Embrace fall with festive, fun local events

Autumn Halloween pumpkins. Orange pumpkins over bright autumnal nature backgroundSo long summer and welcome autumn. It’s unofficially fall, which means our area has a variety of festive events on tap.

Coming up this weekend in Gallipolis, Ohio, is the 6th Annual Gallia County BBQ Festival. The event, hosted by the Gallia County Convention and Visitors Bureau, will take place Saturday from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Gallipolis City Park and First Avenue/State Street. Admission as well as festival activities are free; however, attendees can purchase barbecue and sides from local vendors. In addition to tasty food, there will be face painting and inflatables for children.

In Meigs County Ohio, don’t miss the Racine Party in the Park, which kicks off this Thursday and runs through Saturday. The free event will place at Star Mill Park in Racine. Carnival rides, live music, a parade, car show, kiddie tractor pull and many other activities are on schedule.

The Annual Jackson Apple Festival returns Sept.17-21 in downtown Jackson, Ohio. As usual this area tradition will feature a great week filled with entertainment, music, food, parades, crafts, and competitions, including apple bobbing, of course. The Ohio University Marching 110 Drum Line will perform 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 18. And though you won’t find it on the schedule, we’re also told by festival organizers that on Wednesday the top-ranked cornhole player in the nation, Cody Henderson, will be stopping by for a friendly game and meet and greet with festival goers. If you want to get a jump start on Apple Festival fun, stop by our OVB Jackson Office to check out 2018 Little Miss Apple Festival Jadyn Dunkle’s display

In Meigs County, Ohio, hop on over to Pomeroy for the Sternwheel Regatta. The regatta kicks off Thursday, Sept. 19, with a special firetruck parade. In addition, the event features “Rally by the River,” which will include live entertainment as well as competitions and children’s activities.

Celebrate the Mothman legend in Point Pleasant, W.Va. Sept. 21-22. The 18th Annual Mothman Festival is always a hit as it draws visitors both locally and across the country. The event features a variety of entertainment and vendors. The Mothman 5K will get things started on Saturday, Sept. 21, at 8 a.m. in downtown Point Pleasant. Race check-in will take place 7 a.m. at the Mothman Museum. Mothman hayrides will return 7 p.m. that evening at the West Virginia State Farm Museum.

Gallipolis will host The Emancipation Celebration Weekend Sept. 21-22 at the Gallia County Junior Fairgrounds. This year’s keynote speaker is Ric Sheffield, professor of legal studies and sociology at Kenyon College. The celebration weekend also will host activities for kids, which will include an appearance from Paw Patrol characters.

In Huntington, W.Va., music enthusiasts should check out the 4th Annual Funktafest Saturday, Sept. 21 at the Ritter Park Amphitheater. The one-day musical festival runs from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Musical styles ranging from top funk, jam and reggae will be showcased.

October brings more festival fun to the area starting with the West Virginia Pumpkin Festival in Milton. The event is slated for Oct. 3-5 and will take place at West Virginia Pumpkin Park. The festival, which began in 1986, is one of the largest fests in the state. More than 100 skilled artisans will display crafts and there will be a variety of exhibits and demonstrations, including blacksmithing, pottery making, quilting and wood working.

The Beaver Oktoberfest is back Oct. 4-6 in the village of Beaver, Ohio. Come out and celebrate the region’s German heritage. Rides, crafts, and great food abound during the weekend, all leading up to the Sunday Parade.

Fall fun continues in Point Pleasant with the Annual Battle Days Festival Oct. 4-6. The event features a variety of historical re-enactments and demonstrations. Activities will take place on Main Street and at Tu-Endie-Wei State Park. A parade is set for 11 a.m. Oct. 5. Also on tap Oct. 5-6 in Point Pleasant, is the Country Fall Festival. The event, which takes place at the West Virginia State Farm Museum, boasts a variety of fall-themed activities for the whole family to enjoy. From demonstrations to delicious apple butter making, this is an event that will surely get you in the autumn mood.

