Laura Dean Bennett
“We started planning this garden party after WVU Extension Agent Luci Mosesso mentioned to me that the Marlinton Elementary School garden could use some color,” Parks and Recreation Director Lauren Bennett said.
“We thought, ‘what a nice way to offer kids a fun art project and give them a chance to do something for their community at the same time.’”
So the word went out that Parks and Rec would host the event.
Garden Partygoers would be making colorful stepping stones – one for themselves and one to be placed in the school garden or at another site in the community.
Concern for proper social distancing caused the Garden Party to be moved from the Wellness Center to the large pavilion at Stillwell Park.
“When we had a larger response than we’d expected, we decided to move everything to Stillwell,” Bennett said.
“Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to maintain proper distancing out here under the shelter.”
As it turned out, the large, comfortably, shady pavilion was the perfect place for the youngsters and adults to spread out and work.
Bennett and new Parks and Rec program coordinator Brooke Burns mixed cement for stepping stones while young artists chose brightly colored rocks and marbles to use for their unique creations.
After the stepping stones were finished, the fun continued with a special surprise project prepared by Pocahontas County Arts Council president Cynthia Guerreri.
Guerreri, well-known for her arts and craft classes at the Little Yellow House, has a knack for creating fun for students of all ages while teaching them new artistic techniques.
In keeping with the garden party theme, Guerreri titled her project “Creative Steam Punk Entymology,” so garden party guests not only got to craft their own one of a kind, wild and wacky bugs, they also learned the meaning of a really big word.
Entymology is the study of insects.
The bodies of the bugs were made out of cement and socks and the decorations and legs were personally fashioned by each artist from an assembly of supplies.
“We’re trying to make our activities as interesting as we can, and coordinating with the Pocahontas County Arts Council and other organizations like the WVU Extension Service, and the libraries is a great way to do that,” Bennett explained.
“We don’t have any definite programs lined up for the fall yet, but we’re working on some different types of art classes, fun fitness activities and fall-themed activities.
“We’re trying to think in terms of how we can add something positive to Pocahontas County students’ educational week.
“We’ll be especially focused on Wednesday activities, since kids will only be in school two days a week and won’t be in school on Wednesdays,” she added.
“We’re hoping to hold a “scarecrow build-off” during the week when we’d usually be having the Autumn Harvest Festival. For the week we’d usually have Huntersville Traditions Day, we’re thinking about offering candle-dipping or felt-making workshops.
“Nothing’s certain yet, but keep checking the Community Calendar in The Pocahontas Times because we’ve got a lot of ideas.”
Meanwhile, the pandemic hasn’t kept things completely shut down at the Wellness Center.
The gym and weight room are open – with capacity limits and guidelines in place for safety.
Bennett encourages anyone with questions about Parks and Rec or Wellness Center activities to call 304-799-7386.