THERE ARE a few events not to be missed in each of the year's seasons enjoyed by Ohio Valley residents, and when it comes time for the fall harvest to be gathered and the leaves to begin falling to the ground it's time to prepare for the annual mega family style festival, "Oglebayfest."
It has long been considered a top event among tour directors nationwide.
Local residents know they can count on the juried artists participating as vendors for the three-day long show to bring their best works and wares to put before the shoppers of Oglebayfest's Artist Market.
"The Artist Market's goal is to attract the best artists and crafters from throughout the tri-state region and beyond," said Rick Morgan, director of Stifel Fine Arts Center, an arm of Oglebay Institute.
"The same holds true for the popular Gourmet Market as we strive to attract the best in specialty foods as vendors."
The Markets are located behind the historic Oglebay Institute Mansion Museum.
From the field of vendors who participated at last year's event several were selected as Best in Show in a particular niche, explained Morgan.
Voting on best of show is done by the public.
Selected as Best of Show Fine Arts for last year was Howard Blichfeldt of Howard J. Blichfeldt Photography; Best of Show Crafts for last year was Jerilyn Clegg of Baskets by Jerilyn; Best of Show Gourmet Foods for last year was Alisha Smith of Gourmet Goodies by Alisha.
"This year Oglebay Institute will be coordinating the Markets and jurying the show," said Morgan, by way of explaining just exactly how the top quality of vendors is maintained from year to year.
"Oglebay Institute established high standards which each artist had to meet in order to be accepted as a vendor. The point of the process is to ensure the integrity of the show," offered Morgan.
"This juried market is open to all artists who exhibit and sell work of original concept, design and execution," he said.
The Artist and Gourmet Markets open the festival at noon on Friday, October 1.
Saturday schedule of events begins with the traditional Oglebayfest parade and ends with an elaborate fireworks show.
The festival events continue through 5 p.m., Sunday, Oct 3.
Overseeing the myriad of details that go with making these inviting boutique style shopping venues come to life just hours before the official opening of the event is Morgan, now director of Stifel Fine Arts Center, a very popular arm of Oglebay Institute.
He is looking forward to putting his life's experience to work of the community of vendors doing business at Oglebayfest.
Morgan has himself participated as a vendor at Oglebayfest in the Artist Market community for some years, allowing him to bring a unique perspective to his duties.
The Artist's Market and Gourmet Market annually feature more than 100 crafters, many of whom can be located under colorful tents. The Harvest Market is a setting for more than a dozen select vendors
The annual event had its beginnings in the 50th anniversary in 1978 when the Wheeling Park Commission (Oglebay's managing board) threw a party called Oglebayfest.
The festival is now a showcase for West Virginia talent and ingenuity as well as those from beyond the state's boarders, according to tourism industry experts.
Morgan is pleased to again bring into the roster artists from within the local regiont.
"Some new local Ohio artists joining the vendor community for Oglebayfest will be world class expert calligrapher and teacher Sharon Hanse of Toucan Design of Barnesville; as will be Shelly Massey from Middletown; Marilyn Cook and Josef Austin Simply of Elegant Jewelry of Canton; Jan and Vince Bowden of Bowden Bells and Garden Art from Big Prairie, Ohio; Gary and Carol Davis of Davis Handmade Brooms from Jerusalem; Gail Trunick of Trunick Studio from Burghill; and Maureen Skeans of Uniquely Designed of Akron," Morgan said. "Other vendors we anticipate being on hand for Oglebayfest will be Mike Carley of Red Bird Photo Gallery from DeBary Fla.; Patricia A Rosenberger of Sterling Rose from Middletown, Del.; Michael Pappa of MP Pinecone Design from Jersey City NJ; Michelle Chang from La Puente California."
Several notable participants in the Gourmet Market are for this year's event are: Robin Hildebrand of Blue Smoke Salsa from Ansted, WVa., and Bob and Becky Titchenal of WV fruit and Berry from Bridgeport, WVa.
"Hanse has become increasingly well known among the various artistic communities in the region," Morgan said.
She is a longstanding member of Art Works around Town.
Morgan said her works have been exhibited in the International Calligraphy Exhibit at the Annual Calligraphy Conference, St. Mary's, MD. She was invited to participate in an Exhibition of 100 of the world's best Calligraphers sponsored by the Western Reserve Calligraphers, Cleveland, Ohio. She has exhibited in The Springfield Art Association Liturgical and Sacred Art 2000 Exhibition, Springfield, Illinois. She has also exhibited in Fourth Presbyterian Church Response to the Holy Exhibition, 2000, Chicago, Illinois and has had a Solo Exhibit at West Liberty State College, West Liberty, West Virginia, September 2000; a Solo Exhibit in the Townhouse Gallery, Sistersville WV, and a pecial exhibit of her work was presented at Artworks Around Town, Wheeling WV in August 2006.
Additional information about the event is available by contacting Morgan at 304-242-7700.