In Gallipolis, the River Rat Beer and Music Festival returns to the City Park Oct. 5. The festival, which runs from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., will feature an impressive slate of performing artists and craft beer lineup. Food vendors from around the Appalachian region also will be on site.

The Bob Evans Farm Festival will return for the 49th year Oct. 11-13. Open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., the festival is $5 for adults, while children ages 5 and under get in free. The event, which is a staple in Rio Grande, Ohio, is a great fall, family festival. From rides and crafts to festive food and demonstrations, the event is jam-packed. Live performances and shows are also on schedule. In addition, representatives from the Columbus Zoo will be in attendance to show six to eight animals. For a full schedule of events, visit www.bobevans.com.

Also during that weekend, check out the Bristol Village Fair, held Oct. 11-12 at Bristol Village in Waverly, Ohio. This free event features art and crafts ranging from handmade jewelry to toys to quilts. The fair is open Friday from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m.-noon.

On Oct. 26, the Harvest Fest/Tales in the Tavern event will take place in Point Pleasant at Krodel Park’s Fort Randolph. Historical re-enactments are scheduled from 4-8 p.m. Also Halloween enthusiasts won’t want to miss seeing the iconic Pumpkin House in Kenova, W.Va. Oct. 25-26. The unique house, which has gained national attention the past few years, is decorated with more than 3,000 carved pumpkins.

For more information on autumn events in your community, contact your area chamber of commerce or tourism center. Be sure to check back here next month as we keep you posted on area Halloween events. Remember to think Community First as you enjoy this lovely fall season.

Cut college costs with savings tips

Pink piggy bank with a dollar bill in the slot

College is an exciting time for young adults. For many freshmen, college is the first time they are on their own and out from their parents’ roof. This comes with many challenges, including financial issues.

Expense is certainly one of the most difficult aspects of college. Money management is tough for all ages, but can be especially stressful to students who are dealing with newfound independence and hectic class schedules. A checking account is a great tool that can help students budget. Along with keeping funds safe and secure, some checking accounts even offer student perks. Ohio Valley Bank’s Right Start Checking is available to customers ages 16-25. With this account, students can still have the comfort of their hometown bank as well as enjoy no monthly service fee and five free non-OVB ATM transactions per month. In addition, Right Start Checking enables access to free mobile banking, which is a great asset for students who go away to school. Through this feature, eligible students may deposit a check from the comfort of campus.

While college is the first step into adulthood, parents should still communicate with their college-aged children, especially when it comes to money issues. Helping them balance a checkbook as well as educating them on the importance of saving can make a huge difference. Working together on a college budget can be a tremendous help for new freshmen as well. Many college students participate in work study programs or work part-time jobs and internships to earn money, while others receive an allowance from their parents. Regardless of how income is generated, setting and sticking with a budget will help college students stay on track financially as well as benefit them post-graduation.

A good tool to help stick with a budget, is OVB’s Benjamin Tracker, which enables users to manage money, monitor spending, set goals, and actually see where their money goes. This free product, which is available through both NetTeller internet banking and the OVB App, is an important resource for those looking to save money and improve their financial health. As college students are managing their own finances for the first time, Benjamin Tracker is very beneficial as it provides a visual of where they should cut costs.

There are many other ways to save in college. Here are some of our top tips:

