Head to Huntington for Variety of Weekend Fun


​HUNTINGTON - It may be prime time for summer vacations, but this weekend it is going to be hard to find a good reason not to hunker down in Huntington.

From the annual river roar of the Huntington Classic Regatta to the time machine that is the sternwheeler The Belle of Cincinnati, to a new West Virginia M.A.D.E. Festival set to bring arts, crafts, music and more downtown, there's a whole lot of action in the heart of the city.

Here's a look at those great events and even more going on in downtown Huntington this weekend.

You gotta regatta

The sixth annual Huntington Classic Regatta will be rocking the Ohio River at Harris Riverfront Park Friday through Sunday, July 22-24, as the American Powerboat Racing Association hosts its North American Championships, drawing in drivers and fans from all over the U.S. and Canada.

Free and open to the public, the gates open at 10 a.m. daily. There's driver autographs at noon daily, then single-boat qualifying races from 1 to 5 p.m.

On Sunday, the racing begins at 10:30 a.m. with practice runs. Qualifiers follow at 1 p.m., and the championship races start at 2:30 p.m.

Although powerboat racing is the main attraction - it's being filmed for broadcast on Fox Sport Ohio and SportSouth - there's lots of other fun, even before you get into Harris Riverfront Park.

This year, the regatta has moved its carnival out onto Veterans Memorial Boulevard between 8th and 10th streets. The carnival runs 5 to 11 p.m. Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Buy all-day passes or single-ride tickets at the ticket booth on the boulevard.

Inside the park, there will be live music on Friday and Saturday nights. Friday's entertainment includes two local rock acts - Ashland-area metal band DreamCult at 6:30 p.m., and City Heat at 9 p.m.

At 6:30 p.m. Saturday, DreamCult opens up, with the Joe Freeman Bluegrass Band at 7:30 p.m., followed by headliner Adam Wakefield, a recent contestant on NBC's "The Voice" at 9:30 p.m. with fireworks to follow at 10:45 p.m.

On Saturday, there's also several other events including a Blue Knights Motorcycle Show, starting at 11 a.m., a petting zoo from noon to 5 p.m., and a pizza eating contest at 5 p.m.

For a full schedule and more information, visit www.huntingtonclassic.com.

Making it, West Virginia style

Kindred Communications, Marshall University, The City of Huntington and BB&T have teamed up to host West Virginia's first M.A.D.E. (music, art, dining and entrepreneurship) Festival that will take place in the 1000 block of 4th Avenue in downtown Huntington.

Free and open to the public, the West Virginia M.A.D.E. Festival will feature shops and booths from local artisans and entrepreneurs, a number of local food trucks and a steady flow of live music in the lot between the former Glenn's and Redemption Church.

The fest runs 5 to 10 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

There will be about a dozen regular vendors in addition to nine vending teams made up of high school students who are at Marshall University for the inaugural West Virginia Governor's School for Entrepreneurship.

"There will be a mix of booths with some selling products and some who are in the goods industry," said one of the camp's business coaches, Bryan Shaw, of Scaleable Ventures Inc.

Shaw said it will be a fun way to come and support the first year camp as well as the community of West Virginia makers.

"It is a good opportunity to support young West Virginia enterpreneurship," Shaw said. "This is how our state changes and how it has to happen. It is a great way to support the kids as they grow. Hopefully some of them will want to carry on the business they started or start their own and stay here and develop businesses here."

The performance schedule of bands for WV M.A.D.E. is:

n Friday - 5:30 p.m.: Short & Company (blues); 6:45 p.m.: The Settlement (indie rock); 7:45 p.m.: Of The Dell (young, throwback rock act); and 9 p.m.: West Virignia native Nashville country artists The Davisson Brothers Band.

n Saturday is a full day of old-time string band music including - 2:30 p.m.: The Modock Rounders; 3:45 p.m.: Willow Tree Carolers (young string band from Cincinnati); 5 p.m.: The Broad Hollow Band (bluegrass); 6:15 p.m.: Long Point String Band (old-time trio from Beckley); 7:30 p.m.: The Bing Brothers Band featuring Jake Krack (string band featuring an old-time fiddler); and 8:45 p.m.: Buffalo Wabs and The Price Hill Hustle (Americana and old-time).

