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!

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!

 

Save Money with Creative Christmas Gifts

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Exchanging gifts is a wonderful part of Christmas…and it doesn’t have to break your budget!

 

‘Tis the season to be merry! And ‘tis the season to spend probably more than you should. Gift giving at Christmas can put quite a strain on your wallet, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

 

You can still give wonderful presents this holiday without breaking the bank. If you already missed those Black Friday sales, never fear we are here to help you make this Christmas both fun and financially savvy.

 

Christmas shopping to find great presents for your loved ones is sometimes stressful as well as pricey. The perfect present doesn’t have to be expensive. Homemade gifts can be unique and won’t cost you nearly as much. There is usually more sentimental value to a homemade present as well. Making gifts that come from the heart is a great way to show someone you care this holiday season. If you aren’t a creative person, have no fear! Check out some of our homemade gift ideas:

 

  1. A photo collage. One of the best things about the holiday season is reflecting back on past memories. This year, create a photo collage for your loved ones that showcases the good times you’ve had together. You can print photos and make a handmade collage, or you could use a digital computer program or app on your smartphone to create your own collage. Then simply print a copy, put it in a festival holiday card, and you are good to go! For family and friends you won’t be seeing in person, e-mailing your photo collage can also be a great way to wish them a Merry Christmas.
  2. Make a memory jar. This idea is perhaps the most sentimental and one of the easiest to make on our list. All you need is a Mason jar, paper, and decorative ribbon. Once you decide who this gift is for, think of your favorite memories about them. Then cut paper into strips and write down a memory on each piece. Once you are finished, fold each slip and place them in the jar. You could do a memory slip for every day of the upcoming month or even the whole year. Once your jar is full take the ribbon and add a cute bow for a festive touch.
  3. Cookies. Seriously, who doesn’t love a good Christmas cookie? Sometimes the best presents are the ones we can eat! Baking cookies is an inexpensive and tasty way to spread holiday cheer. Complete the gift presentation by placing the cookies in a holiday themed tin.
  4. Make a cookie/brownie mix festive jar. If you don’t have time to actually make the cookies yourself, you can give your friends and family all they need to get baking on their own. There are many recipes online, so choose one you like and measure out the needed dry ingredients. Place the ingredients in a Mason jar. Then, tie a cute ribbon on the jar with the attached recipe for the sweet treat.
  5. Create your own tree ornament. This one can take you back to grade school days, but making homemade Christmas ornaments is a great way to send a little holiday spirit with your gifts. There are many DIY ornament tutorials on the internet to choose from. We suggest checking out your local craft store to get started.
  6. Build a gingerbread house. Depending on your baking skills, you could either create your gingerbread house from scratch or purchase an inexpensive, pre-made kit. This particular present is great for families as it allows you to spend quality time together.
  7. Make a music mix. Who says mixed tapes are a thing of the past? Maybe the cassette tape part is, but you can give it a digital upgrade. Creating a playlist mix for your friends to download or even going a little old school by burning them a CD is a fun, yet inexpensive present. Choose songs that remind you of that person. This shows you truly care.
  8. Create a “coupon book.” This present is particularly good for your partner or spouse. Make “coupons” for various household chores; for example doing the laundry, vacuuming, and/or cooking dinner. You can create each coupon by hand or design them using your computer. Punch holes at the top of each coupon and then tie your coupons together with festive ribbon. This is a fun and easy gift, but just make sure you are ready in the future when your coupons are cashed in!
  9. Design a calendar. This gift is one that is great for anyone, especially your relatives. You can create your very own calendar on your computer. Choose pictures of your family or pictures you think the gift receiver would like for each month. Simply print your calendar pages and then use a three-hole punch to place holes in the top of each page. Tie your pages together with ribbon or yarn. And just like that you have the perfect gift that will last the whole year.
  10. Make a scarf and/or hat. As winter approaches, scarves and hats are must have items that you can never have too many of. If you know how to sew or crochet, these are perfect and easy presents to make. If you don’t know how to sew or crochet, never fear as there are several DIY tutorials on the internet to choose from.

 

If homemade gifts still aren’t your thing, keep your eyes peeled for any last minute holiday deals. Typically stores will have sales right before Christmas, so if you can handle the last minute rush this might be the best option for you.

Happy Holidays!

Save Money During Your Summer Vacation

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School is out, the sun is beaming and temperatures are rising. This can only mean one thing: summer has arrived! Along with warmer weather, summer is typically vacation season for many families.

 

Summer vacations are a great way to relax and take in new experiences. However, the stress of money spent on trips can often damper the getaway fun. Typically food costs along with the expense of experiences during vacations means shelling out more cash than your budget generally allows.

 

With proper planning the stress of vacation money troubles can be eliminated. If you plan to fly, check for airlines that offer special deals, such as a free bag check. If this isn’t an option consider only bringing a carry-on for your trip. Take advantage of the free beverage and snacks available on the plane instead of spending money on overpriced food at the airport and during your flight. Avoiding extra airline fees can make a world of difference when it comes to vacation costs.

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OVB BANKit! wraps another successful year

By Hope Roush, OVB Financial Literacy Leader

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The 2015-2016 school year ended about as quickly as it started. Once again Ohio Valley Bank worked to promote financial literacy within our area high schools. This year’s OVB BANKit! program took place in six participating schools.

The program, which was launched in 2010, reached students at Gallia Academy High School, River Valley High School and South Gallia High School in Ohio as well as Point Pleasant High School, Wahama High School and the Mason County Career Center in West Virginia. Approximately 360 students completed the program this year. Read more of this post