  1. Use your student ID. Many businesses from retail shops to restaurants to hair salons offer discounts to college students. Most only require to see a valid student ID. The discounts might be small, but every little bit helps when you live on a college shoestring budget. Most campus student unions provide a list of locations that offer student discounts.
  2. Make the most of your meal plan. Many college freshmen live on campus and have a meal plan included in their housing fee. While it may be tempting to skip the cafeteria and go for takeout instead, it is wasting money when you already have food paid for in your meal plan. If you are unhappy with your meal plan, look into other campus options. Many college campuses have additional cafes and shops that use meal plan credits or offer discounts.
  3. Split costs with roommates. Sharing really is caring. If you are living with a roommate or roommates, work together to divvy up the items needed for your dorm or apartment. Not only do you avoid have duplicate items, you all benefit by saving money. Food is a great part of sharing with roommates. If you really can’t stand to use your meal plan sometimes, pool your money to order a pizza. Avoid buying coffee before class every morning by going in on a coffee maker together. Working together on these little things will help you all save.
  4. Check out campus events. It is always tempting to go out in college and explore your new town, but that can put a strain on your wallet. Thankfully most colleges offer a wide-array of student events that are free. From concerts and dances to festivals and more, your university most likely has you covered. Not only do you get a chance to explore your school, but you don’t have to go broke either.
  5. Cut costs with used textbooks. One of the first noticeable expenses for many college students is their required textbook prices. A great way to save is to purchase used versions. Most campus bookstores offer used copies and many also allow you to sell your books back at the end of the semester. If you are friends with a classmate, consider sharing books as another way to save.
  6. Watch application dates. Many scholarships renew as long as you continue to fill out the required forms on time. Missing these due dates could drastically affect the cost of your tuition. Set phone alerts to make sure you are on top of this.
  7. Be cautious when it comes to credit. Using credit cards irresponsibly is a problem many adults encounter. If you have a credit card, only use it knowing you have the necessary funds to make your payments on time. Avoid cards with an annual fee. Most importantly, do not rely on credit for day-to-day expenses.
  8. Seek out free transportation. If you are on a large campus instead of driving everywhere, see if there are free transportation options. Many large universities offer complimentary shuttle services. When going out with friends, carpool or pool your money on a transportation service, such as Uber or Lyft.
  9. Cut the cable. Cable can be quite expensive. Cable isn’t really necessary, when your focus should be on school. There are many free student events, including movie nights or sporting events, which can replace your television time. If you are lucky, maybe your campus housing will provide cable. If not, consider sharing the costs of an online streaming service with roommates if access to television is a necessity you can’t live without.
  10. Make school your top priority. College life is so much more than classwork and studying, but at the end of the day the main reason you are there is to learn. By keeping your main focus on school you will be less likely to become distracted, and as a result, will avoid spending your money on unnecessary things.

College is a perfect time to learn and grow before jumping into adulthood. By making sound financial decisions in college, you will be on the right track when it comes to starting your life and career. From all of us at OVB, have a happy and successful semester!

Back to school we go

 

schoolabc

By Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader

Sweet, sweet summer, oh how you came and went in a flash. Yes, it’s time to get ready to hit the books and head back to school. While the weather is still in summer sunshine mode, area students are set to return to school this week.

It might be sad to see summer vacation come to a close, but the start of a new school year can be an exciting time. Along with new academic challenges, the start of the school year also brings the chance for new clubs/activities as well as fall athletics. Just getting back into the school routine is a fresh start for both students and parents.

While a new school year is exciting, it can provide financial stress on many families. If you missed the Ohio Sales Tax Holiday earlier this month, there are still many ways to save on the upcoming academic year. One thing to avoid added costs is to find out exactly what items your child will need. Fortunately, most schools now provide supply lists. By sticking with the list, you won’t be tempted to overspend on unnecessary supplies. As many schools also provide basic supplies, knowing what is required to purchase can be a huge saving on your wallet. Also, check what school supplies you already have at home before you shop. Read more of this post

Take advantage of Sales Tax Holiday

Back to School.

Even though we are soaking up those last few bits of summer, it’s already time to start thinking about going back to school. The start of a new academic year can be a financial challenge for many families. Thankfully, Ohio is hosting the annual Sales Tax Holiday this weekend.

The Sales Tax Holiday will kick off midnight Friday, Aug. 2 and end 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 4. According to the Department of Ohio Taxation, the following items are exempt from sales and use tax: clothing priced at $75 per item or less; school supplies priced at $20 per item or less; and school instructional material priced at $20 per item or less. Items used in a trade or business are not exempt.

