Wide Variety of Events Scheduled at Old State Penitentiary

While Major League baseball opens its season on March 29, a local attraction will be kicking off its 2018 season on March 30–day tours at the former West Virginia Penitentiary. Also, there will be twilight tours, photo tours and paranormal investigations.

The tours will take place through Nov. 30.

Actually the Training Center, located within the walls of the former prison, is open year round for different events for which organizations, individuals, etc., want to rent the facility.

For the past 22 years, the Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC has leased the prison from the state Department of Corrections. This past week five members of the MEDC, President Gary Crippen, Karen Baker, Bob Straub, Tom Stiles and Executive Director Suzanne Park, were in Charleston and met with DOH officials.

In 1999, the MEDC secured a 25-year lease on the former WVP, and the lease was updated in 2004 and should continue through 2029.

One of the issues discussed by the MEDC and the DOC dealt with moving the Marshall County Historical Society’s Museum to the prison, where the history of Marshall County could be better displayed. The current MCHS Museum is open one day a week, for five hours each, April through October.

At the prison location, the museum would be open six days a week for 11 months out of the year.

Park said that the DOC officials informed the MEDC representatives that they have no plans for the area where the MEDC and MCHS wants to place the museum. It will be up to these two entities (MEDC and MCHS) to obtain funding for any remodeling.

As to the overall operation of the former prison, the MEDC recently provided for events which have either been held or will be held from January through June.

Many of these events have been fundraisers which help in the operation of the Training Center, of course. The biggest attraction is the Dungeon of Horrors, which brings thousands of dollars to Moundsville, Marshall County and Ohio Valley. This event and others in 2017 brought in over $600,000 in gift shop sales, tours and activities — and for every dollar spent in the area on travel and tourism, $3.20 is generated for the local economy. That is $1,920,000 in economic development.

The long-standing Mock Riot is yet another event held annually. It, too, helps the local economy as those taking part come from not only different areas of the United States, but other countries.

Some of the money generated by the MEDC has been used to upgrade the parking in the area of the prison, as last year the MEDC was able to purchase property on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Tenth Street, providing 25 off-street paved parking spaces, along with the clearing, grading and graveling on an abandoned lot on the southeast side of Penitentiary. The latter lot provides space for 75 vehicles.

In the past few years, the MEDC was able to purchase an air conditioning/heating system for the Training Center building. This came about as the result of the Fostoria Glass of America Convention officials agreeing to a long-term agreement if the MEDC would install the systems at the Training Center.

Among some of the events which have been held, or will be held through the end of June are:

– A Daddy/Daughter Dance.

– Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine, which attracted 150 attendees and more than 300 caregivers, and support staff.

– Heart of the Dungeon, attended by 100 local and tourist couples.

– The Morris steak fry, a fundraising even for athletic scholarships.

– A weekend gun show which attracts from 2,000 to 3,000.

– The annual Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Home and Business Expo, to be held on March 2-3. It usually is attended by at least 3,000 people.

– A Moundsville Youth Baseball Association steak fry fundraiser.

– A four-day quilt show.

– A Princess Tea at which some 200 little girls participate in a magical theme with “real-life” princesses.

– The Moundsville Volunteer Fire Department Gun Bash, a one-day event attended by about 1,000 people.

– Ghost Hunter USA, a nightime paranormal investigation which attracts 50 individuals, all visitors to the facility.

– A bus group of 500 which tours the prison along with a dinner show.

– A Bayer Federal Credit Union steak fry attended by between 400-500.

– Appalachian Outreach Inc., holds a bazaar fundraiser which annually attracts some 1,000 people.

– The Marshall County Chamber of Commerce Ladies Night event attracts some 300 participants.

– A Special Olympics fundraiser is attended by 300 locals and visitors.

– The state Department of Health & Humane Resources holds a job fair at the Training Center.

– The United States Department of Agriculture’s Women in Agriculture has an event attended by some 300 persons, including vendors.

– The Marshall County Family Resource Network Food Drive holds an annual two-day event at which 1,000 pounds of goods are gathered and distributed.

– A blood drive co-sponsored by the Moundsville Lions Club and the MEDC resulted in 20 pints of blood collected, which was five more than the goal. The Training Center was the ideal location, as the nurses were able to unload and reload their equipment by driving their vehicle inside the center, and those donating blood could park their vehicles at the front door of the center.

