with both a skirt and dress pants as well as jeans or leggings for a casual weekend look. A nice polo shirt is another item that can be dressed up by pairing it with dress slacks or dressed down by wearing it with shorts or jeans. Finding shoes that can be both work and casual wardrobe staples is another way to get the most bang for your buck. By purchasing pieces that work for both business and casual outfits, you will buy less and, save money.

Make sure you look for deals and sales when shopping for work clothes. Taking advantage of sales at local retailers as well as shopping at factory outlet stores can help you cut costs dramatically. Many shops often have sales on “out of season” items. So when you see prices slashed go ahead and stock up. This way you both save money and will have the proper wardrobe staples when that season rolls around again.

Comparing brand prices as well as price checking different retailers on the same piece is another good way to save. Some retailers will even price match an item with another store. Always check for coupons as well. Many associate couponing with food items, however there are coupons for clothing too, including simple but necessary professional wardrobe pieces, such as socks and hosiery.

Another way to save on your wardrobe is to take advantage of apps that offer rebates, such as www.ibotta.com. Ibotta enables users to add rebates to qualify for cash back as well as buy featured products at your favorite stores and retailers. You can redeem your rebates by taking a photo of your receipt and get cash back.

Hopefully these tips will have you looking your best without breaking the bank. Good luck and happy shopping!