As the definition of “clothing” can be broad, the following clothing items qualify under the Sales Tax Holiday guidelines: shirts; blouses; sweaters; pants; shorts; skirts; dresses; uniforms (athletic and nonathletic); shoes; shoe laces; insoles for shoes; sneakers; sandals; boots; overshoes; slippers; steel-toed shoes; underwear; socks and stockings; hosiery; pantyhose; footlets; coats and jackets; rainware; gloves and mittens for general use; hats and caps; ear muffs; belts and suspenders; neckties; scarves; aprons (household and shop); lab coats; athletic supporters; bathing suits and caps; beach capes and coats; costumes; baby receiving blankets; diapers (both children and adult, including disposable diapers); rubber pants; garters and garter belts; girdles; formal ware; and wedding apparel.

School supplies that qualify include: binders; book bags; calculators; cellophane tape; blackboard chalk; compasses; composition books; crayons; erasers; folders (expandable, pocket, plastic, and manila); glue, paste, and paste sticks; highlighters; index cards; index card boxes; legal pads; lunch boxes; markers; notebooks; paper; loose leaf ruled notebook paper, copy paper, graph paper, tracing piper, manila paper, colored paper, poster board, and construction paper; pencil boxes and other school supply boxes; pencil sharpeners; pencils; pens; protractors; rulers; scissors; and writing tablets. As for instructional materials, only the following items will be included: reference books; reference maps and globes; textbooks; and workbooks.

According to the Department of Ohio Taxation, as for applying coupons/discounts in addition to the sales tax holiday, the following protocol would take place: “If a retailer offers a discount to reduce the price of an eligible item to $20 (applies to school supplies) or less or $75 (applies to clothing) or less, the item will qualify for the exemption. This applies to all discounts even if a retailer’s coupon or loyalty card is required to secure the discount. If a retailer accepts a coupon that entitles the retailer to third-party reimbursement, such as a manufacturer’s coupon, the discount provided by the coupon does not reduce the item’s sale price for purposes of determining whether the item is eligible for the exemption.”

With online shopping, if all items in a shipment qualify as eligible items and the sales price for each is within the sales tax holiday price threshold, shipping and handling charges are not taxable. For more information on the sales tax holiday guidelines, visit http://www.tax.ohio.gov.

Soak up summer fun at the fair

Summer brings us hot days, pool time, vacations, and barbeques. Another important aspect of our area summer? The county fair, of course! Locally, many fairs have already kicked off, but there are plenty more in store now through August.

2019 Jackson Scholar Pic

Check out our scholarship display at the Jackson Fair, featuring 2019 scholar Annalee Warrens. 

If you missed last week’s Lawrence and Madison County Fairs, plan to visit the Fayette and Jackson County Fairs, both of which are taking place this week. Each of these wonderful events boasts fun and entertainment for all ages.

While visiting the Jackson Fair also make sure to stop by our OVB 4-H Scholarship booth, which features 2019 scholar Annalee Warrens. A graduate of Jackson High School, Warrens plans to attend Ohio State University to become a vocational agriculture teacher. She is the daughter of Jered and Missy Warrens.

Other upcoming area fairs include:

  • Cabell County Fair (W.Va.) – July 22-27

Check out the OVB 4-H Scholarship booth featuring Cabell’s newest scholar, Morgan Christian. She is the daughter of Michael Christian and Carol DeBord. Christian is a graduate of Cabell Midland High School and plans to attend West Virginia University to study biology. Watch the current scholars receive their checks during a special presentation Friday, July 26 at 6:30 p.m.

  • Pike County Fair – July 29-Aug. 3

Pike County 4-H Scholars will be featured once again at the OVB 4-H Scholarship booth. Layne Moorman, our 2019 scholar, is the newest member of the OVB 4-H family. Moorman is the daughter of Michael and Stacy Moorman. She is a graduate of Piketon High School and plans to attend Ohio University to study chemistry. Watch Moorman and Pike’s current scholars receive their checks at the fair 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 29.