– Also, there will be wedding receptions, baby showers, and graduation parties through June.

The Relay for Life of Marshall County held its third planning committee meeting this past Thursday.

This year’s event will take place from 6 p.m. on June 8 until 6 a.m. on June 9 in the north parking lot at John Marshall High School. Since the last time at this location lighting has been installed there.

In past years the RFL has been held at Monarch Stadium; however, this June this facility will not be available as the stadium will be torn down and replaced by a new one.

The sixth annual Princess Tea will be held from 2 p.m. until 4 p.m., March 24 at the former West Virginia Penitentiary, sponsored by RML Productions, the Moundsville Economic Development Council (MEDC) and Capes & Tiaras Fantasy Birthday Parties.

Children’s tickets are $20 while adult tickets are $5. Tickets for the tea must be purchased online at www.wvpentours.com.

The monthly meeting of the Marshall County Board of Health will be held at 7:30 a.m. on Thursday in the conference room of the Marshall County Health Department, 513 Sixth St., Moundsville.

The agenda consists of public comments, financial reports, food handlers regulation, fees for service schedule, reports by both the health officer, by the administrator and comments by the board of health members.

Food handlers and PIC classes are held on the last Tuesday of every month. There are two classes, one at 9 a.m. and the other at 5 p.m.

Pre-registration is required.

The next class will be on March 27 at the health department, 513 Sixth St., Moundsville.

The Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex will be the site of a 50-minute film titled, “The Real George Washington,” at 7 p.m., on Thursday at the complex at 801 Jefferson Ave., Moundsville.

The film reveals the man behind the myth. Join an excavation team at Washington’s childhood home, and see how a team of forensic scientists and artists recreate a realistic image of Washington’s face.

The film is a National Geographic production.

A family fossil program will be taking place from noon until 4 p.m., on March 3 at the Grave Creek Mound Archaeological Complex.

B. Mitchell Blake Jr., state geologist and director of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey, will identify visitors’ fossils.

Also, there will be hands- on activities for the entire family, and a special display of fossils by members of the West Virginia Fossil Club.

The Marshall County Schools Strings Program will present, “A Night at the Movies,” which will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday in the John Marshall High School Center for Performing Arts.

The concert will feature cinematic music from popular soundtracks including, “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “The Avengers,” “Pirates of the Caribbean” and “Moana.”

Donations will be accepted at the door to benefit the Kingwood High School Orchestra Program in Houston, Texas, which was impacted by Hurricane Harvey this past summer. Also, donations will be used to establish a fund for a graduating student from the Marshall County Strings Program for a college scholarship.

The MCSP was established 10 years ago and is under the direction of Shelby Genberg, Justin Jones and Alex Talkowski.

A Cinderella Project sponsored by the Ladies League of Marshall County, along with Calvary United Methodist Church of Moundsville, the Family Resource Network of Moundsville, and Macy’s will be held from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., on Saturday at Calvary Church, 1501 First St., Moundsville.

Free prom gowns, shoes and accessories will be available. Those participating are to bring their school identification or driver’s license.

Jody Hardman is the event chairman. She can be reached at 1-919-274-3263.

Monday is the deadline for making reservations to the Community Education Outreach Service and Marshall County Extension Service- sponsored “Healthy Heart Healthy Body Luncheon” to be held at 9:30 a.m. Friday at the First Christian Church, 1200 Third St., Moundsville

The program is adapted from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s campaign and is targeted to help West Virginians become educated and empowered to take charge of their own health.

Reservations for the event are to be made by calling the Marshall County Office of the West Virginia University/Marshall County Extension Service at 304-843-1170 or by visiting the website http://fh.ext.wvu/health//heart:health/love-your-heart-movement

Reservations for the Cockayne Farmstead-sponsored Photograph Preservation Workshop to be held at Glen Dale United Methodist Church from 1-4 p.m., on Saturday are to be made by calling the Farmstead at 304-845-1411 or cockaynehouse@gailmail.com

The John Marshall High School 1969-1979 class reunion planning committee will meet at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church in Moundsville. All class members are welcome to attend.

If you are wondering about the John Marshall High School baseball field and the football stadium, they will be ready for play this year, unless something major interrupts.

There was a meeting this past week to discuss what needs to be done to make the field playable.

The current football plans are to have the football stadium demolished hopefully starting in April. All the permits have been granted.