n Sunday has a number of bands including: 12 - The Hollers (Dance Troupe); 12:45 p.m.  Andrew Hankins; 1:45 - 4th Avenue Arts (Dancers); 2:45 p.m.- Corey Shields and 3:45 p.m. - The Jenkins Twins

Last chance to see 'Appalachian Dirt'

If you are a fan of ceramic art, get downtown to the Marshall University Visual Art Center's Carroll Gallery, located at 927 3rd Ave., where the eclectic contemporary ceramic exhibit "Appalachian Dirt" will be on display through Friday, July 22.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibit features work of 26 ceramic artists living and working now in Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

The artists are from as nearby as Huntington and as far away as Bowling Green, Kentucky; Cleveland, Ohio; and Elkins, West Virginia.

Take a quick scan of the room and you get the theme of the show - that anything can happen when a ceramist's mind starts churning.

Brett Kern, of Elkins, West Virginia, has set The Dying Gaul, the famous Roman sculpture, in a pop light using the image of Donatello, a dying Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle - part of his series of mashups of 1980s pop culture and ancient Greco-Roman statuary.

Lexington, Kentucky-based artist Robert Shay's "Big Wind" features a series of wood-like, almost-bone-like pieces flowing along a wall, while Frederick Bartolovic, associate professor of art at Marshall University, has taken aim at two incendiary subjects - the opiate crisis and Donald Trump - in two ceramic jug and mug works titled "Pillbilly Nation" and "Things That Make Me Want to Drink" respectively.

While you are there, be sure and look up. There is a new suspended sculpture in the foyer of the Visual Arts Center as well - this work was completed during the spring semester by a student, Robert Greer, working with veteran MU professor Jonathan Cox.

It's all outside at Pullman Square

Need a haircut, your nails done and a brush-up of makeup? Get a makeover while listening to the sounds of Charleston dance band Santa Cruz at Pullman Square's Summer Concert Series, which runs 7 to 10 p.m. Thursday, July 21.

The free, weekly outdoor music party makes room at the side of the stage for the fourth annual Chairs of Change, a night of makeover stations (haircuts, manicures and makeup) organized by Jennifer Runyon, the owner of Beauty Solutions on 10th Street, and featuring about 15 to 20 fellow hairdressers, nail techs and makeup artists volunteering their time for a charitable cause.

Donations are $10 (or more) with all money raised going to the Golden Girl Group Home, a nonprofit group home for homeless teenage girls. The booths will be set up between the stage and Pottery Place.

Runyon said the effort raised $3,300 last year and hopes to raise up to $5,000 this year for the group home.

"Most people in the community relate Golden Girls to the TV show, and they don't realize it is a home for underprivileged girls," Runyon said. "Doing this out at Pullman helps raise awareness, and it definitely lets the community know about the group home - whether they make donations there or go and try and do an activity at the home or take clothes and donations to them. That is our main goal to try and get more people involved."

Take a ride on a riverboat queen

Each summer Capt. Alan Bernstein of the Newport, Kentucky-based BB Riverboats gets a little wanderlust and starts slow rolling The Belle of Cincinnati up to some of the small cities along the Ohio River including Portsmouth, Ashland and Huntington.

The first stop will be in the Portsmouth area on Thursday, July 21. Dinner cruises will be offered from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. on both Thursday and Friday, July 21 and 22. A lunch cruise is scheduled from noon to 2 p.m. Friday. A sightseeing cruise is planned for 3:30 to 5 p.m. Friday.

The Belle of Cincinnati then will move upriver to the Port of Ashland and offer a lunch cruise from noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, July 23. A sightseeing cruise is scheduled from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Saturday, and a dinner cruise will be offered from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday.

The Belle then will move to Huntington on Sunday, July 24. A brunch cruise will be offered from noon to 2 p.m. A sightseeing cruise will be offered from 3:30 to 5 p.m. Sunday, and a dinner cruise is scheduled from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Dinner cruises cost $50 for adults and $28 for children. Someone wanting to take the cruise and not eat will pay $23 for adults and $14 for children.

Lunch cruises will cost $39 for adults and $24 for children. For those not wanting to eat and take the cruise, the cost is $23 for adults and $14 for children.

Reservations can be made by calling 800-261-8586 or go online at www.bbriverboats.com.

Contact Information

Dave Lavender Herald Dispatch