  • Gallia County Fair – July 29-Aug. 3

Don’t miss the Gallia OVB 4-H scholarship booth, featuring current scholars and 2019 recipient, Josie Jones. She is the daughter of Vernon and Jodi Jones. She recently graduated from River Valley High School and plans to attend Marshall University to pursue a career as a speech language pathologist. Watch Jones and current scholars receive their checks during a special presentation 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug 1.

  • Mason County Fair (W.Va.) – Aug. 5-10

Mason County’s 2019 scholar, Sarah Deem, will be featured on the OVB 4-H Scholarship display. Deem is the daughter of Deron and Melissa Deem. She is also the sister of 2016 scholar, Katherine. She is a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and plans to attend West Virginia University to study marketing and advertising/public relations. Watch current scholars receive their checks Tuesday, Aug. 6 prior to the lamb show.

  • Athens County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Scioto County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Ross County Fair – Aug. 5-10
  • Meigs County Fair – Aug. 12-17

Don’t miss the chance to check out OVB’s Meigs 4-H Scholarship booth. This year’s display features 2019 scholar Ciera Older. She is the daughter of Chris and Melissa Lambert. A recent graduate of Meigs High School, Older plans to attend Ohio University to study elementary education. Don’t miss the scholar check presentation, Sunday, Aug. 11 following the fair parade at 7:30 p.m.

For more information on fair events, visit your local fair’s website/Facebook page. Have a safe and fun fair season!

 

OVB Boot Camp brings financial fun to 4-H

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Campers learn how to budget with candy.

Summer and 4-H camp go together like peanut butter and jelly. Ohio Valley Bank was pleased to once again teach a class at Mason County 4-H Camp this year. The class, OVB Boot Camp, was offered at both older and younger camps.

OVB Boot Camp has become a tradition in Mason County 4-H, and several campers returned to enjoy this year’s class. In addition, several new campers participated as well. In total, 21 campers completed the program.

“I really enjoy seeing familiar faces return and choose to take our OVB Boot Camp class each year. It’s nice to see their progress. It’s especially enjoyable when a camper moves up from younger to older camp and continues to take the class. We really get to know many of these kids and it is so much fun seeing them learn and grow,” Hope Roush, OVB financial literacy leader, said. “I also enjoy welcoming new campers into the OVB Boot Camp family. I really like seeing the veteran campers take an active role in helping the first-timers because it again shows me how much they’ve learned.”

OVB Boot Camp covered a variety of financial topics at both camps. Lessons were presented in a fun, interactive format. For example, students had to make financial decisions based on a candy budget. Additional lessons and games included the following:

  1. Basic account types
  2. Basic bank paperwork, including check writing as well deposits/withdrawals
  3. Interest
  4. Debit vs. Credit
  5. Budgeting

Along with each daily lesson, campers participated in a game where they had to juggle a mock portfolio of their bank accounts. Each day they drew a Real Life Card, which either required them to pay a bill or provided them with unexpected cash. Campers also had an opportunity during this time to make deposits and withdrawals from their accounts. In addition, campers could choose to give in to their sweet tooth temptation and spend their money on snacks or continue to save. This year’s older camp portfolio winner was Olivia Stanley, while Audrey Reynolds took top honors at younger camp.

On the final day of both camps all accounts were liquidated. Campers had the opportunity to use their mock money to bid on real prizes at the annual OVB Boot Camp auction. Everyone was able to purchase at least one fun item. Prizes included a range of snacks, toys, games, movies and gift cards. Campers were excited to take home all of their purchased prizes.

“The auction is really fun for our campers, but more importantly it’s where they really see the importance of saving money and making wise budget choices. They quickly learn that the kids who practiced those skills have the advantage as they are able to provide the highest bids for the more popular prizes. It’s another way to really show them the value of money in a semi-real world setting,” Roush said.

Both older and younger campers did a great job this year. Campers showed how much they learned every day with banking trivia and other activities. Camper Molly Fisher has taken the OVB Boot Camp class many times and said that she always learns something new.

