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FestivALL to include fall events this October

CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Charleston's signature arts celebration will be expanded to a second season this year.

FestivALL Executive Producer Larry Groce said he often hears from people who want the event to continue in some way throughout the year. The 8-year-old celebration has been held in June each year.

Now Groce is obliging by organizing a four-day festival dubbed FestivALL Fall for Oct. 25-28.

Events will include an encore Live on the Levee concert on Oct. 26 and art fairs at Capitol Market Oct. 26-27.

Taste-of-All will hold a Taste-of-Fall at participating Charleston restaurants.

Because of time constraints, Taste-of-All will not be held at the Civic Center. Instead local restaurants will offer special FestivALL Fall entrees at their establishments at a discount, said Emily Wall, Taste-of-All chairwoman.

Organizers also hope to capitalize on already-scheduled events, like East End Main Street's annual HallowEast celebration and the Charleston Light Opera Guild's performances of "Hello, Dolly!" Groce said.

The fifth annual Create West Virginia Conference also will be held in Charleston Oct. 26-27, said Jeff James, founder and chairman.

That was one of the sparks for the fall rendition of FestivALL. 

"When we learned that the Create West Virginia conference was coming to Charleston for the first time, we talked with the conference organizers about showcasing some of the creative ways we have been promoting art and culture in Charleston," Groce said.

"While FestivALL Fall will not be on the same grand scale as FestivALL is every June, we are able to build on events that are already happening and add some flavor of FestivALL to the weekend to make it another special time to be in Charleston," he said.

Create West Virginia is an independent organization launched by Vision Shared. The organization attempts to foster entrepreneurs in the state as well as encourage communities to create economic development plans.

The organization also strives to promote West Virginia and encourage artists and entrepreneurs to move to the Mountain State, according to its website.

"In other cities where the Create West Virginia conferences have been held, we have been able to give participants from around the state a sample of how the host cities are promoting art and culture and how they're building creative communities," James said.

More than 300 people are expected to attend the conference, he said.   

FestivALL has galvanized the artistic community in the city, and it shows the arts are embraced in Charleston, Assistant Mayor Rod Blackstone said.

"This is great news for the city of Charleston," he said.

Huntington band Qiet will headline the Oct. 26 Live on the Levee concert with The Tom McGees opening. The concert will begin at 6:30 p.m. and last until 9:30 p.m. at Haddad Riverfront Park.

A total of 25 juried artisans will take part in the Art Fair at Capitol Market on Oct. 26-27, Groce said.

"We had no idea how the artists would respond," said Betty Rivard, FestivALL art fairs director. "But the response was phenomenal."

A children's art fair will be held at the market from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Oct. 27. 

Musicians and artists will set up along the Sunrise Carriage Trail from 1-4 p.m. Oct. 28, Groce said. An art walk will be held in downtown Charleston on Oct. 25.

Mountain Stage will be back in Charleston that weekend after a long road trip, Groce said.

Its show will feature British singer/songwriter Beth Orton among other musicians at the state Culture Center at 7 p.m. Oct. 28. Other acts will be added in the coming days, Groce said.

More than 30 West Virginia artists will display their wares at the fourth annual ArtMares opening at Contemporary Galleries on Smith Street from 6-9 p.m. Oct. 24. 

HallowEast's activities will include a murder mystery at the Charleston Women's Club on Virginia Street East and Elizabeth Street and the East End Zombie Walk, said Ric Cavender, executive director for East End Main Street.

East End Main Street also will sponsor a costumed pub crawl in the East End following the Zombie Walk on Oct. 27, Cavender said.

The Light Opera Guild's production of "Hello, Dolly!" will be held at the Clay Center that weekend and the following weekend.

FestivALL Fall's schedule can be obtained online at the FestivALL website at Printed versions of the schedule will be available soon, Groce said.      

Contact writer Paul Fallon at or 304-348-4817.     Follow him at



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