“In OVB Boot Camp I learned about investing in the stock market, money market accounts, certificate of deposits and much more. The valuable knowledge I have gained in this class will help me with my future endeavors. This class was very beneficial to me,” she added.

Camper Lyndsey Ward, like Fisher, is another camper who has participated in OVB Boot Camp multiple times. As this was Ward’s first time in older camp, she said she was able to learn even more money management skills.

“I also learned about credit and debit cards. This is my favorite class and I learned the most here,” she added.

Camper Riley Oliver described OVB Boot Camp as a good place to learn the importance of budgeting.

“I learned how to control my money. I learned how to work with banks on loans and other things. I also learned about how interest works with credit cards,” he said.

Camper Kate Henderson agreed that learning about budgeting was important.

“In OVB Boot Camp I learned how to manage my money. I learned the different types of accounts you can have and the rewards and consequences of each. I also learned how to write a check and how to do deposit and withdrawal slips,” she said.

Camper Aiden Wallis said the budgeting game was fun because it made him appreciate his parents.

“I had to think about what my parents spend and pay each month,” he said. “I also learned how to save money and how you need to pay for insurance.”

Credit vs. Debit was an interesting lesson for Camper Cara Russell.

“I’ve learned a lot in OVB Boot Camp. One thing I learned was the difference between debit and credit cards. I also learned some of the downfalls you can encounter with a credit card. This class was really fun and I’m ready to come back again next year,” Russell said.

OVB Boot Camp was created in 2005. To schedule OVB Boot Camp or for more information on the bank’s other financial education programs, contact Roush at 740-578-3452 or e-mail hdroush@ovbc.com.

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Soak up summer fun with local events

American flag with fireworks. Vector

Summer has unofficially arrived and is in full-swing with a variety of local events for all ages. Winter might have felt long and cold, but the warm, sunshiny days are here at last. While many folks take a summer vacation, there are plenty of community events to look forward to as well.

From family fun to fireworks and concerts, summer 2019 is shaping up to be a great one. With so many great activities on tap, it is certainly possible to soak up summer fun while not breaking the bank as the majority of events are either low-cost or free.

This weekend already boasts an action-packed schedule. In Point Pleasant, W.Va., Bikes, BBQ, & Bluegrass will take place Saturday, June 8. The event features bicycle tour rides of varying distances that traverse roads in Point Pleasant and Mason County as well as a BBQ competition. The BBQ competition will begin at noon on Main Street. Prize money will be awarded to winners. For more information on how to register for the competition, check out www.bikepointpleasant.org. In addition, bluegrass music will take center stage at the Point Pleasant Riverfront Park at 7 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will take place at the Point Pleasant Junior Senior High School Auditorium. For more information and to sign up for the bike rides, visit www.tristateracer.com.

Also taking place in Point Pleasant this weekend is the return of the Mayor’s Night Out concert series. The first concert is set for 8 p.m. Friday, June 7 at Riverfront Park. Concerts will take place every Friday through Aug. 30 at 8 p.m., with the exception of Friday, July 5 and Friday, Aug. 9. The concert line-up will feature various music styles, including rock, blues, country, folk, gospel, and current hits.

In Gallipolis, Ohio, the Cruise In & Car Show is set for Saturday, June 8 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. The event will take place at SFS Truck Sales, located at 2150 Eastern Ave. The show will feature a variety of classic cars on display.

Also in Gallipolis, the Hot Summer Nights concert series already kicked off and will continue through September. Concerts take place 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Pavilion, located on the grounds of the French Art Colony. The gates will open at 6 p.m. Admission is $5 per person or free to French Art Colony members. For a full schedule of performances, call 740-446-3834 or visit http://www.frenchartcolony.org.

In Huntington, W.Va., the Pullman Square Summer Concert Series provides another opportunity to relax with some fun tunes. The first concerts are held on the front lawn of Pullman. The first concert kicks off tonight at 7 p.m. Additional concerts are set for June 13, June 20, June 27, July 11, July 18, July 25, Aug. 1, Aug. 8, Aug. 15, Aug. 22 and Aug. 29. All concerts are free and guests are encouraged to bring their own blankets and camp chairs.

Saturday KidsArt will also take place in Huntington on Saturday, June 8 from 1-3 p.m. at the Huntington Museum of Art. The event is free. Younger children must be accompanied by a guardian. For more information, call 304-529-2701.

In Pomeroy, Ohio, the 10th anniversary event of the Kickin’ Summer Bash will take place June 14-15 at the Levee. The event will feature a variety of activities and entertainment, including a Cruise in Car Show on Friday, June 14. Rockin’ Reggie music also will take place from 4-7 p.m. On Saturday, June 15 many kids’ activities are scheduled, including face painting, a treasure hunt and a scavenger hunt. There will be bounce houses as well. All of the kids’ activities are free. For more information, check out the Kickin’ Summer Bash Facebook page.

On June 28-29, history will come to life with Liberty Days. The event will take place from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at Point Pleasant’s Fort Randolph, located within Krodel Park. Typically, Fort Randolph events showcase period demonstrations featuring historical reenactors.

July will kick off in patriotic fashion with several Independence Day events. The 54th Annual Gallipolis River Recreation Festival will take place July 3-4 at the City Park.  On Wednesday, July 3 the opening ceremony is set for noon, however gospel music and kids’ inflatables open at 10 a.m. KidZone Activities will also take place from 2-6 p.m. Thursday’s July 4 schedule kicks off with the Baby Tot Sparkler Contest as well as the Rubber Ducky Race on the Riverfront at 9 a.m. The 66th Annual Gallipolis Rotary Mile will take place at 11:30 a.m. with the parade to follow at noon. Fireworks will wrap up festivities at 10 p.m.

In Point Pleasant, the Inaugural Liberty Fest will celebrate Independence Day. The event will feature a variety of activities, including a patriotic parade at 5:30 p.m. on Main St. Activities continue on Main St. and Riverfront Park from 6-10 p.m., with fireworks set to close out the evening. Mason and New Haven, W.Va. have Independence Day entertainment on tap as well, including the Fourth of July Parade, which is slated for 11 a.m. in New Haven.

Jackson, Ohio’s Freedom Festival is once again on tap for Independence Day. While a full schedule of events wasn’t provided as of press time, the event’s 23rd Annual Jackson County Freedom Festival 5K Run and Walk is now open for registration at http://www.tristateracer.com. The event will take place 9 a.m. at Manpower Park.

For more information regarding your community’s Fourth of July events, please contact your local chamber or council.

You won’t want to miss Rhythm on the River, slated for July 5, 12 and 19 in Pomeroy. The event is celebrating its 20th year and will once again showcase free live music at the Riverfront. The Big Bend Blues Bash also will take place in Pomeroy July 26-27. A full schedule of performers will be released later this summer.

The 2nd 5K Ruck Walk/Run, sponsored by OVB, will take place 9 a.m. Saturday, July 6 at the Haskins Park Shelter. Online registration is encouraged and can be done via runsignup.com/Race/OH/Gallipolis/TheOhioValleyBank5KRuckWalk. Same day registration will take place at 8 a.m. prior to the race. Participants are encouraged to bring a ruck sack to commemorate soldiers who carry a physical or emotional burden daily. Event proceeds will benefit local VA clinics.

Other ways to seek out summer fun locally includes visiting area museums, parks and libraries. The Bossard Memorial Library in Gallipolis, for example, boasts a jam-packed schedule of children’s programs this summer. The library also hosts many events for adults. Continue to check with your local chamber our tourism center to see if any other events are taking place in your community.

In addition to the various festivals, many of our area’s fairs are scheduled to take place this summer. The fairs are a great way to enjoy music and rides as well as support our area 4-H youth. Check back soon for more information on upcoming area fairs.

Have a safe and happy summer!